Newmanstown, Pa. - May 7 - Robbie Kendall, Catonsville, MD, scored his first victory of the 2011 season at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday night.
Kendall grabbed the checkered flag in the 600cc Micro-Sprint main event, while Heath Hehnly, Manheim, triumphed in the 25-lap feature race for the 270cc Micros. Shane Braxton was victorious in the headliner for the 125cc class. Winning their second consecutive mains were Jason Swavely (Sportsman) and Chip Geib (250cc Four-Stroke).
Saturday was Middle School Night at the speedway, where middle school students (and an accompanying adult) were admitted free to watch the races. Eight
of the area's middle schools were represented on an evening that got off to a late start due to heavy rain showers that drenched the race track just as warm-ups were about to begin. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Henry and Mike Freed, along with several assistants, the racing surface was whipped back into shape and the event began approximately one hour later than its scheduled starting time of 6 p.m.
Even race winner Kendall admitted that the 600cc feature belonged to Ryan Greth. "Man, that was a tough deal for Ryan; no one was gonna catch him tonight," stated Kendall during his winner's circle interview.
He was speaking about the unbelievable misfortune that struck Greth as he was running away with the main event. Greth jumped into the lead from his pole position (and the reason he started on the pole was because of the bad luck he endured in the year's first two races) and immediately roared out to a commanding advantage as the event's first twelve circuits went clean and green.
A cruel twist of fate intervened just before the halfway point, as Chris Panczner spun in the middle of turns three and four. Panczner collected Shane Braxton and, with the banking virtually blocked by those two cars, race leader Greth had nowhere to go as he charged into the corner right after the duo went spinning. Greth pounded the front of Panczner's car, causing enough damage to knock both drivers out of the race. Braxton was able to continue.
Jared Davis inherited the lead at that point, but Kendall pounced on the restart, grabbing the top spot and sprinting away from his pursuers. The Panczner/Greth caution period was the only one of the race, and Kendall flew under Tim Gehret's checkered flag, 0.831 seconds in front of Davis. Jeff Halligan held off the persistent challenges of Heath Hehnly to finish third, with a fast closing Luke Thomas rounding out the top five.
The 24-car field was split into three heats, with victories going to Hehnly, Mark Yoder, and C.J. Tracy.
"We really struggled over the first two weeks. We were trying some stuff, and it just didn't work. Tonight, Gary and the guys went back to the basics with the car, and here we are in victory lane. Of course, our starting position helped a lot tonight, too."
Those were the words of 270cc victor Heath Hehnly, who parlayed his pole starting spot into his first win of the season in Gary Miller's Gold Rush Trailer Sales No. 82.
Hehnly set the pace as the first 14 tours went non-stop. A yellow for Mike Uhrich, who stopped on the track with mechanical issues, slowed the pace temporarily, but it didn't bother Hehnly. A second (and final) caution period with ten to go had no effect on the outcome, either, as Hehnly kept runner-up Devin Harron a safe distance behind him throughout the 25-lap affair.
With Hehnly and Harron firmly entrenched in the top two positions, the entertaining portion of the race was the multi-car battle for third place. Dave Grube, NIck Skias, Jesse Maurer, and Pete Skias jostled for the position as the laps wound down, with Grube and N. Skias going toe to toe on numerous occasions. Grube repelled each attempt by N. Skias to hang on and finish third, with Maurer holding off P. Skias for fifth.
And Hehnly proved that he has another career waiting for him when his driving days have ended; he can become a fortune teller. "Before we left the house today, I told my wife that we were going to win the 270 feature," he grinned as he stood in the winner's circle to fulfill his prophecy.
Maurer and Harron won the heat races for the 21 entries in the 270cc field on Saturday.
Maurer was also the recipient of the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature. The Mount Joy Outlaw turned the quickest lap of the race, scorching the oval on lap 19 in 10.590 seconds.
The main event for the 125cc race had a feel similar to the 600cc feature; one car dashed to a big lead, only to see Lady Luck frown on him and take away an almost certain victory.
Ryan Wilson was bidding for his second straight triumph in a 125cc main, and it appeared that the Maytown Missile was going to make it happen.
Wilson rocketed from fourth on the starting grid to become the leader in just two laps. He zipped out to a healthy cushion, with Bradley Brown slipping into the runner-up spot on the eighth trip around the high banked oval.
Brown soon caught Wilson as the leaders negotiated lapped traffic, but before Brown, the winner on opening night, could make a move on the leader, Wilson's mount gave up, victimized by a blown engine. He slowed suddenly with Brown on his tail, and the two cars hooked bumpers in three and four, bringing out the yellow with ten laps complete.
Sonny Sweitzer became the new leader at that point, but ninth-starting Shane Braxton was on the move. The resident of West Grove, Pa. jumped from fourth to second on lap 12, then proceeded to run down Sweitzer. Braxton squeezed under Sweitzer as they raced into turn three, then accelerated off of four with the lead on lap 16.
A yellow with one to go did not deter Braxton from his first victory of 2011. Following him to the stripe were Devin Harron and Jesse Maurer. Brown rebounded from his mishap with Wilson to notch fourth, and Mark Yoder completed the top five.
Wilson and Brown were victorious in the two heat races for the 125cc Micros.
Jason Swavely, Douglassville, Pa. recorded his second consecutive Sportsman triumph, but then again, he really had no choice in the matter. His nephew Ryan was celebrating a birthday, and his wish was for uncle Jason to win a feature on Saturday. And uncle Jason came through with flying colors...
Bret Habecker started sixth but had the lead by the third revolution around the eighth-mile of clay. When Kenny Miller, Swavely's teammate, dropped out after challenging Habecker for the top spot, it was up to Swavely to take up the chase.
Swavely, who took the initial green on the outside of row six, sliced his way to fourth by the time five laps were scored. Three tours later, Swavely wrestled the third position from Donna Geib. When Miller broke while running second, Swavely moved into the runner-up slot and began to pressure Habecker for the lead.
As the pair weaved in and out of lapped traffic, Habecker got just a bit out of shape in turn two while sliding under a slower car. Swavely snared his opportunity to strike, gassing his No. 7c to the high lane and passing Habecker for the top spot.
Habecker was left to chase Swavely to the finish line, with Geib, Dwayne Mathias, and Matt Abers completing the top five.
Heat races for the 21 Sportsman fell to Miller and Swavely.
Manheim's Chip Geib won his second straight in the 25-lapper for the 250cc Four-Stroke class, but it wasn't easy.
With Eddie Nocera setting the pace and no cautions to slow the race from lap two through 19, Geib methodically climbed from his tenth starting position to run fourth by lap seven. He moved past Lewis Kepple, Jr. to secure third place with eleven complete, then slipped by Jessica Mohler in lapped traffic to snare the runner-up position with ten circuits left to run.
A yellow for debris put Geib on Nocera's tail tank for a restart with six to go. With only four trips remaining, Geib finally found an opening on the bottom, ducking under Nocera to steal the lead as they exited turn two. Geib went on to win by a half-second over Nocera, with Mohler, Jared Esh, and Jonathan Swift finishing third through fifth.
In victory lane, Geib offered Nocera a compliment. "Eddie ran a great race," he said, "I had to change my line to get by him. We weren't geared quite right for a heavy track like we have tonight, and Eddie made it really hard for us to get by him."
Geib and Craig DeSantis won the Four-Stroke heat races.
This Saturday, May 14, is WIX Filters Night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. It's also the first of seven events in which Blue Ridge Cable Channel 11 will record the five feature races, then broadcast those events on Sunday, May 15.
Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00, as the five weekly divisions, 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Strokes, compete in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap main events.
Adult General Admission is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Youth between the ages of six and twelve are admitted for $2.00, and children under the age of six are free. And parking is always free at Clyde Martin.
Coming up on May 21 is another Cable 11 telecast, and the track's annual Memorial Day Open Show is slated for Saturday, May 28. On the 28th, the Xcel 600 Modified Tour will join the five weekly classes of Micro-Sprints in qualifying action that precede 30-lap feature races for all six divisions. Rain dates for the Memorial Day Open Show are Sunday, May 29 and Monday, May 30.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Robbie Kendall, 2.Jared Davis, 3.Jeff Halligan, 4.Heath Hehnly, 5.Luke Thomas, 6.Ryan Wilson, 7.Shane Lewis, 8.Mark Yoder, 9.Tyler Esh, 10.C.J. Tracy, 11.Mike Dicely, 12.Chris Gerhart, 13.A.J. Michael, 14.Ken Miller, 15.Brittany Brown, 16.Shaun Brandel, 17.Danny Wykes, 18.Shane Braxton, 19.Bret Habecker, 20.Brent Ely, 21.Monnie Wonder III, 22.Ryan Greth, 23.Peter Michael, 24.Chris Panczner.
24 entries; all qualified.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Heath Hehnly, 2.Devin Harron, 3.Dave Grube, 4.Nick Skias, 5.Jesse Maurer, 6.Pete Skias, 7.Scott Fick, 8.Kerry Lengel, 9.Chip Geib, 10.Kevin Garman, 11.Billy Logeman, 12.Christi Sweigart, 13.Tyler Reinhardt, 14.Zack Fouse, 15.Brett Wanner, 16.Jason Swavely, 17.Brandon Bucher, 18.Charles Hellinger, 19.Josh Stoyer, 20.Mike Uhrich, 21.Cody Kreger.
21 entries; all qualified.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Shane Braxton, 2.Devin Harron, 3.Jesse Maurer, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Mark Yoder, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Daniel Braun Jr., 8.Jacob Miller, 9.Brent Shearer, 10.Sonny Sweitzer, 11.Cody Drace, 12.Kyle Hehnly, 13.Nick Sweigart, 14.Ashley Kase, 15.Derek Miller, 16.Darren Miller, 17.Devin Garman, 18.Ryan Wilson.
Sportsman Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Bret Habecker, 3. Donna Geib, 4.Dwayne Mathias, 5.Matt Abers, 6.Corey Schmuck Jr., 7.Paul Moore, 8.Tim Ziegler, 9.Dave Kemp, 10.Robert Shanaman, 11.Wesley Fasnacht, 12.Richard Fisher, 13.Kelby Stauffer, 14.Brett Wanner, 15.Jenna Keppley, 16.Mike Heiser, 17.Joel Tolley, 18.Dave Schroeder, 19.Ken Miller, 20.Brad Kemp, 21.Paul May III.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Eddie Nocera, 3.Jessica Mohler, 4.Jared Esh, 5.Jonathan Swift, 6.Lewis Kepple Jr., 7.Travis Esh, 8.Justin Harrington, 9.Earl Eveland, 10.George Potts III, 11.Greg Schmuck, 12.Sheila Fetter, 13.Jonathan Rutter, 14.Tyler Armstrong, 15.Ryan Morris, 16.Kim Enck, 17.Craig DeSantis, 18.George Potts Jr.