By Mike Leone

October 14-15, 2016

(Sarver, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series powered by Pace Performance were part of the eighth annual "Steel City Stampede" this past weekend at Lernerville Speedway featuring the Sweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series and the Bicknell Racing Products RUSH Sportsman Modified Touring Series as John Mollick and Rocky Kugel cashed in with victories on Saturday night. Also, Sweeney RUSH Pro Stock and Lernerville Champion, Corey McPherson, topped the 37-car field of "open" engine Stocks for the $1,000 payday. All told, 85 crate engine racers participated amongst the three divisions including an all-time division record count of 29 Sportsman Modifieds!

RUSH Late Model racers Jason Genco and Khole Wanzer were randomly selected winners as Genco received a $7,500 gift certificate toward the purchase of new Rocket Racing XR1, Stage 2 Chassis, and Wanzer won the Lincoln Electric Power Mig 140C welder and utility cart valued at $750.

John Mollick and John Waters battled for the victory in the 25-lap season ending Sweeney Late Model Tour feature, and while Mollick came out on top of the battle for his second straight Series victory, it was Waters winning the war garnering his first Series championship! Mollick got back by Waters on lap 20 for the $2,000 win, while Waters' runner-up finish coupled with Bryce Davis' 14th place earned him the $5,000 championship. Waters was also awarded the Maxima Racing Oil "Maximum Performance"

"He's one of the best guys I've ever raced with," acknowledged the 46-year-old Toronto, Ohio winner in regards to Waters. "I'll tell you what, his car was really good. He'll leave you room; he did a hell of a job. If I had to get second, I was hoping he'd win. His car was changing a little bit. My car was getting way too tight trying to keep heat in the tires so I went on the bottom to keep the tires cool and keep it smooth. I have to thank the Stan's Transmission team. Bob, Bobby, Tom, and Tommy- these guys do a hell of job on the car and I just turn the wheel. They told me the old man has never won here so I had to get up on the wheel and get it done."

Mollick picked up where he left off from one week ago at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway following his $2,500 victory taking the early lead from the pole position, which he earned by winning the K&N Dash. Waters went from fourth to second bringing sixth starting Ryan Montgomery with him to third after one lap. Davis, who entered the night with a seven-point lead, started from eighth and cracked the top five by lap three getting by Justin Lamb.

Waters closed on Mollick and pulled alongside, while Davis took fourth from Lyon on lap seven. Lapped traffic came into play on lap nine, but the event's first caution slowed action and forced a double file restart. On lap 10, it was three-wide for the lead with Mollick holding on over Waters and Montgomery, but Davis was able to sneak by Montgomery for third. Waters once again pulled even with Mollick on lap 11, but Mollick continued to lead. Meanwhile, the battle was on for fourth between Montgomery, Lyon, and 11th starting Kyle Lukon. Lukon made his way to fourth on lap 14, but the following lap spun off the backstretch forcing the caution but not before Waters slid under Mollick to lead the lap and Montgomery got back by Davis for third.

A trio of cautions slowed action on lap 16. Back under green, Davis and Lamb swapped fourth and fifth on laps 17 and 18. Davis was trying to stay in the top four to guarantee the title, but he'd bring out the caution with an apparent flat tire and later reported engine issues, which ended his night for good and bid for the title with 20 laps recorded. Davis was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".

With Davis out of the race, Waters appeared to go conservative the final five laps as Mollick pulled away and went uncontested winning by 2.546 seconds in the Robert Bentz-owned, Stan's Transmission-sponsored #60M. Waters earned $1,000 for second for his ninth top five of the season and had just one finish out of the top nine all season long in Sweeney Tour competition.

"This mean a lot," stated the 35-year-old Whitesville, NY champion. "We've been following this for the last couple years up and down the road putting on a lot of miles. It's hard on my guys to be away from home and family. Without them and the guys at the shop, I couldn't do this- it's all them. My car owner Dale LeBarron is home working half the time and I can take this thing and play. He's the main man behind this project and I can't thank him enough."

"We came here to win this race and let the chips fall where they may," explained Waters. "That's unfortunate for Bryce. I wish it came up down to one point racing for the lead. We grew up racing together and it's cool to be up on top. They did wonderful all year long and had bad luck tonight, but finally good luck for us. He's a true champion. This is one of the top notch series. I feel if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere. We can travel and do well anywhere. I want to thank Mike (Leone), Vicki (Emig), Rich (Yeager), you (Brian Spaid), and everyone affiliated with RUSH. Without them we wouldn't be able to travel. It's fun when someone asks your name and know who you are for how well it's promoted."

Kyle Zimmerman, who was quiet for much of the race, came on late from his seventh starting spot to pass Montgomery for third on lap 22, but a mistake the following lap allowed Montgomery to get back by and go to finish in the show position. The 2014 Sweeney Tour Champion made his only two RUSH starts of the season in the final two races and recorded a second and a third.

Jason Knowles had a good run in fifth after starting 13th. Lamb improved on last week's seventh place Tour finish by one spot in sixth beating out fellow Bilstein Bandits competitor, Alan Dellinger, who came back from the tail after an early race caution. Brian Knowles was eighth over Lyon. "Wheelman" Bonus Event Challenge Series Champion, Greg Beach, made his first Sweeney Tour feature of the season and had a good run in 10th after starting 19th at the track he grew up racing Stock Cars at.

Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series” Race #15 (25 laps, $2,000 to-win): 1. JOHN MOLLICK (Bentz 60M) 2. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 3. Ryan Montgomery (12) 4. Kyle Zimmerman (z17) 5. Jason Knowles (4) 6. Justin Lamb (93x) 7. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 8. Brian Knowles (7) 9. Dave Lyon (14L) 10. Greg Beach (33x) 11. Tony White (27) 12. Andy Spooner (3) 13. Braeden Dillinger (14) 14. Bryce Davis (94) 15. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 16. Khole Wanzer (01W) 17. Chuck Medved (2M) 18. Bob Diver (23) 19. Jake Gunn (14G) 20. Kyle Lukon (184) 21. Russell Baird, Jr. (17) 22. Josh Stoica (22J) 23. Jared Miley (H1) 24. Michael Ott (Fields 21) 25. Will Thomas III (9). 26. Bruce Hordusky, Jr. (3)-DNS. (Note: Tony White took a Series provisional.)

Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $175 to-win): 1. Clinton Hersh (16) 2. Jason Fosnaught (J19) 3. Jamie Wrightsman (21J) 4. Chris Frank (49) 5. Zach Kane (10) 6. Bill Kessler (09) 7. Bob Nelson (27) 8. Tony Iarrapino (54) 9. Rob Bates (64) 10. Zach Gunn (114G)-DNS 11. Troy Shields (11)-DNS 12. Jeff Haynes (64)-DNS 13. Clay Ruffo (14R)-DNS 14. Brian Swank (12s)-DNS.

Car Count: 40
Feature Lap Leaders: John Mollick (1-14, 20-25), John Waters (15-19)
Margin of Victory: 2.546 seconds
$7,500 Rocket Racing XR1, Stage 2 Chassis Gift Certificate: Jason Genco
Lincoln Electric Power Mig 140C Welder & Utility Cart Winner: Khole Wanzer
Maxima Oil “Maximum Performance”: John Waters
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Tony White (+14)
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Bryce Davis "Last Car on Lead Lap": Andy Spooner
ARbodies "Nosed Out": Clinton Hersh