Hometown favorites swept the podium during the inaugural Sweeney Chevrolet GMC Rush Dirt Late Model Touring Series powered by Pace Performance appearance at Georgetown Speedway on Thursday.
Hailing from Millsboro, Del., which is less than a 30 minute drive from the half-mile dirt oval in Georgetown, Del., Ross Robinson rocketed to his first-career Rush Dirt Late Model Tour Series triumph over longtime girlfriend Amanda Whaley and best friend Matt Hill.
“Hard work showed tonight,” Robinson said. “I can’t thank Daniel Hudson enough for the opportunity to wheel this Crate Model. Amanda [Whaley] and I are really close obviously, but Matt [Hill] and I are like brothers. It means a lot. I would have been just as happy if either of them would’ve won, too.”
Robinson, who is a normal competitor in the Ultimate Northeast Super Late Model Series and other touring divisions, led wire-to-wire en route to claiming his first Crate Model win this season and overtaking the championship lead in the ‘Battle of the Bay’ Speedweek presented by Pancho’s Racing Products, a four-race points series hosted this week underneath the Rush Late Model Touring Series direction.
“This is something special,” Robinson explained. “I’m so fortunate. Now time to go get them at Potomac tomorrow night.”
Following a fourth place finish in the ‘Battle of the Bay’ Speedweek opener at Delaware Int’l Speedway on Wednesday, hot-shoe Whaley wheeled her No. 4 Crate Model to a runner-up finish behind Robinson, whom she has dated since September 2013.
“That was pretty cool,” Whaley expressed. “All three of us are really good friends and then obviously Ross [Robinson] and I are dating. So, this is awesome. If I’m going to lose to anyone, I’m glad it was to him.”
Hill, who is a former Crate Model champion in Delaware, rallied to finish third and embraced Robinson, who is his close friend off the racetrack, in the winners circle as the podium featured three racers hailing from The First State.
“[Ross Robinson] is my best friend,” Hill explained. “And then, [Amanda Whaley] is his girlfriend. The last five laps, I was like come on … give me two to go, one to go [laughter]. This is awesome to finish behind these two especially given the tough competition.”
Riding the momentum from a strong opening night win in Delmar, Del. the night previous, Max Blair recorded a fourth place finish in his debut at Brett Deyo’s slick circuit.
‘Thugg Nasty’ Logan Roberson overcame transmission issues to earn his second straight top five in the Rush Dirt Late Model Touring Series.
Hosting the second race in the four event ‘Battle of the Bay’ Speedweek, officials from Georgetown welcomed 40 Crate Model teams to their venue for a $2,000 to win feature, which is in addition to the $3,000 point fund for the mini series.
During FK Rod Ends “Shock the Clock” Qualifying, veteran Jason Knowles earned the $100 fast time bonus with a 19.956 second lap time, handing him the pole position for the opening heat race.
Utilizing strong time trial efforts, Knowles, Robinson, Blair, and Whaley recorded wins in their respective qualifiers — advancing them to the K&N ‘Cold Air Induction’ Dash, which created the official lineup for the 30-lap feature.
J.J. Mazur, who finished second in his heat event, triumphed in the K&N Dash over Robinson and earned pole position for the main event.
On the opening circuit, Robinson utilized the outside lane and wheeled around Mazur to take the lead in the beginning stages.
Aside from a few cautions, one which took out last night’s runner-up Austin Hubbard, lapped traffic was the main obstacle for Robinson before he was able to claim the checkers under the weeknight lights.
Controlling the championship lead, Robinson now hauls the ‘Battle of the Bay’ Speedweek into Potomac Speedway, a track that he recently earned a breakthrough Super Late Model victory at, on Friday.
“My confidence is as high as it can get,” Robinson added. “The competition level showed here tonight though. That No. 111 [Max Blair] will be tough to beat, however. You can’t ever count him out. But we’re within reach, that’s all that matters.”
On the other hand, Whaley is anticipating reversed roles at the Budds Creek, Md. track, hoping to accomplish her first-career Rush Late Model Touring Series win.
“I haven’t been running too great at Potomac this season,” she expressed. “We were alright there in the Crate Model last time. I don’t know, but I think it’s about my time to get a win.”
“[Amanda Whaley] is a talent like never before,” Robinson said. “She is a girl that drives a racecar like no other ever has before. I’m privileged to date her.”
Action from Potomac is slated to begin with pit gates opening at 3:30 p.m. Eastern. Live updates will be provided from the event on the @Speed51Dirt Twitter account.
Story By: Marshall Gabel, Speed51.com Mid-Atlantic Correspondent – Twitter: @MarshallGabel
Photo Credit: Steve Sabo (SDS Photography)