Newmanstown, Pa. - It was a tribute to a fallen friend, and Mike Rutherford authored a performance that certainly had to make his buddy proud.
Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway ended its 2012 racing season on Saturday night with the running of the first Mark Geib Memorial, a race dedicated to the memory of the popular driver, crew chief, and all-around terrific person who tragically lost his life one year ago in the raging flood waters of Tropical Storm Lee.
"Mark helped me out when I was just getting started, and I always appreciated that," noted Rutherford. "And I'll always remember the races he organized inside his garage, during the winter, when a bunch of us would get together and make fools of ourselves on four-wheelers."
All Rutherford did on Saturday - to honor his late friend's memory - was notch two feature wins and, in the process, nail down a pair of point championships.
In the 600cc Micro-Sprint main, Rutherford drove Gary and Rose Hunter's No. 7H to his fourth victory of the season. He clinched the point title in that division when Heath Hehnly (second in points) skipped the finale` due to a prior family committment.
Just prior to his 600cc triumph, Rutherford scored his eighth win of the campaign in the 270cc feature. His victory, combined with Jesse Maurer's 22nd place finish (due to a flat tire suffered early in the race), enabled the Lititz driver to leap-frog over Maurer and capture the championship.
Maurer managed to salvage at least part of his night as he won the main event for the 125cc Class, while Ryan Morris recorded his fourth triumph of the year in the 270cc Four-Stroke division. And Jason Swavely not only won his seventh Sportsman feature of the season, but wrapped up his second consecutive point title as well.
Richie Hartman claimed the 125cc point crown, and Chip Geib secured his fifth championship in the 270cc Four-Stroke Class.
In the 25-lapper for the 600cc Micros, Rutherford started eleventh and steadily moved forward, utilizing the bottom groove while most of his competitors opted for a higher lane at both ends of the banked oval.
With Peter Michael setting a torrid pace out front, Rutherford charged into fourth by lap twelve. He was third at the halfway point, then moved into the runner-up slot with ten to go. He and Michael engaged in an entertaining battle for the top spot over the next five circuits, with Michael staying committed to the top and Rutherford digging hard on the bottom. The low line finally paid off for Rutherford with just five laps remaining, as he squeezed up in front of Michael's No. 45 as they blasted off turn two.
"We've been experimenting over the past few weeks, and I think we found something that really works on the bottom. That's where we needed to run tonight, because everyone else was up high. It was fun racing with Peter like that. We've had (something like) seven second-place finishes this year, so it's nice to be back in victory lane," said "Rutherford, who claimed his third Lanco 600cc point title in Saturday's curtain-closer.
Michael was pleased with his runner-up effort, and Tyler Esh, Shane Lewis, and Jered Hook finished third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.
Heats for the 33-car field were won by Lewis, A.J. Michael, and Ryan Greth. Shane Braxton won the consolation race.
Peter Michael made things difficult for Rutherford in the 600cc headliner, and young lion Ryan Morris did much of the same in the 25-lap feature for the 270cc Micro-Sprints.
Morris dashed past Dave Grube to grab the lead on the first revolution, then opened a big lead while Grube fought with Chip Geib and Rutherford for the second position. A caution period with three complete altered the 270cc championship chase, as the left-front tire on point leader Jesse Maurer's car went flat and rolled off the rim, forcing Maurer to retire.
Rutherford took second from Grube on lap six, but it wasn't until fourteen tours later that he snatched the top spot away from the Honeybrook, Pa. driver. Morris didn't give up easily, either, as he made one last bonzai dive on a restart with three to go. Rutherford held him off and registered his eighth 270cc triumph of the Clyde Martin campaign. He won the point title, the second of his Lanco career in the 270cc division, by 34 tallies over Maurer.
Morris, Billy Logeman, Mike Dicely, and 22nd-starting Jason Swavely completed the top five when the race ended.
The 270's pulled in a field of 28, with heat wins going to Morris, Rutherford, and Maurer. Dane Tobias was victorious in the consolation.
Maurer rebounded to score his second win of the season in the 125cc feature while his Gorski Racing teammate, Richie Hartman, finished second to lock up his first track championship in that Class.
Maurer started on the pole and jumped out to the early lead. Bradley Brown challenged the Mount Joy Outlaw during the opening laps, with Brown shoving the nose of his No. 23 in front to lead the third circuit. His time at the head of the pack would be short lived, however...
Storming off turn four to complete the fourth trip around the clay, Maurer shot back around Brown to reclaim the point, and he would go on to lead the rest of the 25-lap distance. He was able to pull away on each of the four restarts that interrupted his run to victory, mainly because the group behind him were battling fiercely among themselves.
Dave Grube, Shane Braxton, Brown, and Hartman were darting in and around lapped traffic and each other, highlighted by several instances of side-by-side and three-wide action. With nine to go, Grube, Braxton, and Hartman executed a three-abreast tussle for the runner-up position that ended with Grube hanging on to second. Braxton spun with seven tours left to run, leaving Grube, Hartman, and Brown to duke it out for runner-up honors.
As Maurer sped away and cruised to the win, Hartman nipped Grube for second at the finish line. Brown and Darren Miller wound up fourth and fifth.
Hartman, Grube, and Darren Miller captured heat races for the 23-car field of 125cc racers.
The main event for the 270cc Four-Stroke Class was punctuated by an exciting three-car slugfest for the lead. And that battle was made even more meaningful because one of the participants, Craig DeSantis, was competing for the final time after 38-years of buckling into a racecar at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Eighth starting DeSantis motored past Kenny Miller III to take the top spot on lap six. Ryan Morris and Chip Geib were quickly slicing their way through the pack, with Morris pulling into second place on the same lap that DeSantis grabbed the lead and Geib settling into third spot by the tenth circuit. And then the fun began...
The first yellow occurred after thirteen laps had been scored. On the restart, the trio of DeSantis, Morris, and Geib raced under a blanket, and for the next five laps Geib and Morris traded second place while running inches behind and alongside the No. 39 of DeSantis. On lap 18, Morris finally got a run on the outside of DeSantis and snatched the top spot away from the resident of Lititz, Pa. But it wasn't over yet...
Geib slipped past DeSantis as well, and he applied pressure to the inside of Morris. The second and final caution period, with seven laps remaining, gave Geib one last shot at the leader. But Morris, from Honeybrook, Pa., was up the challenge, and he repelled Geib's attack to secure his fourth victory of the season.
Chip Geib, a seven-time winner in 2012, simply had to take the green in the final Four-Stroke feature of the year in order to clinch his fifth point title. He finished as the runner-up to Morris when the checkered flag waved, with DeSantis completing a stellar career in third. Donna Geib persevered through the emotional night that honored her late husband to claim fourth, with Kenny Miller III rounding out the first five.
Morris and Donna Geib won heat races for the 15 cars signed in for Four-Stroke competition.
As the Sportsman Class prepared for their final main event of the season, Jason Swavely carried a scant eight-point advantage over one of his teammates, Ken Miller, in the battle for the championship. Another Miller Racing teammate, Bret Habecker, was lurking in third, just 23 markers behind Swavely.
Some bizarre circumstances aided Swavely in his efforts to win the race and the title. With Kerry Lengle setting the pace, Swavely charged from tenth on the starting grid to run third by the time three tours were in the books. With Lengle holding off Curtis R. Miller, Swavely, and Ken Miller, the yellow waved as Curtis flipped in turn four after an intense, close-quarters battle with his uncle Ken and Swavely.
On the restart, Lengle spun out of the lead as they raced through turns three and four. Swavely inherited the top spot at that point, and he took full advantage of the opportunity. The Douglassville driver led the rest of the way to win his seventh Sportsman feature of the season, nailing down his second straight point crown in the process.
Ken Miller chased Swavely to the stripe, with Habecker finishing a distant third to his teammates. Mark Ludwig and Sheena Logeman completed the top five.
With twenty Sportsman entered for action on Saturday, Ken Miller and Kerry Lengle won heat races.
Donna Geib, driving the 270cc Four-Stroke car prepared by her late husband Mark, paced each feature except for the 600cc main. Jessica Mohler, sporting a No. 82 on her wing and the name "White Oak Valley Trucking" (the name of Mark Geib's trucking business) on the side of her car, served as the pace vehicle prior to the start of the 600cc feature.
Almost $900 in lap money was raised in the weeks prior to the event. A Bake Sale and additional resources provided the money that allowed Lanco club members to enter their cars free of charge on Saturday, while non-members only had to pay a car entry fee of $5. The last cars running in each feature also collected some extra cash at the payout window. There were also Hard Charger and Hard Luck bonuses paid to the competitors in each division.
Donna Geib and the entire Lanco community wishes to thank all those who contributed and helped to organize the Mark Geib Memorial Race.
Two exhibition races were presented by the Quarter-Midgets on Saturday. Kenny Miller III, who also began his Micro-Sprint career this season in Lanco's 270cc Four-Stroke Class, won both of the 15-lap Quarter-Midget events (full results appear below).
The next event on the Lanco schedule is the annual Awards Banquet, set for November 17 at the Lancaster Host Resort. Doors will open at 5 p.m., with dinner slated to begin at 6:00. The presentation of awards will follow as the 2012 Champions, along with the top fifteen in points in each Class, are honored. There will be numerous special awards presented as well. Tickets are priced at $35 per person for adults; $15 for children. See the club's website, www.lancomicrosprint.com, for details.
Results of the Mark Geib Memorial Race
At Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway:
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Peter Michael, 3.Tyler Esh, 4.Shane Lewis, 5.Jered Hook, 6.Jeff Halligan, 7.Jeff Stelter, 8.Ryan Greth, 9.Shaun Brandel, 10.Mike Dicely, 11.Chris Gerhart, 12.Jared Esh, 13.Travis Esh, 14.Ryan Hook, 15.Danny Wykes, 16.Brittany Brown, 17.Mike Coen, 18.Sam LaMothe, 19.Jarid Kunkle, 20.Kelby Stauffer, 21.Shane Braxton, 22.Jim Radney, 23.Jimmy Brookens, 24.A.J. Michael.
2012 Point Champion: Mike Rutherford.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Billy Logeman, 4.Mike Dicely, 5.Jason Swavely, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Richie Hartman, 8.Brian Sholley, 9.Kyle Spence, 10.Christi Sweigart, 11.Zack Fouse, 12.Greg Miller, 13.Austin Bishop, 14.Dan Lane, Jr., 15.Brad Kemp, 16.Dane Tobias, 17.Ron Helmick, 18.Chip Geib, 19.Shaun Brandel, 20.Charles Hellinger, 21.Kory Merkey, 22.Jesse Maurer, 23.Gregg Walter, 24.Nate Weidman.
2012 Point Champion: Mike Rutherford.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Dave Grube, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Darren Miller, 6.Kyle Hehnly, 7.Derek Ecenrode, 8.Shane Braxton, 9.Daniel Braun, 10.Dylan Adams, 11.Brianna Gerhart, 12.Jake Smith, 13.13.Sonny Sweitzer, 14.Nick Sweigart, 15.Walt Wampole, 16.Zack Hollinger, 17. Trevor Shirk, 18.Jimmy Wampole, 19.Brie Weiler, 20.Luis Gonzales, 21.Brent Shearer, 22.Ken Miller, 23.Felisha Kirlin.
2012 Point Champion: Richie Hartman.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Ken Miller, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.Mark Ludwig, 5.Sheena Logeman, 6.Matt Abers, 7.Brad Kemp, 8.David Ravel, 9.Jeff Hughes, 10.Kerry Lengle, 11.Dean Spangler, 12.Curtis R. Miller, 13.Jenna Heagy, 14.Tim Ziegler, 15.Dennis Fenstermacher, 16.Rick Fisher, 17.Robert Shanaman, 18.Wesley Fasnacht, 19.Jay Lawrence. DNS: Brian Becker.
2012 Point Champion: Jason Swavely.
270cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Ryan Morris, 2.Chip Geib, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Donna Geib, 5.Kenny Miller III, 6.Kim Enck, 7.Steve Smith Sr., 8.Earl Eveland, 9.Tim Nocera, 10.Ronald Good, 11.Greg Schmuck, 12.Kory Shissler, 13.Lewis Kepple Jr., 14.Sheila Fetter, 15.Ron Wechter.
2012 Point Champion: Chip Geib.
Quarter-Midgets - 120's:
1.Kenny Miller III, 2.Andrew Rothermel, 3.Cassidy Michaels, 4.Samantha Russo, 5.Jared Espenshade, 6.Brevan Rothermel, 7.Nathan Griffith, 8.Devin Confair, 9.Jared Imler.
Quarter-Midgets - 160's:
1.Kenny Miller III, 2.Devin Adams, 3.Grace Roland, 4.Blake Hindle, 5.Nathan Griffith, 6.Dylan Adams, 7.Chelsey Moore, 8.Austin Bellemare, 9.Cassidy Michaels, 10.Alexis Sheely, 11.Aaron Espenshade, 12.Jarrett Imler, 13.Brevan Rothermel.