By Mike Leone


June 10, 2014                 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE


(Pulaski, PA)…The inaugural season of the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Series is off the ground and running with five events completed and the next one scheduled for this Saturday night (June 14) at America's Motorsports Park.  The new division featuring northeast-style Modifieds utilizing GM 602 engines, Bilstein “sealed” spec shocks, and Hoosier Tires on steel wheels is under the RUSH Racing Series umbrella that also includes the popular Sweeney RUSH Crate Late Model division.


Through the first weekend of June, there have been three different winners in the five events.  Buffalo, New York’s Adam Hilton has won three of the events with victories at Lernerville Speedway, Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway, and most recently last Friday night in the first visit to Raceway 7.  Other winners include Jordan Eck at the opening event on April 26 at Sharon Speedway followed by Greg Martin on May 31 at Sharon. 


A total of 18 different drivers from three different states have participated in 15 different cars.  A $10,000 point fund is up for grabs amongst the top 15 member races for drivers’ best 10 finishes.  Currently Hilton has a 16-point lead on Rocky Kugel.  Jamie Duncan is just one-point behind Kugel.  Adam Siegel and Martin complete the top five.  The inaugural 2014 champion will receive $3,000!  The complete standings are available under the points tab at www.rushsportsmanmods.com


Two of the latest entrants in the class include Ken Moy, Jr. and Andy Paden.  Both racers have participated in various Modified classes in western Pa. and eastern Ohio since the 1990s, but funding has kept each from competing consistently at the top level.  Moy’s debut at Sharon on May 31 was just his fourth race in the past four seasons.  After a fifth place finish from the 10th starting spot, Moy improved to a runner-up last Friday night at Raceway 7!    


Engine issues with his open “358” would have sidelined Paden for the foreseeable future, but instead he picked up a new crate engine from Sweeney Chevrolet/Pace Performance Thursday and had it installed just an hour before race time last Friday.  A new GM 602 from Sweeney/Pace is just $3,250 including free shipping!  The complete dress out kit, which includes all needed components from carburetor to pan, is available for just $4,900!


“This division is made for racers like Ken and Andy,” stated RUSH Co-Director Vicki Emig.  “Both come from a blue collar background, are married and in their 30s, and want to compete in Modified racing, but their current financial situation just doesn’t make it feasible to race in the headlining divisions.  The Sportsman class is perfect to keep drivers such as these two involved rather than on the sidelines and possibly out of racing forever.  We know there are a lot of other Ken Moys and Andy Padens of the world, and are excited that the opportunity to race an affordable Modified is now possible.”


“All of our partners realize this is a building year and are totally committed to the concept,” continued Emig.  “People may forget that Mike (Leone) and I went through this same process eight years ago when we introduced the Crate Late Model concept to our region.  It also had small beginnings that today have resulted in a base of some 300 racers throughout the Northeast.  In fact the Sportsman Modifieds have been able to immediately capture many of the benefits that took us years to develop, such as our strong relationships with our speedways and sponsors, along with numerous years of experience in the important technical aspect that is vital to a successful crate racing program. We've assured all of our current Sportsman Mod racers that we appreciate their efforts and that this program is here to stay!  They should be commended on forming the foundation that in years to come will provide those that enjoy participating in modified type racing an affordable and exciting division to participate in.”         


Saturday's event at America’s Motorsports Park will be the first ever event for the division at the Clearfield, Pa. oval that has seen a ton of improvements made by new owner Jeff Taylor.  The two prior scheduled events were rained out.  “358” Modified racing had a strong presence throughout the 1990s and early 2000s at AMP under the former Hidden Valley and Gamblers names.  The previously scheduled event on July 28 at AMP has been moved to July 19 to avoid a conflict with Sharon Speedway.  The other remaining AMP dates include July 12, July 26, August 9, and August 23. 


One lucky RUSH competitor will win a brand new GM 602 engine on Saturday, August 2 at Sharon Speedway.  Coming up on Saturday, September 6 at Lernerville Speedway is “Manufacturers Night” with a minimum of $5,000 of products to be given away. 


The current schedule nearly gives races one event every weekend through the first weekend of October.  Additional dates besides the current schedule for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds are expected to be added later in the season.


“To have had 15 cars already compete in just the first five events is respectable in a building year.” said RUSH Co-Director Leone. “There are still several racers that expect to be out in the coming weeks.  Some are in the process of putting a car together or waiting on finances to get a motor, others have had to delay their debut due to other personal reasons.  We also continue to receive interest from others that will be participating in the future.   The promoters have been excellent and are 100% behind the concept, and know it’s only a matter of time before the class flourishes.” 


Two of those racers include Walt Tutak and Chris Habbyshaw.  Tutak has a 2012 TEO Pro Car ready to go and plans on making his debut on July 4 at Lernerville.  Habbyshaw, a third generation racer and son of Skip Moore, has a car fully assembled and is in the process of securing funds to purchase an engine to debut in the class later this season.   


2014 RUSH Sportsman Modified marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, VP Racing Fuels, FK Rod Ends, AERO Race Wheels, Driven Racing Oil, Precise Racing Products, Rocket Racing, and B.R.A.K.E.S.

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 Sportsman Modified website is www.rushsportsmanmods.com.  Those on social media can like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/rushsportsmanmods and follow us on Twitter @RUSHSportMods.