(Results Story Written by Michael Batz)
Newmanstown, Pa. - Two drivers shook off some horrible luck to record their first victories of the season, while another registered a very emotional win during Saturday night's action at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Chris Gerhart, who has suffered through a season's worth of broken wheel centers and other, associated mechanical gremlins, finally broke through for his initial 600cc triumph of the 2012 campaign. Gerhart was joined in victory lane by Kory Merkey (125cc), who has been plagued with some terrible luck of his own.
Other drivers who notched victories on Mongoose Chassis Night included Richie Hartman (270cc), Jason Swavely (Sportsman), and Donna Geib (270cc Four-Strokes). The Four-Stroke triumph was Donna's first since switching from the Sportsman Class at the beginning of this season. It was also her first visit to the winner's circle since the tragic loss of her husband/best friend/crew chief, Mark, in a drowning accident during last September's tropical storm.
Jessica Mohler drove into the early race lead in the 600 feature event with hard charging Jeff Stelter closing quick. Stelter challenged Mohler but she would hold on to the race lead on lap eight when her car spun collecting Stelter and handing the lead to Chris Gerhart. Gerhart has had his fair share of bad luck this season but finally saw some luck on his side. Gerhart’s half-straightaway lead began to shrink as he caught lap traffic. Peter Michael was closing in along with Jered Hook who was on a charge of his own from the 14th starting spot. Gerhart held on for his first win of the year over P. Michael, J. Hook, A.J. Michael, and Jared Esh. Heats for the (23) 600’s were won by Esh, Stelter, and Shaun Brandel.
The 270 feature came to the green flag behind Zack Fouse. Fouse would lead as the field got into lap traffic around lap five. Chip Geib closed slightly but Fouse managed the traffic well. A lap 17 yellow gave Fouse open race track as 10th place starter Richie Hartman and 16th starting Nick Skias worked into the second and third spots. Fouse would get a great restart and pull away on his way to the (apparent) win before the back end stepped out and the leader spun with two laps to go. Hartman would inherit the lead for the restart. Skias would challenge but Hartman would win his third of the season in the 270cc Class. And it was a big win with point leader Mike Rutherford not at the track. N. Skias came across second, Jesse Maurer third with Chip Geib and Billy Logeman making up the top five. Heat races for the 270’s were won by Fouse, Geib, and Ryan Morris. Justin Harrington won the consi, as 31 cars signed in for competition on Saturday.
0.02 seconds was just enough for Kory Merkey to hold off Jesse Maurer in a thrilling 125 race Saturday. When you rewind to get the full story it gets even better. Kory Merkey started P1 and lead the 21 car field to the green flag. Dan Braun and Brad Brown paced behind Merkey early. Felisha Kirlin and Ken Miller would enter into the top five just before halfway. Braun would spin on lap 18 to bring out the yellow flag erasing a big lead Merkey had. Brown was second and 12th place starter Jesse Maurer was into the top three. Merkey would get away on the restart and looked like a sure winner, and then there was yellow with one lap to go. Brown and Maurer would pull the belts tight and when the green flew again the top three were three wide going into turn one. Merkey and Maurer were left side by side in turns 3&4 and then it was a drag race to the line which Merkey won. Maurer settled for second, Brown was third only .18 seconds back. Kirlin and Miller made up the top five. Heat races for the 21-car field were won by Brown and Richie Hartman.
The 4 Stroke feature played the role of the night cap for Saturday's main events but the stands were still full to see Donna Geib win her first feature since the passing of her husband Mark Geib. Geib lead all 25 laps of the feature from her sixth starting spot. Ironically Donna was the only dry eye in victory lane as she told the sea of supporters how much the win meant to her, how great the 4 stroke class is as a whole, and that this was all for Mark who made the decision in the off season to switch to the class. Ryan Morris recovered from a trip to the rear of the field for second. Morris was catching Geib but not quick enough to get there before the checkered fell. Craig DeSantis was third, Kory Shissler battled with Geib early but settled for fourth, and Kim Enck made up the top five. It was a tough night for point leader Chip Geib who finished seventh. Heat races for the 14 car field were won by DeSantis and Morris.
The Sportsman feature stole the show Saturday with point leader Kenny Miller and leading feature winner Jason Swavely battling hard for the win. Curtis R. Miller lead early before his car stopped bringing out the yellow and giving the lead to Robert Shannaman. Ken Miller would jump by both first and second into the race lead from his 12th starting spot with just three laps down. Miller and Swavely would begin the battle running side by side and trading the lead in each turn. A lap 13 caution period gave the two the opportunity to catch their breath. Miller would take the lead back on the restart but Swavely quickly regained the top spot for good to take his fourth win of 2012. Swavely admitted in victory lane the great race almost didn’t happen as his brakes went out on lap one. “I almost pulled off on lap one when I realized it,” said Swavely. Ken Miller had an interesting "race within the race" as well; his motor was on the verge of blowing up, he was glad to finish and would have liked a late race restart. Miller felt it would have held together for about five hard laps. Mark Ludwig (11th) and Kerry Lengle (14th) were fun to watch when the race for the win settled down and they charged through the field to third and fourth place finishes. Bret Habecker finished out the top 5. Heat races for the 18 Sportsman were won by Swavely and Miller.
This coming Saturday July 28th is the annual Clyde Martin Memorial Race presented by Gold Rush Trailer Sales. All five of the feature races will run 35 laps, for double points, and $12,000 in prize money on the line. The point races have closed up very much over the past few weeks and this Saturday’s race will play a huge role in crowning a champion. Also Cable 11 will be on hand to televise the event and it's Dollar Dog night in honor of the Clyde Martin Memorial Race.
600cc Feature Finish: 1.Chris Gerhart, 2.Peter Michael, 3.Jered Hook, 4.A.J. Michael, 5.Jared Esh, 6.Brent Ely, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Jeff Halligan, 9.Andy Martin, 10.Tyler Esh, 11.Ryan Hook, 12.Chris Tracy, 13.Brittany Brown, 14.Joe Kay, 15.Jeff Stelter, 16.Mark Yoder, 17.Jessica Mohler, 18.Danny Wykes, 19.Molly Chambers, 20.Shaun Brandel, 21.Travis Esh, 22.Kory Merkey, 23.Jimmy Brookens.
270cc Feature Finish: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Nick Skias, 3.Jesse Maurer, 4.Chip Geib, 5.Billy Logeman, 6.Jason Swavely, 7.Dan Lane Jr., 8.Dave Grube, 9.Richy Sechrist Jr., 10.Heath Hehnly, 11.Terry Ellex, 12.Ernie Miles, 13.Pete Skias, 14.Justin Harrington, 15.Mike Skias, 16.Kyle Newkirk, 17.Zack Fouse, 18.Christi Sweigart, 19.Brian Sholley, 20.Corey Schmuck Jr., 21.Mike Uhrich, 22.Rebecca LaMothe, 23.Toby Blumenshine, 24.Ryan Morris.
125cc Feature Finish: 1.Kory Merkey, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Bradley Brown, 4.Felisha Kirlin, 5.Ken Miller, 6.Richie Hartman, 7.Shane Braxton, 8.Nick Sweigart, 9.Derek Ecenrode, 10.Dylan Adams, 11.Brianna Gerhart, 12.Daniel Braun, 13.Brie Weiler, 14.James Wampole, 15.Kyle Hehnly, 16.Brent Shearer, 17.Zack Hollinger, 18.Darren Miller, 19.Dave Grube, 20.Walter Wampole. DNS: Trevor Shirk.
270cc Four-Stroke Finish: 1.Donna Geib, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Kory Shissler, 5.Kim Enck, 6.Lewis Kepple Jr., 7.Chip Geib, 8.Cody Kreger, 9.Ed Nocera, 10.Steve Smith Sr., 11.Kenny Miller III, 12.Ronnie Good, 13.Greg Schmuck, 14.Sheila Fetter.
Sportsman Feature Finish: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Ken Miller, 3.Mark Ludwig, 4.Kerry Lengle, 5.Bret Habecker, 6.Robert Shanaman, 7.Matt Abers, 8.Jeff Hughes, 9.Wesley Fasnacht, 10.Dean Spangler Jr., 11.Dennis Ziegler, 12.Jenna Heagy, 13.Dave Kemp, 14.Jordan Stites, 15.Brian Becker, 16.Sheena Logeman, 17.Dennis Fenstermacher, 18.Curtis R. Miller.