SWEENEY RUSH SPORTSMAN MODIFIED SERIES SET FOR 5TH SEASON; 30 EVENTS CURRENTLY SCHEDULED FOR 2018
By Mike Leone
December 29, 2017
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)...While the 2017 season will officially wrap up with the awards banquet on January 20 at Gatherings Banquet & Event Center, Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Series Directors have been busy planning for the upcoming 2018 racing season. The fifth season of operations currently has 30 events between Bicknell Racing Products Weekly and Tour Series shows scheduled at five different speedways. There's the possibility of a couple additional events to be added.
Sharon Speedway will once again be the anchor home track for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. While the Mods will compete in most of the Saturday night "Steel Valley Thunder" weekly events for 2018, this year they have been added to the Friday, April 20 season opener with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series along with the traditional Ohio Speedweek event with the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Cars on Tuesday, June 19. Two Bicknell Tour events are scheduled at the Hartford, Ohio 3/8-mile; one on June 23 part of "Manufacturers Nights" presented by MSD Performance along with the "Apple Festival Nationals". Details of the September 7-8 event have yet to be finalized.
The growth of the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds is evident through Sharon's average car counts over the years. In the 2014 inaugural season, Sharon averaged 10.6 cars per night. The 2015 season saw the division officially added to the weekly program and increased to 14.3 cars per night. A huge growth took place in 2016 as the average soared to 22.5 per night. This past season saw another increase with an average of 23.9 per night. Impressively over the past two seasons, the car count was under 20 only one time each season.
Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway continues to be a big supporter of the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds. "Dirt's Monster Half-Mile" will host the class eight times on Saturday nights including four of the five Saturday nights in September. Six events were completed in 2017 at PPMS with five different winners. Sharon Speedway champion, Kole Holden, was the only repeat winner, while Rocky Kugel, Chas Wolbert, Jessica Kriegisch, and Justin Shea were also victorious.
Tri-City Raceway Park is another western Pennsylvania big half-mile track. Tri-City again has three shows for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds planned, but this year all three (May 13, June 17 & July 15) will be Bicknell Tour designations for the first time.
A Bicknell Tour event is again expected at Expo Speedway as part of the opening night of racing at the Trumbull County Fair on Wednesday, July 11. Expo was the site of the first ever Tour event in 2015 when Greg Martin picked up the victory and would go on to win the inaugural title. Chelsie Kriegisch made history in 2016 becoming the first female to win a Tour event in the history of crate racing in the Northeast, first female to win in the 46-year history of Expo Speedway, and first female to win a RUSH Sportsman Modified event. This past season saw Kugel victorious.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will again be part of Lernerville Speedway's "Modified Mania" on Friday, July 20 then will close out the year once again with the "Steel City Stampede". The exciting 2017 event saw Kugel charge through the field to finish second on the final lap to overtake Holden to win the $3,000 Bicknell Weekly Series Championship, while 2016 "Futures Cup" Champion, Kyle Martell, secured his first Bicknell Touring Series Championship.
Ohio Intra Express of Niles, Ohio will present the "Shock the Clock" award at selected Touring Series events in 2018. The fastest qualifier during warm-up groups will receive $100 cash and a presentation check. On these nights, the Sportsman Modifieds will mimic the RUSH Late Model Touring Series format with qualifying times setting the heat race lineups and the top two finishers of each heat race will redraw for the K&N Dash starting line-up that will determine the beginning rows of the feature. All of other cars will be straight up on heat race or B main finish. At this time, the format will be used at the three Tri-City events and "Manufacturers Night" at Sharon.
In October, the Series announced changes to the eligibility requirements. All western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio "358" Small-Block Modified drivers will be eligible to participate in the class, and changes have been made to allow more of the regional Big-Block Modified drivers to be eligible for the entire season as well. The change in eligibility will now allow local Big-Block Modified racers that did not finish in the top five in Big-Block Modified points at any speedway or touring series in the previous season the ability to compete provided they did not win four or more features in one of the past two years (2016 or 2017). Obviously, all drivers must have 100% RUSH Sportsman Modified legal cars to compete.
"We're very proud of our Sportsman Modified division," stated RUSH Director Vicki Emig. "The class has grown each year in numbers and competitiveness, and we expect another bump in participation and quality of competition in 2018. It's going to be exciting to see veteran racers Alan Dellinger and Rob Kristyak who entered the class in the final events of 2017, along with newcomers Garrett Krummert and Tony Tatgenhorst mix it up with our veteran Sportsman Modified racers, including many young guns who are beginning to make their mark in Modified racing such as Kyle Holden, Kyle Martell, the Kriegisch sisters and many more. We have to thank all of the participating speedways for continuing their belief in the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and partnering with us to continue the growth and stability of the class for Modified enthusiast throughout the region."
2018 Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Schedule*
Fri, April 20 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) - With Lucas Oil Late Models
Sat, April 28 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, May 5 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Sat, May 12 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sun, May 13 Tri-City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) - Touring event
Sat, May 19 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, May 26 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, June 2 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, June 9 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Sat, June 17 Tri-City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) - Touring event
Tue, June 19 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) - With All Star Sprints (Ohio Speedweek)
Sat, June 23 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) - Touring event for "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance
Sat, June 30 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, July 7 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Wed, July 11 Expo Speedway (Cortland, OH) - Touring event for Trumbull County Fair
Sat, July 14 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Sun, July 15 Tri-City Raceway Park (Franklin, PA) - Touring event
Fri, July 20 Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA) - "Modified Mania"
Sat, July 21 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, July 28 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, August 4 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, August 11 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, August 18 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, August 25 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH)
Sat, September 1 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Fri-Sat, September 7-8 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) - Touring event for "Apple Festival Nationals" (details TBA)
Sat, September 15 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Sat, September 22 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Sat, September 29 Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA)
Fri-Sat, October 12-13 Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA) - Touring event for "Steel City Stampede"
Short Track Super Series Announces Expanded Sportsman Program for 2018
MILLSBORO, DE – The Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco has announced an expanded Sportsman program for the 2018 season.
Three separate STSS Sportsman champions will be crowned in '18, each guaranteed $1,000 for their efforts. The STSS Open Sportsman program returns for its third season, while Crate 602 Sportsman will be featured for the first time in North and South Regions.
Each of the three Sportsman programs offer five dates for competitors. A point fund will be offered for drivers with perfect attendance in each program.
The North Region of the Crate 602 Sportsman series features two visits to Thunder Mountain Speedway in Center Lisle, N.Y. (May 27 and Sept. 2), while Afton (N.Y.) Motorsports Park hosts two dates (July 25 and the championship event Oct. 7) and a single visit is planned for Woodhull (N.Y.) Raceway on Aug. 8.
The Crate 602 South Region gets underway on Saturday, March 17 at Georgetown (Del.) Speedway, one of three stops at the historic Sussex County track (Aug. 28 and Oct. 27 – championship event). Single events are planned for Bridgeport (N.J.) Speedway (April 29) and Delaware International Speedway in Delmar, Del. (May 24).
The STSS Open Sportsman series launches at Big Diamond Speedway in Minersville, Pa., on June 5 and visits Accord (N.Y.) Speedway on July 3, Thunder Mountain Sept. 16, the paved Bethel (N.Y.) Motor Speedway on Sept. 30 and Afton (N.Y.) Motorsports Park on Oct. 6 for the championship event.
All STSS Sportsman races will pay a minimum of $1,000 to win and $100 to take the green flag.
Complete series information will be available prior to Motorsports 2018 in Oaks, Pa., Jan. 19-21.
KYLE ROHNER WINS SECOND CONSECUTIVE "GREAT CRATE RACE" AT FIVE MILE POINT SPEEDWAY. VICTORY WORTH $3,000 FOR BACK TO BACK TRACK CHAMPION.
KIRKWOOD, NY...For the second consecutive year Kyle Rohner outshined the competition on his way to winning the 67 lap "Great Crate Race" at Five Mile Point Speedway. The victory was worth $3,000 and completed the 67th consecutive year of racing at the speedway. Dylan Cecce was the $1,000 Street Stock winner with Tom Groover winning the Factory Stock event. Kenny Underwood not only won the $1,000 FWD Four Cylinder race he also locked up the "Fantastic Five Front Wheel Drive Four Cylinder" Championship in the process.
Garett Rushlow and Jim Housworth led the twenty-four car Crate Sportsman starting field to the green for the 67 lap season finale. Rushlow darted out to the early lead but Housworth wasn't wasting time as he worked past on lap 3 and quickly opened up his advantage. The third and fourth starting spots were comprised of Kyle Rohner and Tom Collins, Jr. Rohner was the 2016 and 2017 Five Mile Point Speedway Track Champion and Collins, the opening day winner at the speedway. The duo put on a fantastic driving display as they quickly converged on Rushlow for the second position.
The key to an extra distance race at Five Mile Point Speedway is keeping the car straight and patience. Housworth was showing he wasn't waiting for the second and third place cars during the early going as he widened his advantage. The first caution of the race flew on lap 13 for a spinning Fred Christ. Housworth was still the race leader for the restart with Collins, Rohner, Rushlow and Matt Cole riding in the top five. When racing resumed Housworth continued as the race leader but now he had to contend with both Collins and Rohner. On lap 14 Collins went to the inside of Housworth as Rohner waited patiently to make his move. A caution on lap 17 would slow that battle for the moment.
When the green flew again Housworth was still the race leader but now had Rohner in second with Collins third and Rushlow and now Dale Welty in fifth place. Another caution on lap 22 slowed the action again but on the restart the racing went to another level. Housworth maintained his lead on the restart but now Collins made a serious bid on the inside for the race lead. Meanwhile Rohner wasn't content to watch as he split the middle making for a three-wide battle for the race lead to the delight of the fans. Collins was scored as the race leader on lap 25 as the battle continued three-wide lap after lap. Back to back cautions on lap 28 again slowed the great action. This restart found Collins as the race leader with Rohner in second, Housworth now third, Welty fourth and Rushlow fifth.
Collins raced back out to the lead when the action went back to green and Welty made quick work of Housworth to take over third. On lap 31 Rohner worked to the outside of Collins and made his move for the race lead. The move worked as Rohner took over the race lead. Collins ran in second with Welty third. A caution on lap 38 again restacked the field but the race would go green for the fifteen circuits without any change within the top five. Alex Yankowski ran just outside of the top five most of the race and continued to keep an on that race battle among the top five as the next caution flew on lap 54. When racing went back to green the top six were unchanged, but the complexity of the race was about to change.
On lap 57 the caution flew as Rushlow slowed with a flat tire at the same time George Sanford also slowed with a tire going down. During the same caution race officials informed Yankowski that he had a soft right rear but Yankowski was now solidly in the top five and opted to stay on the track. On the restart, Welty slowed with a tire going down and now Yankowski had no choice but to also pit. At this point Todd Hayward was in the fourth position with Steve Babicek running in fourth. The top three of Rohner, Collins and Housworth all worked hard as they lead portions of the race and all in attendance were wondering if they could go the distance.
The green flew again and the top five remained intact as the caution flew again on lap 62. This time it was sixth place runner Jeff Bubari losing the battle to tire attrition. Rohner meanwhile was trying to conserve his tires but Collins was not allowing him to take it easy as they maintained their battle for the race lead. Lap 65 saw the final caution of the race as Housworth saw his great drive derailed with a soft tire. Fifth place runner Babicek also pitted on the same lap. When the green flew again Rohner would be able to hold off Collins for the "Great Crate Race" title. Hayward came across the line in third with Welty charging back to fourth and Fred Christ having his best career FMP run in fifth. Unfortunately, Hayward was disqualified in post-race inspection with an illegal carburetor. This moved Crate Sportsman rookie Blaine Klinger up to fifth at the finish. Klinger, had only a handful of Sportsman starts prior the race after running in the Slingshot division for most of the season. Sanford charged back to sixth with Rushlow, Yankowski, Housworth and Schilling finishing in the top ten.
SPORTSMAN OFFICIAL FEATURE FINISH (67): KYLE ROHNER ($3,000), Tom Collins, Dale Welty, Fred Christ, Blaine Klinger, George Sanford, Garett Rushlow, Alex Yankowski, Jim Housworth, Dave Schilling, Moose Gulley, Nick Branning, Steve Babicek, Jeff Bubari, Dave Dubois, Marshall Balzer, Leo Fotopoulos Jr., Matt Cole, Joe Guastella Jr., Nick Guererri, T.J. Frost, Devon Zona, Stacy Jackson. DQ – Todd Hayward – Gamblers Bonus: Kyle Rohner ($110), Marshall Balzer ($110).
RUSH SPORTSMAN MODIFIED SERIES MAKES CHANGES TO DRIVER ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS FOR 2018
October 23, 2017
By Mike Leone
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)...With the successful 2017 racing season now completed, the fourth for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Series powered by Pace Performance, Series Directors have made a decision to alter the driver eligibility requirements for the division for the 2018 season. All western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio "358" Modified drivers will be eligible to participate in the class, and changes have been made to allow more of the regional Big-Block Modified drivers to be eligible for the entire season as well (see below).
"Due to the changing dynamics of Modified racing in western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio we had to take a look at our driver eligibility rule that's been in place since the inception of the division," explained RUSH Director Vicki Emig. "Modified racing, both 358s and big blocks, is in a different place than it was when we announced the launch of this class at the end of the 2013 season. We're very proud of the development of the Sportsman Modified division; our racers have come a long way since the first couple years. Our goal with RUSH in general is, and always has been, to keep racers racing by providing an affordable option."
"Throughout the season we've received a lot of feedback from several of our own racers as well as 358 racers, and some big-block drivers expressing a desire for us to make changes to the eligibility rules," continued Emig. "Some of these racers have inquired due to financial reasons, but several due to the decreasing number of scheduled events for open Modified racing. At the end of the year, we had standouts Alan Dellinger and Rob Kristyak get a head start on 2018 by joining the class; however, they were eligible per the 2017 rules."
The change in eligibility will only be effective for locally based western Pa. and eastern Ohio racers in the "358" Small-Block Modified and Big-Block Modified divisions. There will be no changes made to the current eligibility requirements for drivers in other headlining divisions locally nor for Modified drivers outside the western Pa./eastern Ohio area.
As stated, all "358" Small-Block Modified drivers from the local area will be permitted to race in the RUSH Sportsman Modified division in 2018. The change in eligibility will now allow local Big-Block Modified racers that did not finish in the top five in Big-Block Modified points at any speedway or touring series in the previous season the ability to compete provided they did not win four or more features in one of the past two years (2016 or 2017). Obviously, all drivers must have 100% RUSH Sportsman Modified legal cars to compete.
Eastern States Weekend
Eastern States Sportsman Feature Finish, 50 Laps: 1. Jesse Leiby, 2. Jimmy Johnson, 3. Mel Schrufer, 4. Corey Cormier, 5. Joe Conklin, 6. Cole Hentschel, 7. Connor Otten, 8. Tommy Vigh Jr., 9. Matt Shultz, 10. Kyle Rohner, 11. Bobby DeLeon, 12. Dan Morgiewicz, 13. Joe Bonetti, 14. John Stangle, 15. Bobby Flood, 16. Tyler Boniface, 17. Jared LaBagh, 18. Joey Bruning, 19. Michael Sabia, 20. Jeff Hulseapple, 21. Anthony Falanga, 22. Austin Smith, 23. Fred Proctor, 24. Nick Plumstead, 25. Howie Finch, 26. Billy Eggers Jr., 27. Cody Hunt, 28. Shane Jablonka, 29. Tyler Pirone, 30. Greg Sleight.