Story By: MIKE LEONE / RUSH RACING SERIES – SARVER, PA – On the heels of the recent announcement that all 2022 Pace Performance RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire/Born2Run Lubricants Touring Series events will pay a minimum of $3,000 to-win with the champion earning $15,000 as part of a $51,400 championship point fund, Series Directors Vicki Emig and Mike Leone have released their first major race event announcement for the upcoming season.
Not only will the RUSH Late Model Tour return to the 2022 “Firecracker 100” weekend at Lernerville Speedway for the fourth consecutive year on June 23-25, but the “Bill Emig Memorial” feature purse has been increased $18,125 with the victor earning $20,000- an all-time Northeast high for Chevrolet Performance Crate Late Models!
The blockbuster Big River Steel “Firecracker 100” event will feature the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for the first time ever racing for $50,000 to-win, pushing the overall weekend to historic prominence in Late Model racing throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic! This is annually thought to be the highest attended event for Chevrolet Performance crate engine racing in the country. In addition, Lernerville TV will carry the entire RUSH portion live for the first time.
“We continue to work very hard to grow every aspect of the Firecracker weekend and are very happy with the dramatic increase in purse for the RUSH Late Model Series portion of the event,” acknowledged Lernerville Speedway General Manager Mike Lysakowski. “Lernerville has always had an outstanding working relationship with RUSH, and the on-track action that RUSH competitors bring to the speedway repeatedly pleases our fans. The 2022 Firecracker is going to be monumental in so many ways, including what the RUSH Late Models provide to the event!”
The 2022 “Bill Emig Memorial” will be the 32nd annual event remembering the late car owner and father of RUSH Director Vicki Emig. In 2019, the “Bill Emig Memorial” took place with the “Firecracker 100” at Lernerville for the first time and attracted a season high 53 cars from seven different states and Ontario, Canada as Max Blair passed Ross Robinson with five laps to go for the victory. In 2020, the status of the event was up in the air until about one week prior due to COVID-19 restrictions, but that didn’t stop Blair, who won the caution-free 50 lapper for another $10,000 payday. This past season the event continued its forward momentum as an event high 54 cars from 11 different states were in competition. Florida’s Mark Whitener won his first RUSH event in his first attempt, worth $10,000. The event has been presented by Hovis Auto & Truck Supply each of the first three years.
Not only will the 2022 feature winner’s take double from $10,000 to $20,000 for RUSH, but an additional $8,125 has been spread throughout the remainder of the feature purse! Notably, second place has jumped from $5,000 to $7,000, 10th place from $700 to $1,000, and start money from $450 to $600.
“We’ve been working very hard to take the RUSH Touring Series to the next level,” stated Emig. “COVID delayed our attempts in 2020, but this past season we doubled our point fund and the racing was tremendous all season long. Now with our purses all going to a minimum of $3,000 to-win, our point fund going up another 25%, and to be able to announce our first ever $20,000 to-win race just says so much about how RUSH competition has evolved over the past years.”
“We cannot thank the Tomson Family at Lernerville for believing in our program enough three years ago to include us as part of the Firecracker 100,” continued Emig. “Now to be able to have the richest event in the 16-year history of Crate Late Models in the Northeast in conjunction with the biggest Super Late Model race in the history of western Pennsylvania is beyond words; it’s going to be historic and I don’t think anyone is going to want to miss it!”
“On a personal note, I wish my Dad was here to witness what his love of racing has grown to- the RUSH Racing Series truly is his legacy,” added Emig. “It was him who gave me my love of racing; always taking me with him and never leaving me home. He passed away at just 54. I remember planning his first memorial in 1992 that also took place at Lernerville and paid $1,000 to win. He would have loved our racers and vice versa because he was such a character; and also greatly appreciated our sanctioned speedways and corporate marketing partners, all who have helped Mike (Leone) and I develop RUSH. I know he will be smiling down when our racers pull into to their 4-wide in his memory, but this time for an amazing $20,000 to win!”