Newmanstown, Pa. - The event was a year in the making, and it did not disappoint.
The highly anticipated Wingless 600cc Sprint race at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, part of the club's annual Labor Day Shootout event, actually began in September of 2011, when all of the qualifying races were completed but the A-Main was washed out. The fantastic action during those qualifying events had everyone salivating over the prospects for a tremendous A-Main, but Mother Nature had other ideas. But that was last year...
It finally happened on Sunday, September 2, 2012. With the racing surface in mint condition, 51 of the wingless warriors gathered to try again. When the checkered flag waved after 30 laps of fast and furious competition, Tim Buckwalter was standing in victory lane, surviving after a terrific battle with Mike Rutherford.
Richie Hartman authored a big night for himself on Sunday as well, as the Reading, Pa. wheel-twister scored a pair of wins during the final night of Lanco's Labor Day Shootout presented by Hyper Racing. Hartman captured one race that has narrowly eluded him for several years, the 270cc headliner, after he started the evening with a triumph in the A-Main for the 125cc Class.
Dual heat races, utilizing a passing points system to determine who transferred directly to the A-Mains, and last-chance qualifying events were used for all of the divisions competing in this year's Shootout.
When the qualifying points were tallied for the Wingless 600's, Rutherford was at the top of the chart, thereby earning the pole position for the 30-lap A-Main. Mike Dicely, Travis Esh, and Buckwalter were second through fourth in qualifying points and joined Rutherford in the first two rows as the big race went green.
Buckwalter zipped past Esh and Dicely to grab the runner-up spot on the opening lap and begin his pursuit of race leader Rutherford. In between the ten caution flags that would interrupt their classic clash for the victory, Rutherford and Buckwalter put on a show that even had the third place Dicely watching in amazement. "That was a lot of fun, watching those two guys race hard and trade slide jobs on each other," admitted Dicely afterward.
Douglassville, Pa. resident Buckwalter tried repeatedly to dive under Rutherford, then slide up in front of the No. 7H and get back in the gas before Rutherford could turn back under him. That's the definition of a slide job or "slider", and, while Buckwalter certainly knows how to pull it off, he just couldn't run into the corners hard enough to clear Rutherford's mount. Then came a restart with ten circuits complete...
Charging into turn one, Buckwalter finally executed the slider he'd been attempting to manufacture. He floored Mike Pjatikin's Sawyer Chassied No. 29 to the bottom of the corner, then let it glide up the banking in front of Rutherford, who immediately turned left to shoot down the track at the exit of turn two. Buckwalter was able to pick up the throttle before Rutherford got back around him, and the race had a new leader.
After a restart with four to go, Rutherford attempted to turn the tables on Buckwalter, diving under the No. 29 and then sliding up the banking in three and four, but Buckwalter was ready for it. Tim crossed over to the inside at the exit of turn four and simply drove back under Rutherford to reclaim the top spot.
Buckwalter went on to register the $1,000 win, beating Rutherford to the stripe by 0.13-seconds.
"I was getting loose; we were too good in the beginning," stated Buckwalter in the winner's circle. "I tried running a little lower, and that let Mike get a run on me. He's fast and he's so good here, so we're happy to hold on and beat him for the win. Sawyer has a hell of a car here, and we're learning how to adjust it."
Rutherford and Dicely finished second and third, respectively. A late charge by Jeff Hartman, who started twelfth, netted him the fourth position, while Tony DiMattia earned fifth-place cash.
Heat race winners included Buckwalter, Greg Stevens, Andy Martin, Rutherford, David Beiler, DiMattia, Travis Esh, Dicely, Sammy LaMothe, and Luke Thomas. The B-Main went to Shane Lewis.
After a few near-misses, Richie Hartman desperately wanted a win in the 270cc Shootout, one of the biggest races of the season at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. It was one of the events on his race-driving "bucket list", and he can now cross it off because, after Sunday, that goal has been attained.
Picking up more qualifying points than anyone else in the 42-car field of 270cc pilots, Hartman led the pack to the green flag in the A-Main. He went on to set the pace for all 30 laps, but it wasn't exactly a walk in the park for the three-time point champion of Lanco's 270cc division.
Ryan Morris darted past Rutherford to snare the runner-up slot on lap one. Hartman opened up a comfortable advantage over Morris, but the driver from Honeybrook closed the gap significantly when the leader caught the back of the field and began to try and lap those cars. A timely caution period, with twelve laps scored, created clear race track in front of Hartman.
With ten to go, fifteenth-starting Jesse Maurer entered the picture, slipping into the fourth position and closing on third-place Rutherford. As Hartman was forced to deal with lapped traffic once again, Morris and Rutherford caught up to the leader and began to apply pressure to Hartman's Brick House Pub/ Jared Davis Motorsports/ RTS Chassis No. 39.
Morris stumbled a bit behind a slower car with four laps remaining, allowing Rutherford to dash past him and into second. One last yellow flag with three to go set up a classic Hartman/Rutherford duel to the finish, but Richie motored away from Rutherford on the restart. The $1,000 payday went to Hartman, as he flashed across the finish line with a quarter-second margin of victory over Rutherford.
Morris, Maurer, and thirteenth-starting Dave Grube completed the top five when the race ended.
270cc heats were won by Tyler Reinhardt, Morris, Shaun Brandel, Randy Oswald, Rutherford, Brian Marriott, Lee Reinhardt, and Hartman. Marty Gorr was victorious in the B-Main.
Hartman rolled off the starting grid in third position in the 125cc main event, but he blasted to the front on the first trip around the banked oval, passing Dave Grube and polesitter P.J. Williams by the time they rumbled into the third corner.
"He (Williams) just made a mistake on the start," noted Hartman afterward. "He left the bottom open, and I took advantage of it."
Bradley Brown passed Williams for second, only to have the Airport Speedway hotshoe return the favor in lapped traffic as the 30-lapper was slowed by just two yellow flag periods.
Williams and Brown closed on Hartman as the leader struggled with lapped cars late in the race. Before Williams could sneak by him, though, Hartman caught a break when the second (and final) yellow flew with one lap left to run.
Hartman rocketed away on the restart, beating Williams to the stripe by slightly more than half-a-second. The triumph was Hartman's sixth of the year in 125cc competition at the Clyde.
Williams finished an impressive second, with Brown, Grube, and Jesse Maurer making up the top five.
Kenny Murray, Grube, Barry Pollard, Darren Miller, Williams, and Brown won heat races as 25 of the 125cc racers entered the Shootout.
This Saturday, September 8, is the first Mark Geib Memorial at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Geib, the long time driver, crew chief, and car owner, tragically lost his life during Tropical Storm Lee last September. His wife Donna, a competitor in the club's 270cc Four-Stroke Class, has organized the tribute to her late husband with the assistance of many in the Lanco family who considered Mark a friend.
The five weekly classes will be in action on Saturday, and it's been announced that money raised for the Mark Geib Memorial will be used to off-set the car entry fee for all competitors. The car entry will be reduced by $10 for everyone - club members and non-members alike - at this Saturday's event.
Lap money has been and continues to be collected for drivers leading the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 270cc Four-Stroke features this week.
It will be emotional, but it will be a fitting and well-deserved tribute to a man who meant so much to so many at the Mecca of Micro-Sprint racing, Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. It's the Mark Geib Memorial, and it starts with warm-ups at 5 p.m. this Saturday. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Be there to salute our fallen friend and to LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Lanco's Labor Day Shootout...Night Two Results:
Wingless 600cc Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Tim Buckwalter, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Mike Dicely, 4.Jeff Hartman, 5.Tony DiMattia, 6.Tyler Esh, 7.Shaun Brandel, 8.Phil Durham, 9.Danny Wykes, 10.Shane Lewis, 11.James Morris, 12.Chris Panczner, 13.Travis Esh, 14.Louis Horvath, 15.Rick Perone, 16.Shane Braxton, 17.Luke Thomas, 18.Andy Martin, 19.Brian Carber, 20.Bobby Butler, 21.Jeff Stelter, 22.Tyler DeVault, 23.Dave Beiler, 24.Tyler Tank, 25.Sam LaMothe, 26.Brent Ely.
270cc Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Ryan Morris, 4.Jesse Maurer, 5.Dave Grube, 6.Kyle Spence, 7.Lee Reinhardt, 8.Jason Swavely, 9.Marty Gorr, 10.Brad Kemp, 11.Tyler Reinhardt, 12.Randy Oswald, 13.Chip Geib, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Brian Sholley, 16.Ernie Miles, 17.Sheena Logeman, 18.Ronald Helmick, 19.Rebecca LaMothe, 20.Keith Holiday, 21.Shaun Brandel, 22.Heath Hehnly, 23.Brian Marriott, 24.Sammy LaMothe, 25.Nick Walton, 26.Billy Logeman.
125cc Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.P.J. Williams, 3.Bradley Brown, 4.Dave Grube, 5.Jesse Maurer, 6.Jason Hehnly, 7.Darren Miller, 8.Barry Pollard, 9.Shane Braxton, 10.Brittany Whitesall, 11.Felisha Kirlin, 12.Ryan Shupp, 13.Danny Braun Jr., 14.Dylan Adams, 15.Derek Ecenrode, 16.Kenny Miller III, 17.Donna Geib, 18.Kenny Murray, 19.Lew Schwander, 20.Corey Schmuck, 21.Walt Wampole, 22.Brianna Gerhart, 23.Phil Durham, 24.James Wampole. DNS: Nick Sweigart.