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Sunday, August 13, 2017

The Story From PPMS: Pegher Cashes In At Jook George Memorial



Jason Spencer Photo

Imperial, PA (August 12, 2017) Sometimes you've got to be both lucky and good, and on Saturday night at Pittsburgh Pennsylvania's Motor Speedway, Mike Pegher Jr. was very much both as he caught a break and made the most of it on his way to a $4010 payday in the annual Jook George Memorial. Pegher was able to miraculously avoid a spinning Jamie Wrightsman on lap 17, a spin that collected leader Jacob Hawkins and caused damage to third running Russ King, and then kept the field behind him the rest of the way.

"I honestly thought we were done," Pegher said. "They called the caution when I seen Jamie spun out and Jacob unfortunately had no place to go. I think he might have been a little bit better than us but we were catching him in lapped traffic so it would have been nice to see how it came out."

Jason Spencer Photo


Dash winner Russ King started on the pole alongside quick time poster, Pegher as the field came to the green flag where King was penalized for jumping the start, putting Hawkins on the front row. When action resumed, Hawkins jumped out the the early lead and left no doubt as to his intentions as he seemingly ran away from the field in the early going. Behind him, Pegher, series points leader Bryce Davis, and King all lurked, waiting for an opportunity to gain ground with Hawkins approaching lapped traffic. King made his way around Davis while Pegher began to reel in Hawkins as lap 12 went in the books. King then set his sights on Pegher in a battle that would see both drivers use pieces of lapped traffic to gain the advantage while both running within mere tenths of a second from each other.

Jason Spencer Photo

The battle allowed Hawkins to put a little more daylight between himself and the other leaders. The West Virginia driver looked to be well on his way to a victory as he made his way around one piece of lapped traffic after another without losing anything in terms of forward momentum. But fate intervened with 17 laps in the books when Wrightsman's car spun high in turn two. Hawkins got the full brunt of the contact while Pegher and Davis made their way through. King was not so lucky though and his contact with the spinning cars put an end to his bid for his first career Jook George Memorial victory.

" I think I just skated through," Davis said.  "I saw Hawkins get into him and then King right in front of me but I checked up and squeezed through and we got pretty lucky there. "

When action resumed, Pegher and Davis were men on a mission and would battle for the win the rest of the way while behind them, John Waters was running a patient race in the third spot as Colton Flinner and Daryl Charlier entrenched themselves into contention in the top five as the halfway mark approached, with John Mollick factoring in at time as well.   But out front, Pegher began to stretch out an advantage over Davis who was in desperate need of a restart or lapped traffic to work with.

Davis would get chances on the final restart of the night with 27 laps in the books. In the most hotly contested restart of the night, Davis made a bid for the lead on the outside and made it stick for a brief moment before Pegher was able to re-take command of the field in turn one a lap later, sliding underneath Davis. The same restart saw Justin Lamb gain three spots as he vaulted from sixth to a podium position.

Jason Spencer Photo

"All night long we'd been struggling on restarts," Pegher remarked in victory lane. "It just don't want to go on restarts no matter whether I start fast or slow. He (Davis) did a good job on that one restart and I thought that I'd just gave this race away on a restart, but I think he got tight there in one and two and I was able to drive below him."

Pegher was able to drive away once again as Davis was unable to gain significant ground in lapped traffic in the waning laps. It was Pegher's first RUSH touring series victory in 15 months and his fourth career Jook George championship. Meanwhile, Davis was able to stretch out his series points lead even further with his second place finish.



"The car was very good, I was hoping we had a shot at him," Davis said.  "He ran a great race, congratulations to him and his team. We were happy with a second place finish tonight. He was better on the longer runs. We had the lead off the restart and I think I missed my spot getting into one and I slid up and he got back by and it was over after that. We came down here and made a little money and extended our point lead, it was a great run.

Jason Spencer Photo


Lamb's came home with a podium finish for the second year in a row and acquitted himself very well, coming through a very deep and competitive field to take home a third place finish.

"We finished second in this race last year to Mike (Reft), and I really have to thank Branden (Lockwich) and the Miley's and RUSH for putting it all together and raising all that money," Lam said.  "We qualified kind of bad, middle of the back and just kind of chipped away at it. We started 13th and I didn't have anything for those guys, that was as far as we were going to come forward, but I'm happy with third against those two  This track is so big, it gets so hard to run down cars once everybody gets strung out and you really have to make that time up. It's kind of chaotic on those starts to drive in there and not hit anybody but be aggressive. That's where you have to make your money there, but it's always tricky on restarts."

Feature Finish; 40 Lap Jook George Memorial Main Event (starting positions in parentheses)

1. (2) Mike Pegher Jr. 2. (4) Bryce Davis 3. (13) Justin Lamb 4. (5) John Waters
5. (17) Jeremy Wonderling 6. (14) Ben Policz 7. (6) John Mollick 8. (19) Dan Angellichio
9. (12) Michael Reft 10. (7) Daryl Charlier 11. (20) Jake Gunn 12. (24) Clinton Hersh
13. (15) Christian Schneider 14. (9) Steve Beatty 15. (25) Brian Knowles 16. (26) Bill Kessler
17. (10) Russ Matejka 18. (22) Matt Latta 19. (11) Colton Flinner 20. (18) Brian Swank
21. (21) Eric Wilson 22. (23) Jason Knowles 23. (3) Jacob Hawkins 24. (1) Russ King
25. (16) Jamie Wrightsman 26. (8) Andrew Wylie

Heat Winners: 

Heat 1: Mike Pegher Jr.
Heat 2: Russ King
Heat 3: Jacob Hawkins
Heat 4: John Mollick

BMains:

BMain 1: Eric Wilson
BMain 2: Matt Latta

Dash Winner:

Russ King

Non Qualifier's Race Winner: 

Chuck Medved

Sportsman Stock Winner: Todd Weldon
Hobby Stock Winner: Stephan Shelpman
6 Cylinder Late Model Winner: Levi Spinneweber
Open 4 Cylinder Winner: Matthew Rubright






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