SWEENEY RUSH SPRINT CAR SERIES CONTINUES TO PROGRESS; SUCCESSFUL TEST SESSION COMPLETED; 10 REGIONAL SPEEDWAYS MAKE COMMITMENTS FOR 2018 EVENT DATES
By Mike Leone
September 7, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Pulaski, PA)...Just over six months ago, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Racing Series powered by Pace Performance announced the launch of the RUSH Sprint Car Series for the 2018 season. Throughout the summer, interest has continued to grow from racers and speedways throughout the region and increased dramatically after video and pictures were posted during and after the recent successful test session that was held on August 23 at Lernerville Speedway.
The RUSH Sprint Cars will feature traditional, non-wing Sprint Cars utilizing the cost-effective Pace Performance GM 602 Crate Sprint Car engine package developed by Pace's Director of Circle Track Engine Development, Don Blackshear, $135 sealed, spec RUSH Bilstein Bandits Shocks, affordable spec Hoosier Tires, and RUSH "Visual" Methanol spec fuel produced by Insinger Performance, a Sunoco Race Fuel Distributor. The racer affordability of this type of Sprint Car program is outstanding with a complete race ready car between $12,000-$15,000.
One of the biggest questions asked since the introduction of the class been, where will the RUSH Sprint Car events be held? From the beginning, the goal for 2018 season was to have 18-24 races scheduled throughout the region, and through the support of numerous RUSH partner tracks that number was quickly reached. The following speedways have stated their intentions to be part of the inaugural 2018 RUSH Sprint Car season: Lernerville, Tri-City, Pittsburgh, Eriez, Stateline, Bradford, McKean, Roaring Knob and Deerfield. One or two other well-known speedways in the area have been contacted and are also expected to be part of the inaugural schedule giving RUSH Sprint Car racers a minimum of 10 different venues to participate at.
"Every year we've been asked to create a Sprint Car division under the RUSH banner," explained Series Director Vicki Emig. "I think the timing is right to do so now. The interest the RUSH Sprint Cars have generated since its introduction has been overwhelming; honestly more than any of our other divisions when they were launched. The interest is coming from racers with various different racing backgrounds and experience levels who simply want the opportunity to affordably race a full size Sprint Car."
The RUSH Sprint Cars finally hit the track on August 23 at Lernerville for a private test session that went flawless with veteran "410" Sprint Car drivers Arnie Kent and Gale Ruth, Jr. piloting their own cars. The test was attended by Hoosier Tire reps including Neil Cowman (Business Unit Manager Oval Track Dirt), 27-year Bilstein Shock veteran rep Jim Hiland, Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance rep Bruce Insinger along with Don Blackshear of Pace Performance/Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC with the objective to gain additional feedback to present the best program possible to the racers. A second test will be held at another RUSH partner speedway in mid-September.
"Hoosier's goal in the end for the RUSH Sprint Cars is to provide only one right rear and one left rear compound, with two left rears to accommodate stagger needs based on track size and surface conditions," explained Cowman. "After our test at Lernerville, I believe this will be very doable and will be a great fit for the affordability template that RUSH has developed for this class."
Bilstein representative Jim Hiland had this to say about the new RUSH Sprint Car program, "When I grew up in Indiana during the 50s and 60s the big attraction at most of the dirt tracks around Indy was wingless Sprint Cars. I got to see top drivers from coast-to-coast race such as A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, and other greats, because back then Indy drivers drove Sprint Cars too. That quality of racing hooked me for life! In theory, the RUSH Sprint Car formula is close to what they were racing back then- a non-wing 400 horsepower Sprint Car with a minimal tire selection; in essence putting the race back into the driver's hands; mix in the nostalgia factor and I'm sure the RUSH Sprint Car package is going to be a huge success! The class is going to be extremely cost-effective and loads of fun, which in the end will bring participants into the pit area and fans into the grandstands."
As to what Bilstein can do to help, "We we will provide world class shock quality at a bare minimum cost to the racer," explained Hiland. "I think we’re looking at two front, two right rear, and two left rear valvings; a six "sealed" shock package with each at a cost of $135. The Bilstein Bandit Shocks are extremely consistent and durable and I'm confident that we will provide the RUSH Sprint Car racers, as we already have in other RUSH divisions, with a great handling car at a minimum dollar investment in their shock package.”
"We can't thank Hoosier Tire, Bilstein, Sunoco/Insinger, and of course Pace Performance for helping us put together a template that is extremely affordable for the racer," added Emig. "To have the support of these industry leaders who believe in our vision means a lot. By surrounding the Series with the same pieces and support system that we have developed over the years such as our technical program, sealing system, and valuable championship and product contingency programs, I'm confident that the RUSH Sprint Car program will be a success."
To get the Series off the ground, Bonnell's Rod Shop will present the 2018 Weekly Series Championship point fund of more than $20,000 with $5,000 going to the inaugural champion! The RUSH Sprint Cars will join the Late Models, Sportsman Modifieds, Pro Mods, and Pro Stocks on the dirt side of the RUSH Racing Series umbrella.
"It's very exciting to come out of the box with a point fund of more than $20,000," continued Emig. "I cannot thank Scott Bonnell enough for stepping up helping us present the inaugural RUSH Weekly Series point fund for the Sprints. Since Scott quit racing, he's given back so much to racing, and we're very proud to have his and so many other Sprint Car drivers' endorsements. I'll continue to work hard over the offseason to bring additional benefits to the Series such as contingencies and a Manufacturers Night that have been important parts of our other divisions. All of our manufacturing partners are behind the concept as well as many new companies that have already contacted us to be involved with the Sprint Cars."
Due to the tremendous interest, a second informational meeting will be held at Gatherings Banquet & Event Center on Sunday, October 22 at 1:00 p.m. Gatherings is located just west of New Castle, Pa. on Route 422 at 2552 Benjamin Franklin Highway, Edinburg, PA 16116.
For additional information such as rules and the informational sheet, check out www.rushsprintcars.com, "like" our Facebook page at ww.facebook.com/rushsprintcars and follow us on Twitter @RUSHSprints for the latest news and updates. Interested drivers are asked to e-mail their contact info so they can be added to our potential driver e-mail database as well as our press release list.
2018 Bonnell's Rod Shop Weekly Series Point Fund ($20,075): 1. $5,000 2. $2,500 3. $1,750 4. $1,500 5. $1,200 6. $1,000 7. $800 8. $750 9. $700 10. $650 11. $600 12. $500 13. $450 14. $425 15. $400 16. $390 17. $380 18. $370 19. $360 20. $350.
2018 "Futures Cup" (minimum): 1. $300 2. $200 3. $100 4. $50.
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.