Brickerville, PA - Another rainy night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway could not dampen Billy Unglert's celebration. Not only did Unglert win his first 600 Pro Series race on Saturday, but in the process, he also vaulted into the tour's point lead with only two races left on the series' inaugural schedule.
Joining Unglert on the winner's podium were Roger Graham III (270cc) and Ken Miller (Sportsman). The three drivers were victorious in feature races that were postponed by rain on August 22. The trio of 25-lap make-up features kicked off the program this past Saturday (August 29), before wet weather moved in once again, forcing another postponement of the held-over 125cc feature, while the regularly scheduled event had to be cancelled. The feature for the 125cc Micros, originally rained out on August 22, will now be run on September 12.
Unglert, from Old Bridge, NJ, lined up on the outside of the front row alongside polesitter Tim Buckwalter. As the 25-lapper for the 600 Pro Series Presented by Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic went green, Unglert shot down the banking in turns one and two, then slid up in front of Buckwalter as they hit the backstretch.
Just as the caution lights flashed on for an incident in turn two, Buckwalter caught a rut in three and four, causing his Gary Spotts Insulation/ PMP No. 25s to flip wildly. Buckwalter was not injured, but his car suffered enough damage to eliminate him from the race.
Forming up for a complete restart, Unglert now had the pole, and he made the most of his golden opportunity. He would go on to lead every one of the 25 revolutions around the eighth-mile of clay, fighting off the assaults of several competitors who moved in to challenge his hold on the top spot. When the race concluded, though, it was Unglert claiming the $700 triumph.
Keith McIntyre was the first to try and unseat Unglert from the lead, but Unglert's No. 47 was too strong for the teen from Saylorsburg, Pa. Robbie Kendall dropped McIntyre to third, and Kendall attempted to duck under the leader, unsuccessfully, on numerous occasions. Just when it appeared that lapped traffic might aid Kendall's bid to take the lead, the yellow flag flew for Ryan Wilson's disabled racer, which came to a stop on the homestretch.
With 20-laps complete, the caution proved beneficial to Unglert, as it cleared the track in front of him. On the restart, Mike Rutherford wrestled the runner-up position from Kendall. Rutherford began to close in on Unglert just as the final caution period was needed for Shane Lewis, who broke on the backchute with one to go.
As Rutherford anticipated a final lap attack on the leader, the rains came, and the banked oval quickly became a slippery mess. The moisture intensified even more, forcing track officials to take the cars off the speedway. Wayne Lesher, the organizer of the 600 Pro Series, declared the race official with 24-laps in the books. Unglert, who has thrown his full support behind the new tour for the 600cc Micro-Sprints, finally had his first 600 Pro Series win, along with the point lead.
"We've shown up at every series race AND every rain date they've scheduled," smiled Unglert afterward as he discussed the weather-plagued Pro Series, "so it feels good to get the win and the point lead."
The Jersey driver also explained his move to take the lead from Buckwalter on the initial start. "Yeah, I kind of had a plan...you can really use the banking to make moves here. I knew I could start up high, then run down the hill to get under him. This place is fun, and I'm looking forward to coming back for next year's Pro Series race. I hope they schedule more than one race for us at Lanco next year."
Rutherford settled for runner-up honors, with Kendall and McIntyre finishing third and fourth. Ryan Greth ended up fifth.
The Hard Charger Award, presented by 600Scene.com and Shred Racing, went to Brent Ely. Ely started 24th and finished 15th to pick up the $150.00 Hard Charger laurels.
During the '09 racing season, Paul Graham has reeled off a pair of wins in 600cc action at Clyde Martin. Last Saturday, his younger brother, Roger III, became the next Graham to record a victory under the Lanco banner.
Roger notched the first 270cc triumph of his career in the Greenawalt Photos 25-lap main event. While Graham started from the pole position, a pair of veterans moved in behind him to make things interesting as the race entered its final stages.
Eleventh-starting Mike Rutherford blasted into third, while Mike Dicely (from 14th on the starting grid) slashed his way to fourth by the halfway point.
The first 17 circuits ran caution-free, which allowed Graham to sprint away from his pursuers and open a huge lead. With 17 complete, though, the yellow waved for a spinning Tyler Pannebecker. On the restart, Rutherford moved past Dave Grube for second, and set his sights on Graham. Within a few laps, Dicely was riding third, as he and Rutherford closed the gap on Graham, the young lion from Malvern, Pa.
While they were able to get to the leader's tail tank, Rutherford and Dicely could not muster a serious challenge, and Graham rocketed under the checkered flag with a margin of .367 seconds over Rutherford. Dicely wound up third, another half-second behind Rutherford. Grube and Dave Falini completed the top five.
Mike Skias paced the first six trips of the 25-lap Sportsman feature, before disaster struck in turns three and four. As Skias attempted to put a lap on another car, contact was made between the two Micros, resulting in a spin and lay-over for Skias' No. 26.
Robert Shanaman inherited the top spot, with seventh-starter Ken Miller now residing in the runner-up slot. Miller chased Shanaman for the next five tours, before the leader hesitated just a bit while deciding which route to use to go around a lapped car. Miller darted to the outside and muscled his way past Shanaman as they completed lap 12.
Miller controlled the remainder of the race, winning his third Sportsman feature of the year and his first since June 27. Shanaman held on for second, with Jason Hehnly crossing the stripe in third. Miller's victory put an end to Hehnly's three-race win streak. Brett Wanner and Mark Ludwig finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
This weekend, the annual Labor Day Shootout takes center stage. The two-day event takes place on Saturday and Sunday, September 5 & 6, with September 7 reserved as a rain date. The 600cc; 270cc; 125cc; Sportsman; 250cc Four-Stroke; and 250cc Stock Micro-Sprints will all be a part of the Shootout.
On Saturday, gates open at 9 a.m. Practice sessions run from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., with time trials for all classes beginning at 1:30. The first heat race goes green at 5:30. Saturday's agenda includes time trials, qualifying heats, consolations, and Dash Races for the six classes of Micros.
Sunday will begin with practice in the afternoon, and B-Mains for the 600cc and 270cc commence at 5:00. The last-chance races will be followed by six, 30-lap A-Mains. More than $20,000 in total payout is up for grabs during the weekend.
A Kids Fun Day is scheduled for Saturday afternoon, with more than 200 Goodie Bags and prizes ready to be distributed by the Fun Day Coordinator, Bonnie Goshert of Shred Racing.
There will be a Worship Service in the spectator seating area on Sunday; the guest speaker is two-time ARDC Champion and former Lanco racer Andy Martin. The exact starting time for the service will be announced in the days leading up to the Shootout.
Breakfast will be served at the track on Saturday and Sunday, from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Campers who have reserved a spot will be allowed to pull into the Lanco parking/camping area after 4 p.m. on Thursday, September 3rd.
More than 160 Micro-Sprint teams (spread over the six classes) have already entered the Labor Day Shootout...in addition to the non-stop action on the track, there is always something "extra" going on during the two-day extravaganza...and you never know who will show up to challenge the Lanco regulars with the big bucks being offered...so you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco during the Labor Day Shootout!
600cc Pro Series: 1.Billy Unglert 2.Mike Rutherford 3.Robbie Kendall 4.Keith McIntyre 5.Ryan Greth 6.Ken Miller 7.Mike Dicely 8.Luke Thomas 9.Heath Hehnly 10.Zach Newlin 11.A.J. Michael 12.Jamie Kostic 13.Jared Davis 14.Tyler Ross 15.Brent Ely 16.Ryan Hook 17.Tyler Devault 18.Shane Lewis 19.Jared Hook 20.Jermain Godshall 21.Ryan Wilson 22.Brittany Brown 23.Chris Gerhart 24.Tim Buckwalter.
270cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Roger Graham III 2.Mike Rutherford 3.Mike Dicely 4.Dave Grube 5.Dave Falini 6.Steve Drevicki 7.Jason Swavely 8.Brian Sholley 9.Richie Hartman 10.Christi Sweigart 11.Billy Logeman 12.Greg Miller 13.Heath Hehnly 14.Steve Whary 15.Devin Harron 16.Todd Steffy 17.Mike Uhrich 18.Tyler Brehm 19.Brandon Bucher 20.Tyler Pannebecker. DNS: Scott Gingrich; Randy West; Alex Cunningham; Todd Singley.
Sportsman Micro-Sprints: 1.Ken Miller 2.Robert Shanaman 3.Jason Hehnly 4.Brett Wanner 5.Mark Ludwig 6.Jeff Hughes 7.Dwayne Mathias 8.Sheena Schaefer 9.Wesley Fasnacht 10.Donna Geib 11.Sarah Shreiner 12.Joel Tolley 13.Jeffrey Fetterolf 14.David Kemp 15.Dennis Fenstermacher 16.Jenna Keppley 17.Dennis McKeon 18.Kelby Stauffer 19.Paul May III 20.Mike Skias 21.Jason Swavely 22.Steve Drevicki 23.Dennis Ziegler 24.Billy Logeman.