LERNERVILLE SUPER LATE MODEL STANDOUT MICHAEL NORRIS WINS HIS 1ST AT THE TRACK IN A RUSH LATE MODEL TAKING THE $3500 FLYNN'S TIRE TOUR FINALE; JOHN MOLLICK DOMINATES RUSH SPRINTS FOR HIS 5TH WIN OF 2023
By Mike Leone
October 13-15, 2023 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Sarver, PA)...The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Racing Series presented by Born2Run Lubricants closed out the 2023 season on Sunday in the running of the 15th annual "Steel City Stampede". Race #21 for the RUSH Late Model Flynn's Tire Touring Series was won by Michael Norris, while John Mollick was victorious in the RUSH Sprint Car Sunbelt Rentals Weekly Series. The RUSH Sportsman Modified Flynn's Tire Weekly Series feature event was rained out and will be completed in the spring along with the other five rained out features.
Michael Norris owns 39 career Super Late Model victories and three track championships at Lernerville; however, the hometown racer had never been able to capture a RUSH Late Model victory at the Sarver, Pa. oval. That changed on Sunday afternoon as Norris passed Brock Pinkerous on lap 20 for the lead then held off Joe Martin in the closing laps to earn the $3,500 victory. It was Norris' second Flynn's Tire Touring Series victory of the season and first ever away from Pittsburgh's PA Motor Speedway.
"I don't know if I have bad habits here or what," acknowledged the 31-year-old winner. "I can never figure out the crate car here. I'm always so, so tight on entry. It was an interesting race. The track has a lot of character. It was top dominant and I hated those restarts on the bottom. I tried to leave Bam Bam (Brock Pinkerous) a lane, but turn two is very treacherous. I think I drove off of it three times and I saw him go over. I'm happy for Nico and Mindy (Dabecco). We've been trying for three years to get a win here in the crate car so it means a lot. We'll put this one in the notebook and try again next year. Thank you to all you fans for sticking it out."
"The $20,000 to-win championship in 2024 is huge for the local and regional crate guys," continued Norris. "Crates are still expensive, but are a lot less than a super. For you guys to raise that much money in this economy is a testament to how hard Vicki (Emig) and everyone at RUSH works. Thanks to you guys. We have a lot of fun racing with you around here. We probably won't follow the entire tour, but will be running a lot of them."
Fresh off a $10,000 victory in the September 30 "Bill Hendren Memorial" at Pittsburgh, Martin picked up where he left off taking the early lead in the 30-lap feature over Pinkerous and Norris. Pinkerous, who started from the pole following his Sunoco Dash victory on Friday night, then lost second to Norris on lap two. Norris quickly closed on Martin on lap three in the battle for the lead.
Following a caution for Logan Zarin with six laps completed, Pinkerous was able to regain second from Norris, while seventh starting Bryce Davis moved into fourth. Pinkerous went after Martin and slid him in turn four to take the lead on lap 10. Norris then put a slider on Martin in turn four on lap 13 to take second. A caution for Colton Flinner slowed action with 18 laps completed then a three-car accident one-lap later brought out another caution with 19 laps recorded.
Pinkerous chose the outside for the double-file restart and it was Norris making the inside work as he got by Pinkerous in turn two as Pinkerous slipped off the banking, which also allowed Martin, Kyle Zimmerman, and Davis by for positions two through four respectively. The event's final caution was for a spin by Cody Dawson with 26 laps completed.
Pinkerous was able to get by Davis when racing resumed on lap 27 in turn four; however, the contact ended the 2017 champion's run as Davis was selected as the TBM Brakes "Tough Brake of the Night" recipient. Martin stayed with Norris over the final four laps, but was unable to get quite close enough to try a slide job. Norris took the checkered flag first by 0.509 in the ND Motorsports-owned, Millerstown Pic-A-Part/Integra Shocks/Brian Daugherty/Todd's Auto Body/Cory Fox Trucking/Ingram Engines-sponsored Rocket Chassis #N1.
Martin earned $1,750 for his runner-up finish in the Tom Snyder-owned #10s. It was Martin's 10th top five finish of the season with seven of them coming in the last 10 events. Martin was also able to clinch the runner-up spot in Flynn's Tire Touring Series points for the fourth straight year!
Sixth starting Kyle Zimmerman was third driving Jonathan Stockdale's #31. It was Zimmerman's best Tour finish since a third place on June 2, 2019 in his own car at Eriez Speedway. Braeden Dillinger raced from the 10th starting spot to fourth at the finish for his best finish since a third on June 1, 2019 at Genesee Speedway, which was the year he was a regular on the Flynn's Tire Tour. Pinkerous was fifth at the finish for his fourth top five of the season, but first since June 10 at Marion Center.
New York's Chad Homan was sixth. Jim Rasey, who completed his second year as a full-time racer on the Flynn's Tire Touring Series, was seventh for his best career Tour finish in his fourth season driving for Jim Wrightsman. Rasey's seventh eclipsed his prior best finish of eighth, which occurred twice this season. Logan Zarin came back from an early spin to finish eighth as he also earned the $50 Precise Racing Products "Pedal Down" Hard Charger award after initially starting 20th in Greg Beach's #33x. Jeremy Wonderling was a disappointing ninth, but earned his fourth Flynn's Tire Touring Series Championship worth $15,000 and also captured the $5,000 City Chevrolet National Weekly Series Championship. Clinton Hersh completed the top 10.
Jake Wilber made his RUSH Late Model debut at the 2022 "Steel City Stampede" at Lernerville. Wilber capped off his first full season in the division by leading all eight laps of the D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier aboard the Elizabeth Miller-owner, Suppa Racing/Sweet Ride Donuts/Rod Johnson Construction/Montgomery Homes/Maza Paving/CRS/Wilson Crane Service-sponsored #50. The 24-year-old Hinsdale, New York racer earned $200 as he became the amazing 74th different winner in 90 races run all-time! Wilber also received a $100 Performance Bodies gift card for being the first feature non-qualifier for the "Nosed Out" contingency award. Veteran Lernerville Pro Stock racer, Joey Zambotti III, was second over Leo Iarrapino. Branden Porter was fourth in his first RUSH Late Model start of 2023 beating out Jacob Peterson.
Martin set fast time over the 33-car field in FK Rod Ends "Shock the Clock" Qualifying on Friday night with a lap of 17.332 for $100. Picking up $25 FK Rod Ends heat races were Martin, Davis, Homan, and Wonderling, while Tony Musolino and Noah Brunell won the last chance B mains. Pinkerous received a $100 Sunoco fuel card for winning his first Sunoco Dash.
Tour regulars Rasey and Martin were the lucky recipients of the $100 Sunoco fuel card drawings, while Tim Shaffer, Brett Marlatt, Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr., and Wilber were the $50 fuel card winners. Austin Allen received a spoiler kit from Ontime Body and Graphic for finishing 22nd.
John Mollick dominated the 20-lap RUSH Sprint Car finale for his third win in four tries this season at Lernerville. The 53-year-old Toronto, Ohio veteran led wire-to-wire as only a last lap caution slowed his efforts to the $800 Sunbelt Rentals Weekly Series victory. Mollick's fifth win of 2023 and eighth of his career came in the Scott Clever-owned, Duda Cable Construction/Pro-X Pressure Washing/ RV Coleman Trucking/Peluso Racing/Dutch Run Coal/Salina Inn/Fox's Pizza Den/JET Engines-sponsored #4J. The win propelled Mollick to a career best third in points after finishing fourth each of the last two seasons.
After dropping to fourth early, Chad Ruhlman passed Arnie Kent for third on lap three and Blaze Myers for second on lap six. At that point, Mollick had more than a three-second lead on Ruhlman, which only grew until the event's only caution when Gale Ruth, Jr. got into the frontstretch wall on the final lap. Ruhlman gave a last lap effort when racing resumed, but came up 0.506 seconds behind Mollick. Ruhlman though already captured his fifth $5,000 Sunbelt Rentals Weekly Series Championship in the six-year history of the division!
Myers was third over Kent and Brian Cressley. Ruth was still credited with sixth as everyone else had been lapped prior. Jeff Metsger was 7th after starting 10th as Trent Marshall, Charlie Utsinger and Ricky Tucker, Jr. completed the top 10. Heat winners on Friday night were Kent and Ruhlman.
The RUSH Sportsman Modified feature was in staging two different times when rain foiled attempts to complete the program. The $800 to-win Flynn's Tire Weekly Series feature will be completed on a date to be announced in the spring. Rain checks will be honored for the make-up program. Heat race winners on Friday night over the 24-car field were Logen Lockhart, Jacob Rutana, and Ayden Cipriano, who clinched the $3,500 Weekly Series Championship.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire Touring Series Race #21 (30 laps, $3,500 to-win): 1. MICHAEL NORRIS (Dabecco 1) 2. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 3. Kyle Zimmerman (Stockdale 31) 4. Braeden Dillinger (14) 5. Brock Pinkerous (555) 6. Chad Homan (91) 7. Jim Rasey (Wrightsman 21J) 8. Logan Zarin (Beach 33x) 9. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 10. Clinton Hersh (16) 11. Colton Flinner (Deller 75) 12. Tim Shaffer (45) 13. Ashton Briggs (11A) 14. Noah Brunell (31) 15. Brett Marlatt (99) 16. Jason Knowles (4) 17. Cody Dawson (36) 18. Konar Loney (14L) 19. Aaron Miller (20) 20. Bryce Davis (94) 21. Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. (8s) 22. Austin Allen (32) 23. Tony Musolino (Dobnak 42) 24. Cole Petrelle (184).
D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier (8 laps, $200 to-win): 1. Jake Wilber (Miller 50) 2. Joey Zambotti III (948) 3. Leo Iarrapino (54) 4. Branden Porter (85) 5. Jacob Peterson (112) 6. D.J. Nakutis (31). DNS: Bobby Rohrer (11), Chuck Recker (6), Kassidy Kamicker (72B).
Car Count: 33
Feature Margin of Victory:
Feature Lap Leaders: Joe Martin (1-9), Brock Pinkerous (10-19), Michael Norris (20-30)
Ontime Body & Graphic “Spoiler Alert” Spoiler Kit: Austin Allen
Performance Bodies “Nosed Out”: Jake Wilber
Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger: Logan Zarin (+12)
Sunoco Fuel Card Winners: Jim Rasey ($100), Joe Martin ($100), Tim Shaffer ($50), Brett Marlatt ($50), Tommy Schirnhofer, Jr. ($50), Jacob Wilber ($50)
TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Bryce Davis
FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying ($100 for fast time) (Track record 16.750 by Bryce Davis on 10/15/21): 1. 10S-Joe Martin, 00:17.332; 2. 14D-Braeden Dillinger, 00:17.500; 3. 91-Chad Homan, 00:17.586; 4. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling, 00:17.731; 5. 45-Tim Shaffer, 00:17.766; 6. 94-Bryce Davis, 00:17.769; 7. 32A-Austin Allen, 00:17.877; 8. 21J-Jim Rasey, 00:17.925; 9. 555-Brock Pinkerous, 00:17.937; 10. 4-Jason Knowles, 00:17.966; 11. 11A-Ashton Briggs, 00:17.988; 12. 36-Cody Dawson, 00:17.993; 13. 75F-Colton Flinner, 00:17.994; 14. 31-Kyle Zimmerman, 00:18.044; 15. N1-Michael Norris, 00:18.132; 16. 184P-Cole Petrelle, 00:18.147; 17. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr, 00:18.167; 18. 99M-Brett Marlatt, 00:18.313; 19. 11R-Robert Rohrer, 00:18.325; 20. 33X-Logan Zarin, 00:18.366; 21. 20-Aaron Miller, 00:18.372; 22. 42-Tony Musolino, 00:18.421; 23. 16-Clinton Hersh, 00:18.575; 24. 31B-Noah Brunell, 00:18.604; 25. 948-Joey Zambotti III, 00:18.620; 26. 50-Jacob Wilber, 00:18.645; 27. 31N-DJ Nakutis, 00:18.857; 28. 54-Leo Iarrapino, 00:19.037; 29. 112-Jacob Peterson, 00:19.237; 30. 85P-Branden Porter, 00:19.320; 31. 6R-Chuck Recker, 00:19.327; 32. 14L-Konar Loney, 00:23.109; 33. 72B-Kassidy Kamicker NT.
FK Rod Ends Heat 1 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 10S-Joe Martin; 2. 555-Brock Pinkerous; 3. 45-Tim Shaffer; 4. 75F-Colton Flinner; 5. 8S-Tommy Schirnhofer Jr; 6. 20-Aaron Miller; 7. 948-Joey Zambotti III; 8. 112-Jacob Peterson. DNS: 72B-Kassidy Kamicker.
FK Rod Ends Heat 2 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 94-Bryce Davis; 2. 31-Kyle Zimmerman; 3. 14D-Braeden Dillinger; 4. 4-Jason Knowles; 5. 99M-Brett Marlatt; 6. 42-Tony Musolino; 7. 50-Jacob Wilber; 8. 85P-Branden Porter
FK Rod Ends Heat 3 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 91-Chad Homan; 2. N1-Michael Norris; 3. 16-Clinton Hersh; 4. 32A-Austin Allen; 5. 11A-Ashton Briggs; 6. 11R-Robert Rohrer; 7. 31N-DJ Nakutis; 8. 6R-Chuck Recker
FK Rod Ends Heat 4 (8 laps, Top 5 transfer to A, $25 to-win): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 2. 21J-Jim Rasey; 3. 184P-Cole Petrelle; 4. 36-Cody Dawson; 5. 33X-Logan Zarin; 6. 31B-Noah Brunell; 7. 14L-Konar Loney; 8. 54-Leo Iarrapino.
Last Chance B Main 1 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 42-Tony Musolino; 2. 20-Aaron Miller; 3. 50-Jacob Wilber; 4. 948-Joey Zambotti III; 5. 112-Jacob Peterson; 6. 85P-Branden Porter. DNS: 72B-Kassidy Kamicker.
Last Chance B Main 2 (8 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 31B-Noah Brunell; 2. 14L-Konar Loney; 3. 11R-Robert Rohrer; 4. 31N-DJ Nakutis; 5. 6R-Chuck Recker; 6. 54-Leo Iarrapino.
Sunoco Dash (6 laps, $100 Sunoco fuel card to-win): 1. 555-Brock Pinkerous; 2. 10S-Joe Martin; 3. N1-Michael Norris; 4. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling; 5. 91-Chad Homan; 6. 31-Kyle Zimmerman; 7. 94-Bryce Davis; 8. 21J-Jim Rasey.
Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Sprint Car Sunbelt Rentals Weekly Series Race #17 (20 laps, $600 to-win): 1. JOHN MOLLICK (Clever 4J) 2. Chad Ruhlman (Engles 68) 3. Blaze Myers (43Jr) 4. Arnie Kent (Mahoney 9) 5. Brian Cressley (Hull 41) 6. Gale Ruth, Jr. (McConnell 24) 7. Jeff Metsger (20) 8. Trent Marshall (17) 9. Charlie Utsinger (23) 10. Ricky Tucker, Jr. (1T) 11. Brandon McWilliams (316) 12. Billy Myers (43Sr) 13. Devon Deeter (54) 14. Kevin Kaserman (13K). DNS: Logen Lockhart (58).
The RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply together with Born2Run Lubricants along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Rick Hendrick City Chevrolet, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, Flynn's Tire, Sunbelt Rentals, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, FK Rod Ends, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Bilstein Shocks, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Wieland Metal Services, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Sherwood Wheels, Precise Racing Products, Velocita-USA, Wedge Motorsports, 3C Graphix, D&V Jewelers, CrateInsider.com, and Terry Bowser Excavating.
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. The RUSH Late Model website is www.rushlatemodels.com. Like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rushlatemodels and follow us on Twitter @RUSHLM.