If you’re a fan of good old, classic short track racing on a banked oval of clay…with competitors dicing side by side, inches apart with the drivers’ arms furiously flailing on their steering wheels because there’s no wing to lock down the metallic steeds they are pedaling, then brother, we’ve got a weekend for you…
Following the the season’s second event for the mighty Midgets of the American Racing Drivers Club at Linda’s Speedway in Jonestown, Pa., the cars and stars of ARDC will make their very first appearance – ever – at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in Newmanstown, Pa. The 2015 campaign might be the 76th for the oldest Midget racing sanctioning body in the USA, but the July 4 race will be historic because it’s the first time the illustrious organization competes at one of the region’s finest Micro-Sprint facilities.
After the event at Linda’s on Friday, July 3rd, the ARDC Midget series will make a short drive to the Clyde, where they will spend the Independence Day holiday as the headline division of Star Spangled Havoc. The Midgets will be joined by Wingless 600cc and 270cc Sprints, making this event a trifecta for fans of non-wing, open cockpit competition.
A conscious decision to schedule more races on smaller, clay covered bullrings led the ARDC Governing Board to request an event at Clyde Martin. Lanco’s Board of Directors mulled over the proposal for a few months before agreeing to host the Midgets on the Fourth of July.
“In the end, the Board decided we could gain quite a bit of positive exposure (for the Lanco sanctioned speedway) by hosting this event,” said Board member Tim Bortz. “We’ve got such a great facility and run very efficient and entertaining events, but many people in the racing community don’t know who we are or where we’re located,” stated Bortz, “and we felt an ARDC event, with their great reputation and incredible racing, can help introduce Lanco and the Clyde to many racers and fans.”
Last September, at the track’s Labor Day Shootout, a couple of ARDC teams staged an exhibition run to show Lanco’s fans and officials what the Midgets can do, and also to gauge the feasibility of conducting an actual race there. Ryan Greth and Jim Radney made some laps and the session opened serious dialogue between ARDC and the Lanco Board about scheduling an event for the traveling series.
An off-season re-grading of the Clyde Martin oval should benefit the Midget’s pedal mashers, as the progressive banking at both ends of the speedway once again goes all the way up to the outside guardrail. Eliminating the “shelf” that developed at the top of the track will enable the mighty Midgets, as well as the 600’s and 270’s, to blast through the corners with the right-rear tires planted against the fence or, if they choose, catfish around the bottom as they negotiate the turns.
Several ARDC throttle-jockeys are graduates of Lanco’s Micro-Sprint divisions, so they’ve got ample experience on the “biggest little track in the USA”, albeit in racecars that are not quite as big, or fast, as the Midgets in which they’ll compete at Star Spangled Havoc.
Steve Drevicki, the reigning ARDC Champion, has been a feature winner in the Clyde’s 270cc Sprint Class, and he’s also a former point champ in the Sportsman Class. When the race at Lanco was first announced on Facebook last week, Drevicki was one of the first to click the “Like” button.
Ryan Greth has some big wins in 600cc races at the Clyde, including a $10,000 Micromania victory just a few seasons ago. Greth will pilot one of the Hyper Chassis Midgets, along with Jim Radney and Tony DiMattia. In 2013, DiMattia captured a PA 600 Speedweek triumph at Clyde Martin, a win that propelled him to the Speedweek title.
Given the success of his Micro-Sprints at the Newmanstown oval over the years, it’s a good bet that Mike Dicely, Greth, Radney, and the rest of the Hyper staff are plotting ways to adapt the Micro set-ups on the still fledgling Hyper Midgets. The race at Clyde Martin, along with events at Linda’s Speedway, are the perfect places to author break-out performances for the Hyper cars.
Brendan Bright, Bruce Buckwalter Jr., Brett Arndt, and PJ Gargiulo are some of the other ARDC standouts who have logged laps at the Clyde in Micro-Sprint divisions and hope to use that seat time to run up front in the Star Spangled Havoc main event.
While details about the exact format and times are still being worked out, officials of both organizations wanted to release the announcement regarding the confirmation of the event so that race teams and fans can circle their calendars and save the date.
Star Spangled Havoc will include, along with the ARDC event, Firecracker Frenzy for Wingless 600cc Sprints and the 270cc Clash at the Clyde, which will also be contested in non-wing fashion for the first time in the race’s history.
Additional information and details will be released in the coming months, and the info can be found on the Lanco Club’s website at www.lancomicrosprint.com, its Facebook page (facebook.com/ClydeMartinMemorialSpeedway), and on Twitter (@Lanco_CMMS).