Mike Koehler considered Saturday’s visit to Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway as more of test session, rather than all-out competition.
“We’re heading to Illinois for some big races out there, and this track is the closest thing we’ve got to the tracks out there,” explained Koehler as he prepared for just his second-ever start at the Newmanstown, Pa. oval. “We want to get a good set up on the car for those races.”
Based on his performance in the Clyde’s Memorial Day Open Show presented by Bud’s Spring Service, Koehler is definitely ready to take on the best of the midwest in those big races.
Koehler, from Williamsport, Pa., held off some of the best 600cc Micro-Sprint competitors in the northeast to score an upset victory in the 30-lap Memorial Day Open Show. Joining him in the winner’s circle were Kyle Spence (270cc), who notched a last lap, last corner win over Jesse Maurer; Mike Rutherford (Sportsman), Maurer (125cc), and Kenny Miller III (250cc Four-Stroke).
The 600cc feature had Koehler and Brian Carber lined up on the front row and, after some first lap dicing between the pair, Koehler cleared Carber’s No. 32 and darted to a big advantage as Carber, Chris Gerhart, and Jason Swavely battled for the runner-up position. The trio caught Koehler as the leader negotiated some heavy lapped traffic on laps ten and eleven.
Carber attempted to dive under Koehler in turn three, but drifted up slightly and tapped the left-rear wheel on the No. 22k. Carber’s mount turned completely sideways but he miraculously saved it, losing only two positions in the process.
Gerhart and Swavely were now second and third and 18th starter James Morris was rumbling forward, taking the seventh spot just past the halfway point of the 30-lapper.
Swavely wrestled second away from Gerhart with five to go but Koehler, who was incredibly fast in the highest line possible, had checked out. The Lanco club was experimenting with double-file restarts in the non-points race on Saturday, and a yellow with two circuits remaining wiped out Koehler’s big lead.
On the restart, both Swavely and Carber ganged up on the leader, zipping past Koehler as they charged into the first turn, but another yellow flag, before a lap could be completed, negated the moves and placed Koehler back in front.
“I was never so happy for a caution,” laughed Koehler afterward.
The next restart was single file and Koehler was not about to mess up his second chance. He dashed away to a lead of three to four car-lengths as Swavely and Carber dueled for second.
Koehler flashed under the checkered by 0.800-seconds to score the win with Swavely fighting off Carber for second place money. Morris wound up fourth and Heath Hehnly finished fifth.
With 35 of the 600cc Micros in attendance, qualifying heats went to Swavely, Austin Bishop, Carber, and Kenny Miller III. Twin consolation races were taken by Jon Keller and Morris.
Jesse Maurer passed Richie Hartman on the fourth revolution to lead the early stages of the 270cc main. Maurer gassed his No. 88g to a huge lead as five cars, led by 11th starting Kyle Spence, tussled for the runner-up slot. Spence passed Hartman for second place on the tenth trip around the clay and Rutherford took over third spot on the same lap.
Spence, running the extreme high line and Maurer, who was as low as possible, began an exciting side by side duel for the top spot on a lap 17 restart. Spence had a nose in front as the duo hit the stripe on laps 19 and 20, but Maurer would not give up even as Spence pulled ahead and appeared to open enough daylight between himself and Maurer to secure the win.
Maurer fought back as the laps clicked off quickly, reclaiming the lead on a restart with three to go. Spence, from Bear, DE, altered his line, dropping to the bottom on the final circuit. He drove under Maurer, who left just enough space in turns three and four for Spence to stick the nose of his No. 25k alongside the leader. They accelerated off the final corner in wheel to wheel fashion, and Spence won the drag race to the finish line by a scant 0.043-seconds – less than half a car – to notch his third triumph of the season.
Maurer settled for second with Mike Rutherford, 19th-starting Cameron Bellinger, and Billy Logeman completing the top five.
Nick Sweigart, Bradley Brown, and Ken Miller were victorious in heat races for the 31-car field of 270’s. Bellinger captured the consolation victory.
Mike Rutherford took the green flag in the Sportsman feature from the 12th position. The Lititz wheel-twister rocketed to the runner-up position by lap ten as polesitter Tyler Reinhardt set the pace.
Rutherford throttled off the bottom of turn four to take the lead on lap 13, then steadily motored away to his third Sportsman win of the season by 2.5-seconds over Reinhardt. Ken Miller emerged from an entertaining battle with Jason Swavely to earn third place cash and Toby Blumenshine, already a three-time winner in 2015 Sportsman competition, finishing fifth.
Reinhardt, unfortunately, came up light at the scales after the race so Miller moved up to second and John Davis was credited with a fifth-place finish.
Four heats were needed for the 34-car field of Sportsman racers, with victories going to Rutherford, Jas Hehnly, Swavely, and Blumenshine. Consolation wins went to Angelo Mercado and Curtis R. Miller.
The Mount Joy Outlaw, Jesse Maurer, made a triumphant return to the 125cc division on Saturday, driving Gary Gorski’s No. 21 to the 30-lap victory.
Maurer, a four-time point champ in the 125cc Class, snatched the top spot from Shane Braxton on the fifth tour, then cruised to the win over Richie Hartman, Shane Braxton, Dan Lane Jr., and William Manotti (who’d recorded the last two feature wins for the 125cc Micros).
With 23 cars signed in for action, the three heat race winners included Chase Gutshall, Hartman, and Dave Grube.
Birdsboro’s Kenny Miller III has experienced many things in his short but successful racing career, but it’s a safe bet that he never flipped his car at the start of a race and then roared back to take the win…until Saturday night, that is.
When polesitter Donna Geib turned sideways in the middle of three and four on the opening lap of the 250cc Four-Stroke feature, Miller could not avoid contact and ended up lying on his side.
Able to restart, Miller charged from the rear of the field to pass Jarrett Imler for the lead on lap 20, then went on to win comfortably over Imler, Lewis Kepple Jr., Geib, Eddie Nocera, and Kassidy Michael.
Devin Adams won the lone heat race for the ten Four-Stroke drivers who entered Saturday’s event.
The Lanco club was proud to have Adam Harnish in the Sportsman field for the Memorial Day Open Show. Harnish was on leave from the George W. Bush Aircraft Carrier and, even though he wasn’t able to qualify for the feature, Harnish enjoyed his time behind the wheel of a Micro-Sprint.
The point chases resume this Saturday, May 30, as the five weekly divisions return to action at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. The 600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Strokes will compete in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races.
Gates open at 3:30 with warm-ups getting underway at 5 p.m. The first heat goes green at 6:00.
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Mike Koehler, 2.Jason Swavely, 3.Brian Carber, 4.James Morris, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Kenny Miller III, 7.PJ Williams, 8.Tony DiMattia, 9.Zach Light, 10.Greg Stevens, 11.Dan Jones, 12.Jared Esh, 13.Brent Ely, 14.Mike Rutherford, 15.Chris Gerhart, 16.Austin Bishop, 17.Brittany Brown, 18.Will Urkuski, 19.Chris Panczner, 20.Tyler Walton, 21.Corry Roth, 22.Dan Souder, 23.Jarid Kunkle, 24.Jon Keller.
DNQ: Rebecca LaMothe, Matt Carr, Justin Whittall, Danny Braun, Jenna Heagy, Jack Conover, Sammy LaMothe, Bret Cronrath, Shaun Brandel, Shane Lewis, Steve Whary.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Cameron Bellinger, 5.Billy Logeman, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Kenny Miller III, 8.Dan Lane Jr., 9.Toby Blumenshine, 10.Nick Sweigart, 11.Brent Shearer, 12.Nate Weidman, 13.Tyler Ulrich, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Brandon Heist, 16.Dylan Adams, 17.Dave Williams, 18.Mike Skias, 19.Josh Stoyer, 20.Ken Miller, 21.Richie Hartman, 22.Heath Hehnly, 23.Kyle Hehnly, 24.Bradley Brown.
DNQ: Nick Skias, Dana LaMothe, Nicole Whisler, Brock Whisler, Daryl Davis, Dustin Fox, Sean Zechman.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Ken Miller, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Toby Blumenshine, 5.John Davis, 6.Devin Adams, 7.Joe Ilg, 8.Lee Reinhardt, 9.Kerry Lengle, 10.Brandon Bucher, 11.Patrick Kirn, 12.Robert Shanaman, 13.Steve Smith Sr., 14.Brandon Heist, 15.Jas Hehnly, 16.Angelo Mercado, 17.Ava Bellinger, 18.Sheena Schaefer, 19.Jeff Boyer, 20.Megan Mercado, 21.Sami Schenck, 22.Curtis R. Miller, 23.Alan Durham. DQ: Tyler Reinhardt.
DNQ: Adam Minzer, Robert Simmerman, Randy Landis, Anthony Yerger, Dennis Fenstermacher, Adam Harnish, Chris Heagy, Brian Kramer, Charles Hellinger, Brad Kemp.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Shane Braxton, 4.Dan Lane Jr., 5.William Manotti, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Chase Gutshall, 8.Bradley Brown, 9.Jarrett Imler, 10.Corey Schmuck Jr., 11.Alexis Sheely, 12.Brooklyn Shearer, 13.Brie Weiler, 14.Brandon Gibble, 15.Jas Hehnly, 16.Kyle Hehnly, 17.Jimmy Wampole, 18.Tajae Adams, 19.Walt Wampole, 20.Decker Morrow, 21.Austin Graby. DNS: Kody Hibshman, Dustin Adams.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Kenny Miller III, 2.Jarrett Imler, 3.Lewis Kepple Jr., 4.Donna Geib, 5.Eddie Nocera, 6.Kassidy Michael, 7.Ronald Wechter, 8.Devin Adams, 9.Earl Eveland. DNS: Zach Hollinger.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts&ref=br_tf