Saturday, July 18, on Mongoose Chassis Night, Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway somehow dodged a series of thunderstorms that rumbled through the central and eastern parts of the Keystone State, and there were at least five drivers who were very happy about that.
Jason Swavely picked up his second 600cc victory of the season in the evening’s nightcap, and Mike Rutherford did likewise in the 270cc main event. Donna Geib also notched her second triumph of the 2015 campaign in the feature for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints, while Curtis R. Miller (Sportsman) and Brandon Gibble (125cc) registered their first wins of the year.
The Mongoose Chassis 25-lap mains were the final tune up for Lanco’s weekly competitors before this week’s biggie…the Clyde Martin Memorial Race presented by Gold Rush Trailer Sales. The annual event offers double points as all five divisions compete in 35-lap features; the track’s longest races of the season. In addition, the large trophies presented to the Memorial Race victors are handed down from winner to winner in each class, unless one driver is able to earn three Memorial wins in one class. Then he or she gets to keep the trophy, and a new one is ordered for the following year.
Only Lanco club members who have entered at least half of the year’s point-paying races are eligible to compete in the Clyde Martin Memorial Race.
Fleetwood’s Jason Swavely had to wait until the last race of the night on July 18 to score his second win of the ’15 season in the 600cc division. Swavely, who started fourth, moved to the runner-up position in the early going, then hounded leader Shaun Brandel for a few circuits before a caution period provided the turning point of the race.
On a lap four restart, Swavely executed a perfect slide job in turns one and two, and Brandel was not able to turn back under Swavely’s mount to reclaim the top spot. Swavely immediately pulled away as the action from second through sixth heated up.
The previous week’s winner, Jarid Kunkle, climbed from eighth starting position to challenge Brandel for second, and 11th starter Kyle Spence was hot on the heels of Kunkle’s No. 75K.
Kunkle and Spence worked their way past Brandel to run second and third, then battled furiously among themselves as Swavely cruised out front. Behind them, Chris Gerhart and Heath Hehnly were threading a path toward the front, eventually reaching the fourth and fifth positions.
Swavely got caught in some thick lapped traffic near the end of the 25-lapper, enabling Kunkle and Spence to close in on the final trip around the clay. Swavely took the checkered flag by a slimmed down margin of 0.359-seconds over Spence, who nipped Kunkle for runner-up honors at the stripe. Gerhart and Hehnly completed the top five. With his fifth place finish, Heath Hehnly became the new 600cc point leader. The Manheim driver takes a 13 point advantage into the Clyde Martin Memorial over Rutherford, whose ninth-place effort on Saturday dropped him one spot in the standings.
With 27 of the 600cc racers in the pit area on Mongoose Chassis Night, the three heat race victories went to Gerhart, Brandel, and Spence. Ryan Hook won the consolation race.
Cameron Bellinger darted from his pole starting position to lead the early stages of the 270cc main event. The focus of everyone’s attention, however, was Mike Rutherford, the Master of the Micros from Lititz, PA. Rutherford was storming from eighth to second in just four revolutions, bringing ninth-starter Bradley Brown with him.
Rutherford slipped under Bellinger on a lap nine restart and the duo ran wheel to wheel for an entire circuit with Rutherford edging ahead to lead lap ten. He cleared Bellinger’s No. 6 as they headed down the backstretch and was never seriously challenged from that point.
Fierce racing for the second spot highlighted the second half of the 25-lap main as Bellinger, Brown, Toby Blumenshine, and Ken Miller waged a four-way battle for position. Brown finally secured the runner-up spot, but Blumenshine made sure he wasn’t comfortable over the frantic final laps. Brown fended off each attack and wound up second, 1.302-seconds behind Rutherford at the finish.
Blumenshine settled for third while K. Miller and Bellinger finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Rutherford’s second points-paying victory of the season, combined with Nick Skias’ 20th place finish (he was involved in a mishap with 14 complete that knocked him out of the race) propelled Rutherford into the top spot in the 270cc standings. He now leads Skias by a mere ten points and Miller by just 23, with the double-point Memorial Race looming this Saturday.
Twenty-four cars signed in for 270cc competition on Saturday. Nick Sweigart, Rutherford, and Ken Miller triumphed in the heat races.
Defending Sportsman Class champion Curtis R. Miller was winless in 2015…until Saturday night, that is. Miller, from Mertztown, PA, ducked under Ava Bellinger in turns three and four, then surged ahead as they blasted down the homestretch to complete lap five.
Devin Adams, who started eighth, slipped past Bellinger for second on a ninth lap restart. He was soon joined by 12th starting Dan Lane Jr. and Jason Swavely (subbing for Joe Ilg in the No. 22j), who took the original green in 17th. Adams, a one-time winner in Sportsman action this year, could not catch the high flying Miller, but he held on to second because Lane and Swavely were tussling with each other for third.
Curtis R. Miller took the checkered flag by almost three-quarters of a second over Adams, with Lane besting Swavely for third position. Sami Schenck earned the fifth place pay envelope.
Sheena Schaefer, Ken Miller, and Angelo Mercado were victorious in Sportsman qualifying heats. Dave Ravel, the feature winner on July 11, captured the consolation win. A total of 31 Sportsman Micros took part in Saturday’s program.
Brandon Gibble recently relocated to Virginia, due to his job. He made the drive back to PA very worthwhile on Saturday, as he drove his No. 00G to his first career victory in the 25-lap feature for the 125cc Micro-Sprints.
Gibble started on the pole and led all the way, beating Chase Gutshall to Tim Gehret’s checkered flag by just about a half-second. Jas Hehnly wound up third, point leader and five-time feature winner Dave Grube finished fourth, and Justin Harrington placed fifth.
Gutshall and William Manotti won heat races for the 22-car field of 125cc racers.
Manheim’s Donna Geib started on the outside of row two as the 250cc Four-Stroke main went green. A couple of cautions involving some of the cars in front of her suddenly had Geib and her Hosler’s Tire/ Tents for You No. 82 on the outside of the front row – before a single lap had been scored.
Geib took full advantage of her golden opportunity, bolting to the lead on lap one and never giving it up to record her second Four-Stroke triumph of the year.
Zack Hollinger, a three-time victor this season, finished a distant second with Mike Coen picking up third place cash. Kassidy Michael rebounded from an early spin to finish fourth and Zak Vickers rounded out the top five when the race ended.
There were 14 of the Four-Strokes on hand, with heat race victories going to Michael and Geib.
News Clips from the Clyde…
Tanner Gray, the 16 year-old son of NHRA Pro Stock driver Shane Gray and the grandson of NHRA veteran Johnny Gray, made his 600cc debut in Pennsylvania last weekend. Gray finished eighth at Trail-Way on Friday night, then impressively qualified for the feature at Clyde Martin on Saturday. He finished 20th, completing 17 laps in the main, falling out when some wing mounts broke. The front of his top wing dropped dramatically, altering his vision and causing severe drag on the car. Despite the early retirement, both Tanner and Shane were pleased with his maiden voyage and loved the racing at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. They expect to return at some point, as Shane intends to enter Tanner in “about 75-80 races next year.”
Blue Ridge Cable Channel 11 recorded the five main events on Saturday, the first of seven scheduled delayed-broadcasts of the season from the Clyde. The Cable 11 crew worked out of a brand new production truck that was “roughly 80% complete” according to producer/director Jason Will. “We’ll be able to do some really exciting things in the next few weeks, as we finish installation of equipment and wiring in this truck,” said Will.
Cable 11 will record this Saturday’s Clyde Martin Memorial Race 35-lap features with broadcast scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The Clyde will be dark on Saturday, August 1st, as the Lanco club observes its second and final night off of the 2015 racing season. After the Clyde Martin Memorial on July 25, the speedway’s next race date is August 8.
Before the week off, though, is the big one…the Clyde Martin Memorial Race sponsored by Gold Rush Trailer Sales, with double points and 35-lap features! It’s this Saturday, and you’ve just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Kyle Spence, 3.Jarid Kunkle, 4.Chris Gerhart, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Kenny Miller III, 7.Dan Souder, 8.Brent Ely, 9.Mike Rutherford, 10.Rebecca LaMothe, 11.Justin Whittall, 12.Ryan Groff, 13.Ryan Hook, 14.Jered Hook, 15.Jared Esh, 16.Zach Light, 17.Taylor Troxel, 18.Brittany Brown, 19.Troy Musselman, 20.Tanner Gray, 21.Shaun Brandel, 22.Jenna Heagy, 23.Brooklyn Gable, 24.Chris Panczner. DNS: Kameron Morral.
DNQ: Will Urkuski, Dylan Binkley.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Bradley Brown, 3.Toby Blumenshine, 4.Ken Miller, 5.Cameron Bellinger, 6.Billy Logeman, 7.Kenny Miller III, 8.Mike Uhrich, 9.Tyler Ulrich, 10.Christi Sweigart, 11.Brian Sholley, 12.Kyle Spence, 13.Dan Lane Jr., 14.Dave Grube, 15.Nate Weidman, 16.Mark Yoder, 17.Derek Ecenrode, 18.Nick Sweigart, 19.Elizabeth Helmick, 20.Nick Skias, 21.Daryl Davis, 22.Brock Whisler, 23.Dustin Fox, 24.Dylan Adams.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Curtis R. Miller, 2.Devin Adams, 3.Dan Lane Jr., 4.Jason Swavely, 5.Sami Schenck, 6.Kerry Lengle, 7.John Davis, 8.Toby Blumenshine, 9.Patrick Kirn, 10.Bret Habecker, 11.Jas Hehnly, 12.Brandon Mundis, 13.Dave Ravel, 14.Robert Shanaman, 15.Adam Harnish, 16.Adam Minzer, 17.Megan Mercado, 18.Dennis Fenstermacher, 19.Ava Bellinger, 20.Sheena Schaefer, 21.Jeff Boyer, 22.Michael Kreiser, 23.Ken Miller, 24.Angelo Mercado. DNS: Brandon Bucher.
DNQ: Dave Schroeder, Cody Sechrist, Cody Boyer, Brian Becker, Brian Kramer, Ricky Sechrist.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Brandon Gibble, 2.Chase Gutshall, 3.Jas Hehnly, 4.Dave Grube, 5.Justin Harrington, 6.William Manotti, 7.Alexis Sheely, 8.Jason Hehnly, 9.Tajae Adams, 10.Brie Weiler, 11.Zack Hollinger, 12.Jarrett Imler, 13.Bobby Braxton, 14.Kelsey Heiney, 15.Kyler Heiney, 16.Dustin Adams, 17.Corey Schmuck Jr., 18.Walt Wampole, 19.Austin Graby, 20.Kody Hibshman, 21.Jimmy Wampole, 22.Matthew Donley.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Donna Geib, 2.Zack Hollinger, 3.Mike Coen, 4.Kassidy Michael, 5.Zak Vickers, 6.Eddie Nocera, 7.Lewis Kepple Jr., 8.Scott Renninger, 9.Dick Huzzard, 10.Jarrett Imler, 11.Brian Kramer, 12.Brandon Yoder, 13.Devin Adams. DNS: Ronald Wechter.
By Barry Angstadt – https://www.facebook.com/barry.angstadt?fref=ts&ref=br_tf