BRADY WONDERLING WINS SWEENEY RUSH LATE MODEL TOUR RACE IN 1ST START AT EXPO; DEFENDING CHAMPION KYLE MARTELL OPENS BICKNELL RUSH SPORTSMAN MOD TOUR SEASON VICTORIOUS
By Mike Leone
July 11, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Cortland, OH)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series powered by Pace Performance had a doubleheader of action on Wednesday for the first of two nights of racing at the 172nd annual Trumbull County Fair at Expo Speedway. The RUSH Late Models competed in a Sweeney Platinum Touring Series event for the 11th consecutive year in their ninth event of the season, while the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds raced in a Bicknell Touring Series event for the fourth straight year in their season opener.
Brady Wonderling has taken a liking to the big slick tracks in his first year on the Sweeney Tour. Wonderling captured the $2,000 "Bill Emig Memorial" last month on the big half-mile at Tri-City Raceway Park for his first career Series win, and on Tuesday night led all 20 laps at the 5/8-mile Expo Speedway in his first ever appearance for the $1,500 victory.
"That was a great track to race on," stated the 42-year-old Scio, NY driver. "I wasn't too concerned (about Eric Wilson). I chose soft tires and kind of took it easy once I got the lead. I could have gassed it up if I had too. I have to thank Randy and Ryan Ralyea who own the car, and all my family and friends that pitch in to keep this car going."
After a second place heat finish, Wonderling drew the pole for the feature. Wonderling was able to beat heat two winner Eric Wilson to turn one and maintained the preferred line to grab the lead over Wilson and brother Jeremy Wonderling. Sixth staring John Waters passed Jason Genco for fifth then raced side-by-side with Matt Latta on lap four, but wasn't able to complete the pass. Two laps later, Genco was able to get under Waters off turn four to reclaim fifth.
By lap six, the top three of Brady Wonderling, Wilson, and Jeremy Wonderling pulled away from the rest of the field. Latta closed in as he tried to make it a four-car battle for the lead on lap 11, but by lap 15 lost ground. With the race going caution-free, Brady Wonderling was able to stay out of lapped traffic. Wilson closed on the final lap, but needed a couple more laps to get into traffic.
Brady Wonderling was aboard the Randy Ralyea #z1 as the victory closed him to within five points of Jason Genco for second in the Sweeney Tour standings and trails his brother Jeremy by just 18. Wilson, who lives just three miles from the Fairgrounds, matched his best career Tour finish in second. It was Wilson's first Tour start of the season after finishing in the top 12 in standings each of the past four seasons.
"'I've always been pretty good here it just seems like I've had bad luck," explained the 21-year-old Cortland, Ohio racer. "This track surface is so different. They had to water it or they would have killed the fans if they didn't, but I was in the lane that was watered so I knew I was kind of a sitting duck. These guys are obviously good racers. You have one brother there and another there so I guess I'm in the middle of the sandwich. This is our first Tour race of the season as I've been busy with work, school, and other racing endeavors so I'm glad this went well."
Jeremy Wonderling's third place was his fourth podium effort of the season as he continues to look for his first win of the season. Wonderling though leads the standings at the halfway point as he's in search of his first RUSH Championship. Latta, who won heat race one, was fourth in his first Tour start of the season as well. Genco completed the top five in his first ever start at Expo.
Waters held off Maresca for over half of the event to finish sixth as he was selected as the Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night". Maresca subbed for Jamie Wrightsman and was seventh. Canadian Adam Ferri made the tow down and was eighth in his first Expo start.
Chad Sines has only competed in three Tour events this season, but has earned the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card every night! Chad beat out his brother Cory for ninth. "Futures Cup" racer and Tour rookie, Cory Lawler, made the five hour tow from Hanover, Pa. Lawler took only one lap in the feature as he was suffering with some motor issues and was awarded the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".
Last year, Kyle Martell opened the Bicknell Touring Series season for the Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modifieds victorious at the first two events, and even though he didn't win the rest of the season went on to capture the title. On Wednesday night, Martell began his title defense in victory lane for the first time ever at Expo. The 15-lap win was worth $600 and if Martell can repeat last year's feat of winning the first two shows, he'll earn a $1,000 bonus on Thursday night from Russ King Racing!
"This feels great," expressed the 18-year-old Rootstown, Ohio driver. "Last year we did good, but haven't had a great start to the season. I was glad to start on the pole. It was a tough race. The right rear started to wear down and the car started to hang out so I was worried. I'll just hope for a good redraw tomorrow."
Martell charged to the lead at the beginning of the feature, while fourth starting Rocky Kugel passed both Josh Deems and Brandon Ritchey for second. Martell began to pull away from the field on lap four, while Ritchey and sixth starting Garrett Krummert put the pressure on Kugel in the battle for second. Ritchey was all over Kugel on lap 10 and then got the break he needed when a caution was displayed for Chelsie Kriegisch, who made contact with an infield tire with 11 laps scored. Kriegisch was chosen as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night".
When racing resumed, Ritchey made the pass of Kugel for second, while Chas Wolbert got by Krummert for fourth. Justin Shea then slipped under and past Krummert for fifth on lap 13. Martell though was able to hold on as he drove the Tim Martell-owned, Sarchione Chevrolet/Sarchione Ford/Northern Buckeye Lawn & Landscape-sponsored #8 to his third career Bicknell Tour win. Martell was also selected as the Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night" award.
Ritchey, who has a Bicknell Weekly Series victory this season in the opening event at Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway, beat out Kugel for the second spot. Wolbert's run from eighth to fourth earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger gift card. Wolbert also went eighth to third in his heat race.
Shea was fifth as Krummert, Deems, Jeremy Weaver, Kole Holden, and Gary Haupt completed the top 10. Heat wins went to Krummert and Ritchey. After getting caught up in an opening lap tangle with Brandon Michaud, Rob Kristyak charged up to 11th at the finish and was selected as the Sherwood Wheels "Man of Steel" as he'll receive a steel wheel.
The Sweeney Late Model Tour will resume action on Thursday, July 19 with the second and final appearance of the season at Genesee Speedway in Batavia, NY. Race #10 of the 2018 season will be a Platinum Event paying $1,500 to-win for the "traveling" Manufactures Night presented by MSD Performance. That will be followed by the next night (Friday) at Outlaw Speedway for the rescheduled $2,000 to-win "Gary Montgomery Memorial" Marquee Tour event.
The RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will return to action on Thursday at Expo for night two of racing at the Trumbull County Fair in an $800 to-win Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series event. The weekend will wrap up on Sunday at Tri-City Raceway Park in Franklin, Pa. for a $600 to-win Bicknell Tour show.
Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Late Model Touring Series Race #9 (20 laps, $1,500 to-win): 1. BRADY WONDERLING (Ralyea z1) 2. Eric Wilson (27W) 3. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 4. Matt Latta (21) 5. Jason Genco (29J) 6. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 7. Mike Maresca (Wrightsman 21J) 8. Adam Ferri (66) 9. Chad Sines (15) 10. Cory Sines (9S) 11. Bill Kessler (09) 12. Cory Lawler (93).
Car Count: 12
Feature Lap Leaders: Brady Wonderling (1-20)
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Chad Sines (+2)
Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: John Waters
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Cory Lawler
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Latta 2. Genco 3. J. Wonderling 4. Maresca 5. Lawler 6. Ch. Sines.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Wilson 2. B. Wonderling 3. Waters 4. Ferri 5. Co. Sines 6. Kessler
Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified Bicknell Racing Products Touring Series Race #1 (15 laps, $600 to-win): 1. KYLE MARTELL (8) 2. Brandon Ritchey (17) 3. Rocky Kugel (83) 4. Chas Wolbert (c3) 5. Justin Shea (14s) 6. Garrett Krummert (JGCP 10s) 7. Josh Deems (9D) 8. Jeremy Weaver (35W) 9. Kole Holden (2) 10. Gary Haupt (16) 11. Rob Kristyak (00) 12. Steve Slater (29) 13. Darin Gallagher (Slater 29S) 14. David Kalb, Jr. (11J) 15. Jessica Kriegisch (63) 16. Blaze Myers (43JR) 17. Chelsie Kriegisch (10) 18. Alan Dellinger (Williams 8) 19. Brandon Michaud (132).
Car Count: 19
Feature Lap Leaders: Kyle Martell (1-15)
Dirt Defender "Defensive Drive of the Night": Kyle
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Chas Wolbert (+4)
Sherwood Wheels "Man of Steel": Rob Kristyak
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night": Chelsie Kriegisch
RUSH Sportsman Modified Heat 1 (6 laps): 1. Krummert 2. Deems 3. Martell 4. Shea 5. Dellinger 6. C. Kriegisch 7. Haupt 8. Slater 9. Gallagher 10. Myers.
RUSH Sportsman Modified Heat 2 (6 laps): 1. Ritchey 2. Weaver 3. Wolbert 4. Kugel 5. Kristyak 6. Holden 7. Michaud 8. J. Kriegisch 9. Kalb.
RUSH Late Model marketing partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, 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, 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, Pancho's Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Landrum Performance Spring, Schwartzmiller Ground Maintenance, Close Racing Supply, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, Valley Fashions, Dirt Late Model Magazine, and Three Rivers Karting.
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, Schwartzmiller Ground Maintenance, CrateInsider.com, RockAuto.com, 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/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.