Newmanstown, PA - There's an old saying in the sports world, "sometimes you've got to lose one (or two) before you can win one." After Saturday evening's event at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, Morris just might subscribe to that theory.
A couple of near misses earlier in the season - one in which Morris spun himself out while going for the lead - left the Riegelsville, Pa. wheel-twister frustrated but hungrier than ever to record his first career victory on the banks of the Clyde. On Saturday, May 18, that desire carried him to the winner's circle in the 600cc Micro-Sprint feature on MJF Trucking Night at the speedway in Newmanstown, Pa.
Along with Morris, Eric Falini (270cc), Kyle Hehnly (125cc), Jason Swavely (Sportsman), and Ryan Morris (250cc Four-Stroke) all posed for victory lane photos on Saturday. Falini's triumph in the final main event of the night was shortened by rain, as 14 of the scheduled 25 laps were complete before a light mist became heavier and made the track too slick and slimy for racing. Since the race was beyond its halfway point, it was declared official.
The 600cc feature began with polesitter Will Urkuski setting the pace for the first seven revolutions around the Clyde Martin oval. James Morris took the green from the outside of row two, but quickly maneuvered his way to the runner-up spot, with sixth-starter Shane Lewis on his heels.
On the eighth tour, Urkuski got a little bit out of shape in turn two, opening the door for Morris to scoot under him. The two raced wing to wing down the backchute, with Morris edging into the lead as they barreled off of the fourth turn.
Lewis followed Morris past Urkuski, and the Honeybrook Hustler continued his charge to the front by slipping past Morris as the duo accelerated off the second corner. The yellow lights flashed on before Lewis could be scored as the leader, however, putting Morris back in front for the restart with eight circuits in the books.
Despite several attempts by Lewis to shove the nose of his No. 55L under his B&M Auto Body/ Hyper No. 75x, Morris was able to keep his mount at the head of the pack for the duration of the event.
Trailing Morris and Lewis to the checkered were two-time winner Tyler Esh, Eric Bodine, and Heath Hehnly.
Kameron Morral started 17th and finished ninth, earning the 600Scene.com Hard Charger Award.
James Morris registered the quickest lap of the 600cc headliner, thereby earning the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature for his 10.367-second trip around the clay.
Mark Yoder, Hehnly, and Bodine won heat races for the 29-car field. The consolation race was won by Brittany Brown.
In the MJF Trucking nightcap, the 25-lapper for the 270cc Micro-Sprints, an incident on the opening lap forced a complete restart for the 24-cars who made the starting lineup. When they took the green again, the drivers responded by zipping off 14 consecutive laps under green before Billy Logeman came to a stop in turn four, bringing out the yellow flag.
With polesitter Eric Falini showing the way for those first 14 tours, runner-up Nate Weidman slowed and stopped during the caution period. While the track crew worked on removing the Logeman and Weidman cars, the mist (that had been falling since the race went green) intensified, forcing officials to halt the race.
An effort was made to bring the track back into racing condition, but the drivers and officials agreed that it was time to call it a night when the moisture continued to fall.
Falini and his Harmony Auto & Cycle Center No. 80 were declared the winner, with Brian Sholley, Jason Swavely, Mike Rutherford, and Bradley Brown making up the top five when the race was stopped.
Heat race winners included Jesse Maurer, Swavely, and Rutherford. While eight cars were eligible to compete in the consolation race, just six of them showed up on the starting grid. Since all six were guaranteed to qualify, the race was not run and Tony Ecternacht, the polesitter, was declared the winner.
A total of 26 race teams signed in for 270cc competition on Saturday.
Kyle Hehnly's story was much the same as James Morris...Hehnly appeared to have the fastest 125cc Micro-Sprint in two or three of the early season shows, but mechanical gremlins always seemed to appear at the most inappropriate times, like when he was rocketing to the front of the pack or poised for a top two or top three finish.
Hehnly shook his bad luck in grand style last weekend, winning on Friday night at Linda's Speedway, then backing up that triumph with a redemption-earning victory at the Clyde on Saturday.
From his outside front row starting spot, Hehnly outgunned poleman Zack Hollinger as Tim Gehret unfurled the green flag to begin the 25-lapper for the 125cc racers.
Richie Hartman, the defending point champ and winner of the feature on May 4, shot from fifth to second on the opening circuit. Subbing for Dave Grube (who was in a relative's wedding on Saturday), Mike Rutherford drove the No. 3D from the tenth starting position up to third by the time four laps had been scored.
The second and final caution period occurred with ten revolutions complete and Hartman applying some pretty intense pressure on leader Kyle Hehnly. On the restart, however, Hehnly dashed away from Hartman and Rutherford, building a comfortable advantage as the laps clicked off quickly.
The teenager from Stevens, Pa. handled lapped traffic like a veteran and beat Hartman to the stripe by 1.782-seconds. Rutherford survived a nip and tuck battle with Jesse Maurer to finish third, and Derek Ecenrode wound up fifth.
Heat races for the 19 cars went to Ecenrode and Hehnly.
Jason Swavely won his second Sportsman main event of the season, but it did not come aboard his familiar ride, the No. 7c.
Since Ken Miller was not in attendance on Saturday (he was with his son, Kenny III, at a big Quarter-Midget race in Tennessee), Mark Yoder was given the chance to drive Miller's No. 7P. During the Sportsman heats, Swavely's No. 7c suffered mechanical problems, forcing him to drop out well before the checkered.
Because Swavely is trying for his third consecutive Sportsman point title, he and Yoder switched rides for the feature. So Jason Swavely drove teammate Ken Miller's No. 7P to victory, even though he had to start at the rear of the 17-car field due to the exchange of cars.
The Douglassville, Pa. charger flew into third as lap four was completed, claiming the position after a three-wide battle with Bret Habecker and Matt Abers.
He soon secured the runner-up spot from Sheena Logeman and set his sights on leader Wesley Fasnacht. Rumbling off turn four and about to be scored for the tenth time, Swavely blasted to the inside of Fasnacht and assumed command on the homestretch...a lead he would maintain to the end.
Swavely crossed the finish line with a margin of 3.772-seconds over Habecker, with Sheena Logeman placing third. Abers and Fasnacht finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
The Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature was recorded by Swavely, as he turned a quick lap of 11.204-seconds.
Curtis R. Miller and Fasnacht were victorious in Sportsman heat race action on Saturday.
Steering the Elite Concrete/ Animal Resorts No. 93, Honeybrook's Ryan Morris captured his second straight win and third overall in the main event for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micros.
Starting on the outside of the fourth row, Morris weaved his way to third after three trips around the oval. He bypassed Lew Kepple for second on the seventh tour, then squeezed under Scott Renninger to grab the top spot on lap nine.
Two-time winner Chip Geib motored into the runner-up spot with ten to go, but could not get close enough to challenge Morris.
At the conclusion of the 25-lapper, it was R. Morris, C. Geib, and Renninger, who notched the best finish of his Lanco career. Donna Geib was fourth, followed by Lew Kepple.
With a dozen of the Four-Strokes on hand, the two heat races were won by Kepple and R. Morris.
The five feature winners received gift certificates as part of the K1 Race Gear Proven Performance Program presented by Nouse Signs & Graphics. The gift certificates can be used for the purchase of a new two or three-layer custom race suit from K1 Race Gear.
The Mark Millwright & Rigging point chases now get a week off as the Lanco club's annual Memorial Day Open Show takes center stage this Saturday, May 25. The non-points program will consist of both winged and non-wing 600cc activity; the 600's will compete in a complete show of qualifying and 30-lap feature with wings bolted to the top of the roll cage, then come back and race again in another complete program - but minus their wings. The wingless portion of the Memorial Day Open Show is the second annual Kerry Gilbert Memorial Race, run to honor the memory of the longtime Lanco racer, club officer, and track official who did so much for the organization and its drivers.
The 600's will be joined by the 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints for the Memorial Day Open, which is sponsored by Bud's Spring Service and carries rain dates of Sunday, May 26 and, if needed, Monday, May 27.
Gates will open at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with warm-ups scheduled to begin at 4:15. The first heat race goes green at 5:30, which is 30-minutes earlier than normal.
General admission tickets for adults are just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Youth between the ages of six and twelve are admitted for just $2.00, and children under the age of six are free. And parking is always free at the Clyde!
The speedway will be dark on Saturday, June 1...there will be no racing as the club takes its yearly "spring break" on the first Saturday in June. The excitement returns on June 8 when the five weekly divisions of Micro-Sprints swing back into action.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.James Morris, 2.Shane Lewis, 3.Tyler Esh, 4.Eric Bodine, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Will Urkuski, 7.Taylor Troxel, 8.Tim Iulg, 9.Kameron Morral, 10.Brent Ely,, 11.Steve Kemery, 12.Mark Yoder, 13.A.J. Michael, 14.Mike Rutherford, 15.Ryan Morris, 16.Dan Souder, 17.Brittany Brown, 18.Bruce Ginther Jr., 19.Travis Esh, 20.Chris Gerhart, 21.Jared Esh, 22.Mike Freed, 23.Peter Michael, 24.Kory Merkey.
DNQ: Jered Hook, Paul Graham, Troy Musselman, Chris Panczner, Rebecca LaMothe.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps (rained out after 14 laps): 1.Eric Falini, 2.Brian Sholley, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Mike Rutherford, 5.Bradley Brown, 6.Jesse Maurer, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Kyle Spence, 9.Zack Fouse, 10.Danny Braun Jr., 11.Barry Shearer, 12.Christi Sweigart, 13.Jim Skias, 14.Nate Weidman, 15.Billy Logeman, 16.Dan Lane Jr., 17.Damon Bomgardner, 18.Corey Schmuck Jr., 19.Nick Sweigart, 20.Kory Shissler, 21.Michael Binkley, 22.Tony Echternacht, 23.Richie Hartman, 24.Sheena Logeman.
DNQ: Kevin Kopp, Toby Blumenshine.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kyle Hehnly, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Jesse Maurer, 5.Derek Ecenrode, 6.Dylan Adams, 7.Chase Gutshall, 8.Kory Merkey, 9.Nick Sweigart, 10.Adam Minzer, 11.Chip Geib, 12.Brent Shearer, 13.Matthew Donley, 14.Dylan Binkley, 15.Zack Hollinger, 16.Brie Weiler, 17.Alexis Sheely, 18.Walt Wampole, 19.Jimmy Wampole.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Bret Habecker, 3.Sheena Logeman, 4.Matt Abers, 5.Wesley Fasnacht, 6.Charles Hellinger, 7.Anthony Yerger, 8.Dave Kemp, 9.Robert Shanaman, 10.Jas Hehnly, 11.Jenna Heagy, 12.Matt Peachey, 13.Tim Ziegler, 14.Kerry Lengle, 15.Mark Yoder, 16.Curtis R. Miller, 17.Brian Becker.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Ryan Morris, 2.Chip Geib, 3.Scott Renninger, 4.Donna Geib, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Eddie Nocera, 7.Devin Adams, 8.Kim Enck, 9.Ronald Good, 10.Steve Smith Sr., 11.Sheila Fetter. DNS: Brandon Morrison.