Brickerville, PA - Mike Rutherford picked up his second win of the season in the 600cc Micro-Sprints at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday night. Just a few minutes after "the Master of the Micros" blasted under the checkered flag, rain pelted the facility, forcing postponement of the remainder of the program.
Feature races for the Sportsman and 125cc micros will be made up on Saturday, May 30. The 270cc and 250cc Four-Strokes will make up their 25-lap main events on Saturday, June 13. On both occasions, a full show featuring all five of the weekly classes will follow the postponed races.
Rutherford became the first driver to repeat in 600cc competition at the Clyde this season, but he had to work even harder than usual to collect the winner's paycheck on this night.
Three attempts were needed before the first lap was scored. On the second try, Rutherford was involved in the caution-causing incident, relegating him to 23rd position for the restart.
As Kory Merkey paced the event from his outside pole starting spot, Rutherford weaved a path toward the front of the field. He forged his way into the top ten by the seventh trip past the flagstand, then propelled his S&A Paint and Repair, Hyper Chassis No. 6 into the top five by lap 11.
Early in the event, current 600cc point leader Jimmy Glenn charged from 14th to fifth in just three laps. Glenn motored into the runner-up spot as the race neared its halfway point, passing Billy Ney for the position.
Contact with another car resulted in a bent wheel on Glenn's J.G. Elevator No. 7G, however, and it wasn't long before Rutherford and the Honeybrook Hustler, Shane Lewis, slipped by him to claim second and third, respectively.
Rutherford then began to pressure Merkey, eventually wrestling the lead away as the duo closed in on lapped traffic. Rutherford, from Newmanstown, Pa., was scored as the race leader on lap 18.
Lewis fought his way past Merkey with four to go, but he was not able to unseat Rutherford, who roared under Tim Gehret's black-and-white fabric just in time to beat the rain.
Lewis finished second, with Glenn manhandling his micro to the third-place cash. Merkey held on for fourth, with Ryan Greth completing the top five.
Perhaps Rutherford's demeanor after the early race incident motivated his drive to the victory. "I don't feel as though I was involved in that yellow," he stated after the race. Whatever the reason, his elbows were certainly up from that point on, as he deftly maneuvered his micro through the talent-laden field.
Once he throttled into the runner-up slot, Lewis believed he may have had something for Rutherford, but he was "absolutely worn out from driving so hard to get to the front."
Glenn admitted his Hyper was "hard to handle after the wheel got bent," so he was satisfied to go home with a third, along with holding on to the point lead.
Lewis, Ney, and Greg Fitzpatrick were victorious in the heat races, as 34 of the 600's signed in for action on Saturday. Tim Buckwalter captured the consolation.
Three heats were held for the 30-car field of 270cc Micro-Sprints, and they were won by Nathan Weidman, Billy Logeman, and Dave Falini. The consi went to Mike Uhrich.
Steve Drevicki, Jason Hehnly, and Joel Tolley triumphed in qualifying heats for the Sportsman micros, with Paul May III winning the consolation.
Both heats for the 125cc competitors went down to the final lap, with Sonny Sweitzer and Heath Hehnly claiming the victories.
The 250cc Four-Strokes competed in a pair of ten-lap heats, with Jason Johnson and Richie Hartman taking the checkers.
Lanco's annual Memorial Day Open Show takes center stage this Saturday, May 23rd, with a rain date of Sunday the 24th. Gates open at noon on the 23rd, with extended warm-ups from 2 p.m. until 3:30. Qualifying heats begin at 5:30.
The Memorial Day Open Show features a menu of five Micro-Sprint classes and one stock car division. The XCel 600 Modifieds will join the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke micros on the huge holiday weekend card.
Without the pressure of point battles to worry about, the Memorial Day Open Show offers the Clyde Martin regulars a chance to just go out and race hard, defending their turf against the invaders who always show up for this holiday event. Throw in the door rubbin', side-by-side action of the XCel 600 Modifieds, and you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature (25 laps): 1.Mike Rutherford 2.Shane Lewis 3.Jimmy Glenn 4.Kory Merkey 5.Ryan Greth 6.Ryan Wilson 7.Heath Hehnly 8.Billy Ney 9.Mike Caropolo 10.Shaun Brandel 11.Greg Fitzpatrick 12.Kenny Miller 13.Jared Davis 14.Bruce Ginther, Jr. 15.Brittany Brown 16.Kerry Gilbert 17.Kyle Reinhardt 18.A.J. Michael 19.Tim Buckwalter 20.Tyler Ross 21.Mike Freed 22.Brent Ely 23.Joe Lord 24.David Reinhardt.
NOTE: Thanks to Mike Batz, who contributed to this press release.