Newmanstown, PA - While Saturday's weather was crisp and a bit cool, the nighttime temperatures certainly were not of the freezing variety. So Heath Hehnly merely cracked the proverbial ice, breaking through for his first 600cc Micro-Sprint victory of the season at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
And the former track champion from Manheim picked the perfect night on which to visit the winner's circle...on the birthday of his car owner, Sonny Cooke.
Joining Hehnly in victory lane on Saturday were Mike Rutherford, the Mark Millwright & Rigging 270cc point leader who captured his second straight victory in that division; Richie Hartman, who made it three in a row in the 125cc Micros; Kenny Miller III, who notched his very first Micro-Sprint feature win by beating everyone to the checkered in the 250cc Four-Stroke Class; and Jason Swavely recorded his seventh triumph of 2013 in the Sportsman feature.
Heath Hehnly's been knocking on the door lately, inching closer and closer to his first 600cc victory at the Clyde. He got the elusive win on Saturday, and achieved it in grand style; the 25-lap main went non-stop, green to checkered, with Hehnly stopping the clock in 4:52.161.
Starting seventh, Hehnly rumbled to third by the eighth trip around the clay, trailing only race leader C.J. Tracy and runner-up Chris Gerhart. When Tracy and a lapped car got together in turn one, the impact damaged the front end of Tracy's No. 21T. When the three leaders reached the third turn, Tracy's misfortune opened the door for Gerhart and Hehnly to slip past him.
Gerhart, from Harleysville, and Hehnly then engaged in a crowd-pleasing side by side duel for the top spot as the race moved into its second half. As the laps clicked off the lead duo continued their wheel to wheel battle, and it appeared this race was going to go right down to the wire. Then Hehnly dive bombed Gerhart in three and four, pinning the leader behind a slower car. Hehnly emerged with the race lead and even though Gerhart kept it close, it was clear that Hehnly was firmly in control once he got to the head of the pack.
Hehnly's Hyper Racing/ Cooke Roofing/ Spar Racing Engines No. 2 crossed the stripe by 0.398-seconds over Gerhart, with Jered Hook and Mike Rutherford finishing third and fourth. Tracy did a great job of wrestling his ill-handling mount to a fifth-place payout.
"Yellows have been killin' us lately...just when I get goin' and pass some cars, the yellow comes out and we have to go back and do it again," said Hehnly. "Tonight, we didn't have any yellows, and that definitely helped us. Chris (Gerhart) ran a great race; I was just able to trap him behind a lapped car there and got by him. Sonny's been workin' so hard on the car, I'm really glad I could win one for him on his birthday."
With his victory, Hehnly (unofficially) closed to within 10 points of Mark Millwright & Rigging 600cc point leader Tyler Esh, who wound up ninth on Saturday. The official, updated point standings for all five weekly divisions are tabulated and double-checked early in the week, then released by Tuesday or Wednesday of each week. Just two point-paying events remain on the 2013 Clyde Martin schedule - on the 7th and 14th of September.
Rutherford and Ryan Hook won heat races for the 20-car field of 600's.
Rutherford's third win, and second straight, in the 270cc division occurred when race leader Jesse Maurer, in Chip Geib's No. 88g, lost the drive chain on his car while rolling around under yellow with just four laps remaining.
Maurer's heartbreak propelled Rutherford, of Lititz, into the top spot. Driving Ken and Tony Kaylor's No. 5k, Rutherford missed qualifying by inches in his heat race, then won the first of two consolations to earn the 17th starting position for the 25-lap feature.
"We were trying some things in the heat, and we were terrible," admitted Rutherford after his victory. "But, thanks to Ken and Tony, we made it a lot better for the feature. I hated to see Jesse fall out, but I'll take it."
Rutherford paced the final four trips around the banked oval to score the win by almost 2.5-seconds over Nick Sweigart. It was the best finish of Sweigart's still-young 270cc career. Zack Fouse, Brian Sholley, and Bradley Brown made up the rest of the top five at race's end.
A terrific field of 34 signed in for 270cc action on Saturday. Heat race victories went to Ken Miller, N. Sweigart, Fouse, and Jason Swavely. Twin consi wins were taken by Rutherford and Heath Hehnly.
Swavely (while running second to Maurer), Hehnly, and runner-up in points Billy Logeman all flipped during the wild and intensely competitive feature race. Swavely clipped an infield tire marker, sending him into the frontstretch guardrail and launching him into a tumble. Logeman, racing several positions behind Swavely, got crossed up as the field scrambled to avoid the No. 14. Logeman got turned sideways and he, too, flipped...just seconds after Swavely went over.
Richie Hartman, the defending champion and current point leader in the Mark Millwright & Rigging 125cc standings, registered his third consecutive triumph and fifth of the season in that division's 25-lapper on Saturday.
Hartman took the initial green in tenth, but quickly sliced his way to fourth after two revolutions were completed. He dispensed rookie Chase Gutshall the next time around, then went high to pass Kyle Hehnly for second place on the fourth tour. Race leader Dave Grube chose the outside line as he came upon a pack of slower cars in turn one but they drifted up in front of him, allowing Hartman to dart by on the inside and into the lead one lap before the halfway signal.
Hartman's Gorski Racing teammate, Jesse Maurer, moved past Grube for second on lap 14 as Grube's shifter cable broke. Maurer chased his stablemate without closing in to challenge, as the engine in his No. 21 began to lay down during the event's second half.
At the finish, it was Hartman, Maurer, Grube, Derek Ecenrode, and K. Hehnly cashing in as the top five.
Hartman and Maurer won the two heats for the 19-car field of 125cc racers.
It wasn't too many years ago that Kenny Miller III, of Birdsboro, was a "runner" at the Clyde; he would run lineups and race results from the scoring tower to the pit shack. He also made sure each feature winner signed a frisbee that was given to a lucky youngster. Many times, by the end of the night, he was curled up, sound asleep, on the floor of the scoring tower.
Luckily, Miller stayed awake on Saturday night because he was the driver who autographed the frisbee after he won the main event for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints . The teen, who has spent the summer traveling all over the eastern half of the U.S. to compete in Quarter-Midgets, returned to his Four-Stroke ride a few weeks ago. On Saturday, he got to the front early - on lap one - then dominated the 25-lapper to notch his first career Micro-Sprint feature win.
Only the top four finishers ended up on the lead lap at the conclusion of the race. Miller's dominance and the fact that the race was slowed just once by the caution flag led to more than half of the field being lapped.
Miller showed great maturity and patience near the end of the feature, running up on two slower cars who were side by side and racing one another for position. The teenaged leader, who also plays high school lacrosse, followed the pair of cars in front of him, waiting for his opportunity to slip past them. He pounced in turn four, diving inside both cars as they washed up the banking just enough to permit the pass.
At the finish, it was Miller by more than four seconds over Eddie Nocera, with Donna Geib placing third. Devin Adams was the last driver to finish on the lead lap, and Lewis Kepple Jr. crossed the line in fifth.
Miller and D. Geib won heat races for the 11 Four-Strokes who entered the program.
Point leader Chip Geib's No. 15 would not fire as it was pushed off for the main event, forcing Geib to watch the race. With her third place finish, Donna Geib cut into Chip's point lead significantly with only two point shows remaining.
Jason Swavely, from Douglassville, missed two races this season, but he still leads the Mark Millwright & Rigging Sportsman point standings on the strength of seven feature victories.
Win number seven came on Saturday, as Swavely rocketed into the runner-up slot from his 11th starting position in just five circuits. He swept past Kerry Lengle on the high side, taking the lead as the pair accelerated off turn four to complete the ninth trip around the banked oval.
Sheena Logeman ran a strong race, blasting by rookie Anthony Yerger and five-time winner Bret Habecker to run third at the halfway point. When Lengle spun out of second spot with 11 to go, Logeman moved up one more position but couldn't muster a challenge to the high flying Swavely.
When Tim Gehret waved the checkered flag to end it, Swavely had slightly more than a one-second lead over Logeman. Habecker grabbed third place money, while Matt Abers and Yerger finished fourth and fifth.
Jason Swavely also earned the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award by recording the quickest lap of the main event.
Heat race victories for the 17 Sportsman were annexed by Swavely and rookie Jas Hehnly.
The feature winners received gift certificates from Nouse Signs & Graphics as part of the season long K1 Race Gear Proven Performance Program. The gift certificates can be used toward the purchase of a new K1 Race Gear two or three-layer custom racing suit designed by Nouse Signs & Graphics.
Attention now shifts from the tight point chases to the fun and big money of the Lanco Club's annual Labor Day Shootout, presented this year by Mark Millwright & Rigging and Esh Racing Products. This year's Shootout will be run in memory of Stoney Galebach.
Two days of Micro-Sprint nirvana begin on Saturday, August 31st, with racing scheduled for the winged 600cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Strokes. Everybody will compete in a dual heat race/ passing points qualifying format. Any B-Mains necessary will be followed by 30-lap A-Mains for all three divisions.
On Sunday, September 1st, a similar race format will be used for the wingless 600cc, 270cc, and 125cc Micros. Saturday's winged 600cc, along with Sunday's 270cc and wingless 600cc A-Mains will pay $1,000 to win, provided there are at least 45 race day entries in each of those three classes.
The time schedule is the same for both days/ nights of the Shootout: gates will open at 3 p.m. each day. Pill draw ends at 4:30, and a mandatory driver's meeting begins at 4:45. Warm-ups are slated for 5:00, and the first heat race will go green at 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
There is no pre-entry for this year's Labor Day Shootout; the race day entry fee is $60 per car, per class. Pit passes are $30, and a pit pass is good for both days (will still cost $30 if just showing up on Sunday).
Spectator tickets are priced at $10 for Adults, while Students and Senior Citizens will be admitted for $6.00 per day. Youth between the ages of six and 12 are just $2.00 per day, and children under the age of six are free. Parking is always free at the Clyde!
Anyone wishing to reserve a camping space on the track's property is urged to contact Chris Snyder as soon as possible at 717-917-6805. Spaces are limited and are going fast. There is a $20 fee to reserve a camping spot for the weekend.
Campers with reserved spaces will be permitted to move in on Thursday, August 29, beginning at 6 p.m.
NOTE: no dogs are permitted on Lanco property, and no ATV's are allowed to run after midnight on Saturday and Sunday. In addition, all ATV's must have proof of insurance, and there is an ATV Liability form that must be filled out and submitted at the Pit Shack on Saturday.
It's always wild, insanely competitive, and draws an incredible number of racecars. And most important of all, it's always FUN! It's the Labor Day Shootout, presented by Mark Millwright & Rigging and Esh Racing Products. This year, the race is being run in memory of a former winning driver, car builder, and club president...Stoney Galebach, the heart transplant recipient who won races after he received a new heart. Mr. Galebach passed away last winter, and the Lanco Club is proud to run the Shootout in his memory.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Heath Hehnly, 2.Chris Gerhart, 3.Jered Hook, 4.Mike Rutherford, 5.Christopher Tracy, 6.Jack Conover, 7.Shaun Brandel, 8.Brent Ely, 9.Tyler Esh, 10.Ryan Hook, 11.Mark Yoder, 12.Travis Esh, 13.Ryan Morris, 14.Will Urkuski, 15.Brittany Brown, 16.Chris Panczner, 17.Rebecca LaMothe, 18.Zachary Light, 19.Mike Coen, 20.David Beiler.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Nick Sweigart, 3.Zack Fouse, 4.Brian Sholley, 5.Bradley Brown, 6.Nate Weidman, 7.Kyle Spence, 8.Richie Hartman, 9.Eric Falini, 10.Mike Uhrich, 11.Dan Lane Jr., 12.Toby Blumenshine, 13.Ricky Sechrist Jr., 14.Corey Schmuck Jr., 15.Dave Grube, 16.Jesse Maurer, 17.Ken Miller, 18.Heath Hehnly, 19.Jason Swavely, 20.Billy Logeman, 21.Michael Binkley, 22.Jarid Kunkle, 23.Ronald Helmick, 24.Derek Miller.
DNQ: Shaun Brandel, Kevin Kopp, Kory Shissler, Melvin Bainbridge, Jason Hehnly, Damon Bomgardner, Charles Hellinger, Dylan Binkley, Christi Sweigart, Hunter James.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Dave Grube, 4.Derek Ecenrode, 5.Kyle Hehnly, 6.Chase Gutshall, 7.Nate Weidman, 8.Dylan Adams, 9.Nick Sweigart, 10.Alexis Sheely, 11.Brie Weiler, 12.Zack Hollinger, 13.Matthew Donley, 14.Kory Merkey, 15.Brent Shearer, 16.Chip Geib, 17.James Wampole, 18.Walt Wampole. DNS: Dawson Guzik.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kenny Miller III, 2.Eddie Nocera, 3.Donna Geib, 4.Devin Adams, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Ronald Good, 7.Earl Eveland, 8.Steve Smith Sr., 9.Scott Renninger. DNS: Kim Minzer, Chip Geib.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Sheena Logeman, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.Matt Abers, 5.Anthony Yerger, 6.Wesley Fasnacht, 7.Dave Kemp, 8.Tim Ziegler, 9.Brian Becker, 10.Bobby Shanaman, 11.Matt Peachey, 12.Jenna Heagy, 13.Jas Hehnly, 14.Kerry Lengle, 15.Curtis R. Miller. DNS: Ken Miller, Charles Hellinger.