By Mike Leone


May 9, 2018             FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

(Franklin, PA)… The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Series powered by Pace Performance will open up the 2018 Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series season this Sunday (May 13) at Tri-City Raceway Park.  Sunday (Mother's Day) will mark the first of two stops on the 2018 schedule to the 1/2-mile Venango County oval.  Race time is 6 p.m.  The event carries a Sunday, May 20 rain date.


Sunday's program will culminate with a 20-lap $600-win feature.  For the first time in Series history, drivers will qualify during their small warm-up groups to set the heat race line-ups.  Thanks to Ohio Intra Express of Niles, Ohio, the fastest qualifier will receive $100.  The top two finishers from each heat race will then run the dash to determine the beginning rows of the feature line-up.


"We're looking forward to beginning our Bicknell Touring Series season Sunday at Tri-City," stated RUSH Director Vicki Emig.  "Tri-City has been a big supporter of RUSH over the years and the events have always been exciting.  Tri-City presents a unique challenge with its size, and most of the racers have limited experience at the track.  Many of our racers have asked over the years about qualifying for our Tour events, and while we can't at every one, we're excited to give them the opportunity like we do for our Late Model Tour events.  We have to thank Chas Wolbert for bringing the $100 sponsorship award for each of these events."


The Bicknell Tour has made four visits to Tri-City during the past three years and has yet to feature a repeat winner.  The 2017 Bicknell Weekly Series Champion, Rocky Kugel, won the first ever event in 2015, while New York's Adam Hilton won in 2016.  Two events were run in 2017 with eventual champion, Kyle Martell, winning the first and Chas Wolbert capturing the second event. 


The Bicknell Tour has also yet to see a repeat champion.  Veteran Larry Kugel was the inaugural 2015 champion with Brian Schaffer sweeping both the Weekly and Touring Championships in 2016.  Last year it was 2016 "Futures Cup" Champion, Kyle Martell, going for the most part un-contested after winning the first two Touring Series events.  The Bicknell Tour has featured 10 different winners in the 19 races run all-time.  Rocky Kugel and Chas Wolbert are tied atop the win list at three victories apiece.


After two rain outs at Sharon Speedway, the 2018 Bicknell Weekly Series season got underway last Saturday at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway where Brandon Ritchey was victorious.  Twenty-three cars turned out shattering the prior record of 17 at PPMS back in 2016.  It should be another strong year of competition and car counts throughout the region.  In 2017, Sharon averaged 24 cars per night; and in fact, only once in each of the past two years has the car count fell under 20 cars. 


All of the heavy hitters will be back in 2017 including Kugel, Martell, 2017 Sharon Champion Kole Holden, Wolbert, Ritchey, Schaffer along with Steve Slater and Justin Shea, who came on strong late last year.  The Kriegisch sisters, Chelsie and Jessica, each now have a win to their resume.  Jessica's boyfriend Brandon Michaud is a member for the first time in 2018.  Jeremy Weaver is coming off the "Futures Cup" crown and also picked up his first career win at Mercer Raceway Park in October.  Though he doesn't race all the time, Josh Deems is always a threat when he does.  Several other returning racers will look to capture their first career wins. 


Several new racers will also add to the class.  Veterans Alan Dellinger and Rob Kristyak made their RUSH Sportsman Mod debuts late in 2017 and will be full-time competitors in the division in 2018.  Dellinger has won in about everything he's ever raced in, while Kristyak has had success in the old Sportsman Modified division at Mercer before moving on and winning in the Big-Block Modifieds.  Tony Tatgenhorst has raced in Mod Lites, RUSH Late Models, and most recently E-Mods.  He'll be a great addition to the class with a former Mat Williamson big-block car.  Female racer Lex Barr along with Jacob Wolfe made their debuts at Pittsburgh last week.  Jeff Schaffer, Jr. looks to compete in more events in 2018.


Precise Racing Products will award a $100 gift card for the "Pedal Down" Hard Charger that passes the most cars in the features.  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.


RUSH Series Officials will determine the Sherwood Racing Wheels "Man of Steel" award winner as one that bounced back from an earlier mishap to finish the event strongly each night.  The selected driver will receive a certificate for a free Sherwood Racing Wheel.


RUSH Series Officials will also determine the new Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive" to the driver that best defended his position throughout the night, and will receive a $40 product package.  The award could go to a driver holding off another for the final heat race or B main transfer position, a driver denying a hard charging racer a feature win, a move to stay on the lead lap before a caution, or any such deserving move. 


Feature Payoff: 1. $600  2. $400  3. $300  4. $250  5. $225  6. $200  7. $170  8. $165  9. $160  10. $150  11. $140  12. $135  13. $130  14. $125  15. $120  16. $115  17. $110  18-24. $100.  Tow $50.


You do not have to a member of RUSH to compete.  Drivers must join Touring to receive Touring points.  The cost to join Touring is $125 or $100 if driver is already a Weekly Series member.  The AMB/MyLaps transponders are required.  Driver radios are always mandatory with the default 454.000 channel.  The entry fee is $25.  Pit passes are $35.  Pits officially open at 3 p.m. with warm-ups at approximately 5:15 and racing at 6.


Tri-City Raceway Park is a ˝-mile dirt track located at 3430 Route 417, Franklin, PA 16323.  For more information, check out their website at www.tricityracewaypark.com or call 814-676-2894 on race day.  Like their Facebook by searching Tri-City Raceway Park and follow them on Twitter @TriCityRaceway.


RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bicknell Racing Products, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Earl's Performance Plumbing, Quick Fuel Technology, FK Rod Ends, Sherwood Racing Wheels, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Dynamic Drivelines, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, K&N Filters, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, and Valley Fashions.


E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at [email protected] and snail mail to 4368 Route 422, Pulaski, PA 16143. Office phone is 724-964-9300 and fax is 724-964-0604. The RUSH Racing Series website is www.rushracingseries.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushsportsmanmods and follow us on Twitter @RUSHSportMods.