The RUSH Racing Series has experienced excellent growth and has really elevated Crate racing over the last few years. We had a chance to speak with Series Directors Vicki Emig and Michael Leone and ask them a few questions:
CI: For those who may not be familiar, what are the basics of your series? (Car type, surface, engine, region)
RUSH: The Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC RUSH Dirt Late Model Series features Late Models powered by GM 604 crate motors on spec Hoosier Tires. RUSH racers will compete in 2014 for approximately $70,000 in cash, which includes the "Weekly", "Touring", "Summer Chase" and "Futures Cup" championship programs, along with over $50,000 in actual product contingencies.
RUSH sanctions speedways and events throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic including Pennsylvania, Ohio, New York, Virginia, Maryland, and Ontario, Canada. Tracks vary in size from 1/4-mile to 5/8-mile speedways.
CI: Tell us how you came to found the RUSH Late Model Series.
RUSH: The series is directed by Vicki Emig and Mike Leone, both of which have been involved in the development of crate racing throughout the Northeast region since 2007. At that time there was a need for an affordable Late Model class due to the growing costs of Super Late Model and Steel Block Late Models.
CI: How do your rules align with other similar series?
RUSH: The RUSH Dirt Late Model rules package is aligned very closely with the NeSmith Racing Series.
CI: What has been the biggest challenge?
RUSH: In the beginning the biggest challenge we faced was introducing crate racing for the first time ever in the region, which predominately encompassed Super Late Model, 410 Sprint Car, and Big-Block Modified racing. Today, a base of over 300 Crate Late Model racers are in existence in the Northeast Region and Crate Late Model racing has been showcased at over 20 different speedways throughout the region.
As Series Directors, both Emig and Leone face many challenges, but have been blessed with a strong group of experienced promoters that have the foresight and understanding of the importance of including a strong crate racing division in their programs. As a sanctioning body, RUSH works on a daily basis to communicate with, support, and work on behalf of their promoters to make the RUSH Dirt Late Model Series the absolute best it can be for all concerned; the speedways, drivers, sponsors, fans, and of course the Series itself.
CI: What is the one thing that people misunderstand the most about your role as the Series Director?
RUSH: Sometimes it’s hard for people to fathom that running a series really is a seven-day a week job. Not only do you have to coordinate your own programs, but then properly execute them with the speedways and promote them to the public. People never realize all of the work and coordination it takes to put out a final product whether it be a schedule of events, set of rules, promotions, etc. Also, a Series Director really becomes a mediator or go-between to work with each speedway, the racers, engine rebuilders, etc. in a mutually-beneficial way.
Numerous nationally recognized sponsors, led by series branding sponsor Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC have also been an intricate piece of the success of RUSH, as has the tremendous support of hundreds of racers that continually showcase their talents to the tens of thousands of fans that attend RUSH-sanctioned events throughout the Northeast.
Continuous promotion of the series, a strong technical support system, exciting and valuable championship programs, insurance benefits, and a professional staff available to RUSH-sanctioned speedways and racers have all helped make the RUSH Dirt Late Model Series what it is today!
For mor information, check out www.rushlatemodels.com.