Newmanstown, PA - Mike Rutherford is usually the catfish, roaming around the bottom while others prefer to scream through the turns in a higher lane. On Saturday night, though, Rutherford ran the top for much of the Mongoose Chassis 600cc main event as he registered a division-leading fourth win of the season at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Richie Hartman scored his third triumph of the year in the 25-lapper for the 270cc Micro-Sprints, while Jesse Maurer (125cc) and Chip Geib (250cc Four-Stroke) recorded their sixth wins in 2013 competition. Bret Habecker picked up his fourth feature victory in the main event for the Sportsman Class.
The Mark Millwright & Rigging point standings - in all five of the weekly divisions - took some twists and turns on Saturday in the final tuneup for this week's double-point, tradition-rich Clyde Martin Memorial Race presented by Gold Rush Trailer Sales. The Clyde Memorial is highlighted, annually, by the longest feature races of the season as each of the five classes competes in a 35-lap main event.
A huge, 11-car pileup marred Saturday's 600cc headliner. No one was hurt in the turn two mishap, but six of the cars involved were unable to continue as a result of the incident that occurred with one lap complete.
Front row starters Mike Rutherford and Ryan Morris dueled for the top spot as the race went back to green. Rutherford, from Lititz, put Gary Hunter's CARSTAR No. 7H in the high groove as he repelled the challenges offered up by Morris.
The driver on the move was sixth-starting Brent Ely, as he planted his RTS machine on the bottom of the race track in his march to the front. Ely slipped past Mark Yoder for fourth, then chased down and executed a similar dive under Shaun Brandel (who was using a nose wing that he borrowed from the Ely team) to snare the third position.
When Paul Graham slowed with mechanical problems and attempted to pull off the race track at the backstretch exit gate, Morris could not avoid contact and crashed hard into the turn three guardrail, knocking him out of the runner-up spot.
Ely inherited second at that point, and a classic high groove versus inside line, Hyper versus RTS battle was about to commence. Unfortunately, the duel was short-lived, as Ely stayed with Rutherford for a few laps after the restart (following the Morris/Graham crash), but Rutherford had the momentum and speed by running the top, and he slowly but surely pulled away.
Lapped traffic became a factor near the end of the 25-lapper, as Ely closed the gap on Rutherford. He could not get quite close enough to attack the leader, however, and Rutherford dashed to the line with an advantage of 0.878-seconds over Ely, who recorded his second straight runner-up finish.
Brandel earned third-place cash, with Mark Millwright & Rigging 600cc point leader Tyler Esh settling for fourth. His cousin, Jared Esh, wound up fifth.
Heath Hehnly, who began the evening a close second to Tyler Esh in the point standings, was victimized by a broken rear suspension just two laps into the feature. The fourth-place finish by Esh, combined with Hehnly's misfortune, allowed the New Providence, Pa. wheel-twister to open some daylight between himself and Hehnly headed into this week's double-point program.
With 25 of the 600cc Micros signed in for competition on Saturday, the three heat race victories went to Morris, Heath Hehnly, and Brandel. Willie Urkuski was given credit for the consolation win after six of the seven starters showed up on the track. Since all six would qualify, the race was checkered before it even began.
Richie Hartman zipped past Zack Fouse on the second circuit to grab the lead in the Mongoose Chassis 270cc main event. Hartman then set the pace for the remainder of the 25-lap affair, but the action behind him was fast and furious.
Billy Logeman, a one-time winner this season, moved up to challenge Fouse for the runner-up position after fending off repeated attempts to take third away from him by Kyle Spence.
Logeman and Fouse engaged in a very entertaining duel for second while Rutherford (who rolled off the starting grid in 15th) and Dave Grube sliced their way by Spence to run fourth and fifth.
Logeman finally worked his way past Fouse to claim second and 270cc point leader, Rutherford, muscled his way into third at the same time.
Hartman, from Reading, had checked out at that point, and Richie cruised to his third triumph of the season over Logeman. Rutherford raced home in third, with Fouse and Grube making up the top five at race's end.
With 31 of the 270cc Micro-Sprints on hand for Saturday's show, the three heat winners included Logeman, Brian Sholley, and Fouse. The consolation winner was Mike Binkley.
The 125cc drivers are scratching their heads and trying to figure out how to catch up to Mount Joy's Jesse Maurer.
Maurer, who's won multiple point titles in the division, notched his sixth triumph of the year on Saturday. It was also his third consecutive win, and the second week in a row that he and his Gorski Racing teammate, Richie Hartman, finished first and second in the 125cc main event.
Maurer started ninth, quickly weaving his way forward. He passed polesitter and two-time winner Kyle Hehnly for the lead as they danced through turns three and four on the eighth revolution. One tour later, Hartman - who took the original green in 11th - darted past Hehnly and took over the runner-up slot.
Hehnly soon spun in turn two, relegating him to the rear of the field. As the race entered its final stages and Maurer maintained a comfortable advantage over Hartman, a battle for third raged between Kory Merkey and Derek Ecenrode. Kyle Hehnly was surging through traffic and working his way closer to the lead pack as well.
On a restart with four to go, Hehnly surprised Merkey and Ecenrode by ducking under the duo as they raced side-by-side through one and two. Hehnly mashed the throttle as the trio exited corner number two, flashing into third in his No. 19.
Maurer crossed under the checkered flag by three-quarters of a second over Hartman, who is trying to win his second consecutive Mark Millwright & Rigging 125cc point title. Hehnly was thrilled by his third-place comeback, while Merkey and Ecenrode completed the top five.
Maurer and Dave Grube were victorious in a pair of heat races contested by the 17-car field of 125cc racers.
Maurer also secured the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award by turning the quickest lap of the race. His fast time was 11.540-seconds.
Leesport's Bret Habecker picked up his third feature win in the Sportsman Class on June 15. Since then, he's suffered through some mechanical ills and just plain tough luck.
On Saturday night, Habecker shook off his recent misfortune by winning the Mongoose Chassis 25-lapper for the Sportsman Micro-Sprints. Starting third, he charged to an early lead, passing Tim Ziegler on the second trip around the banked oval.
It was a real good points night for Habecker, too, as he should have vaulted over Mark Millwright & Rigging championship standings leader Jason Swavely, who was not in attendance on Saturday.
Mike Miller filled in for Swavely in the Curt Miller No. 7c, and he authored a strong run by dicing with Sheena Logeman for second in the middle portion of the 25-lap feature.
Logeman and Miller reeled in the high flying Habecker, too, as the race entered its final stages. Habecker, by his own admission, was very careful and took his time getting by slower cars as he caught the back of the field. That allowed Logeman and Miller to catch up, but the Habecker Excavating/ Ken Miller Cycle Repair No. 72 hung on for its fourth visit to the winner's circle.
Sheena Logeman fought off Miller's assaults to finish second, with Miller, Mark Yoder, and Matt Abers rounding out the first five positions.
Wesley Fasnacht and rookie Anthony Yerger won heat races for the 17 Sportsman.
"The Streak", as it will be referred to, lives on in the 250cc Four-Stroke division. Chip Geib made certain of that, winning his sixth feature race of the season which pulls the Manheim driver into a tie with Morris for most wins in the Four-Stroke Class. Not only are they tied, but Geib and Morris are the only two drivers to win Four-Stroke features in 2013.
Donna Geib (no relation to Chip), bolted to the early lead in Saturday's 25-lapper. Chip Geib rolled off sixth as the field took the green, but soon found himself in the runner-up spot. Morris, who started eighth, blasted to the fourth position by the time six laps had been scored.
Chip Geib wrestled the lead away from Donna Geib on the seventh tour, then rapidly pulled away from his pursuers. Morris eventually secured the runner-up spot, with nine circuits remaining, and began his chase of the leader.
"Lapped cars were a problem tonight," explained C. Geib after the race. "It seemed as though they all just about spun out as I caught them, so it was real tricky to pass them."
C. Geib's cautious treatment of the lapped traffic permitted Morris to track him down during the closing stages of the event. Morris ran out of time, however, as Geib beat him to the stripe by 0.289-seconds.
Heat races for the eleven car field went to C. Geib and Morris.
All of the feature winners received gift certificates as part of the season-long K1 Race Gear Proven Performance Program presented by Nouse Signs & Graphics. The certificates can be used in the purchase of a new two or three-layer custom racing suit from K1 Race Gear.
Mongoose Chassis sponsored the night of racing on Saturday.
Attention now turns to this week's biggie...the Clyde Martin Memorial Race. Entrants must be Lanco club members who have entered at least half of this year's point-paying events at the speedway.
Drivers who win a 35-lap Clyde Martin Memorial Race are permitted to keep the trophy for one year...but they must hand it over when the next season's Memorial Race is run. If a driver wins three Memorials (in one division), then he/she "retires" the trophy and keeps it permanently; a new trophy is purchased for that division.
The Memorial also offers a higher purse and those all-important double points, which is sure to jumble the Mark Millwright & Rigging championship standings in most, if not all, of the five weekly classes of Micro-Sprints.
The speedway is sticking to its revised time schedule for the July 27 Memorial Race - gates open at 4:30 and warm-ups begin at 6 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 7:00.
The Clyde Martin Memorial Race will be recorded for broadcast by Blue Ridge Cable Channel 11, and the event will once again be sponsored by Gold Rush Trailer Sales.
It's the Clyde Martin Memorial, and you know what that means...you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Results from Mongoose Chassis Night
At Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway:
Mark Millwright & Rigging 600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Brent Ely, 3.Shaun Brandel, 4.Tyler Esh, 5.Jared Esh, 6.Peter Michael, 7.Mark Yoder, 8.Ryan Hook, 9.Christopher Tracy, 10.Jered Hook, 11.Travis Esh, 12.William Urkuski, 13.Brittany Brown, 14.Corry Roth, 15.Rebecca LaMothe, 16.Ryan Morris, 17.Paul Graham, 18.Heath Hehnly, 19.Taylor Troxel, 20.Chris Panczner, 21.Bret Cronrath, 22.Chris Gerhart, 23.Kelby Stauffer, 24.Mike Coen.
DNQ: Nathan Prazenica.
Mark Millwright & Rigging 270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Billy Logeman, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Zack Fouse, 5.Dave Grube, 6.Kyle Spence, 7.Barry Shearer, 8.Bradley Brown, 9.Toby Blumenshine, 10.Daniel Braun Jr., 11.Dan Lane Jr., 12.Heath Hehnly, 13.Damon Bomgardner, 14.Michael Binkley, 15.Nick Sweigart, 16.Christi Sweigart, 17.Mike Miller, 18.Jarid Kunkle, 19.Nate Weidman, 20.Steve Drevicki, 21.Cody Drace, 22.Brian Sholley, 23.Jesse Maurer, 24.Justin Harrington.
DNQ: Ricky Sechrist Jr., Kyle Armer, Kory Shissler, Kevin Kopp, Dylan Binkley, Shaun Brandel, Corey Schmuck Jr.
Mark Millwright & Rigging 125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Kyle Hehnly, 4.Kory Merkey, 5.Derek Ecenrode, 6.Brent Shearer, 7.Chase Gutshall, 8.Nick Sweigart, 9.Matthew Donley, 10.Zack Hollinger, 11.Jimmy Wampole, 12.Alexis Sheely, 13.Brie Weiler, 14.Dylan Adams, 15.Dave Grube. DNS: Chip Geib.
Mark Millwright & Rigging 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Donna Geib, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Devin Adams, 6.Scott Renninger, 7.Lewis Kepple Jr., 8.Kim Minzer, 9.Ronald Good, 10.Jessica Mohler, 11.Steve Smith Sr.
Mark Millwright & Rigging Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Bret Habecker, 2.Sheena Logeman, 3.Mike Miller, 4.Mark Yoder, 5.Matt Abers, 6.Anthony Yerger, 7.Wesley Fasnacht, 8.Dave Kemp, 9.Tim Ziegler, 10.Jas Hehnly, 11.Bobby Shanaman, 12.Jenna Heagy, 13.Caleb Keller, 14.Brian Becker, 15.Matt Peachey, 16.Kerry Lengle. DNS: Charles Hellinger.