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Morris Wins 600cc Nailbiter; 2nd Straight For Spence

It’s not often that you’ll hear a race driver say that he or she actually feels badly about winning, that he/she is heartbroken because they beat a rival to the checkered flag. But that is exactly what happened on Saturday night at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.

“I really feel sorry for Jason (Swavely)…he was so strong tonight…this was his race to win,” explained a sincere James Morris as he stood in victory lane after the 25-lap 600cc main event.

Morris captured an exciting, nail-biting triumph to record his first win of the young season at the Clyde. He was joined in the winner’s circle by Kyle Spence (270cc), Mike Rutherford (Sportsman), Dave Grube (125cc), and Jarrett Imler (250cc Four-Stroke).

When the 600cc Micro Sprint feature went green, sixth-starting Jason Swavely immediately drifted up to the fence, rim-riding through turns one and two and rocketing to the runner-up position by the time he reached the end of the backstretch. One circuit later, Swavely ducked under polesitter Kenny Miller III to snatch the lead.

Morris, who started third, took second from Miller and began his pursuit of Swavely, who quickly built up a huge advantage over the field. On a lap nine restart, Morris saw an opportunity to go for the top spot as he threw a huge slide job on Swavely in one and two. The Riegelsville driver accelerated onto the backchute with the lead, but four tours later it was Swavely, from Fleetwood, Pa., powering back around Morris to reclaim the point.

Morris stayed close, attempting to shove the nose of his No. 75x under the leader on several occasions. His lucky break came on the 24th trip around the oval, as he pinned Swavely behind a lapped car, sneaking by the No. 14 on the low side while they raced off turn four.

Swavely tried one more power move on the high side in one and two on the final circuit, but couldn’t pull it off and Morris blasted under the checkered with a margin of just 0.203-seconds over Swavely. Heath Hehnly, opening night winner Mike Rutherford, and April 18th victor Jared Esh completed the top five.

“I have so much respect for Jason; I know we can race hard like that and it will be clean and lots of fun, although it’s really intense,” said Morris. “But I do feel bad for him…it’s tough to lose a race like that. He just got trapped behind that slower car and I took advantage.”

Morris, Esh, and Swavely registered heat race victories as 29 of the 600’s signed in for competition on Saturday. Chris Gerhart, after getting collected in a crash in his heat race, came back to win the consolation.

The 270cc main featured some of the same wheel-to-wheel, hair raising action as the 600cc headliner, but when it was all said and done, Kyle Spence picked up his second consecutive triumph – and each victory has been in a different car!

Cameron Bellinger, driving the Mercado-Bellinger Racing No. 3m that Spence gassed to the win on April 18, out-dueled Brian Sholley for the top spot as the duo battled for the first two trips around the Clyde Martin clay.

Spence, who started seventh, rumbled up to third in just three laps, then snatched second from Sholley on a fourth-lap restart. On the ninth revolution, Spence, who hails from Bear, DE, got a huge run on the high side in turns one and two. He launched off the banking and shot to the low line down the backstrech, slingshotting past Bellinger to grab the lead. One tour later, Bellinger returned the favor, bolting back in front of Spence to reclaim the number one position. But Spence wasn’t about to concede…

The second generation racer kept working the top, almost pulling alongside Bellinger on numerous occasions. His perseverance finally paid off, as Spence swept to the outside of Bellinger off turn four and stuck his nose in front to lead lap 17. He edged ahead in one and two, then steadily pulled away to win by slightly more than one second over Bellinger, who overcame a misfortune-filled first two events of the season to post a well deserved runner-up finish, albeit in a borrowed car.

Ninth-starting Nick Skias had a good run to claim third place cash, while Mike Rutherford came from 18th on the starting grid to notch a fourth place effort. Nick Sweigert rounded out the top five.

“My dad’s birthday is coming up in a few days, so it’s great to win this one for him,” noted Spence. “He gives me a great car every time we race, and I appreciate all his hard work,” added Kyle as he glanced over at his smiling father, former 270cc and 600cc competitor Jack Spence.

With 27 of the 270cc racers in the pit area, heat race victories went to Spence, Dan Lane Jr., and Sweigert. Rutherford was forced to run the consolation, which he won, after he suffered a flat tire in his heat race.

On April 18, Rutherford tried in vain to get by Toby Blumenshine in the Sportsman feature. Blumenshine held on, however, to pick up his first career Micro Sprint victory at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. The 25th of April would produce a different result, though…

With Blumenshine in front once again, Rutherford’s car came to life in the middle stages of the 25-lapper and he began picking off car after car by throttling around the high groove at both ends of the speedway. Rutherford slipped past Angelo Mercado for third, then switched lines and went low to pass Ava Bellinger for second with four laps remaining.

Rutherford, from Lititz, rapidly closed the gap between himself and the race leader. Blumenshine left him just enough room to draw even in the fourth corner on the final circuit, and Rutherford took full advantage, motoring off the corner ahead of his pal to take his second Sportsman victory of the season.

Blumenshine wound up second, with Ava Bellinger, Angelo Mercado, and Jamie Fetterolf completing the top five.

Qualifying heat wins were taken by Bellinger, Dave Ravel, and Ken Miller. The consolation victory went to Robert Shanaman. There were 32 Sportsman in action on Saturday.

Denver, Pa’s Dave Grube has got to believe in the old adage that “sometimes it’s better to be lucky than good.” While Grube has certainly been good, running up front and able to capitalize on some golden opportunities, a pair of feature wins have come his way due to the misfortune suffered by others.

Grube has climbed out of his Mongoose Chassis, Mann Contracting, Nolt Brothers Machine Shop No. 3D after all three of the Clyde’s 125cc main events this year. On opening night, Grube inherited the top spot – and the win – when the race leader spun in turn two. The second week of the 2015 campaign saw Grube get to the front quickly and pretty much dominate the feature. Last Saturday night, it was another “gift” that provided a third straight triumph for the No. 3D.

Chase Gutshall had the race locked up, leading comfortably after passing a strong running Brie Weiler on the 11th revolution. As Yogi Berra so eloquently stated, though, “it ain’t over till it’s over.” Gutshall’s mount ran out of fuel with two to go, handing the lead and a third consecutive win to Grube.

At the finish, it was Grube over Jason Hehnly with Justin Harrington, Corey Schmuck Jr., and Nick Sweigert finishing third through fifth.

Heat wins for the 21 car field of 125cc racers went to Gutshall and William Manotti.

On April 18, Jarrett Imler came tantalizingly close to his first career win at the Clyde. One week later, he scored that initial victory in a non-stop, green-to-checkered run by the 250cc Four-Stroke Micros. Imler, from Leola, Pa., completed the 25-lap trek in 5 minutes, 11 seconds, crossing the stripe by just over a half-second in front of Eddie Nocera.

Imler stalked early leader Brian Kramer for several laps, then pounced when the lead duo split a lapped car with five to go. Kramer went high and lost momentum as the slower car drifted up the banking slightly, allowing Imler to scoot by on the inside.

The teen, in his second season of racing at Clyde Martin, went on to win over Nocera, who charged into the runner-up position with three tours remaining. Dave Ravel, whose two race win streak ended on Saturday, finished third with Kramer fading to fourth. Kassidy Michael placed fifth.

Imler made it a clean sweep on Saturday by also winning the lone heat race for the 11 Four-Strokes.

A grand total of 121 Micro Sprints took part in Saturday’s program.

This week, as the calendar turns to May, Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action on Saturday, the second day of the new month. The five weekly divisions (600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Strokes) once again battle in qualifying heats, consolation races, and 25-lap main events.

Coming up on May 9 is Fan Appreciation Night sponsored by AJ Blosenski Trash Hauling & Recycling and Grace Fellowship Church. Special recognition will be given to the Wounded Heroes Fund and Ivan Stoltzfus, who traveled across the United States in his “Johnabilt” tractor last summer, will be on hand.

On Fan Appreciation Night, May 9, the price for a general admission ticket is just $1.00. Spectators and racers are also being asked to bring a canned food item that night for donation to a local charitable organization.

On both May 2nd and May 9th, the gates will open at 3:30. Warm-ups begin at 5 p.m. and the first heat race goes green at 6:00.

Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!

600cc Micro Sprint Finish, 25 laps: 1.James Morris, 2.Jason Swavely, 3.Heath Hehnly, 4.Mike Rutherford, 5.Jared Esh, 6.Brittany Brown, 7.Austin Bishop, 8.Chris Gerhart, 9.Zach Light, 10.Dan Souder, 11.Eric Bodine, 12.Kenny Miller III, 13.Justin Whittall, 14.Shaun Brandel, 15.Ryan Groff, 16.Kameron Morral, 17.Brooklyn Gable, 18.Daniel Braun, 19.Dylan Binkley, 20.Will Urkuski, 21.Rebecca LaMothe, 22.Taylor Troxel, 23.Steve Whary, 24.Brent Ely.
DNQ: Troy Musselman, Josh Conover, Patrick Ely, Jenna Heagy, Jack Conover.

270cc Micro Sprint Finish, 25 laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Cameron Bellinger, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Mike Rutherford, 5.Nick Sweigert, 6.Dan Lane Jr, 7.Mike Uhrich, 8.Richie Hartman, 9.Dave Grube, 10.Brian Sholley, 11.Tyler Ulrich, 12.Brent Shearer, 13.Ken Miller, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Ricky Sechrist, 16.Kyle Hehnly, 17.Dylan Adams, 18.William Manotti, 19.Dustin Fox, 20.Bradley Brown, 21.Toby Blumenshine, 22.Kenny Miller III, 23.Billy Logeman, 24.Nocole Whisler.
DNQ: Brock Whisler, Nate Weidman, Anthony Yerger.

Sportsman Micro Sprint Finish, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Toby Blumenshine, 3.Ava Bellinger, 4.Angelo Mercado, 5.James Fetterolf, 6.Ken Miller, 7.Curtis R. Miller, 8.Bret Habecker, 9.Devin Adams, 10.Dave Ravel, 11.Dave Kemp, 12.Patrick Kirn, 13.Kerry Lengle, 14.Sami Schenck, 15.Dave Schroeder, 16.Megan Mercado, 17.Randy Landis, 18.Joe Ilg, 19.Jas Hehnly, 20.Michael Kreiser, 21.Brandon Mundis, 22.Brandon Bucher, 23.Anthony Yerger, 24.Robert Shanaman.
DNQ: Adam Minzer, Dennis Fenstermacher, Joshua Sears, Jeff Boyer, Steve Smith Sr., Katelin Vragovich, John Davis, Brian Becker.

125cc Micro Sprint Finish, 25 laps: 1.Dave Grube, 2.Jason Hehnly, 3.Justin Harrington, 4.Corey Schmuck Jr, 5.Nick Sweigert, 6.Alexis Sheely, 7.Brianna Gerhart, 8.Austin Graby, 9.Brandon Gibble, 10.Tajae Adams, 11.Kelsey Heiney, 12.Brie Weiler, 13.Jarrett Imler, 14.Chase Gutshall, 15.James Wampole, 16.Michael Zimmerman, 17.Walt Wampole, 18.Jas Hehnly, 19.Zack Hollinger, 20.William Manotti. DNS: Kody Hibshman.

250cc Four-Stroke Micro Sprint Finish, 25 laps: 1.Jarrett Imler, 2.Eddie Nocera, 3.Dave Ravel, 4.Brian Kramer, 5.Kassidy Michael, 6.Donna Geib, 7.Dick Huzzard, 8.Zackery Vickers, 9.Ronald Wechter, 10.Lewis Kepple Jr., 11.Zach Hollinger.

By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts&ref=br_tf