July 11, 2019


By Mike Leone


(Cortland, OH)…Though it wasn’t looking promising, the Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Sportsman Modified Series powered by Pace Performance finally was able to complete its first official Hovis Auto & Truck Supply Touring Series event of the season last Thursday at Expo Speedway.  Heavy thunderstorms rolled through the region during the morning hours then again two separate times during the mid and late afternoon, but all three rounds somehow missed the Trumbull County Fairgrounds allowing racing on the big 5/8-mile to be completed during the 173rd annual Fair.

In his first season of RUSH Sportsman Modified racing last year, Rob Kristyak, a former Big-Block Modified racer, had just four top five finishes.  With a new Bicknell car over the offseason, Kristyak has come out of the gate as one of the drivers to beat.  In fact, Kristyak entered Thursday night as the Hovis Weekly Series points leader thanks to seven top five finishes in seven starts including three victories!  Kristyak continued his impressive season on Thursday night by passing Chas Wolbert on lap six for the lead and racing on to his first career Tour victory, worth $800.  Tremendous two and three-wide racing took place during the feature with many fans saying it was the best racing they’ve seen in awhile.

Wolbert, who won the non-point 2018 “Apple Festival Nationals” Tour make-up feature on May 11 at Sharon Speedway, started on the pole of the 20-lap feature and took off in the lead, while Jim Rasey, Kristyak, Chelsie Kriegisch, and Garrett Krummert were waging war behind.  Kristyak was able to pass Rasey for second on lap four then went after Wolbert making the winning pass two laps later.  Wolbert would lose ground with a tire going down as Rasey regained second on lap 11 before Wolbert’s flat brought out the caution with 13 laps scored.  Wolbert’s misfortune moved Krummert up to third.

The event’s second and final caution would be displayed for Eric Gabany, who was making his first ever RUSH start, stopped with 18 laps recorded.  When racing resumed on lap 19, Krummert passed Rasey for second.  Kristyak would be able to hold off the fifth starting Krummert, who is the defending Tour champion, for his fourth overall win of 2019 in his Mark Thomas Ford/Classic Auto Glass/Wedge Motorsports/Bristol Disposal/Texas Roadhouse/T&C Automotive/C&R Tire-sponsored #00.  Kristyak, who also received a Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug, became the sixth different Tour winner in as many races run at Expo over the past five years!

Rasey was third.  Jordan Ehrenberg, who started fourth, fell out of the top five, then worked his way back to fourth during the second half of the race.  Ehrenberg though got too high on the final lap, which allowed Kriegisch, who won the 2016 event, to take fourth with Gary Haupt claiming fifth.  Despite doing a 360-spin on lap 14 following a restart, Blaze Myers came home sixth.  Wolbert fought his way back from his flat tire to finish seventh.  Fifteenth Greg Porter also got by Ehrenberg to finish eighth, which earned him the $100 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.  Ehrenberg faded to ninth at the finish ahead of Jessica Kriegisch.

Chelsie Kriegisch was selected as the Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night” recipient, while Holden was chosen as the Sherwood Wheels “Man of Steel” after coming back from a heat race crash to finish 13th.  Wolbert received the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” after his flat tire took him out of contention for the win.  Heat race winners were Wolbert, Kristyak, and Rasey over the 22-car field.

Sweeney RUSH Sportsman Modified Hovis Touring Series Race #1 (20 laps, $800 to-win): 1. ROB KRISTYAK (00)  2. Garrett Krummert (Schaffer 10s)  3. Jim Rasey (32)  4. Chelsie Kriegisch (10)  5. Gary Haupt (16)  6. Blaze Myers (43Jr)  7. Chas Wolbert (c3)  8. Greg Porter (25)  9. Jordan Ehrenberg (JD57)  10. Jessica Kriegisch (63)  11. Josh Deems (9D)  12. Jacob Jordan (28J)  13. Kole Holden (2)  14. Kyle Martell (8)  15. Dale Fuller (Blaney 11B)  16. Brandon Albert (30)  17. Eric Gabany (Schaffer 4s)  18. Clayton Deems (55R)  19. Joe Gibson (19)  20. Tom Urey (38T)  21. Preston Cope (24P)-DNS  22. Steve Slater (29)-DSQ.


Car Count: 22

Feature Lap Leaders: Chas Wolbert (1-5), Rob Kristyak (6-20)

Sunoco 5-Gallon Race Jug: Rob Kristyak

Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down Hard Charger”: Greg Porter (+7)

Sherwood Wheels “Man of Steel”: Kole Holden

TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night”: Chas Wolbert

Dirt Defender “Defensive Drive of the Night”: Chelsie Kriegisch

RUSH Sportsman Mod Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. Wolbert  2. Jordan  3. Haupt  4. Martell  5. Albert  6. Urey  7. Holden  8. Slater-DSQ.

RUSH Sportsman Mod Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. Rasey  2. C. Kriegisch  3. Krummert  4. Gabany  5. J. Deems  6. Fuller  7. C. Deems.

RUSH Sportsman Mod Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. Kristyak  2. Ehrenberg  3. J. Kriegisch  4. Myers  5. Porter  6. Gibson  7. Cope-DNS.

RUSH Racing Series is brought to you by Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC & Pace Performance along with the support of Hoosier Tire, Bilstein Shocks, Sunoco Race Fuels, Bazell Race Fuels, Insinger Performance, MSD Performance, Holley Performance Products, Hovis Auto & Truck Supply, FK Rod Ends, Wehrs Machine & Racing Products, Schoenfeld Headers, Jones Racing Products, TBM Brakes, Performance Bodies & Parts, Racing Electronics, Dirt Defender, Wrisco Industries, Frankland Racing Supply, Landrum Performance Spring, Ontime Body & Graphic, Trailer-Alarms.com, Bonnell’s Rod Shop, Zarin Truck & Automotive, Sherwood Wheels, Alternative Power Sources, Precise Racing Products, Lincoln Electric, Velocita-USA, Classic Ink USA, CrateInsider.com, and Valley Fashions.

E-mail can be sent to the RUSH Racing Series at info@rushracingseries.com 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/rushsportsmanmods and follow us on Twitter @RUSHSportMods.