To say that brothers Jered and Ryan Hook have weathered a difficult stretch in the 2014 racing season is tremendously understated. The 600cc Micro-Sprint racers have endured one setback after another. That is why they were basking in the glow of photographer’s camera flashes after Saturday night’s event at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Jered Hook was victorious in the 600cc portion of “the Grandaddy” of all Lanco sanctioned events, the annual Clyde Martin Memorial Race. Joining him in the winner’s circle were Bradley Brown (270cc); Kyle Hehnly (125cc); Dave Ravel (250cc Four-Stroke); and Bret Habecker (Sportsman).
The Clyde Martin Memorial Race features the longest main events of the year (35 laps), double-points, extra cash in the pay envelopes, and the prestigious trophies that are handed over from the previous year’s Memorial Race winners. One of the goals is to win the Clyde Martin Memorial three times (in one division); the trophy is then retired and it becomes a permanent possession of the three-time winner.
Jered and Ryan Hook battled on Saturday to see which of the brothers would have his name scribed onto the 600cc trophy. They suffered a race shop fire in February that devastated their team. New cars had to be built, forcing a late start to the 2014 season. Once they were able to hit the track, mechanical gremlins and unlucky circumstances left them struggling, and it would have been easy to simply chalk up the current campaign as a complete write-off – but that’s not a part of the Hook family’s DNA.
Jered, who hails from Cochranville, Pa., lined up next to Rebecca LaMothe on the front row, while Ryan took the green right behind his brother on the outside of row two. A seven-car melee in turn two, with one lap scored, jumbled the field and involved some of the top runners like James Morris and point leader Mike Rutherford.
When the green flag reappeared, LaMothe – who became engaged to Jack Conover earlier in the evening, when Conover proposed to her on the homestretch right after hot laps – sprinted to the lead with J. Hook on her heels. LaMothe set the pace through another caution period with seven circuits complete. On the restart, J. Hook shot to the bottom in turn three, surprising LaMothe with his banzai dive. Hook eased up in front of her as they blasted off turn four, grabbing the top spot in what became the winning pass.
Ryan Hook and Heath Hehnly moved to second and third, respectively, stalking the leader as Jered held his line and periodically dealt with lapped traffic. Behind this trio, a gaggle of 8-10 cars waged a furious battle as Rutherford, Morris, and others who were part of the first lap skirmish sliced their way back toward the front of the pack. Two-time winner Jason Swavely, Zach Light, and recent winner Chris Gerhart were among the group who presented the entertaining battle royale from positions four through twelve.
Things got very interesting up front as well, as a late restart saw Ryan Hook take the plunge and dive under his brother in turns one and two. Jered had the momentum on the high side and pulled ahead once again as they gassed their mounts off turn two. Hehnly followed Jered in the high groove and he motored past Ryan Hook to snatch the runner-up spot.
Hehnly was just 0.145-seconds behind J. Hook as they flashed across the start-finish line, with R. Hook a close third. Zach Light scored a season best fourth and Morris rebounded from the early crash to round out the top five.
Hehnly’s second place effort, combined with Rutherford’s ninth-place finish, propelled Hehnly to the top of the championship standings. He’ll carry a slim advantage into the next event on August 9, when the 600’s will compete in two features (a make-up from July 19 as well as the regularly scheduled main).
With 21 of Lanco’s eligible 600cc competitors signing in for the Memorial, Brent Ely and Ryan Hook won heat races.
Bradley Brown, from New Providence, Pa., is making a habit of winning big races this season. On July 5, Brown captured his first win of 2014 in the lucrative Clash at the Clyde, and this past Saturday he put his name on the 270cc Clyde Martin Memorial Race trophy.
Brown lined up sixth as the field prepared for the green flag, and he was able to avoid calamity on the start when an eight-car pileup began with a couple of cars in front of him.
Quickly moving to second, Brown inherited the lead when Heath Hehnly spun in turn two as he approached lapped traffic with eight tours in the books. Hehnly had been out front for those first eight circuits, but his spin left Brown in control.
And Brown capitalized on his golden opportunity, scorching the smooth, fast oval for the next 27 revolutions. Even two-time winner and multi-time champion Mike Rutherford could not keep pace with the leader, although lapped cars and Rutherford’s never-give-up attitude made things interesting at the end.
Brown got hung up behind a few slower cars on the final circuit, and Rutherford zoomed to his rear bumper. Rutherford went to the low side as Brown maintained his position up high, and the Reanimated Art Tattoo Studio No. 23 beat Rutherford’s Kaylor Petro No. 5k to the stripe by a half-car length. The margin of victory was a scant 0.069-seconds.
Kyle Spence ended up third after starting 15th, while Dave Grube came back after his involvement in the big pileup on the original start to finish an very impressive fourth. Jarid Kunkle, who qualified through the consolation and started 20th in the Memorial, weaved his way to a fifth-place payday.
Despite his scintillating run from the rear, Grube’s fourth place finish cost him the point lead, as Brown’s victory in the double-point event enabled him to leap over Grube and into the championship lead.
A 30-car field of 270cc competitors took part in the Memorial Race. The three heat race winners included Rutherford, Hehnly, and Ken Miller. Nick Skias won the consi.
Kyle Hehnly, Stevens, Pa., was the recipient of some good luck in the 125cc feature when early leader William Manotti, who was running away with the race, suffered engine failure after seven laps were scored.
Hehnly gladly took over at the head of the pack, and his Zortman Erosion Control No. 19 was up to the task, powering Hehnly to his second consecutive victory and his first Memorial Race triumph. He streaked under the checkered flag by almost 1.5-seconds over four-time winner Darren Miller.
Chase Gutshall, who was ninth on the starting grid, threaded his way forward and engaged in a three-way battle for third spot with Justin Harrington, Dylan Adams and Nick Sweigart. Gutshall claimed the position for good with 15 to go, but Miller was too far ahead for the Middletown, Pa. driver to make a serious bid for second.
As the checkered waved, K. Hehnly cruised to the win over D. Miller, with Gutshall racing home in third. Justin Harrington and Sweigart completed the top five.
It was a tough points night for Dave Grube, as he also surrendered the top spot in the 125cc point chase after an early exit in the 35-lapper. Zack Hollinger spun in turn four with seven tours complete, leaving Grube with nowhere to go. Grube’s No. 3d suffered a flat right-front tire and the incident allowed Darren Miller, after his second-place effort, to move past Grube, who was credited with a 16th place finish, in the title fight.
Heats for the 18-car field went to Grube and Harrington.
Dave Ravel started 12th in the main event for the 250cc Four-Strokes, but he was the first to cross the finish line after an exciting battle with Kenny Miller III. Ravel notched his fourth victory of the season in Earl Eveland’s No. 69k, tying him with Miller for the most wins in the Four-Stroke Class. Since the Memorial Day Open Show, Ravel and Miller have won every one of the seven features run by the Four-Strokes; Ravel has taken four of those events while Miller has visited victory lane three times since May 31.
And the duo put on a show for the fans and the Cable 11 television cameras on Saturday, swapping the lead on numerous occasions until Ravel took command of the race with four to go. With Miller in front, Ravel threw several slide jobs on the leader in turns three and four. On each attack, Miller dove off the banking and throttled back by Ravel on the low side. The final slider, with lap 31 about to be scored, saw Miller get a bit sideways as he attempted to turn down and accelerate under Ravel.
Dedicating his win to Eveland’s wife, who is beginning treatment for breast cancer, Ravel stood in victory lane after his hard fought triumph over Miller. Devin Adams mixed it up with the leaders during the first half of the event before settling for third. Rebounding from an early race spin, Eddie Nocera finished fourth and rookie Brian Kramer, who also came back from a mid-race spin after leading the opening 18 laps, finished fifth.
Miller and Ravel recorded heat race wins for the dozen cars that entered the Four-Stroke portion of the Clyde Martin Memorial Race.
Leesport’s Bret Habecker registered his second Memorial Race victory in the Sportsman Class, but only after he and early leader Kerry Lengle tussled for the top spot for several trips around the clay. Habecker took advantage when Lengle was briefly trapped behind a couple of lapped cars, darting low and moving past Lengle to take the lead as they dashed under the flagstand to complete lap 11.
With Habecker firmly in control, some crowd-pleasing jostling for position took place between Curtis R. Miller, Sami Schenck, Lengle, and Ava Bellinger. Miller, a three-time winner this year, flew by Schenck to grab second on a restart, then Lengle utilized a restart move to get by Schenck for third late in the race.
At the end, it was Habecker scoring his third Sportsman triumph of the season, forcing Miller to be satisfied with a runner-up pay envelope. Lengle finished a well deserved third, with Schenck keeping her string of top fives alive by crossing the stripe in fourth. Bellinger wound up fifth.
Miller’s runner-up finish, combined with Anthony Yerger’s sixth-place run enabled the Mertztown, Pa. wheel-twister to overtake Yerger for first placein the Sportsman point chase.
Yerger and Mike Rutherford won heats for the 20 Sportsman racers who entered Saturday’s program.
Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway will be dark this week, August 2nd, as the club takes its second, and final, night off in the 2014 season.
Racing returns on Saturday, August 9, with make-up features for the 600cc and 270cc Micro-Sprints, along with a complete, five division show
comprised of qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap main events for all five weekly divisions.
Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups beginning at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Seven features at no extra charge only means one thing…on August 9, you’ve just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Results of the Clyde Martin Memorial Race:
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Jered Hook, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Ryan Hook, 4.Zach Light, 5.James Morris, 6.Chris Gerhart, 7.Jason Swavely, 8.Jared Esh, 9.Mike Rutherford, 10.Brent Ely, 11.Brett Cronrath, 12.Nate Prazenica, 13.Brittany Brown, 14.Kameron Morral, 15.Dan Souder, 16.Rebecca LaMothe, 17.Chris Panczner, 18.Taylor Troxel, 19.Troy Musselman, 20.Shaun Brandel. DNS: Devin Gundrum.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Bradley Brown, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Kyle Spence, 4.Dave Grube, 5.Jarid Kunkle, 6.Billy Logeman, 7.Mike Uhrich, 8.Nick Skias, 9.Austin Bishop, 10.Michael Binkley, 11.Kenny Miller III, 12.Dan Lane Jr., 13.Toby Blumenshine, 14.Tyler Ulrich, 15.Brandon Heist, 16.Brian Sholley, 17.Nick Sweigart, 18.Christi Sweigart, 19.Ken Miller, 20.Ronald Helmick, 21.Heath Hehnly, 22.Ricky Sechrist Jr., 23.Cameron Bellinger, 24.Danny Braun Jr..
DNQ: Nate Weidman, Elizabeth Helmick, John Davis, Damon Bomgardner, Corey Schmuck Jr., Dennis Fenstermacher.
125cc Micr0-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Kyle Hehnly, 2.Darren Miller, 3.Chase Gutshall, 4.Justin Harrington, 5.Nick Sweigert, 6.Dylan Adams, 7.Alexis Sheely, 8.Brie Weiler, 9.Matthew Donley, 10.Thomas Kelly, 11.Zack Hollinger, 12.James Wampole, 13.Jas Hehnly, 14.Brandon Gibble, 15.Dustin Adams, 16.Dave Grube, 17.William Manotti, 18.Walt Wampole.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 35 laps: 1.Dave Ravel, 2.Kenny Miller III, 3.Devin Adams, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Brian Kramer, 6.Kassidy Michael, 7.Jarrett Imler, 8.Ronald Wechter, 9.Lewis Kepple, 10.Ron Good, 11.Donna Geib, 12.Zachary Young.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Bret Habecker, 2.Curtis R. Miller, 3.Kerry Lengle, 4.Sami Schenck, 5.Ava Bellinger, 6.Anthony Yerger, 7.Ken Miller, 8.Dave Kemp, 9.Bobby Shanaman, 10.Brandon Mundis, 11.Brandon Bucher, 12.Wesley Fasnacht, 13.Steve Smith Sr., 14.Megan Mercado, 15.Jenna Heagy, 16.Randy Lewis, 17.Patrick Kirn, 18.Brian Becker, 19.Kim Minzer, 20.Mike Rutherford.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts