Newmanstown, PA - Mike Rutherford has been through numerous point battles during his storied career in both 270cc and 600cc Micro-Sprint competition. He is certainly familiar with the old adage, "if you win, the points will take care of themselves."
So Rutherford, the ace from Lititz, PA, put that philosophy to the test on Saturday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway in the racing program sponsored by Triangle Communications. He held the Mark Millwright & Rigging 270cc point lead as the second-to-last feature of the season went green, then went on to win his fifth main event of 2013 and, in doing so, virtually wrapped up his second consecutive point title.
Travis Esh, New Providence, PA, captured his second 600cc victory of the current campaign in that division's 25-lap Triangle Communications feature race.
Other winners on Saturday included Dave Grube (125cc); Chip Geib (250cc Four-Stroke); and Jason Swavely (Sportsman).
Rutherford got off to an unusually slow start - by his standards - and didn't win his first 270cc feature of the season until June 29. Then the calendar turned to August, and the Kaylor Petro No. 5k, with Rutherford at the controls, caught fire. He's now won the past four main events run for the 270's at the Clyde and all he's got to do in this week's season finale` is show up, sign in, and attempt to take a green flag in order to officially secure his third Lanco Championship in the 270cc Class.
His fifth triumph occurred when he slipped under Heath Hehnly to grab the top spot with nine to go in Saturday's 25-lapper. Hehnly attempted to reclaim the lead on a couple of late race restarts, but Rutherford, running a higher line, had the momentum he needed to repel Hehnly's attacks.
Hehnly finished second with Jesse Maurer, point runner-up Billy Logeman, and Zack Fouse making up the top five.
Heats for the 30-car field went to Bradley Brown, Hehnly, and Dave Grube. The consolation victor was Danny Lane Jr.
Driving the Mark Millwright & Rigging No. 5E, Travis Esh led every lap to win his second race of the year in the 600cc division, and his first since April 27. But Ryan Morris made sure that Travis had to work exceptionally hard for this one.
During the first half of the 25-lap Triangle Communications main event, Esh maintained a slim cushion over Brent Ely and Morris, who dueled furiously for the runner-up position right behind the leader.
Morris finally swept around Ely's No. 17B to secure second, then set his sights on Esh. As Travis encountered lapped traffic, Morris set him up for a classic slide job with two laps remaining. Morris made a bonzai dive into turn three, then slid up in front of Esh, who was ready for the maneuver. Travis cranked the wheel left, rolled down the banking and back under Morris as the duo blasted down the front straightaway.
Morris tangled with a slower car on the final lap - and in the final turns - getting out of shape in a big way before regaining control and hanging on to finish second.
Rutherford ended up third in Gary Hunter's no 7H, just nipping Ely at the finish line. The difference between third and fourth as they crossed the stripe was 0.001-seconds!
Point leader Tyler Esh, the feature winner's brother, wound up fifth while his closest competitor for the Mark Millwright & Rigging 600cc championship, Heath Hehnly, finished seventh. Hehnly was involved in a first lap skirmish in which he lost the nose wing on his Sonny Cooke/ Hyper/ Spar No. 2. He restarted in the rear and rebounded nicely to record the seventh place payout.
Tyler Esh now carries an 18 point margin over Hehnly into this Saturday's finale`. Ely sits third in the standings, just nine points in front of Chris Gerhart. Ely is too far behind Tyler Esh to have a shot at the title.
With 23 cars signed in for 600cc competition on Saturday, Peter Michael, Hehnly, and Travis Esh captured heat race victories.
Dave Grube, from Denver, PA, has finished second and third - and had bad luck - more times than he cares to remember in this season's feature races for the 125cc Micro-Sprints.On Saturday night, though, Grube's Mongoose Chassis/ Hornberger's Auto Body/ Nolt Bros. Machine Shop/ Mann Contracting No. 3D was simply awesome in carrying him to that elusive first win of the Clyde's 2013 slate of events.
Grube started sixth, but roared to the front quickly, passing Jimmy Wampole for the top spot in turn two with one lap complete. He went on to lap everyone except the drivers in the top five, including point leader Richie Hartman, who ran the feature with a (borrowed) Four-Stroke engine after his powerplant expired while leading his heat heat race.
Grube probably would have lapped some drivers inside the top five, too, but a yellow with four to go (after 21 consecutive green flag laps) slowed the pace and allowed the drivers running directly in front of the leader to come around and restart behind him.
Grube got to the checkered by more than 2.5-seconds ahead of runner-up Brent Shearer. Young charger Dylan Adams claimed third place cash, with Derek Ecenrode and Nate Weidman crossing the line fourth and fifth, respectively.
Hartman survived to finish sixth, losing nine points to Ecenrode. With a 78 point cushion, however, Hartman should be in good shape to lock up his second straight 125cc point crown by just showing up and starting this week's finale`.
Grube and Jesse Maurer won heat races for the 17-car field of 125cc racers.
"I don't even count him...there's Jason and then there's the rest of us," laughed third place finisher Bret Habecker after the 25-lap Sportsman feature on Saturday night.
He was referring to Jason Swavely, who was waiting his turn to be interviewed after winning his ninth Sportsman race of the season. With his victory, Swavely extended his point lead over Habecker to 38 points with one event remaining on the schedule.
On Saturday, Swavely, from Douglassville, started tenth and sliced his way into the top five in the first four trips around the clay. He rocketed into the runner-up position on the seventh tour, then ducked under race leader Kerry Lengle to snatch the top spot as they accelerated off turn four to complete the eighth revolution.
Swavely went on to win by more than two and three-quarter seconds over Lengle, who emerged from an entertaining side-by-side tussle with Habecker for second place money.
Rookie Anthony Yerger and Sheena Logeman raced home in fourth and fifth, respectively.
Curtis R. Miller and Billy Logeman recorded heat race wins for the 17 Sportsman Micros.
Unless Manheim's Chip Geib suddenly gets a case of the flu and has to stay home this week, he will win another point championship in the 250cc Four-Stroke Class.
Geib made sure of that on Saturday by winning his seventh Four-Stroke main of the year, tying him with Ryan Morris for most wins in the division and providing himself with a healthy 90 point margin over Donna Geib heading into this weekend's curtain-closing event.
Chip Geib took the initial green in the seventh starting position, then rapidly navigated his way to the front. He passed two cars in one swift move in turns three and four on the third circuit, snaring the runner-up slot with the slick move in the low groove.
Kenny Miller III, who set the pace for the first 16 tours, saw a comfortable advantage slip away as Geib steadily reeled in his No. 23. One lap past the halfway mark of the 25-lapper, Geib pulled up to the leader's tail tank. Miller gamely tried to hang on and give it a good fight, swapping first place with Geib a few times before Geib claimed it for good with nine laps left to run.
At the finish, it was Chip Geib flashing under the checkered flag by several car lengths over Miller, with Eddie Nocera, David Ravel, and Devin Adams making up the top five.
Eleven of the Four-Stroke Micros entered Saturday's program. Winning the two heat races were Chip Geib and Devin Adams.
NOTE: all point differences and margins listed in this press release are unofficial until double-checked and confirmed by Lanco officials. The official point standings will be posted on the club's website, www.lancomicrosprint.com, by Wednesday, September 11.
This Saturday's season finale`, when the five Mark Millwright & Rigging point champions are officially determined, is titled "The Mandi Binkley Race for the Cure presented by Kim's Kreations". The event is being run to support Mandi Binkley's fight against the dreaded disease, cancer, and to raise awareness regarding the search for a cure. "Support Mandi Binkley" decals were sold over the past few weeks, with proceeds from the sale going toward the sponsorship of this week's race at the Clyde.
With many of the top-15 positions in each division's point standings still up for grabs, including the crown in the 600cc and Sportsman Classes, it's sure to be a tensely entertaining evening of high speed adventure as the Lanco Club lowers the curtain on its 2013 racing season.
Gates open at 3:30 on Saturday, September 14, with warm-ups at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Adult general admission tickets are just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Tickets for youth between the ages of six and twelve are priced at just $2.00, while children under the age of six are admitted free. And parking is always free at the Clyde.
The drama of the point battles and the lure of the final race mean that you've just gotta come out - because it's your last chance this year - to LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Travis Esh, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Brent Ely, 5.Tyler Esh, 6.Jered Hook, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Mark Yoder, 9.Peter Michael, 10.Chris Gerhart, 11.Jason Swavely, 12.Chris Panczner, 13.Mike Coen, 14.Ryan Hook, 15.Zach Light, 16.Jason Morrison, 17.David Beiler, 18.Jared Esh, 19.Troy Musselman, 20.Rebecca LaMothe, 21.Shaun Brandel, 22.Brittany Brown, 23.Christopher Tracy.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Jesse Maurer, 4.Billy Logeman, 5.Zack Fouse, 6.Bradley Brown, 7.Dave Grube, 8.Dan Lane Jr., 9.Eric Falini, 10.Tyler Ulrich, 11.Ken Miller, 12.Nate Weidman, 13.Ronald Helmick, 14.Kyle Spence, 15.Barry Shearer, 16.Toby Blumenshine, 17.Kevin Kopp, 18.Christi Sweigart, 19.Richie Hartman, 20.Brian Sholley, 21.Kory Shissler, 22.Charles Hellinger, 23.Cody Drace. DQ: Ricky Sechrist Jr.
DNQ: Kyle Hehnly, Mike Binkley, Kevin Kopp, Dylan Binkley, Shaun Brandel, Nick Sweigart
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Dave Grube, 2.Brent Shearer 3..Dylan Adams, 4.Derek Ecenrode, 5.Nate Weidman, 6.Richie Hartman, 7.Kyle Hehnly, 8.Chase Gutshall, 9.Matthew Donley, 10.Alexis Sheely, 11.Zack Hollinger, 12.Brie Weiler, 13.James Wampole, 14.Walt Wampole, 15.Jesse Maurer, 16.Nick Sweigart, 17.Kory Merkey.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Kerry Lengle, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.Anthony Yerger, 5.Sheena Logeman, 6.Ken Miller, 7.Billy Logeman, 8.Wesley Fasnacht, 9.Matt Abers, 10.Jas Hehnly, 11.Bobby Shanaman, 12.Tim Ziegler, 13.Jenna Heagy, 14.Matt Peachey, 15.Curtis R. Miller, 16.Dave Ravel, 17.Dave Kemp.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Kenny Miller III, 3.Eddie Nocera, 4.Dave Ravel, 5.Devin Adams, 6.Donna Geib, 7.Scott Renninger, 8.Ronald Good, 9.Lewis Kepple Jr., 10.Steve Smith Sr. DNS: Kim Minzer.