Story By: MIKE LEONE / RUSH RACING SERIES – PULASKI, PA – The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance is ready to head into the new decade full speed ahead!
The 2020 RUSH Late Model Touring Series Championship point fund will nearly double with the champion capturing $12,000 (see complete point fund below). The dramatic increase in the point fund quickly turned the heads of many and is expected to draw even more well known Crate Late Model racers from throughout the region to an already stout field of competitors! RUSH is proud to release the tentative 2020 schedule that will get underway April 15-18 for the “Battle of the Bay” Mid-Atlantic Speedweek.
Highlighting the current 18-event slate is the prestigious $10,000 to-win “Bill Emig Memorial”, which returns to Lernerville in conjunction with the renowned “Firecracker 100” weekend with the World of Outlaws Late Models. Also featured in the schedule include the “Jook George Steel City Classic” and “Bill Hendren Memorial” events at Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway, which have continued to grow in stature; these events paid $10,010 and $5,000 to-win respectively in 2019. Six other weekends have two or more complete shows minimizing travel for competitors.
“After coming off our richest Touring slate which resulted in our highest average car count in history we’re looking forward to keeping the forward momentum going in 2020,” acknowledged Emig. “Last year, the schedule of events went to a different level and that translated into an average of more than 38 cars for our events, often exceeding 40 plus cars and over 50 on three different occasions. With that said, we felt it was time to substantially increase our point fund and look forward to our 2020 champion earning a record $12,000 with all other points paying positions increasing greatly! Our slate of substantial paying Tour events combined with our richest ever Tour point fund is definitely going to create an awesome situation for both RUSH fans and Crate Late Model racers throughout the region!”
The 2020 schedule will get underway with the third annual “Battle of the Bay” Mid-Atlantic Speedweek April 15-18, that last year saw drivers from eight states and Canada compete. The Speedweek will kick-off once again at Delaware International Speedway in Delmar for the second annual “Raelyn Huffman Memorial” paying $4,000 to-win. Thanks to the promoters of Georgetown, Potomac, and Winchester Speedways, their events will once again be $3,000 to-win.
Besides the increase in to the standard Tour payoffs, there will again be a $3,000 point fund for the top 10 RUSH members in points over the four nights with $1,000 going to the champion. There will also be a $150 travel package for any Tour driver in the top 12 from 2019 that participates in at least the opening event. Seven of the eight scheduled “Battle of the Bay” events have been completed all-time with a minimum of 40 cars at all events. Last year’s 53 cars at Delaware set a “Battle of the Bay” record. Max Blair topped 2018 champion, Logan Roberson, to win the “Battle of the Bay” crown.
DIS, under the direction of veteran promoter Charlie Cathell, has completed three successful seasons under the RUSH banner with increasing weekly car counts. Georgetown meanwhile is located just 20 miles from DIS, and promoter Brett Deyo will be entering his fourth season of having RUSH sanction his Crate Late Model races with a separate point fund that’s new for 2020. Friday and Saturday sister speedways, Potomac and Winchester, have led the tremendous growth of Crate Late Model racing in the Mid-Atlantic as both will embark on their seventh season under the RUSH banner with track owner Greg Gunter and general manager Denise Hollidge.
After a month off, the Touring Series returns to Stateline Speedway for the fourth consecutive year for the “Bill Law Memorial” on May 16. The 2017 event was the first ever Tour event at the Busti, NY oval in the 10-year history of Crate Late Models in the Northeast as a big crowd watched a thriller as Jeremy Wonderling held off standout and track dominator Max Blair for the victory. The 2018 event was just as good as Damian Bidwell made a late race pass of Scott Gurdak for his first Tour win in more than three years. And last year, saw Wonderling hold off Blair and withstand a mid-race rain delay to top a record Stateline field of 33 cars.
The Stateline event is annually held in memory of the late Bill Law, who pioneered the Crate Late Model concept in the Northeast as a car owner for several racers including his son Jon. Law’s grandson, Kyle Murray, carries on the family tradition as he currently competes in the RUSH Late Models. Kyle finished 10th in points in 2019 in his first year on the Tour.
The following night (Sunday, May 17), Eriez Speedway will host a “Marquee” event giving racers back-to-back $2,000 to-win shows within just a 40-mile distance. Located just outside of Erie, Pa., this will be year number two of ownership for Dave Alexander, who will again host weekly Sunday night RUSH Late Model racing. There have been seven RUSH Tour events completed all-time at Eriez and the Blairs have won all seven with Max winning six and his father Rob one in a substitution role for Max.
For the fourth straight year, Outlaw and Genesee Speedways in New York have teamed up to host back-to-back $2,000 to-win “Marquee” Events on Friday and Saturday, May 29-30. Outlaw’s show will again be dubbed as the “Gary Montgomery Memorial”. The last three Outlaw races have been tremendous as former BRP Can-Am racers Bryce Davis (2017) and Jeremy Wonderling (2018-2019) winning in memory of BRP Series founder Montgomery. Wonderling then ended Jason Genco’s two straight Genesee Tour wins, which was part of his three-race win streak in 2019. Tyler Siri has done a tremendous job at transforming Outlaw Speedway, while Genesee promoter Jim Johnson hosts a very successful Saturday night weekly program featuring the RUSH Late Models at the Genesee County Fairgrounds in Batavia.
The most anticipated Crate Late Model race in the history of the Northeast took place last year at Lernerville Speedway as part of the track’s “Firecracker 100” with the World of Outlaws Late Models. The $10,000 to-win “Bill Emig Memorial” sponsored by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply attracted 53 cars with Max Blair making a late race pass of Ross Robinson to win what was at the time the richest race in RUSH history in front of the huge crowd. The event will return in 2020 once again sponsored by Hovis June 25-27.
For the second straight year, Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway will host a trio of Tour events. The first show will be on Saturday, July 4 for the “Herb Scott Memorial”. In 2019, Kyle Lukon swept all three PPMS events and pocketed $18,800 in route to a second place point finish in his first season on the Tour! Miley Motor Sports features the RUSH Late Models as their headlining division on Saturday nights at the “Monster Half Mile”. PPMS is a great partner of RUSH also hosting numerous events for the RUSH Sportsman Modifieds and RUSH Sprint Cars.
The return to Sharon Speedway in Hartford, Ohio on Saturday, July 18 has long been anticipated by drivers throughout the region. The RUSH Late Models last appeared at the 3/8-mile showplace in 2016 with a pair of Tour events. That was prior to the new red clay surface that has produced tremendous racing in recent years. The RUSH Late Models ran weekly at Sharon from 2011-2014. Will Thomas III is the division’s all-time winner with 13 victories. Details surrounding the event are being finalized and will be announced soon that are sure to make it a must attend for western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio race fans! This will be a big night for RUSH as the RUSH Sprint Cars and RUSH Sportsman Modifieds will also be on the card. A possible second Tour date could take place on Friday, September 11.
One night later on July 19, Eriez Speedway will host the annual “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance for their second Tour race of 2020. The last time Eriez hosted “Manufacturers Night” was 2015 and attracted 47 cars, which is also the average car count for the event over the eight-year history since the MFG Night debuted in 2012. Over $30,000 of valuable and useful products is typically distributed to competing racers on this night. Sharon and Eriez are just 80 miles apart and will serve as a great back-to-back night of racing.
For the fourth time, the “Jook George Steel City Classic” at PPMS will be a Tour event. The “Jook George” will take place on Saturday, August 8 with the exact payoff of this prestigious event TBA. The 2018 event attracted a record 51 cars and saw Jacob Hawkins take home $5,010. At last year’s event presented by Zarin Truck & Automotive, Kyle Lukon left PPMS with a RUSH event record $11,610 payday thanks to the extraordinary efforts of Branden Lockwich.
The RUSH Late Models will once again invade one of the country’s most state-of-the-art dirt track facilities, Weedsport Speedway, on September 12. In 2018, John Waters won the first ever RUSH-sanctioned event that was also the first ever nationally televised Crate Late Model race, while last year saw Max Blair win in his first visit to the speedway. This year’s event will again be broadcast by MAVTV thanks to Sunoco Race Fuels distributed by Insinger Performance. This time however, instead of a midweek July show, will move to a Saturday night in September and join up with the Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modifieds for the first time ever!
For the only time of the season and first in many years, back-to-back Tour events will take place at the same facility on the same weekend! Genesee Speedway will play host to the Tour on Friday and Saturday, September 25-26 with $2,000 to-win each night. It’ll also be the first time Genesee has hosted back-to-back Tour events and first time the track has scheduled three events in the same season. The Saturday show will be the “Traveling Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance with product giveaways for the top 15 drivers in track points at Fulton, Genesee, Humberstone, and Woodhull. The RUSH Sprint Cars will also run a complete show each night as part of their third annual “Empire State Classic”.
For the fifth straight year, the Tour will be part of the “Pittsburgher 100” with the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series on October 2-3. The “Bill Hendren Memorial” has been increasing in stature in recent years with $4,000 to the winner in 2018 and $5,000 last year, which was won by Kyle Lukon. Not only has the feature purse increased, but so has the “One to Remember” Non-Winners race along with the Non-Qualifier. Sponsors such as Pro Fabrication, FK Rod Ends, Pace Performance, CrateInsider.com, the Hendren Family, and others have stepped up to really make this into a major event. In 2005, Bill Hendren, the patriarch of the Hendren family and founder of Hendren Racing Engines, had the foresight to began building his affiliation with crate racing.
All Tour events in 2020 will again pay a minimum of $2,000 to-win, $225 to-start with a $200 to-win non-qualifier, and guaranteed $125 tow money with over. All events will utilize the group qualifying format featuring $100 FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock Qualifying” and $25 to-win FK Rod End heat races.
The “500 Club” presented by Zarin Truck & Automotive will return for the second consecutive year. Five drivers from the host speedway’s top 15 in points (or the closest two nearby tracks if not at a weekly-sanctioned track) the ability to win an additional $100 bonus at Tour events! The “500” Club will influx an approximate $8,000 of cash into the hands of RUSH “weekly” racers who participate in RUSH Touring events! The “$500 Club” will take place at all Tour events with the exception of the two “Manufacturers Nights”.
2020 RUSH Late Model Touring Series Points Fund ($35,500 guaranteed): 1. $12,000 2. $6,000 3. $4,000 4. $3,000 5. $2,500 6. $2,000 7. $1,800 8. $1,600 9. $1,400 10. $1,200. In addition, any Tour member outside the top 10 in the final points that competed in 80% of the Marquee races will be guaranteed $600.
2020 Sweeney RUSH Late Model Touring Series Schedule*
Wed, April 15 Delaware International Speedway (Delmar, DE) – “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek (“Raelyn Huffman Memorial”)- $4,000 to-win (Marquee)
Thr, April 16 Georgetown Speedway (Georgetown, DE) – “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek – $3,000 to-win (Marquee)
Fri, April 17 Potomac Speedway (Mechanicsville, MD) – “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek – $3,000 to-win (Marquee)
Sat, April 18 Winchester Speedway (Winchester, VA) – “Battle of the Bay” Speedweek – $3,000 to-win (Marquee)
Saturday, May 16 Stateline Speedway (Busti, NY) – “Bill Law Memorial” – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Sunday, May 17 Eriez Speedway (Erie, PA) – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Friday, May 29 Outlaw Speedway (Dundee, NY) – “Gary Montgomery Memorial” – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Saturday, May 30 Genesee Speedway (Batavia, NY) – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Thr-Sat, June 25-27 Lernerville Speedway (Sarver, PA) – “Bill Emig Memorial” at the “Firecracker 100” – $10,000 to-win (Marquee) – rain date June 28
Saturday, July 4 Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA) – “Herb Scott Memorial” – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Saturday, July 18 Sharon Speedway (Hartford, OH) – Event details TBA – Minimum $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Sunday, July 19 Eriez Speedway (Erie, PA) – “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance with over $30,000 in product giveaways – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Saturday, August 8 Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA) – “Jook George Steel City Classic” – Payoff TBA (Marquee) – rain date August 9
Friday, September 11 TBA (Platinum)
Saturday, September 12 Weedsport Speedway (Weedsport, NY) – MAVTV broadcast presented by Sunoco Race Fuels distributed by Insinger Performance – $2,000 to-win (Marquee)
Friday, September 25 Genesee Speedway (Batavia, NY) – $2,000 to-win (Platinum)
Saturday, September 26 Genesee Speedway (Batavia, NY) – “Traveling Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance – $2,000 to-win (Marquee) – rain date September 27
Fri & Sat, October 2-3 Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway (Imperial, PA) – “Bill Hendren Memorial” at the “Pittsburgher” – $5,000 to-win plus “One to Remember” Non-Winners Race (Marquee) – rain date October 4
*Schedule is subject to change. Additional date(s) may be added.