Newmanstown, Pa. - June 25 - "Yeah, this is great, but it should be my second win of the weekend. But it is nice to win on my birthday."
Those were the words of 270cc victor Nick Skias as he celebrated his 24th birthday on Saturday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. Skias, from Wernersville, recorded his first Clyde Martin triumph of the season after a near miss at Linda's Speedway the night before, where he led the feature until a burnt piston sidelined him.
The Xcel 600 Modified Tour made its second and final appearance of the 2011 season on Saturday at the Clyde, but the main event was not completed.
With four laps in the books, Brian Mady crashed in turn three. Lester Dise was behind Mady entering the corner, and Dise caromed off Mady's car but continued as the yellow flag waved. Dise circled the track under caution, but pulled low as he exited turn four. Liquid could be seen under the car as he slowed and came to a stop. Within seconds, flames developed at the rear of his No. 27, and in the next instant, the entire car was engulfed by fire.
After several seconds, Dise was able to open the roof hatch as track officials raced to the scene with fire extinguishers. Dise stood up and was pulled from the car as the fire was extinguished. He suffered third degree burns to more than 50% of his body, with the most severe burns to his legs.
Dise, of Mount Penn (a suburb of Reading), was treated by EMT's at the track until the Schaefferstown Ambulance arrived. The Life Lion Helicopter was summoned, and the chopper transported him to the Burn Unit at Lehigh Valley Medcial Center.
After a consultation with his drivers, Xcel Modified creator and series director Doug Borger informed that the remainder of the 600 Modified feature would be cancelled, and his drivers voted unanimously to donate their entire race purse to Dise and his family.
(See separate story for update on Lester Dise as of Sunday, June 26).
In the main event for the 270cc Micro-Sprints, Jason Swavely grabbed the early lead from his pole position. Pete Skias, who started on the outside of the front row, hounded Swavely during the early stages of the 25-lapper sponsored by A.J. Blosenski Trash Hauling & Recycling. It would be another Skias, Nick, who would quickly make his presence known at the front of the pack.
Nick Skias took the green on the outside of row four, then charged to fourth position in just two laps. N.Skias raced by Jesse Maurer to take third on a lap three restart before dueling with his dad for the runner-up spot. Nick secured second place from his pop, then proceeded to trade slide job with Swavely on laps seven and eight as the young lions waged a fierce battle for the lead.
N. Skias finally gained command, bolting in front of Swavely with eight circuits scored. Skias built up a healthy lead over the next 11 trips around the high banked oval, and even a caution period with six to go could not derail his journey to the winner's circle.
"I had it geared to run the bottom, but I had the car set up to run the top," admitted N. Skias in victory lane. "I wasn't sure which way to go, so I went out with both and it worked!"
With the win, his first of the season at the Clyde, N. Skias gave himself a very nice birthday present. P. Skias trailed his son to the checkered, with Maurer, Billy Logeman, and Zack Fouse completing the top five.
After five consecutive runner-up finishes, Jesse Maurer was a man on a mission in the 125cc feature. He watched Kory Merkey make a three-wide move to take the lead on the opening lap, then executed a similar maneuver to snare second on the following tour of the speedway.
Maurer stalked Merkey for the next ten revolutions, making the pass for the lead just prior to a yellow flag with 12 circuits on the scoreboard. Maurer, the Mount Joy Outlaw, simply ran away from the field in the second half of the 25-lapper, finally registering his first win of Lanco's 2011 season. Merkey finished a distant second, with Darren Miller, Mark Yoder, and Derek Ecenrode ending up third, fourth, and fifth.
Manheim's Chip Geib had a quite a night in the 250cc Four-Stroke Class, winning both the make-up from June 11 and the regularly scheduled main event. The triumphs were Geib's third and fourth of the year in the Four-Stroke division.
In the postponed feature from June 11, Geib tracked down early leader Craig DeSantis, then zipped past DeSantis to grab the top spot on lap 14. Geib checked out from that point on, maintaining the lead on restarts with two to go and one to go to score the victory. DeSantis finished second, with tenth-starting Eddie Nocera finishing third. Jessica Mohler and Lewis Kepple, Jr. wound up fourth and fifth.
As fate would have it, DeSantis and Geib started on the front row for the regularly scheduled Four-Stroke feature. Geib roared past DeSantis on lap two to take the lead and, eventually, his fourth win of the year.
Ryan Morris, the rookie standout who won his first Micro-Sprint main on June 18, came from the rear of the field to run third by lap seven. Morris then worked over DeSantis for many laps before making the pass for the runner-up slot with five circuits remaining. By the time Morris pulled into second, however, Geib was long gone.
Morris wound up second to Geib, with DeSantis and Nocera notching their second top-five efforts of the evening by finishing third and fourth, respectively. Jared Esh earned fifth place money.
The Sportsman Micros also made up their feature from June 11 on Saturday. Eleventh starting Jason Swavely rocketed to fourth position by lap six. Six tours later, he passed teammate Ken Miller and Brett Wanner on the same lap to run second to race leader Paul May III.
Swavely, from Douglassville, Pa. ducked under May in turns three and four on lap 16, then blasted off the corner to take command. Swavely went on to record his fourth Sportsman triumph of the year, with May, Wanner, Miller, and Bret Habecker completing the top five.
Wanner would grab the early lead in the regularly scheduled 25-lapper for the Sportsman Class. Defending point champ Ken Miller moved into the runner-up slot on the sixth trip around the clay and began his pursuit of the high-flying Wanner.
Miller's teammate, Jason Swavely, took the green from the 17th starting position - but he didn't stay back there for long. Swavely sliced his way to third by the time ten laps showed on the scoreboard. Both Miller and Swavely slipped by Wanner in heavy lapped traffic with ten laps remaining to run first and second.
When Miller was momentarily hung up behind a lapped car on the front chute, Swavely had cut hard right to avoid plowing into his teammate. Swavely's No. 7c climbed the guardrail, resulting in a series of hard tumbles into turn one. Swavely emerged unhurt, but his night had ended.
Miller ran unabated to his fourth Sportsman victory of the season, with Wanner placing second. Matt Abers, Bret Habecker, and Donna Geib made up the first five when the checkered fell to conclude the 25-lap affair.
This Saturday, July 2nd, the best 600cc and 270cc drivers in the land will travel to Lanco to compete in Micromania for the 600's and the 270 Clash at the Clyde. Gates will open at 3:00 on Saturday, with warm-ups at 5:45 and the first heat race going green at 6:30.
Micromania will be the final event of 2011 PA 600 Speedweek, and the winning driver is guaranteed a minimum of $2,000 to take the checkered flag in the 40-lap A-Main. That amount could increase substantially, depending upon car count. Tow money will also be paid to those drivers who fail to make the A- or B-Mains at Micromania.
The winner of the 270 Clash at the Clyde will receive $1,050, provided the entry list hits 40 on Saturday. There are still a few slots available for the Clash; entry forms can be found at www.lancomicrosprint.com. The race will also pay $150 to take the green flag, if the number of entries reaches 40. Tow money will be paid to the non-qualifiers as well, ensuring that everyone will, at the very least, recover their entry fee of $50.
Micromania and the 270 Clash at the Clyde will use a rain date of Sunday, July 3rd, if necessary.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Nick Skias, 2.Pete Skias, 3.Jesse Maurer, 4.Billy Logeman, 5.Zack Fouse, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Chip Geib, 8.Brett Wanner, 9.Dan Degler, 10.Tiffany Skias, 11.Christi Sweigart, 12.Charles Hellinger, 13.Justin Harrington, 14.Jason Swavely, 15.Kerry Lengel, 16.Keith Holiday, 17.Josh Stoyer, 18.Jared Esh, 19.Nathan Weidman, 20.Tyler Reinhardt. DNS: Brandon Bucher.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Kory Merkey, 3.Darren Miller, 4.Mark Yoder, 5.Derek Ecenrode, 6.Nick Sweigart, 7.Felisha Kirlin, 8.Bradley Brown, 9.Dave Grube, 10.Jacob Miller, 11.Kyle Hehnly, 12.Sonny Sweitzer, 13.James Wampole, 14.Zack Hollinger, 15.Ken Miller, 16.Walter Wampole, 17.Jonathan Rutter, 18.Samantha Garman, 19.Devin Garman, 20.Daniel Braun, 21.Jason Swavely.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps (Postponed from June 11): 1.Chip Geib, 2.Craig DeSantis, 3.Ed Nocera, 4.Jessica Mohler, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Travis Esh, 7.Earl Eveland, 8.Jared Esh, 9.Kim Enck, 10.Matthew Swift. DNS: George Potts Jr.; George Potts III.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Ed Nocera, 5.Jared Esh, 6.Lewis Kepple Jr., 7.Matthew Swift, 8.John Wilbert, 9.Sheila Fetter, 10.Colton Goshert, 11.Jessica Mohler, 12.Earl Eveland, 13.Travis Esh, 14.Kim Enck. DNS: Greg Schmuck.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps (Postponed from June 11): 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Paul May III, 3.Brett Wanner, 4.Ken Miller, 5.Bret Habecker, 6.Donna Geib, 7.Kelby Stauffer, 8.Matt Abers, 9.Sheena Schaefer, 10.Joel Tolley, 11.Brad Kemp, 12.Rick Fisher, 13.Kerry Gilbert, 14.Wesley Fasnacht, 15.Jeff Hughes, 16.Dave Kemp, 17.Mike Heiser, 18.Corey Schmuck Jr., 19.Paul Moore, 20.Jenna Keppley, 21.Dave Schroeder, 22.Tim Ziegler, 23.Jay Lawrence.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Ken Miller, 2.Brett Wanner, 3.Matt Abers, 4.Bret Habecker, 5.Donna Geib, 6.Dwayne Mathias, 7.Jeff Hughes, 8.Rick Fisher, 9.Joel Tolley, 10.Kerry Gilbert, 11.Dave Kemp, 12.Paul Moore, 13.Jay Lawrence, 14.Jenna Keppley, 15.Brad Kemp, 16.Jason Swavely, 17.Kelby Stauffer, 18.Sarah Shreiner, 19.Corey Schmuck Jr., 20.Sheena Schaefer, 21.Wesley Fasnacht.