|Newmanstown, Pa. - Richard Petty once said that he'd rather be lucky than good. On Saturday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, in the Memorial Day Open Show presented by Bud's Spring & Suspension Service of Lancaster, Mike Rutherford justified that statement by the king of stock car racing. And Rutherford validated the point not just once, but twice in the mammoth six-feature program.
Rutherford, from Lititz, entered four of the six divisions on Saturday, and at the end of the night his batting average was a stellar .750, as the Master of the Micros went three-for-four, winning both the winged and wingless events for 600cc Micro-Sprints, along with the 30-lapper for the Sportsman Micros.
He benefitted - twice - from other's misfortune, but he was certainly good enough to have his car in position to capitalize when disaster struck for Jay Hartman in the winged 600cc main, and again when Heath Hehnly's mount gave up in the Sportsman feature.
Dave Grube captured the 125cc triumph, and Jesse Maurer scored the win in the 30-lapper for the 250cc Four-Stroke Class.
A tremendous duel for the lead highlighted the winged 600cc headliner, as Jay Hartman and Rutherford masterfully traded slide jobs for several laps before Hartman appeared to secure the top spot for good with 10 laps remaining. A rain delay with eight to go did not deter the Flagtown, NJ ace, as he kept Rutherford a safe distance behind him when the race restarted.
On the final lap - in turn four, no less - Hartman lost the handle on his No. 24h and spun out of the lead, handing the victory to Rutherford.
Making his first start of the season, Shane Lewis came from 12th on the starting grid to finish 2nd, with 17th starting Heath Hehnly ending up in third. Jared Esh and Mike Dicely rounded out the top five when the 30-lapper concluded.
With 46 drivers signing in for winged competition, the six heat race winners included Rutherford, Jason Swavely, PJ Williams, Alex Bright, Lewis, and Eric Bodine.
Three consolations were claimed by Brent Ely, Dwayne Gutshall, and Joe Kay.
The wingless 600cc main event saw Rutherford settle into the runner-up position early, then stalk leader PJ Williams for much of the 30-lap distance. Tyler Tank challenged Rutherford for the runner-up spot until James Morris (involved in an early race tangle and coming from the back of the pack) and Billy Pauch Jr. joined the party at the front, passing Tank and beginning their assault on Rutherford and Williams.
With 28 complete, Rutherford went for it, throwing a nice slider on Williams in turns one and two. The move worked to perfection as Rutherford got back in the gas before Williams could drive back under him, and Gary Hunter's CarStar No. 7h became the new leader. Pauch and Morris also got by Williams on the final circuit, but they ran out of time before they could muster a serious challenge to Rutherford, who drove to a half-second victory over Pauch, who was making the first start of his career at the Clyde.
Morris, Williams, and Heath Hehnly rounded out the first five, with Tank falling to sixth at the finish of the entertaining and competitive race.
Thirty-eight wingless 600's entered the event, with heat race victories going to Hehnly, Morris, Rutherford, and Shane Lewis. Twin consolations were won by Tony DiMattia and Chris Gerhart.
Rutherford shared a bit of his good luck with Bear, Delaware's Kyle Spence. Spence seized the opportunity when race-long leader Tyler Reinhardt suddenly slowed on the backstretch with half-a-lap left to run, ending an outstanding run by Reinhardt.
Spence had taken over the runner-up slot from Dave Grube at the halfway point of the 30-lapper, and he zipped by the disabled No. 88 of Reinhardt, then flew under the checkered flag to notch his first-ever feature win at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. And, since the race ended after midnight, he registered the victory on his mother Jan's birthday.
Austin Bishop started 15th and threaded his way to an impressive second-place finish and Nick Skias rebounded from an early spin to charge from the rear and pick up the third-place pay envelope. Cameron Bellinger ran a solid, steady race to finish fourth and Rutherford, in the night's only feature that he entered but did not win, placed fifth in the final rundown.
Excellent field of 45 entered the 270cc portion of the Open Show, with heat race triumphs falling to Spence, Billy Logeman, Kenny Miller III, Reinhardt, Bradley Brown, and Grube.
Bellinger, Dan Lane Jr., and Brian Sholley were consolation victors.
Dave Grube, from Denver, Pa., went from third to first on the opening lap of the 125cc feature. Grube then set the pace until the checkered flag waved over him, winning by 1.172-seconds over Kyle Hehnly. A spirited battle for the runner-up position over the final tours had Hehnly and Chase Gutshall swapping the spot a couple of times with K. Hehnly snatching it back on the white flag lap, then holding off Gutshall for second as they chased Grube to the stripe.
At the finish, it was Grube, K. Hehnly, Gutshall, Zach Hollinger, and Nick Sweigart in the top five positions.
Nice field of 26 signed in for 125cc action, with Phil Durham, K. Hehnly, and Jesse Maurer claiming the victories. Dana Watkins was declared the winner of the consi, as just six cars rolled onto the track for the event. All six were going to qualify, so the event was immediately checkered.
Rutherford's good fortune extended to the Sportsman feature, where Heath Hehnly, in Kerry Lengle's Mongoose Chassis No. 81, led the race for 20 of the 30 laps. With ten to go, however, Hehnly's mount gave up, forcing him to the infield and handing the top spot to Rutherford, who began the race on the outside of row five.
The Lititz wheel-twister cruised to the checkered, winning with a margin of 2.332-seconds over Curtis R. Miller, who started 12th. Ava Bellinger's No. 3 came to life in the second half of the 30-lapper, as Ava began to pick off the cars in front of her one-by-one. Bellinger ended up in third, with Anthony Yerger and Sami Schech finishing fourth and fifth, respectively.
Tyler Reinhardt, who ran near the front in the feature until mechanical ills knocked him out, was victorious in the first Sportsman heat race, and Hehnly won the second qualifier as 22 Sportsman competitors entered the event.
Jesse Maurer, the Mount Joy Outlaw, passed Devin Adams for the lead as they throttled out of turn two on the 13th trip around the clay, then strolled to the 250cc Four-Stroke triumph. Maurer streaked under Tim Gehret's checkered silk with a margin of more than three-seconds over Kenny Miller III.
Mark Yoder was another three-seconds back in third, with Adams and rookie Kassidy Michaels making up the rest of the top five.
Adams and Miller won heat races for the 12 Four-Strokes.
Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action this Saturday, May 31st, as the point battles resume in all five weekly divisions: the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Strokes.
Adult general admission is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Youth between six and 12 years of age are admitted for just $2.00, while children under the age of six are free. And parking is always FREE at the Clyde.
May 24, 2014:
At Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway
Winged 600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Shane Lewis, 3.Heath Hehnly, 4.Jared Esh, 5.Mike Dicely, 6.James Morris, 7.Brent Ely, 8.Eric Bodine, 9.Jesse Maurer, 10.Chris Gerhart, 11.Austin Bishop, 12.Zach Light, 13.PJ Williams, 14.Jay Hartman, 15.Joe Kay, 16.Kyle Lick, 17.Dwayne Gutshall, 18.Gregg Stevens, 19.Alex Bright, 20.Shaun Brandel, 21.Tyler Walton, 22.Jason Swavely, 23.Jeff Hartman, 24.Dan Souder.
DNQ: Mike Coen, Luke Thomas, Bruce Ginther Jr., Sam LaMothe, Michael Zimmerman, Nathan Prazenica, Dylan Binkley, Mike Freed, Brittany Brown, Rebecca LaMothe, Tony DiMattia, Barry Pollard, Josh Martin, Bret Cronrath, Tanner Hunsicker, Jason Sechrist, Jack Conover, Phil Durham, Gregg Jones, Chris Panczner, Kayla Stoltzfus, Corry Roth.
Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Billy Pauch Jr., 3.James Morris, 4.PJ Williams, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Tyler Tank, 7.Shane Lewis, 8.Kyle Lick, 9.Jason Swavely, 10.Chris Panczner, 11.Eric Bodine, 12.Tyler Walton, 13.Jared Esh, 14.Gregg Stevens, 15.Bruce Buckwalter Jr., 16.Jarid Kunkle, 17.Jack Conover, 18.Gregg Jones, 19.Shaun Brandel, 20.Chris Gerhart, 21.Tony DiMattia, 22.Jay Hartman, 23.Mike Dicely, 24.Nathan Prazenica.
DNQ: Sal Tossona, Austin Bishop, Jason Sechrist, Joe Kay, Bruce Ginther Jr., Alex Bright, Sam LaMothe, Rebecca LaMothe, Jeff Hartman, Brittany Brown, Kayla Stoltzfus, Josh Martin, Molly Chambers, James Hendricks.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Austin Bishop, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Cameron Bellinger, 5.Mike Rutherford, 6.Jesse Maurer, 7.Dave Grube, 8.Jason Swavely, 9.Tyler Reinhardt, 10.Dan Lane Jr., 11.Kenny Miller III, 12.Toby Blumenshine, 13.TJ Greve, 14.Brian Sholley, 15.Hunter James, 16.Derek Ecenrode, 17.Michael Binkley, 18.Richie Hartman, 19.Bradley Brown, 20.Daniel Braun Jr., 21.Heath Hehnly, 22.Billy Logeman, 23.Damon Bomgardner, 24.Ken Miller.
DNQ: Keith Holiday, Tyler Ulrich, Nick Sweigart, Nathan Weidman, Jarid Kunkle, Angelo Mercado, Ricky Sechrist, Ronald Helmick, Christi Sweigart, Charles Hellinger, Brandon Heist, Ray Miller, Corey Schmuck Jr., Matt Peachy, Scott Rupp, Derek Miller, Cody Drace, Dylan Adams, Elizabeth Helmick, Dave Williams, Lee Reinhardt.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Dave Grube, 2.Kyle Hehnly, 3.Chase Gutshall, 4.Zack Hollinger, 5.Nick Sweigart, 6.Brianna Gerhart, 7.Devin Adams, 8.Brandon Gibble, 9.Alexis Sheely, 10.Dana Watkins, 11.Bobby Braxton, 12.Dylan Adams, 13.Phil Durham, 14.William Manotti, 15.Jas Hehnly, 16.Walt Wampole, 17.Thomas Kelly, 18.Dustin Adams, 19.Richie Hartman, 20.Justin Harrington, 21.Darren Miller, 22.Jesse Maurer, 23.Matthew Donley.
DNQ: Brie Weiler, Cody Drace, Jimmy Wampole.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Curtis R. Miller, 3.Ava Bellinger, 4.Anthony Yerger, 5.Sami Schech, 6.Jason Rhoads, 7.Dave Kemp, 8.Robert Simmerman, 9.Patrick Kirn, 10.Bobby Shanaman, 11.Randy Landis, 12.Kim Minzer, 13.Megan Mercado, 14.Wesley Fasnacht, 15.Brandon Mundis, 16.Heath Hehnly, 17.Jenna Heagy, 18.Brad Kemp, 19.Toby Blumenshine, 20.Tyler Reinhardt, 21.Brandon Bucher, 22.Ken Miller.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Kenny Miller III, 3.Mark Yoder, 4.Devin Adams, 5.Kassidy Michael, 6.Donna Geib, 7.Lewis Kepple Jr., 8.Ronald Wechter, 9.Zachary Young, 10.Eddie Nocera, 11.Jarrett Imler. DNS: Brian Kramer.