Newmanstown, PA - Jared Esh and Mike Rutherford led the final chorus on Saturday night, their racecars perfectly on pitch and singing sweetly as the duo brought down the curtain on a winning note at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Esh, from Lancaster, notched his second 600cc Micro-Sprint victory in the season-ender for that division, while Rutherford had a bittersweet feeling about his sixth win of the year in the 270cc Class. That's because the Lititz chauffeur has been on an unbelievable roll over the past month, winning five consecutive main events to close out the 2013 campaign in the Clyde's 270cc division.
And it wasn't just a duet that was performed in the winner's circle on Saturday; the final five features of the season produced five different winners. Joining Esh and Rutherford in the quintet of victorious racers were Jesse Maurer (125cc); Jason Swavely (Sportsman); and Kenny Miller III (250cc Four-Stroke).
Drivers claiming the 2013 Mark Millwright & Rigging point championships included Heath Hehnly (600cc); Rutherford (270cc); Richie Hartman (125cc); Swavely (Sportsman); and Chip Geib (250cc Four-Stroke).
The biggest winner on the final night of competition was young wife and mother Mandi Binkley, whose husband and father-in-law both compete at the speedway. Despite a long and difficult fight with cancer, Mandi has been a fixture at the track this season, cheering on her family members and just enjoying the company of the racing fraternity. In her honor, Saturday night's event was dubbed "Mandi Binkley Race For A Cure presented by Kim's Kreations."
In the weeks leading up to the season finale`, decals (donated by Kim Glass of Kim's Kreations) were sold at Linda's Speedway and at Clyde Martin, with all proceeds added to Saturday's purse - according to Mandi's wishes. The decals, featuring a photo of Mandi Binkley, supported her battle against the dreaded disease. The sale raised $1,153.00, and that amount was increased as the program began on Saturday when Mark Painter, of point fund sponsor Mark Millwright & Rigging, contributed another $347.00 to make it an even $1,500.00 added to the payout for drivers in the five weekly Micro-Sprint Classes.
While Binkley wanted to give back to the racers who brought enjoyment and distraction from her daily struggle to overcome the cancer that was spreading through her body, there were drivers and car owners who were inspired by her ever-present smile and constantly positive attitude, and they wanted to do something for Mandi on this special night.
David Woolf and the Hellinger family organized the sale of the decals. Bret Habecker, along with his crew and family, put together a bake sale to raise money in support of Binkley's battle. Habecker, an excavator who was also in the midst of a tussle for the championship in the Sportsman division, went to some of his contracting and business buddies, too, soliciting donations to help in Mandi's costly treatments and medications. Kim Glass donated the decals and wrapped Nick Sweigart's 270cc ride in "Mandi Binkley's Race To A Cure" graphics as a surprise for Mandi. Sweigart, who unfortunately did not qualify for the year's final feature, paced the field in a tribute to Binkley. After the race, Glass also presented Mandi with a special winner's plaque to recognize her fantastic attitude as she continues to fight the good fight.
Several drivers went through the stands at intermission, too, and when all the money was counted, more than $2,000 was given to Mandi Binkley at the conclusion of the 270cc main event. An emotional Binkley received the contribution, and her plaque, on the homestretch where she was able to publicly thank her Lanco racing family and all those who made the season ending event a night to remember.
In the last race of the year for the 600cc Micros, Jared Esh snatched the lead away from Mike Coen on a restart with ten laps complete. Esh went on to record his first victory since June 29, but the majority of eyeballs were focused on Jared's cousin, Tyler Esh, and the driver he was trying to hold off for the point title, Heath Hehnly.
Tyler Esh and Hehnly raced one another during the 25-lapper, with Hehnly needing to make up an 18-point deficit. Tyler Esh moved past Peter Michael to take over third position, and Hehnly got into Michael's No. 9, causing the Lititz driver to spin with seven to go. Hehnly was put to the rear for his involvement, and it appeared that T. Esh had secured his first Lanco point championship. With just four circuits remaining, however, the situation changed dramatically.
Tyler Esh was battling Coen for second when the two made contact on the front stretch; Esh ended up pounding the outside guardrail while Jered Hook, with nowhere to go as the incident unfolded, ran over Tyler's tail and flipped wildly. Hook was shaken, but uninjured in the mishap. The No. 35 of Esh was towed off, but not before Tyler got out of the car to survey the damage, then walked back to the pits. Lanco rules stipulate that drivers must stay with their cars when they stop on the track, unless told otherwise by officials. Since T. Esh did not stay with his car while it was towed off the speedway, officials had no choice but to disqualify him. The disqualification meant that he would not earn any points or payout for the evening.
Hehnly finished 13th, and that was enough to propel him past T. Esh in the standings. Hehnly, from Manheim, captured his third track title in the 600cc division, tying him for most championships in that class with Mike Rutherford.
When the feature ended, Jared Esh parked his No. 30 in victory lane. Coen finished as the runner-up, with Rutherford, Dan Souder, and Steve Kemery rounding out the top five.
"We were struggling during the summer, but then we had the motor gone over and that made a big difference," stated the winner. "I'm glad I could finish the season with a win tonight, especially since most of my family is here, including my dad." Jared's father is well known 410 Sprint Car driver Doug Esh, who got his start in the 270cc Micros at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
With 26 cars in attendance, 600cc heat races went to Souder, T. Esh, and Jason Swavely. Zach Light won the consolation race.
From the moment he signed in and took the green flag in his heat race, Rutherford clinched his second straight, and third overall, Mark Millwright & Rigging 270cc point crown. He put the proverbial icing on the cake by winning his fifth in a row.
"We really struggled at the beginning of the year," said Rutherford in victory lane. "But Ken and Tony (Kaylor) kept working on it, and they got things turned around."
Rutherford took the initial green from the outside of row five on Saturday, and he was up to fifth when the first yellow flag waved with five tours in the books. That caution happened to fall for the leader, Christi Sweigart, who stopped in turn two. Mike Uhrich inherited the top spot at that point, and he stayed there until mechanical gremlins knocked him out of the race, too, during the second yellow with 12 laps scored.
It was now Jesse Maurer's turn to pace the field, and Rutherford, now in the runner-up slot, had company in the form of 18th starter Jarid Kunkle. Rutherford repelled Kunkle's attacks for a few trips around the banked oval, before he ducked under Maurer heading into turn one with eight to go. Rutherford's No. 5K raced off the second corner with the lead and drove to his sixth win of the year in Lanco's 270cc division.
Kunkle overtook Maurer for second with five circuits remaining and, while the Kutztown driver narrowed the gap between himself and Rutherford in the closing laps, he was forced to settle for runner-up cash. Maurer held on for third in spite of a faulty fuel pump, with Jason Swavely and Billy Logeman finishing fourth and fifth.
Kunkle also picked up the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award for recording the single quickest lap during the main event. Kunkle received a gift certificate from Weld Racing for his quick revolution at 10.861 seconds.
A terrific field of 39 cars signed in for 270cc competition on Saturday. Heat race victors included Brian Sholley, Maurer, Sweigart, and Zack Fouse. Two consi's were needed to pare down the large field, with Charles Hellinger and Kunkle winning the pair of last-chance qualifying races.
It was quite a year for the Gary Gorski owned 125cc team, as Richie Hartman locked up his second straight Mark Millwright & Rigging point title, while teammate Jesse Maurer led the division with eight feature wins. Hartman recorded five triumphs, including three in a row during the month of August, which helped to produce his second 125cc championship.
In Saturday's finale`, it was only fitting that the pair dominated the main event, given their stellar performances throughout the 2013 racing season. Both worked their way to the front early, with Maurer, the Mount Joy Outlaw, zipping past Matthew Donley to snare the top spot on lap seven. Hartman soon followed suit, passing Donley for second on the ninth trip around the clay. And that was that, as Maurer cruised to the victory by almost half-a-second over his teammate.
Kyle Hehnly, Brent Shearer, Dave Grube, and Kory Merkey diced for positions three through six as the race entered its final stages. Hehnly seemed to get stronger as the laps piled up, although he felt afterward that his No. 19 was not geared properly, causing him to do a lot of shifting during the 25-lapper. He finished third, just in front of Grube, Merkey, and Shearer.
Hartman pretty much just had to show up in order to claim the point crown, so his runner-up effort in the feature was more than enough to get the job done.
Nate Weidman and Hartman won heat races for the 17 entries in the 125cc portion of the program.
Even though he missed a couple of races during the course of the season, Jason Swavely, from Douglassville, PA, nursed a 38-point advantage over Bret Habecker as the Sportsman Micros prepared for battle on Saturday. How did Swavely manage to put himself into position to win a third consecutive Sportsman title? By winning races; that's how he did it.
And Swavely did it again on Saturday night, winning his tenth of the year, fourth in a row, and seventh Sportsman feature in the past nine race meets. Habecker, a five-time winner himself, gamely tried to challenge Swavely for the victory but to no avail, as Swavely's No. 7c was just too strong for anyone to handle (again).
It's been said that winning races takes care of the points, and that was certainly the case for Swavely on Saturday. He beat Habecker to the checkered, thereby locking up his third straight Mark Millwright & Rigging championship in the Sportsman Class. Habecker chased him across the finish line and in the final point standings.
David Ravel wound up third, with rookie Anthony Yerger crossing the line in fourth. Wesley Fasnacht completed the top five.
Swavely and Ken Miller won heat races for the 18 Sportsman on hand for the final event of 2013.
The 25-lap feature for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints went non-stop, with Kenny Miller III chalking up his second triumph of the season in 5:00.492. Miller had some jetting issues in his heat race and used a "push off" during the consolation races for other divisions to make sure the carb was jetted properly for the feature.
The engine and chassis were just fine, thank you, as the 13-year-old from Birdsboro launched from his pole position starting spot to run away from everyone.
With Miller racing off into his own zip code, the best battle was for second place between rookie Devin Adams and David Ravel. The two swapped that position a couple of times, with Adams barely hanging on to it as he and Ravel charged through turns three and four for the final time. Adams tried to cut low to pass a lapped car, while Ravel, in Earl Eveland's Angelo's Pizza/ Al's Service Center No. 69k taking the high road to get by the slower car.
Adams went up and over the left side wheels of the lapped car, bicycling across the finish line on two wheels as Ravel nipped him for the runner-up spot. Adams kept his foot in the throttle to finish a crowd-pleasing third, with Donna Geib and Scott Renninger placing fourth and fifth.
Donna Geib had to win the race in order to tie Chip Geib (no relation) for the point championship in the Four-Stroke division. And that's only if Chip Geib decided to stay home and skip the season finale`. While Chip did show up late (he was in a wedding earlier in the day), he gained one point for signing in and another point for taking the green flag in the feature before mechanical problems sidelined his No. 15 after completing eight laps. Of course, since Donna did not win the feature, Chip could have stayed at the wedding reception...but he had no way of knowing that prior to the main event.
Credited with a tenth-place finish, Chip Geib notched his second consecutive, and sixth career Four-Stroke title.
With eleven Four-Strokes entering the last event of the year, Eddie Nocera and Donna Geib were victorious in the two heat races.
All of Saturday's feature winners received gift certificates as part of the K1 Race Gear Proven Performance Program presented by Nouse Signs & Graphics. The gift certificates may be used toward the purchase of a new two or three layer custom racing suit, designed by Nouse Signs & Graphics. More than 90 of these gift certificates were awarded to Clyde Martin feature winners as part of the season long program.
With the on-track action now complete, attention turns to the annual Lanco Awards Banquet, set for Saturday, November 23, at the Lancaster Host Resort. The top 15 drivers in each division's Mark Millwright & Rigging point standings will be recognized and receive point fund payouts, with the five champions (obviously) earning the biggest piece of the pie. The 2013 Special Awards, such as Rookie of the Year, Best Appearing Car, and the prestigious Sportsman of the Year, will also highlight the evening of recognition and fun.
Banquet tickets are priced at $35 for adults and $15 for children, and ticket reservation forms are due to Kim Adams by November 14. Anyone needing a ticket reservation form should contact Kim Adams at 610-678-0748. Send completed forms to Mrs. Adams at 314 Vinemont Road, Reinholds, PA 17569.
Anyone desiring to place an ad in the banquet program is asked to contact Barry Angstadt at 610-781-0408 or by email at:
). Deadline for ads is November 14. Both half-page and full page ads are available.
Mandi Binkley Race For A Cure Presented By Kim's Kreations
At Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jared Esh, 2.Mike Coen, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Dan Souder, 5.Steve Kemery, 6.Travis Esh, 7.Tim Iulg, 8.CJ Tracy, 9.Chris Gerhart, 10.Shaun Brandel, 11.Ryan Hook, 12.Brent Ely, 13.Heath Hehnly, 14.Zach Light, 15.Mark Yoder, 16.Kory Merkey, 17.Jason Swavely, 18.Nate Prazenica, 19.Jered Hook, 20.Peter Michael, 21.Sammy LaMothe, 22.Rebecca LaMothe, 23.Ryan Morris. DQ: Tyler Esh.
DNQ: Troy Musselman, Brittany Brown.
2013 Point Champion: Heath Hehnly.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Jarid Kunkle, 3.Jesse Maurer, 4.Jason Swavely, 5.Billy Logeman, 6.Heath Hehnly, 7.Zack Fouse, 8.Nick Skias, 9.Eric Falini, 10.Ronald Helmick, 11.Richie Hartman, 12.Brian Sholley, 13.Dan Lane Jr., 14.Gregg Walter, 15.Toby Blumenshine, 16.Shaun Brandel, 17.Jas Hehnly, 18.Hunter James, 19.Barry Shearer, 20.Charles Hellinger, 21.Mike Uhrich, 22.Dave Grube, 23.Christi Sweigart, 24.Bradley Brown. DNS: Ken Miller.
DNQ: Matt Carr, Cody Drace, Ricky Sechrist Jr., Nick Sweigart, Dylan Binkley, Brittany Trogdon, Kyle Spence, Caleb Keller, Tyler Ulrich, Nate Weidman, Corey Schmuck Jr., Mike Binkley, Melvin Bainbridge, Kevin Kopp.
2013 Point Champion: Mike Rutherford.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Kyle Hehnly, 4.Dave Grube, 5.Kory Merkey, 6.Brent Shearer, 7.Derek Ecenrode, 8.Nick Sweigart, 9.Matthew Donley, 10.Chase Gutshall, 11.Nate Weidman, 12.Dylan Adams, 13.Devin Adams, 14.Alexis Sheely, 15.James Wampole, 16.Brie Weiler, 17.Zack Hollinger.
2013 Point Champion: Richie Hartman.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Bret Habecker, 3.Dave Ravel, 4.Anthony Yerger, 5.Wesley Fasnacht, 6.Tim Ziegler, 7.Jas Hehnly, 8.Sheena Logeman, 9.Dave Kemp, 10.Caleb Keller, 11.Brian Becker, 12.Jenna Heagy, 13.Bobby Shanaman, 14.Curtis R. Miller, 15.Kerry Lengle, 16.Ken Miller, 17.Matt Peachey. DNS: Billy Logeman.
2013 Point Champion: Jason Swavely.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kenny Miller III, 2.Dave Ravel, 3.Devin Adams, 4.Donna Geib, 5.Scott Renninger, 6.Eddie Nocera, 7.Ronald Good, 8.Lewis Kepple Jr., 9.Greg Schmuck, 10.Chip Geib. DNS: Kim Minzer.
2013 Point Champion: Chip Geib.