Brickerville, PA - Heath Hehnly had some added incentive on Saturday night, and he used the extra motivation to his advantage, winning his third feature of the season at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
The Manheim, Pa. resident simply refused to lose as he blasted the cushion lap after lap, finally wrestling the lead away from Jared Davis with two laps remaining. Hehnly then rocketed to victory in the Kaylor Distributing main event for the 600cc Micro-Sprints.
"Yeah, I was driving with a chip on my shoulder tonight," admitted Hehnly. "It's been a difficult two weeks, and I had something to prove here tonight."
After the Clyde Martin Memorial Race on July 25, a protest was filed over the legality of the engine in Sonny Cooke's No. 2, driven by Hehnly. After several angst-filled days, the engine was deemed legal, and Hehnly's third-place finish in the Memorial was secured, along with his status as Lanco's 600cc point leader.
Hehnly was eager to erase the unpleasant memory with an outstanding drive, and he did just that on Saturday at the Clyde.
As 600cc rookie Brittany Brown paced the first 14 laps of the feature, Hehnly was cutting a path forward from his 12th starting spot. Some fierce racing took place directly behind the leader, with Jared Davis defending his runner-up position against intense pressure from Tim Buckwalter and A.J. Michael. Hehnly joined the group as the halfway signal was given to the field.
The leaders caught the back of the pack as the race, with no yellows to slow its frantic pace, entered its second half. Brown hesitated for a second as she closed on a massive glut of cars in front of her, allowing Davis to sneak by for the lead as they throttled down the backstretch on lap 15.
One circuit later, the first (and only) caution period occurred as Michael spun in turns three and four. He, Buckwalter, and Brown were locked in a three-wide duel for second place, and slight contact with Buckwalter's car sent him spinning.
On the restart, Buckwalter wrangled second from Brown, with Hehnly gassing his Cooke Roofing, Hyper/Spar into third.
Hehnly muscled his way past Buckwalter for the runner-up slot with five to go, then began his assault on Davis.
Davis planted his No. 55 RTS on the bottom at both ends of the ultra-fast oval, forcing Hehnly to pound the high groove. The duo circled the high banks in side-by-side formation, until Hehnly used his outside lane momentum to pull ahead as they completed the 23rd tour.
Once he cleared Davis, Hehnly bolted away and cruised to the impressive win. Davis held on for second, with Buckwalter, Jamie Kostic, and Brown completing the top five.
"Jared was really tough; he drove a great race," stated the victor. "But I was gonna win or crash tonight; I wanted this one so bad. The car was fantastic...I was hitting the rev chip about three-quarters down the straightaway. If we had taken a tooth out (of the gearing), it would have been ugly...we would have been incredibly fast."
NOTE: After the race, another protest was lodged against Cooke's car. The Micro's crankshaft was the concern of this protest, but a detailed inspection by the track's tech committee revealed that the crankshaft was legal according to U6SA rules.
With 30 of the 600's signed in for competition, qualifying heats went to Jeff Halligan, A.J. Michael, and Brittany Brown. Rick Stief won the consolation.
The Sportsman Micros completed nine laps of their feature before a second batch of rain showers descended upon the facility. The remainder of the Sportsman feature, along with main events for the 270cc, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Strokes had to be postponed as the rain intensified.
The Sportsman drivers will finish their 25-lapper, and the 125cc feature will also be run at the beginning of the program on Saturday, August 15.
The main events for the 270cc and 250cc Four-Strokes will be made up on August 29, followed by a complete program featuring the five weekly classes of Micro-Sprints.
Gates open at 3:30 each Saturday, with warm-ups at 5:00 and racing begins at 6 p.m.
General admission tickets for adults is $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and students. Youth between the ages of six and twelve are just $2.00, while children under the age of six are admitted FREE. And there's always free parking at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
With seven feature races highlighting the August 15 and 29 programs and sandwiching the 600 Pro Series Race on the 22nd, the action at the Clyde will be hotter than the weather during the final month of summer! Providing a tremendous value for your entertainment dollar, you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Heath Hehnly 2.Jared Davis 3.Tim Buckwalter 4.Jamie Kostic 5.Brittany Brown 6.Chris Gerhart 7.Jimmy Glenn 8.Mike Rutherford 9.Mike Caropolo 10.Greg Fitzpatrick 11.Kenny Miller 12.Shane Lewis 13.Shaun Brandel 14.Ryan Wilson 15.Dave Dimaio 16.Bruce Ginther Jr. 17.Brock Bilger 18.Shane Braxton 19.Bill Thomas 20.Alex Buben 21.Rick Stief 22.Brent Ely 23.A.J. Michael. DNS: Robbie Kendall.
Heat race winners:
270cc Micro-Sprints: Todd Steffy; Mike Rutherford; Zack Fouse; Scott Gingrich. Consolation winners: Christi Sweigart; Heath Hehnly.
Sportsman Micro-Sprints: Jeff Hughes; Sheena Schaefer; Jason Hehnly. Consolation winner: Kenny Miller.
125cc Micro-Sprints: Nathan Weidman; Jesse Maurer.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints: Richie Hartman; Craig DeSantis.