CHAD RUHLMAN'S SUNDAY WIN GIVES HIM THE SWEEP OF 2018 RUSH SPRINT CAR EVENTS AT BRADFORD
By Mike Leone
August 5, 2018 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
(Bradford, PA)...The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sprint Car Series powered by Pace Performance made their second and final appearance of the season to Old Bradford Speedway on a sultry Sunday evening. The 1/4-mile bullring surface was in perfect shape allowing for tremendous two and three-wide racing all night long with the Sprint Car portion over at 8:15 p.m. It was race #15 of the Bonnell's Rod Shop Weekly Series Championship schedule that features 27 events at 10 different speedways in the inaugural season.
Back on May 20 at Bradford, Chad Ruhlman made his debut in a Sprint Car and was victorious out of the box to the delight of a fan base that's very familiar with his racing background and success. On Sunday, Ruhlman fought his way to the front on lap three then fended off challenges by Gale Ruth, Jr., before his lap seven spin, in route to the 20-lap feature win. The victory gave Ruhlman a sweep of both $600 to-win Bonnell's Rod Shop events held at Bradford in 2018, and a perfect five-for-five in the northern events held at Bradford, Stateline, and Eriez Speedways.
Following a great second place heat race run, rookie racer Steve Cousins of nearby Eldred, Pa. drew the pole position; however, it was young Tyler Powell using the outside to lead the opening lap over fourth starting Ruhlman and Gale Ruth, Jr. It was three-wide for the lead on laps two and three with Powell, Ruhlman, and Ruth fighting it out. Ruhlman made the bottom work in turn four and won the drag race down the frontstretch to barely lead lap three.
Ruth then passed Powell for second on lap four and went after Ruhlman. Ruth and Ruhlman battled at the last event on July 27 at Thunder Mountain Speedway with Ruth getting back by Ruhlman for the win. Ruth was looking to do the same again as he raced alongside Ruhlman on laps five and six before Powell got crossed up and spun in turn four.
When green replaced yellow, Ruth and Ruhlman resumed their fight for the lead racing side-by-side on laps six and seven with Ruhlman on top and Ruth on the bottom. On lap seven, Ruth got a run off the bottom of turn two, but his right front wheel made contact with Ruhlman's left rear wheel sending Ruth spinning into the infield and bringing out the event's second and final caution.
The spins by Powell and Ruth moved sixth starting Joe McEwen to second. McEwen stayed with Ruhlman over the final 14 laps, but didn't have enough to seriously challenge as Ruhlman's North Star Unlimited/Rand Machining/Premier Communications/Ruhlman Race Cars/Close Racing Supply-sponsored #87R took his ninth overall win of the season by 1.141 seconds.
McEwen has now finished second in two of the last four events he's competed in recording his fifth top five of the season as he gets closer to his first win. Shawn Smith raced from seventh to finish a season best third one race after a prior season best fourth at Thunder Mountain. In just his fifth race in a Sprint Car, Brad Blackshear finished a season best fourth after starting ninth in his first ever race at Bradford. Ruth fought his way back to fifth at the finish getting by Steve Cousins on lap 19 despite no cautions over the final 14 laps.
Zach Morrow and Ruth won the heat races. RUSH Sprint Car regular, Scott Hawkins, wasn't able to make it so his father Dave had Damian Bidwell fill in driving the #37. Bidwell, who won the RUSH Late Model feature on Sunday with an exciting turn four slide job on Andy Michael coming to the white flag, made his first ever start in a Sprint Car. The Eldred, Pa. driver was actually fastest in warm-ups, went from sixth to fourth in his heat race then finished eighth in the feature. On July 28, Bidwell won the $2,000 RUSH Late Model Touring Series event at Stateline Speedway. Bidwell has also drove a RUSH Pro Mod this season.
The next RUSH Sprint Car event will be this Saturday (August 11) in the first ever appearance in the state of West Virginia at "The Bullring" at Tyler County Speedway in Middlebourne for a $600 to-win, $150 to-start Bonnell's Rod Shop special. On this night, all competing RUSH Sprint Car drivers will receive a complimentary pit pass thanks to Series sponsor, Pace Performance. That event will be followed up by the fourth "Wednesday Night Lightning" Series event at Lernerville Speedway on Wednesday, August 15.
Sweeney RUSH Sprint Cars Bonnell's Rod Shop Weekly Series Race #15 (20 laps, $600 to-win): 1. CHAD RUHLMAN (87R) 2. Joe McEwen (Mahoney/Eckart 9J) 3. Shawn Smith (36) 4. Brad Blackshear (19) 5. Gale Ruth, Jr. (Culver 1c) 6. Steve Cousins (56) 7. Dave Hawkins (27) 8. Damian Bidwell (Hawkins 37) 9. Zach Morrow (27) 10. Brandon Hawkins (27H) 11. Tyler Powell (35) 12. Phil Thornton (35).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.