Newmanstown, Pa. - There's no such thing as a "Championship Hangover" for Honeybrook's Shane Lewis.
In fact, it's quite the opposite; the Penn State Engineering student seems to be gaining even more momentum since he clinched the 2012 PA 600 Speedweek title just over one week ago.
Lewis has two victories and a third place finish since he earned that Speedweek crown, with his latest triumph coming in the 25-lap feature for the 600cc Micro-Sprints at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday night.
Point leader Mike Rutherford continued in his role as the driver to beat in the 270cc Class by capturing his sixth win of the season.
Joining Lewis and Rutherford in the Lanco winner's circle on Saturday were Shane Braxton (125cc), Kerry Lengle (Sportsman), and Ryan Morris (270cc Four-Stroke).
Mark Yoder led the early stages of the 600cc main event, with A.J. Michael on his back bumper, looking for an opportunity to get by the Ephrata driver in the No. 75.
Michael's opening occurred on a restart with nine laps complete, as Yoder stumbled a bit getting through turn four. The Hollinger's Sports 'N Turf No. 45 driven by Michael shot to the bottom and flashed by Yoder to grab the top spot.
While the racing was hot and heavy up front, tenth-starting Lewis and Rutherford, who started beside him in row five, were navigating their way through the pack. Lewis traded slide jobs with Danny Wykes before claiming the third position. The Honeybrook Hustler then passed Yoder for the runner-up slot on the twelfth trip around the ultra-tacky clay oval.
After months of struggling to get his car hooked up, Michael and his No. 45 brought their A-game on Saturday, as A.J. maintained an advantage of a few car lengths over Lewis and Rutherford, who raced into third with eleven circuits remaining.
A slight bobble in the corner by the race leader allowed Lewis to close in and execute a slider in turn two with four to go. The move worked perfectly, and Lewis went on to win his third feature of the season at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
"We tried a brand new setup on the car tonight, and it worked," said Lewis with a relieved grin. "A.J. was really good, though, and I don't know if I would have gotten him if he hadn't slipped over there in the corner. It was hard racing, but it was fun coming through traffic with Mike (Rutherford) like that."
Michael held on for second, with Rutherford, Yoder, and Heath Hehnly making up the top five.
With 24 of the winged 600cc warriors signed in for competition, heat races went to Wykes, Yoder, and Hehnly.
Jason Swavely ducked under Zach Fouse to take the lead of the 270cc main as the duo charged off turn four to complete the third revolution around the high banked oval.
Rutherford, from Lititz, started eighth and was up to third by the halfway mark of the 25-lapper. On a restart with fourteen tours in the books, Rutherford darted past Ryan Morris for second, then took advantage of another caution period with ten to go to make a run at Swavely for the race lead.
The pair engaged in a terrific duel for the top spot, trading slide jobs at both ends of the speedway for five laps until Rutherford gained command for good on lap 21.
Two late race yellows did not alter the outcome, mostly due to the fact that Swavely's engine was laying down on him in the latter portion of the event.
"My motor was breaking up badly; it was spitting and sputtering on those restarts," explained Swavely afterward. "I just couldn't stay with him at the end."
"I could hear his motor breaking up and that's too bad," noted Rutherford. "We had a great race going there. Ken (Kaylor, who owns Rutherford's 270cc ride along with his son, Tony) isn't feeling well, so he got here late tonight. Hopefully this (winning) will make him feel better."
Swavely's mount hung in there long enough to permit a second-place finish, with Jesse Maurer taking the checkered in third. Ryan Morris wound up fourth with Richie Hartman earning fifth-place money.
Mike Miller, Hartman, and Billy Logeman won heat races for the 29 car field of 270cc Micros. Toby Blumenshine was the consolation winner.
Shane Braxton rocketed from eighth on the starting grid to run second in the first five circuits of the 125cc main event.
Bradley Brown set the pace from his pole position during the early stages of the 25-lap affair, but Brown washed up the banking in turn two, barely keeping his No. 23 out of the guardrail as he fought to save it. He managed to gather it in and continue, but lost his momentum and watched as Braxton roared past him on the backstretch on the eighth trip around the clay.
Braxton, from West Grove, Pa., then checked out but the action behind him was fierce. Brown, Darren Miller, and Jesse Maurer ran three-wide at times as they battled for second, while Brianna Gerhart and Richie Hartman swapped the fifth position on several occasions. Hartman, who had a five race win streak snapped by his teammate, Maurer, on June 23, finally secured the spot as Gerhart fell back to race with Felisha Kirlin for sixth.
Maurer emerged from that three-way battle to nail down the runner-up spot with just a couple of laps left to run, but Braxton was long gone by that time.
Braxton crossed the stripe with a margin of more than three seconds over Maurer. Darren Miller, who passed his test and got his driver's license earlier in the day, survived a guardrail-climbing, bicycling incident on the frontstretch to finish third, with Brown and Hartman rounding out the top five.
Heat race victories for the 18 cars went to Brown and Dave Grube.
Back on June 23rd, it looked as though Kerry Lengle had a Sportsman feature win in the bag, as he enjoyed a big lead with just a few laps to go. Unfortunately, the Myerstown driver hooked one of the infield tire markers and spun, handing the victory to Jason Swavely.
On Saturday, redemption was his, as Lengle was out front for every one of the 25-laps to win his first Sportsman headliner. "I was thinking about that race a few weeks ago as I was leading tonight," he admitted in victory lane. "I was just telling myself, 'don't goof up,' and it worked out in our favor tonight."
Lengle had to fend off some tough customers, too, in his triumphant run. Bret Habecker dashed into the runner-up spot before the fourth lap could be scored, then Jason Swavely slipped under Habecker to steal second as lap ten was displayed on the scoreboard.
But Swavely's car broke on the following tour, putting Habecker back into second place. Ken Miller, who started eleventh, sliced his way into third by lap thirteen. He gassed his No. 7P past Habecker on a restart at the halfway point and tried, in vain, to run down race leader Lengle.
Lengle's No. 81 was on a rail, though, and he won by 1.37-seconds over Miller, whose runner-up effort enabled him to hold on to the point lead over the third place finisher, Habecker. Mark Ludwig and Sheena Logeman completed the top five.
K. Miller and Wesley Fasnacht won the two heat races for the 17 Sportsman in attendance.
The 270cc Four-Stroke Micros ran the first feature of the night, and only one yellow flag slowed the pace of their 25-lapper.
That lone caution period occurred with one lap complete and it knocked out two-time feature winner Craig DeSantis.
Kory Shissler jumped into the lead from his outside front row starting spot as Honeybrook's Ryan Morris blasted from eighth to second in the opening laps.
Morris swept past Shissler to take command on lap eleven and, with no yellows to slow his pace, set sail and built a huge lead over his pursuers.
Five-time feature winner Chip Geib moved into second with ten circuits remaining, but the caution flag he needed (in order to have a shot at Morris) never appeared.
Morris cruised to his second triumph of the season over C. Geib, with Shissler recording his best Clyde Martin finish with a third place effort. Eddie Nocera wound up fourth with Lewis Kepple, Jr. finishing fifth.
Four-Stroke heat races were claimed by Donna Geib and Chip Geib, as an even dozen entries took the green on Saturday.
Notes from the Clyde...
Impressive feature runs turned in by three of the divisions on Saturday, led by the Four-Stroke drivers, who completed their 25-lapper in just 7 minutes, 17 seconds.
Kerry Lengle won the Sportsman feature in just 10:04, and Shane Braxton ran the 125cc main in 11:06.
This Saturday night, July 21, is Mongoose Chassis Night at the speedway. Qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features are on the agenda for the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 270cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints.
Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Coming up on July 28 is the prestigious Clyde Martin Memorial Race, a double-point, higher payout extravaganza for Lanco club members who have entered at least half of this year's point-paying events.
The tradition of handing down the winner's trophy in each class will continue as the longest features of the Clyde Martin season, 35 laps, are contested in all five of the weekly divisions.
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Shane Lewis, 2.A.J. Michael, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Mark Yoder, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Danny Wykes, 7.Shaun Brandel, 8.Bruce Ginther Jr., 9.Travis Esh, 10.Jeff Halligan, 11.Brent Ely, 12.Jered Hook, 13.Jeff Stelter, 14.Peter Michael, 15.Jessica Mohler, 16.Tom Kohler, 17.Jared Esh, 18.Kory Merkey, 19.Brittany Brown, 20.Tyler Esh, 21.Chris Gerhart, 22.Mike Dicely, 23.Chris Tracy. DNS: David Beiler.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Jason Swavely, 3.Jesse Maurer, 4.Ryan Morris, 5.Richie Hartman, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Billy Logeman, 8.Christi Sweigart, 9.Brian Marriott, 10.Steve Drevicki, 11.Chip Geib, 12.Brian Sholley, 13.Toby Blumenshine, 14.Charles Hellinger, 15.Dan Lane Jr., 16.Ricky Sechrist Jr., 17.Heath Hehnly, 18.Mike Uhrich, 19.Justin Harrington, 20.Scott Renninger, 21.Kyle Newkirk, 22.Mike Miller, 23.Nate Weidman, 24.Zack Fouse.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Shane Braxton, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Darren Miller, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Richie Hartman, 6.Felisha Kirlin, 7.Brianna Gerhart, 8.Scott Gantert, 9.Kyle Hehnly, 10.Zack Hollinger, 11.Walt Wampole, 12.Brie Weiler, 13.Nick Sweigert, 14.Danny Braun Jr., 15.James Wampole, 16.Dave Grube, 17.Kory Merkey, 18.Ken Miller.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kerry Lengle, 2.Ken Miller, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.Mark Ludwig, 5.Sheena Logeman, 6.Wesley Fasnacht, 7.Dean Spangler Jr., 8.Robert Shanaman, 9.Tim Ziegler, 10.Jenna Heagy, 11.Jordan Stites, 12.Jason Swavely, 13.Curtis R. Miller, 14.Matt Abers, 15.Brian Becker, 16.Dennis Fenstermacher, 17.Dave Schroeder.
270cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps: 1.Ryan Morris, 2.Chip Geib, 3.Kory Shissler, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Steve Smith Sr., 7.Donna Geib, 8.Kim Enck, 9.Kenny Miller III, 10.Earl Eveland, 11.Ronnie Good, 12.Craig DeSantis.