Late Model News

Mark Whitener Wins 2nd Straight “Bill Emig Memorial” at Lernerville

(Sarver, PA)…The Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Dirt Late Model Series presented by Born2Run Lubricants took part in the 16th annual “Firecracker 100” with the “Bill Emig Memorial” presented by Sunoco Race Fuels with associate sponsorship from Marthinsen & Salvitti Insurance Group for the fourth straight year at Lernerville Speedway this past weekend. Race #8 of the 2022 Flynn’s Tire Touring Series attracted an event record 56 cars from 10 different states plus Ontario, Canada! The 56 cars was the highest count in any RUSH event since the record 58 cars on September 11, 2016 at Tri-City Raceway Park for “Manufacturers Night” presented by MSD Performance. A capacity crowd turned out on Saturday night for the historic event presented by Big River Steel that featured the Lucas Oil Late Model Dirt Series for $50,000 to-win! Mark Whitener has quickly taken a liking to Lernerville Speedway and the “Bill Emig Memorial”. 

One week after winning a Super Late Model event at the Sarver, Pa. oval, the southern Late Model standout swept the weekend setting fast time, winning his heat, the dash, and leading all 50 laps of the feature on Saturday night to earn a RUSH record $20,000. “The Magic Man” also received a championship diamond ring from D&V Jewelers valued at $5,000 bringing his weekend total to more than $25,400 in cash and contingencies for RUSH alone! Whitener is now two-for-two with RUSH as he’s earned more than $35,400 in cash and prizes for his back-to-back “Bill Emig Memorial” victories for the Neal/Daugherty team based about 40 miles from Lernerville! Whitener, who also finished 10th in the Lucas Oil feature for $2,600, became the sixth different winner in eight RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire Tour events in 2022.  

“I’ve got one $25,000 victory so this makes the second biggest one I’ve ever had,” revealed the 41-year-old Middleburg, Florida racer.  “I won a ring back in 2002 or 2003 for a Modified win, but it wasn’t nearly as nice as this one, which is one of a kind!  It takes a lot to put these types of events on with sponsors and getting people here. She (Vicki Emig) runs a really good and respectable Series. They tech motors, shocks, tires, fuel, everything. It’s an awesome Series to race. You can come here legally and win, and that’s where we are.”

“Man I had an awesome race car and this is awesome,” continued Whitener. “I’d like to thank Brian Daugherty and Dirk Neal. This crew that’s standing here works really hard on this car. I live 13 hours away, just sit in the seat, and drive this thing so it means a lot of be able to come up here and win this race. This is all off the car they prepare, I have nothing to do with it. I don’t even know what shocks and springs are on it, and don’t really care- it’s fast!”

Whitener took off in the lead at the start of the 50-lap event over David Pangrazio. Third starting Michael Norris dropped out of the top five after getting passed by Michael Duritsky, Jr., Charlie Sandercock, and Joe Martin in the first two laps. The Canadian Sandercock’s strong run ended when he lost the handle in turn four to bring out the caution with three laps scored. When racing resumed on lap four, sixth starting Martin was already halfway to the front as he got by Duritsky for third. 

A trio of cautions slowed action between laps eight and nine including a five-car accident that took out top runners John Waters, Brady Wonderling, Amanda Robinson, and Sandercock. Robinson, who set fast time in her flight on Thursday and won a last chance B main on Saturday, sustained the heaviest damage and was chosen as the TBM Brakes “Tough Brake of the Night” recipient.

The next 26 laps would go caution-free. Back under green on lap 10, 12th starting Dillon Brown worked his way into the top five taking the position away from Logan Roberson. By lap 12, Whitener began to pull away from Pangrazio and Martin, while at excellent battle ensued for fourth between Duritsky, Brown, and Roberson. Brown continued his progression to the front by taking fourth from Duritsky with a slider on lap 20. Four laps later, Roberson finally was able to work his way past Duritsky for fifth.

As Whitener continued to lead at the halfway point, a tremendous battle was taking place for second as Pangrazio was trying to fight off Martin and Brown. Martin drove around Pangrazio for second on lap 30. Martin faced a 2.6 deficit to Whitener. Martin chipped away at the lead and began to close in on lap 33. Whitener caught lapped traffic on lap 35 and Martin was right on the leader on lap 36; however, Delaware standout Trevor Collins slowed to bring out the final caution of the event.

When racing resumed for the final 15 laps, Brown and Duritsky moved past a fading Pangrazio for third and fourth respectively. Whitener continued to lead as the laps ticked off, while Brown began to challenge Martin for second on lap 42. It looked like Whitener was going to cruise to the victory with more than a two-second advantage with five laps to go; however, Martin knocked a half-second off on lap 46 and two tenths each of the next two laps. Martin though would run out of time as Whitener took the checkered flag first by 0.893 seconds in the Dirk Neal, Daugherty Motorsports/CRW Home Center/Huey Brothers/Sallack Well Service, Weather Capital Auto Sales/Kevin Neal Auction Service/Brackman Chevrolet Buick-sponsored #1.

“We had a really good car this weekend and it was my race to lose,” stated Whitener. “I couldn’t maneuver in traffic like I needed to. The lapped cars were throwing crumbs in front of me and I couldn’t leave the corner. I had to arch my corner and I couldn’t do it behind those cars and lost the rear-end of my car. I had to run their race until the guys caught me then would’ve had to do what I needed to do. We’re going to put our brains together and figure out what we need to do to get better in traffic.” 

(Note: Whitener’s engine was tore down in post-race tech and was found to be 100% legal per the Chevrolet Performance 604 Technical Manual, and the win will be official once the results of the fuel and tire samples that were taken are verified to be in compliance.)

After finishing third in the 2021 “Bill Emig Memorial”, Martin earned a career best $7,000 for his runner-up finish for the Tom Snyder #10s team. “This is still a good payout and we’re still happy,” stated the 37-year-old Punxsutawney, Pa. racer, who tried to find the words to mask his disappointment. “We had a really good car at the end. I took me a long time to realize the top was there; I started rolling it and thought to myself let’s go get 20 (thousand). I didn’t want that yellow at all and I was going to surprise him, and think I might have got him quick enough. You just have to race him hard. I’ll just put it that way, and maybe I didn’t race him hard enough. I could have done some things differently and maybe next time I will. I have to thank Tom Snyder and the whole crew. I have to thank Mike (Leone) and Vicki (Emig) for doing what they’re doing. We don’t thank them enough for what they’re doing for us. The minimum show is $3,000 to-win and they’re putting together shows like this.”

Brown took home $3,500 for his third place finish in his first RUSH start since April 18, 2019 at Georgetown Speedway. “I feel like I spotted them too much,” stated the 29-year-old Gaffney, SC resident. “I had never been here before. We were on the track four or five times and I think we’ve had four or five different setups and shocks on the car. We worked and worked and tuned and tuned, and I think finally hit it. Congratulations to Mark (Whitener) he had the best car all weekend, and Joe (Martin) was really good. I’m happy to be here and honored to be in this position. The good Lord blesses me every weekend to be able to run up and down the road with my family. I really want to say thanks to Vicki at RUSH and Lernerville. It was awesome for us crate guys to be able to run for $20,000 on the same night as a $50,000 Super Late Model race.”

Roberson earned $3,000 for fourth for his seventh top five in eight races to maintain the Flynn’s Tire Tour points lead by nine over Martin. Duritsky, who leads the RUSH National Weekly Series points, had a solid fifth for $2,000. After finishing fifth last year, Pangrazio dropped to sixth for $1,500.  Michael Norris, who owns 32 career Super Late Model wins and two track title at Lernerville, was seventh for $1,300. 2021 Lernerville Super Late Model track champion, Colton Flinner, drove Ken Chernik’s #5x from 17th to eighth for $1,200 and also earned a spoiler kit from Ontime Body & Graphic. Kyle Lukon, who started 14th, was as high as seventh but faded to ninth after the last restart for $1,100. By virtue of his May 20 RUSH win, Will Thomas III utilized the Lernerville provisional and went 26th to 10th for $1,000 and received the $50 Precise Racing Products “Pedal Down” Hard Charger gift card.

Ethan Wilson rounded out the “Bill Emig Memorial” by winning the 15-lap D&V Jewelers Non-Qualifier event. The 23-year-old Fayetteville, NC racer started third passed and Logan Jaquay on lap 11 to earn the $500 win in the non-stop event timed in 5:00.744. By lap four, Jaquay and Wilson pulled away from the pack. Wilson was able to catch Jaquay on lap eight and the two ran side-by-side on lap 10 with Wilson driving around the leader on the outside one lap later. Wilson then pulled away to take the victory over Jaquay by 1.332 seconds in his JRR Auto Sales & Trucking/Honeycutt Custom Cabinets/D&E Body Works/Absolute Drive Axle-sponsored #18E.  Wilson became the 57th different driver to win a “Wheelman” Non-Qualifier in the 69 races run all-time!  In addition to $300, Jaquay also received a $100 Performance Bodies gift card for being the first feature non-qualifier. Miller was third over Josh Ferry. 10th starting Braeden Dillinger completed the top five.    

On Thursday night, Whitener set fast time overall against the 56-car field in FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying to earn $100 with a lap of 17.730. Winning $25 FK Rod Ends heat races on Friday night were Whitener, Norris, Duritsky, Pangrazio, Martin, and Sandercock. Whitener added another $100 cash and a $100 Sunoco fuel card for winning the “John Buzzard Memorial” Sunoco Dash on Friday night. The three last chance B mains on Saturday night went to Jeremy Wonderling, Robinson, and Collins.  Also receiving $100 Sunoco fuel cards were Tour regulars Jeremy Wonderling and Joe Martin, while $50 Sunoco fuel cards went to Petrelle, Whitener, Mason Zeigler, and Montgomery.

The Flynn’s Tire Touring Series will be right back in action this Friday and Saturday (July 1-2) with a pair of $3,000 to-win Marquee Events in western Pennsylvania at Dog Hollow Speedway and Pittsburgh’s PA Motor Speedway respectively. It’ll be the only appearance of the season to the Northern Cambria, Pa. oval on Friday night, while the “Herb Scott Memorial” on Saturday night will be the first of four appearances of 2022 at “Dirt’s Monster Half-Mile” in Imperial, Pa.

Hovis Auto & Truck Supply RUSH Late Model Flynn’s Tire Touring Series “Bill Emig Memorial” presented by Sunoco Race Fuels Race #8 (50 laps, $20,000 to-win): 1. MARK WHITENER (Daugherty/Neal 1) 2. Joe Martin (Snyder 10s) 3. Dillon Brown (6) 4. Logan Roberson (17) 5. Michael Duritsky, Jr. (90J) 6. David Pangrazio (136) 7. Michael Norris (N1) 8. Colton Flinner (Chernik 5x) 9. Kyle Lukon (184) 10. Will Thomas III (9) 11. Justin Kann (66) 12. Chub Frank (1*) 13. Bryce Davis (94) 14. Mason Zeigler (Zulisky 58) 15. Matt Latta (21) 16. Mike Wonderling (18) 17. Jeremy Wonderling (3J) 18. Jason Knowles (4) 19. Trevor Collins (72) 20. Ryan Montgomery (Suppa 4s) 21. Andrew Hennessy (87) 22. John Waters (LeBarron 11) 23. Amanda Robinson (4) 24. Charlie Sandercock (57) 25. Brady Wonderling (z1) 26. Daryl Charlier (Centerline 3RK). (Note: Brady Wonderling took a Tour provisional & Will Thomas took a Track provisional)

Car Count: 56

Feature Margin of Victory: 0.893 seconds

Feature Lap Leaders: Mark Whitener (1-50)

Last Chance B Main 1 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 3J-Jeremy Wonderling[1]; 2. 21L-Matt Latta[3]; 3. 99*-Logan Jaquay[4]; 4. 33-Josh Ferry[5]; 5. 32A-Austin Allen[7]; 6. 31B-Noah Brunell[11]; 7. 21J-Jim Rasey[6]; 8. 31-Jonathan Stockdale[8]; 9. 1020XX-Eli Mayhew[9]; 10. 38G-Michael Goudie[13]; 11. 24C-Rob Coffaro[10]; 12. (DNS) 38L-Mike Laughard; 13. (DNS) 9-Will Thomas.

Last Chance B Main 2 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 4R-Amanda Robinson[4]; 2. 66-Justin Kann[6]; 3. 20-Aaron Miller[5]; 4. 10-Zachary Kane[11]; 5. 75D-RJ Dallape[8]; 6. 5C-Levi Crowl[2]; 7. 17X-Andy Michael[12]; 8. 6R-Chuck Recker[10]; 9. 84P-Cole Petrelle[3]; 10. 15-Chad Sines[1]; 11. 00-Ryan Goudie[9]; 12. 9S-Breyton Santee[13]; 13. (DNS) 57L-Bo Lockwood

Last Chance B Main 3 (12 laps, Top 2 transfer to A): 1. 72-Trevor Collins[1]; 2. 4S-Ryan Montgomery[2]; 3. 18E-Ethan Wilson[6]; 4. 99B-Shane Crotty[9]; 5. 17-Ryan Frazee[5]; 6. 11A-Ashton Briggs[8]; 7. 14D-Braeden Dillinger[3]; 8. Z1-Brady Wonderling[4]; 9. 26-Kurt Stebbins[7]; 10. 58B-John Boring[12]; 11. 14G-Jake Gunn[11]; 12. (DNS) 36-Cody Dawson.

“John Buzzard Memorial” Sunoco Dash (6 laps, $100 cash & $100 Sunoco fuel card to-win): 1. 1N-Mark Whitener[1]; 2. 136-David Pangrazio[5]; 3. N1-Michael Norris[3]; 4. 90J-Michael Duritsky Jr[2]; 5. 57-Charlie Sandercock[6]; 6. 10S-Joe Martin[4].

By Mike Leone – (June 25, 2022)

For other Late Model News, click here.