Newmanstown, Pa. - May 5 - Mike Rutherford and Pete Skias led a parade of winners on Saturday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
After two consecutive weather related cancellations, the Lanco club was finally able to complete its second Micro-Sprint program of the 2012 racing season.
Rutherford (600cc) and Skias (270cc Two-Strokes) highlighted the group of victorious drivers that also included Shane Braxton (125cc); Bret Habecker (Sportsman); and Chip Geib (270cc Four-Strokes).
The 25-lap main event for the 270cc Two-Strokes looked to be the first win of the night for Rutherford, but a late caution flag produced a radical change in the outcome of the race.
Rutherford started ninth in the Kaylor Petro No. 5k and quickly motored his way to the front of the pack. He grabbed second place from Christi Sweigart on lap six, then wrestled the top spot away from Justin Harrington on the next trip around the lightning fast clay oval.
Once in front, Rutherford opened a huge lead and appeared to be cruising toward his first win of the still-young Clyde Martin season. Riding around under yellow with just two laps remaining, though, he could feel that something was giving up inside his car's powerplant.
"I could tell the engine was blowing up under the caution," he said later. "I figured, since it was so late in the race, I would stay out there and see what happened on that restart."
Rutherford smartly pulled low on the race track as the green waved, giving Pete Skias plenty of room to go around him and take the lead. "I couldn't believe it when Mike went so low there," said Skias, "I kind of figured he must have a problem. It was his race, but that's the way it goes sometimes. We were just a tick off, but we were good enough to be there and take advantage when Mike had his problem."
But the final two circuits were not a cakewalk for Skias, who hails from Wernersville, Pa. Richie Hartman zipped past the fading Rutherford to claim second, then charged to the bottom on the last lap, nearly pulling even with Skias as they blasted to the checkered flag. Skias held him off by 0.132 seconds to register the triumph.
Nick Skias had to go to the rear after an incident on the initial start. He rebounded nicely, weaving his way to a third place finish. Fifteenth-starting Heath Hehnly wound up fourth and Rutherford nursed his ailing engine to fifth place money.
Rutherford also claimed the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award, turning the single quickest trip around the track in 11.742 seconds.
An outstanding field of 36 cars entered the 270cc Two-Stroke action on Saturday, with qualifying heats going to Scott Gingrich, N. Skias, Rutherford, and P. Skias. Twin consolations were captured by Mike Skias and Kevin Garman.
Rutherford, from Lititz, Pa., gained some redemption in the 600cc feature, driving Gary and Rose Hunter's CarStar No. 7h to victory in the 25-lap headliner.
Mark Yoder led from the pole as the first 15 revolutions went non-stop. Bruce Ginther Jr., Rutherford, and Chris Gerhart caught Yoder as that trio battled for the runner-up position, but contact in turn three sent Ginther flipping into the outside guardrail, producing the first yellow flag of the event.
Rutherford was now second, but Yoder repelled his challenge on the restart. Yoder again fought off Rutherford's dive to get under him on another restart with six laps remaining. It was the final restart, however, still with six tours left to run, that caused Yoder's demise.
On that final restart, Yoder got just a little bit sideways in turn four and Rutherford went to the top instead of the bottom, and that proved to be the difference. Rutherford powered past Yoder on the high side, taking the lead and going on to win handily.
Yoder could still smile after his runner-up effort, with Shane Lewis sneaking in for third at the stripe over Gerhart and Mike Dicely.
With 32 of the 600's signed in for competition, qualifying heat victories went to Ginther, Rutherford, and Lewis. Heath Hehnly won the consolation race.
Shane Braxton, West Grove, Pa., rolled off the 125cc grid from the inside of row four. He was up to second by lap nine, then ducked under race leader Kory Merkey at the halfway point, sliding up in front of Merkey to take command as they accelerated under the crossed flags.
Unfortunately for Merkey, his No. 88 broke with only three to go while he was running second. His misfortune put opening night winner Dave Grube into the runner-up slot, but Grube fell victim to fuel pump issues on a subsequent caution with just a couple of laps remaining.
Braxton held on for the win, with Derek Ecenrode earning a well deserved second over Richie Hartman, Felisha Kirlin, and Brianna Gerhart.
The feature winner also recorded the quickest lap during the main event to earn the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature. Braxton's quick lap stopped the clock in 11.416 seconds.
A solid field of 24 cars took part in the 125cc portion of the program. Jesse Maurer, Darren Miller, and Ken Miller captured the heat races.
Winning his second straight 25-lapper for the 270cc Four-Strokes, Manheim's Chip Geib roared from ninth on the starting grid to run second after five laps had been scored.
Geib dashed past Lew Kepple to secure the lead and the win on the race's only restart with eight circuits complete. Geib cruised to victory lane, taking the checkered flag comfortably in front of Ryan Morris, Craig DeSantis, Eddie Nocera, and Ken Miller.
Because he turned the quickest lap of the feature at 11.731 seconds, Geib also earned the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award for the Four-Stroke Micros.
Geib and Morris were victorious in heat race action for the 14 car field of 270cc Four-Strokes.
Eleventh-starting Bret Habecker, Leesport, Pa., bolted through traffic to run third by the time eight laps were completed in the Sportsman feature. With one of his teammates, Jason Swavely, sailing along in the race lead, Habecker moved into second by passing Mark Ludwig on the tenth trip around the high banked oval.
When mechanical gremlins forced Swavely to the infield just one lap prior to the halfway mark, Habecker became the new leader. He survived a final restart with six to go to score the victory over Ludwig, Kerry Lengle, Ken Miller, and Robert Shanaman.
With 20 Sportsman cars in the pit area on Saturday, heat races were claimed by Habecker and Miller.
Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action this Saturday, May 12, with a Night Before Mother's Day event featuring the five weekly divisions of Micro-Sprints. Gates open at 3:30 with warm-ups beginning at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
General Admission for adults is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Tickets for youth between the ages of six and twelve cost just $2.00, and children under the age of six are admitted free. And parking is always free at the Clyde.
Saturday, May 19, is the rescheduled Fan Appreciation Night at Clyde Martin. Spectators will be admitted absolutely FREE on the 19th, and there will be dozens of prizes and giveaway items distributed throughout the racing program. In addition, it will be Dollar Dog Night at the refreshment stand, as the five weekly classes present another action-packed evening of high speed entertainment.
The month of May will end with the track's annual Memorial Day Open Show on Saturday, May 26. The five weekly classes of Micro-Sprints will take part in high paying, non-point 30-lap main events...and there's even more to this Open Show.
The club will honor the memory of its former Vice-President, Kerry Gilbert, by including his favorite division - the Wingless 600cc Micros. The 600's will compete both winged and wingless on May 26, with the wingless portion titled the Kerry Gilbert Memorial.
It's a very busy month of May at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, so you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Mark Yoder, 3.Shane Lewis, 4.Chris Gerhart, 5.Mike Dicely, 6.Tom Kohler, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Shaun Brandel, 9.Jeff Halligan, 10.A.J. Michael, 11.Jimmy Brookens, 12.Brittany Brown, 13.Peter Michael, 14.Jeff Stelter, 15.Tyler Esh, 16.C.J. Tracy, 17.Brent Ely, 18.Kevin Steele, 19.Jared Esh, 20.Mike Coen, 21.Jessica Mohler, 22.Shane Braxton, 23.Bruce Ginther Jr., 24.Kory Merkey.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Pete Skias, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Heath Hehnly, 5.Mike Rutherford, 6.Brian Sholley, 7.Justin Harrington, 8.Dave Grube, 9.Christi Sweigart, 10.Jason Swavely, 11.Billy Logeman, 12.Ryan Morris, 13.Dane Lane Jr., 14.Brad Kemp, 15.Toby Blumenshine, 16.Nate Weidman, 17.Chip Geib, 18.Mike Skias, 19.Jese Maurer, 20.Terry Ellex, 21.Charles Hellinger, 22.Scott Gingrich, 23.Kevin Garman, 24.Tyler Reinhardt.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Shane Braxton, 2.Derek Ecenrode, 3.Richie Hartman, 4.Felisha Kirlin, 5.Brianna Gerhart, 6.Daniel Braun, 7.Brent Shearer, 8.Dave Grube, 9.Curtis R. Miller, 10.Kory Merkey, 11.James Wampole, 12.Jordan Espenshade, 13.Darren Miller, 14.Cody Drace, 15.Dylan Adams, 16.Corey Schmuck, 17.Bradley Brown, 18.Nick Sweigart, 19.Ken Miller, 20.Jesse Maurer, 21.Kyle Hehnly, 22.Jason Harris. DNS: Jake Smith; Walter Wampole.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Bret Habecker, 2.Mark Ludwig, 3.Kerry Lengle, 4.Ken Miller, 5.Robert Shanaman, 6.Sheena Logeman, 7.Matt Abers, 8.Wesley Fasnacht, 9.Curtis R. Miller, 10.Mike Coen, 11.Corey Schmuck Jr., 12.Dennis Fenstermacher, 13.Dennis Ziegler, 14.Jason Swavely, 15.Brian Becker, 16.Mike Heiser, 17.Jenna Heagy, 18.Dean Spangler Jr., 19.Paul May III.
270cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Ed Nocera, 5.Ken Miller, 6.Lewis Kepple, 7.Donna Geib, 8.Kim Enck, 9.Steve Smith Sr., 10.Kory Shissler, 11.Sheila Fetter, 12.Ronald Good. DNS: Cody Kreger, Justin Harrington.