Brickerville, Pa. - Paul Graham, from Malvern, Pa., made good use of his pole-position starting spot, as he led all 35-laps in winning his second 600cc Micro-Sprint feature of the season at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
And Graham, a graduate of Quarter-Midget competition, could not have picked a better race to win. Saturday's triumph came in the track's annual Clyde Martin Memorial Race sponsored by Gold Rush Trailer Sales and Auto Service, a prestigious affair that offers double-points and the longest main events of the year at the Brickerville oval. By virtue of his victory, Graham also becomes a guaranteed starter for the West End Fair Nationals in Gilbert, Pa. on August 27.
Joining the teen in the Lanco winner's circle on Saturday were Todd Steffy (270cc); Cody Drace (125cc); Jason Hehnly (Sportsman); and Richie Hartman (250cc Four-Stroke). The five victorious chauffeurs were recipients of the Clyde Martin Memorial trophies, which they are allowed to keep until next year's event, when they will be handed over to the winners of the 2010 edition of this classic event.
As Graham set the pace during the first half of the 600cc main, a trio of wheel-twisters were blasting their way through the talent-laden field.
Jamie Kostic, Jimmy Glenn, and Heath Hehnly, who started tenth, twelfth, and fourteenth, respectively, weaved their way forward. A caution period with 20 circuits completed found Glenn in the runner-up spot, trailed by Hehnly and Kostic.
"Oh, I was nervous when I looked at the scoreboard and saw that Jimmy and Heath were behind me. It may not have looked that way, but I was plenty nervous," stated a smiling Graham afterward.
The youthful charger maintained his composure, giving the appearance of a savvy veteran, never wavering in the line he used to circle the lightning-quick eighth-mile of clay. Glenn attempted to sneak under the Hyper Black Series No. 76 on a lap 29 restart, but Graham simply mashed the gas and pulled away over the final seven trips around the high banked oval.
At the finish, it was Graham, Glenn, Hehnly, Kenny Miller, and Kostic. While the first two drivers across the line are deemed official, the rest of the finishing order is unofficial, pending the outcome of a protest that was filed after the race.
As per the track's policy, no money is paid out and no points are awarded until the outcome of the protest is decided.
Greg Fitzpatrick, Graham, and Brittany Brown won heat races for the 600's.
In the 270cc portion of the Clyde Martin Memorial, Dave Grube appeared to have the race well in hand.
Grube snatched the lead away from Devin Harron on the eighth tour, then waited out a short rain delay after 11 laps had been scored.
When racing resumed, Grube motored away from the pack once again. Disaster struck the college student from Denver, Pa. with 19 complete, as he tried to lap another competitor. Grube ducked under the car of Jay Batdorf, made contact with the No. 9b, and spun out of the lead.
Mike Rutherford darted past Todd Steffy moments earlier to snag third place, but Steffy reclaimed the position, then passed Harron for second just one circuit prior to Grube's misfortune. The turn of events enabled Steffy, the former 270cc Rookie of the Year at Lanco, to inherit the top spot.
Rutherford assaulted Steffy numerous times as the laps clicked off, but the resident of Manheim, Pa. was up to each challenge.
Steffy steadily pulled away during the final laps, winning by slightly more than one second when the checkered flag waved. Rutherford held off Richie Hartman for second, with Pete Skias and Harron completing the top five.
Qualifying heats were captured by Roger Graham III, Scott Gingrich, and Rutherford. Steve Whary won the consolation.
As Nathan Weidman paced the early laps of the 125cc feature, Cody Drace was navigating his way from eighth to second. Drace rocketed by Weidman off turn two on the seventh revolution to take command. The Elizabethtown, Pa. pilot would go on to lead the final 28 laps.
"I had an 'uh-oh' moment last week, where I didn't use enough patience. I wasn't going to let that happen tonight," exclaimed Drace in his victory lane interview.
Heath Hehnly was involved in an early race skirmish, then roared back to grab the runner-up position from Weidman on lap 23. With Drace setting a torrid pace, though, two-time winner Hehnly would have to settle for second place money.
Drace flew under the black-and-white silk by a comfortable margin over Hehnly, with Weidman, Mark Yoder, and Kyle Henninger rounding out the top five.
Twin heat races went to Drace and Hehnly.
Jason Hehnly chased Kelby Stauffer for several laps in the Sportsman feature, then dashed past the leader as Stauffer momentarily hesitated behind a lapped car. Hehnly led the rest of the way, winning his first of the season over Brett Wanner, Jason Swavely, Mark Ludwig, and point leader Steve Drevicki.
"The way this season has gone, I'm just glad to finish one of these races," noted the winner as he clutched the Memorial trophy.
Ludwig and Drevicki waged a terrific duel for the fourth position, trading the spot a couple of times final lap. Ludwig throttled to Drevicki's outside as they headed for the stripe, keeping the nose of his No. 19L just barely in front of Drevicki's mount as they crossed the finish line.
Sportsman heats fell to Ludwig, Stauffer, and J. Hehnly.
The 250cc Four-Stroke Micros provided the nightcap of the Clyde Martin Memorial event, and Richie Hartman notched his seventh victory of the '09 campaign when the 35-lapper concluded.
Chris Lee was out front for the first three circuits, before "Pistol Pete" Michael took his place at the head of the field.
Michael fought off several attempts by Hartman before lapped traffic became an issue. With five trips remaining, Hartman saw an opening under the leader and took it, pushing his Geib Trucking/RTS No. 88 in front of Michael's No. 9.
Hartman, the defending race winner and track champion in the 250cc Four-Stroke class, then cruised to his third consecutive triumph. Michael chased him across the stripe in second, while Ryan Gabers finished third. Craig DeSantis and Eddie Nocera completed the top five.
Kimberly Enck and Hartman won the Four-Stroke heat races.
With all of the qualifying races complete, heavy rain showers invaded the facility. A delay of more than two hours ensued before the track was race ready once again. A second, albeit much shorter delay occurred during the running of the 270cc main event. Thanks to the efforts of the club's track crew, the clay was worked into prime condition on both occasions, allowing the Clyde Martin Memorial to continue.
The speedway will be dark this Saturday, August 1st. Racing returns on Saturday, August 8th, with a full menu of qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features for the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints. Petro Fuels will be the event sponsor, with gates opening at 3:30. Warm-ups begin at 5 p.m., and the first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Adult general admission is $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and students. Youth between the ages of six and twelve are admitted for just $2.00, and children under the age of six are free.
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprints: (NOTE: the results for first and second place are official. The rest of the finishing order is unofficial, pending the outcome of a protest filed after the race.) 1.Paul Graham 2.Jimmy Glenn 3.Heath Hehnly 4.Kenny Miller 5.Jamie Kostic 6.Mike Caropolo 7.Ryan Wilson 8.Shane Lewis 9.Chris Gerhart 10.Jared Davis 11.Greg Fitzpatrick 12.Brent Ely 13.Jeff Halligan 14.Mike Freed 15.Shaun Brandel 16.Bruce Ginther Jr. 17.Brittany Brown 18.Kerry Gilbert 19.Daniel Jackson 20.J.R. Booth 21.Carl Lieber 22.Tim Buckwalter 23.Dave Dimaio 24.Mike Rutherford.
270cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Todd Steffy 2.Mike Rutherford 3.Richie Hartman 4.Pete Skias 5.Devin Harron 6.Scott Fick 7.Mike Uhrich 8.Zack Fouse 9.Billy Logeman 10.Steve Drevicki 11.Scott Gingrich 12.Ryan Shupp 13.Brian Sholley 14.Josh Stoyer 15.Dave Falini 16.Steve Whary 17.Greg Miller 18.Jay Batdorf 19.Brandon Bucher 20.Jason Swavely 21.Dave Grube 22.Nick Skias 23.Heath Hehnly. DQ: Roger Graham III.
125cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Cody Drace 2.Heath Hehnly 3.Nathan Weidman 4.Mark Yoder 5.Kyle Henninger 6.Dave Grube 7.Bradley Brown 8.Scott Gantert 9.Derek Ecenrode 10.Carl Myer 11.Bret Habecker 12.Corey Schmuck Jr. 13.Sonny Sweitzer 14.Brianna Gerhart 15.James Wampole.
Sportsman Micro-Sprints: 1.Jason Hehnly 2.Brett Wanner 3.Jason Swavely 4.Mark Ludwig 5.Steve Drevicki 6.Jamie Fetterolf 7.Dwayne Mathias 8.Jeff Hughes 9.Robert Shanaman 10.Dennis Fenstermacher 11.Wesley Fasnacht 12.Dennis Ziegler 13.Sheena Schaefer 14.Tim Ziegler 15.Sarah Schreiner 16.Paul May III 17.Joel Tolley 18.Dave Schroeder 19.Jenna Keppley 20.Kelby Stauffer 21.Kenny Miller 22.Donna Geib 23.Gene Murphy 24.Robert Schaffner.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints: 1.Richie Hartman 2.Peter Michael 3.Ryan Gabers 4.Craig DeSantis 5.Eddie Nocera 6.Chris Lee 7.Jason Johnson 8.George Potts III 9.Jessica Enck 10.Jake Booth 11.Kim Enck 12.Jared Gabers 13.Lewis Kepple Jr. 14.Greg Schmuck 15.Phil Johnson 16.Dick Huzzard. DNS: Chad Rhoads.