GALE RUTH JR COMES OUT ON TOP OF AN EXCITING DUEL WITH CHAD RUHLMAN TO WIN THE 1ST EVER SWEENEY RUSH SPRINT CAR EVENT AT THUNDER MOUNTAIN
By Mike Leone
July 27, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Knox Dale, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sprint Cars powered by Pace Performance made their first ever appearance on Friday night at Thunder Mountain Speedway located south of Brookville, Pa. It was race #14 of the Bonnell's Rod Shop Weekly Series Championship schedule that features 27 events at 10 different speedways in the inaugural season.
Gale Ruth, Jr. had picked up two wins this season at Lernerville Speedway back in June, but neither had come on nights Chad Ruhlman was in competition. In fact, Ruhlman had been defeated only once this season by Arnie Kent at Tri-City on June 17 as he had won eight of his nine starts in his rookie Sprint Car campaign. On Friday night, Ruth came out on top of a tremendous side-by-side duel with Ruhlman over much of the 20-lap feature. In fact, the 40-year-old Pleasantville, Pa. driver would have to pass Ruhlman back on lap 11 to pick up the $500 victory at a track where Ruth won his first career "410" Sprint Car race at back in 2008!
Ruth used the top to power into the lead past pole-sitter Tyler Powell, who ran a strong second in his heat race to Ruth after leading early. Ruhlman meanwhile started fourth and was able to pass Zach Morrow and Powell on the opening lap for second. Following a caution for a spin by Dave Hawkins, Morrow regained the third spot getting by Powell. Ruhlman caught Ruth and the two raced side-by-side for the lead with Ruth having the momentum off the top to continue to lead. Ruth and Ruhlman had pulled away until a caution for a spin by Scott Hawkins with seven laps completed.
Back under green flag conditions, Ruth and Ruhlman renewed their battle. It looked like Ruhlman was about to take the lead on lap nine, but Ruth still maintained the advantage; however, Ruhlman completed the slide job in turn two to lead lap 10. Ruth though wasn't about to go away as he would end up making the winning move with a slide job of his own in turn four on lap 11. That would turn out to be the winning move and for the first time this season someone passed Ruhlman for the lead.
Another spin by Dave Hawkins would slow action for the final time and set up a six-lap dash to the finish. Ruth would change his line moving to the middle of the track as he'd pull away from Ruhlman in the closing laps to win by 1.982 seconds in the Culver Motorsports-owned, Wilson Hardwoods/F5 Designs/Adams Family-sponsored #1C. Ruth was able to extend his lead in the $5,000 to-win Bonnell's Rod Shop Weekly Series Championship.
Ruhlman has yet to finish worse than second in 10 starts. Morrow put a big slider on Joe McEwen in turn four on lap 16 and brought Shawn Smith along with him as they finished third and fourth respectively. It was a great run for Smith, who recorded his best finish of the season after starting eighth. McEwen dropped to fifth for his fourth top five of the season. Heats were won by Ruhlman and Ruth.
Phil Thornton and Jim Kurpakus made their first ever RUSH Sprint Car starts. Thornton came home ninth, while Kurpakus was 11th as they became the 17th and 18th different cars to hit the track in the inaugural season. Several other cars are expected to be out soon. The next event will be on Sunday, August 5 in the second and final appearance to Old Bradford (PA) Speedway for a $600 to-win, $150 to-start Bonnell's Rod Shop special.
Sweeney RUSH Sprint Cars Bonnell's Rod Shop Weekly Series Race #14 (20 laps, $500 to-win): 1. GALE RUTH, JR. (Culver 1c) 2. Chad Ruhlman (87R) 3. Zach Morrow (27) 4. Shawn Smith (36) 5. Joe McEwen (Mahoney/Eckart 9J) 6. Tyler Powell (35) 7. Scott Hawkins (37) 8. Steve Cousins (56) 9. Phil Thornton (35) 10. Dave Hawkins (27) 11. Jim Kurpakus (72) 12. Brandon Hawkins (27H)-DNS.
RUSH Sprint Car marketing partners include partners include Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC, Pace Performance, Hoosier Tire, Bonnell's Rod Shop, Bilstein Shocks, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Frankland Racing Supply, Earl's Performance Plumbing, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, Precise Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Lincoln Electric, Pancho's Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, Landrum Performance Spring, 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/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.