By Mike Leone


(Sarver, PA)...The 2016 racing season for the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series powered by Pace Performance will come to a close this weekend at Lernerville Speedway for the annual "Steel City Stampede". The RUSH Late Models will compete in a Sweeney Marquee Tour event, while the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will battle in a Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event. An open practice will be held Thursday night with heat races for all divisions (plus group qualifying for the RUSH LM) on Friday night at 7:05 followed by the last chance B mains and features on Saturday evening starting at 5. Also, over $15,000 in contingency prizes have been posted to crate engine racers.

The RUSH Late Models are coming off a very successful "Bill Hendren Memorial" event as part of the "Pittsburgher 100" at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway last weekend where John Mollick came out on top of a 39-car field taking home over $2,600 in cash plus contingencies. Mollick became the season's 10th different winner in Touring competition and amazingly the sixth different driver to win his first ever Tour race this season! Saturday's event will pay $2,000 to-win.

The championship battle has been tight all season long between Bryce Davis and John Waters. The New Yorkers are both looking for their first Sweeney Tour title. Davis enters the event with a seven-point lead on Waters and if he can finish in the top four, he'll clinch the $5,000 crown no matter what Waters does. Both drivers started the year off fast each winning three feature events through mid-July, but both have been shutout of victory lane since.

Jason Knowles, another NY driver, is third in points and is still looking for his first career Tour win as he finishes up his second year of touring full-time. Will Thomas III, Brian Knowles, Dave Lyon, Bruce Hordusky, Jr., Alan Dellinger, Eric Wilson, Mike Pegher, Jr., Tony White, and Clinton Hersh complete the top 12 points-paying positions.

Back on July 1, Davis won his first career Lernerville feature during a three-race Marquee Tour event win streak. This year’s “Steel City Stampede” will be the eighth edition of the growing event that includes eight of the region’s racing divisions all showcased in this end of the season blowout for the region. There has yet to be a repeat winner in the Crate Late Models; past winners include Josh Holtgraver (2009), Butch Lambert (2010), Bryan Force (2011), Max Blair (2012), Dennis Lunger, Jr. (2013), Chad Ruhlman (2014), and Jacob Hawkins (2015). Last year's event attracted 54 cars, which was an all-time Northeast crate record until September 11 at Tri-City Raceway Park when 56 cars showed up for "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance!

Meanwhile, the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will join the "Steel City Stampede" for the third consecutive year. Greg Martin won the inaugural race in 2014, while Nick Ritchey won his first ever at Lernerville last season. The Sportsman Mods will complete their second season of Bicknell Touring Series competition and will be featured in an $800 to-win event.

Chas Wolbert, who has yet to finish worse than seventh in a Tour event, currently leads the points by 10 over Bicknell Weekly Series Champion, Brian Schaffer. Both drivers are in their first year in the division Adam Hilton won the opening event at Tri-City. Wolbert captured the MFG Night victory at Sharon one week later. Ritchey followed up last year's "Steel City Stampede" Tour win with another at Lernerville on July 1. Chelsie Kriegisch became the first female to win a RUSH Sportsman Mod race on July 13 taking the Expo event. Sharon Speedway's September 17 race was rained out and will be completed as a non-point event in 2017, and the following night saw Tri-City's show succumb to rain as well.

Lernerville has already hosted a record five RUSH Sportsman Modified races this season with five different winners including Kole Holden, Schaffer, Ritchey, Josh Deems, and Wolbert. Deems' win was his first career win.

As part of the weekend, over $15,000 in contingencies will be distributed to RUSH crate engine racers. The grand prize will be the $7,500 Rocket Racing certificate toward the purchase of a 2017 Rocket XR1, Stage 2, which will see all Pace Performance "Summer Chase" drivers be eligible (whether in attendance or not). Lincoln Electric will give away their third Power Mig 140C welder and utility cart ($750 value) of the season. All competing crate engine racers in the Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, and Stocks in addition to any legal RUSH Pro Mod racer that competed at Stateline Speedway this season will be eligible for Lincoln drawing. Also, several thousands of dollars in product contingencies will be up for grabs to RUSH Pro Stock drivers in the second annual "Manufacturers Night" presented by MSD Performance. All of these drawings will take place on Saturday. Of course, all of the great Touring Series contingencies have been posted in the Late Models and Sportsman Modifieds.

Bobby Lake Motorsports "Shock the Clock Qualifying and Beat the Heat" will be utilized on Friday night for the Late Models meaning the fastest qualifier will receive $100 and all heat race winners will earn $25. The K&N “Cold Air Induction” Dash will be run on Saturday night paying a $100 K&N certificate to win, $50 K&N certificate for second with $25 cash for third and fourth place. The K&N Dash will also set the beginning of the feature lineup for the top two finishers in the heat races if there are less than five heats or for the heat winners if there are five or more heats. Meanwhile, the K&N Dash for the Mods will be run for the first four racers outside the redraw positions and will have the same payoff.

For both classes, Precise Racing Products will award a $100 gift card for the "Pedal Down" Hard Charger that passes the most cars in the feature. The TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” will award three bottles of Xtreme6 Racing Brake Fluid valued at approximately $45 along with a certificate for a discount off any TBM Brakes purchase for both classes.

RUSH Officials will choose the "Maxima Performance" Award for a driver that exhibits a performance worthy of such in both the Late Models and Mods. The winner will receive a free case of either Maxima Semi-Syn High Performance Racing Oil or Maxima Performance Racing Oil of your choice. In addition, the winner will receive one can of SC-1 clear coat, one 16-oz bottle of Maxima Cool-Aide concentrate, one 32-oz quart of Maxima PSF power steering fluid, and a Maxima t-shirt. The value of this prize package is $170!

Also, will award a $25 gift certificate to the driver that finishes last on the lead lap at the finish in both features. The first non-qualifier in the Late Models will receive an ARbodies nosed kit valued at $260 for the "Nosed Out" contingency.

RUSH Late Model Feature payoff: 1. $2,000 2. $1,000 3. $650 4. $550 5. $470 6. $435 7. $410 8. $370 9. $340 10. $310 11. $280 12. $270 13. $260 14. $250 15. $240 16. $230 17. $220 18-24. $210.

RUSH Late Model Non-Qualifier payoff: 1. $175 2. $150 3. $140 4. $135 5. $130 6. $125 7. $120 8. $115 9. $110 10-24. $105. Tow $100.

RUSH Sportsman Modified Feature Payoff: 1. $800 2. $500 3. $350 4. $300 5. $250 6. $220 7. $180 8. $175 9. $170 10. $165 11. $160 12. $155 13. $150 14. $145 15. $140 16. $135 17. $130 18-24. $125. Tow $60.

2016 Sweeney Late Model Touring Series Points (must be a Touring Series member to receive points): 1. Bryce Davis 961 2. John Waters 954 3. Jason Knowles 887 4. Will Thomas III 874 5. Brian Knowles 871 6. Dave Lyon 870 7. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. 833 8. Alan Dellinger 780 9. Eric Wilson 771 10. Mike Pegher, Jr. 742 11. Tony White 695 12. Clinton Hersh 620 13. Brian Swank 612 14. Matt Latta 525 15. Kyle Zimmerman 410 16. Damian Bidwell 280 17. Randy Hall 270 18. W.L. Stile 219 19. Jared Kane 210 20. Max Blair 200 21. Charlie Duncan & Michael Duritsky, Jr. 166 23. Dennis Lunger, Jr. 161 24. Josh Double 89 25. Mike Franklin 71.

2016 Bicknell Sportsman Modified Touring Series Points (must be a Touring Series member to receive points): 1. Chas Wolbert 453 2. Brian Schaffer 443. 3. Kole Holden 439 4. Brandon Ritchey 437 5. Kyle Martell 433 6. Chelsie Kriegisch 424 7. Jeremy Weaver 422 8. Tiffany Williams 415 9. Steve Slater 407 10. Jessica Kriegisch 391 11. Josh Seippel 388 12. Michael Sparks 387 13. Nick Ritchey 360 14. Will Schaffer 311 15. Jerry Schaffer 245 16. Preston Cope 230 17. Justin Shea 174 18. Jordan Ehrenberg 154 19. Rocky Kugel 148 20. Jacob Jordan 140 21. Blaze Myers 80.

You do not have to a member of RUSH to compete. The red AMB transponders are required at Lernerville. RACEceivers are always mandatory. The entry fee is $100 for Late Models and $35 for Sportsman Modifieds.

There will be an open practice from 7-9 p.m. on Thursday night. Registration and tech opens at 3 p.m. on Friday with group qualifying for the RUSH Late Models at 7:05. Racing begins early on Saturday at 5 p.m. A three-day pit pass is $55 for members and $65 for non-members. A two-day pit pass is $50 for members and $55 for non-members. Single-day pit passes are $15 for members and $20 for non members on Thursday, $25 for members and $30 for non-members on Friday, and $30 for members and $35 for non-members on Saturday.