Newmanstown, PA - The calendar may tell us that it's April, but the temperatures were downright early-March last Saturday night as Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway opened its 54th season of Micro-Sprint competition. The action on the race track was hot and heavy, though, helping to warm all of the brave souls who saw Ken Miller, Birdsboro, capture the 600cc feature race that served as the nightcap of the event.
RTS Chassis sponsored the entire evening, and there was an RTS car parked in victory lane after the 270cc headliner. Two-time and defending point champion Richie Hartman triumphed in that one, while Peter Michael of Lititz was victorious in the feature for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micros. Jesse Maurer, from Mount Joy, Pa., notched the win in the 125cc feature, and Royersford's Jamie Fetterolf drove to victory in the 25-lapper for the Sportsman class.
As the winner of the first heat race for the 600cc Micros, Miller pulled the pill that determined a "straight up" format for the feature line-up. As a result, he started on the pole for the 25-lap chase, and proceeded to lead every lap.
"But it wasn't easy," noted the breathless Miller after the race. "I had to survive a lot of restarts, and the car started bobbling a little near the end. I'm just glad we made it to the finish."
Fifth-starting Ryan Wilson passed Bob Devault for the runner-up spot with ten to go, but couldn't muster a serious challenge to the leader. Devault wound up third, with Chris Gerhart and Jamie Kostic rounding out the top five. Kostic started 12th and advanced seven positions, but the race's biggest mover was Mike Rutherford. Taking the green from the outside of row seven (14th), Rutherford muscled Gary Hunter's No. 7H to a sixth-place finish.
Miller, Shane Lewis, and Devault won heat races for the 30-car field. The consolation went to Jeff Halligan.
In the 270cc main event, Dave Grube set the pace after pole-sitter Roger Graham III executed a half-spin in turn two that ended with his No. 17 laying on its side.
With Grube cruising out front, the scrambling behind him was intense as Greg Miller, Mike Uhrich, Steve Drevicki, and ninth-starting Richie Hartman battled furiously for the remaining top five positions.
Hartman wrestled third away from Uhrich on lap nine, then zipped past Miller for the runner-up spot just two circuits later. Numerous caution periods enabled Hartman to stay close to Grube, but the Penn State Senior repelled each attack to his lead. Grube maintained the momentum as he ran a lane or two off the bottom, with Hartman sticking the nose of his No. 39 under the leader at both ends of the speedway.
The terrific battle came to a sudden close with 22 complete, as Grube slowed with mechanical problems in turn two. One final restart put Jesse Maurer on Hartman's tail, but a great restart enabled Hartman to pull away and register the victory.
"Grube was really fast, and I showed my nose, so he kind of shut the door on me a couple of times," said Hartman. "It's a shame that he broke...he was real fast, but I think I would have gotten him eventually."
Maurer, Greg Miller, A.J. Michael (subbing for Heath Hehnly), and Scott Gingrich made up the rest of the top five.
Heat race victories were captured by Jason Swavely, Christi Sweigart, and Brandon Bucher. Sheena Schaefer won the consolation race for the 270's, as 27 drivers entered the event in this class.
Jessica Mohler and Peter Michael made up the first row as the 250cc Four-Strokes took the green flag for their first feature of 2010. Mohler vaulted into the lead, where she remained for seven trips around the high banked oval.
Michael pounced on a lap eight restart, shooting by Mohler as they charged off the fourth turn. Mohler's car did not immediately come up to speed, allowing Eddie Nocera and Craig DeSantis to get past her as well.
Michael went on to claim the win, followed by Nocera, DeSantis, Kim Enck, and Amanda Schlegel.
Two qualifying heats were run for the Four-Strokes, with Mohler and Michael recording wins.
By winning the first heat race for the 125cc Micros, the Mount Joy Outlaw also stole the feature victory in that class - even though no one knew it at the time.
Jesse Maurer triumphed in that heat race, then pulled the pill that afforded him the opportunity to start on the pole in the main event. With a pair of track championships under his belt in the 125cc division, and the potent Gary Gorski owned No. 21 at his disposal, Maurer made short work of the field in the 25-lap feature. He led wire to wire, with sophomore sensation Bradley Brown finishing a distant second.
Cody Drace, defending champ Bret Habecker, and Mark Yoder finished third through fifth.
Habecker joined Maurer as a heat race winner in the pair of qualifying races run for the 125's.
"My dad builds a great engine; we just had to get the car dialed in. And tonight, we had it working great." Those were the words of Sportsman victor Jamie Fetterolf during his winner's circle interview on Saturday.
Jeff Hughes jumped from his pole starting spot to lead the 24-car field for the first 14 revolutions. Fetterolf began the race in third, fell to fourth early, then quickly dashed into the runner-up position and initiated his pursuit of the leader. He stalked Hughes as the front runners entered lapped traffic, then made his move in turns three and four.
Once out front, Fetterolf left Hughes and the others to fight for second. Hughes won that battle, as he trailed Fetterolf to the stripe ahead of Donna Geib, Brett Wanner, and Jason Swavely, who started 22nd.
Fetterolf also earned the year's first Valken Racing Fast Lap of the Week by recording the single quickest lap of the Sportsman feature. On lap 18, Fetterolf blazed around the clay in 11.07 seconds to secure the $25 Gift Certificate from Valken Racing.
Sportsman heat winners included Hughes, Geib, and Fetterolf.
Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action this Saturday, April 24, with another event for its five weekly classes. Students from the Highland and Doe Run Elementary Schools will take in the racing program, and everyone will be treated to a visit by Cylo, the mascot of the Lancaster Barnstormers minor league baseball team.
Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups scheduled for 5:00. The first heat race goes green at 6 p.m.
Adult general admission is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens, students, and children between the ages of six and 12. Children under six are admitted free, and parking is always free at the Clyde.
You've gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Feature, 25 laps: 1.Ken Miller, 2.Ryan Wilson, 3.Bob Devault, 4.Chris Gerhart, 5.Jamie Kostic, 6.Mike Rutherford, 7.Mark Yoder, 8.Tom Kohler, 9.Shaun Brandel, 10.Bruce Ginther Jr., 11.Jermain Godshall, 12.Shane Lewis, 13.Mark Ludwig, 14.Tyler Esh, 15.Kory Merkey, 16.Brittany Brown, 17.Kerry Gilbert, 18.Jeff Halligan, 19.Mike Freed, 20.Paul Graham, 21.David Brown, 22.Mike Caropolo, 23.Tim Buckwalter, 24.Shane Braxton.
270cc Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Greg Miller, 4.A.J. Michael, 5.Scott Gingrich, 6.Todd Steffy, 7.Christi Sweigart, 8.Kerry Lengel, 9.Brandon Bucher, 10.Jay Batdorf, 11.Roger Graham III, 12.Dave Grube, 13.Steve Drevicki, 14.Mike Uhrich, 15.Edward Holz II, 16.Ryan Shupp, 17.Jason Swavely, 18.Mike Enck, 19.Peter Michael, 20.Billy Logeman, 21.Phil Rupert, 22.Devin Harron, 23.Zack Fouse, 24.Sheena Schaefer.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps: 1.Peter Michael, 2.Ed Nocera, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Kim Enck, 5.Amanda Schlegel, 6.Michael Booth, 7.Jessica Mohler, 8.Greg Schmuck, 9.George Potts Jr., 10.Jake Booth, 11.Jared Esh, 12.Sheila Fetter, 13.Lewis Kepple Jr., 14.Steve Brenner, 15.Chip Geib, 16.George Potts III. DNS: Ryan Gabers.
125cc Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Bradley Brown, 3.Cody Drace, 4.Bret Habecker, 5.Mark Yoder, 6.David Ravel, 7.Brian Sholley, 8.Ryan Wilson, 9.Shane Braxton, 10.Brianna Gerhart, 11.Sonny Sweitzer, 12.Devin Harron, 13.Curtis R. Miller, 14.James Wampole, 15.Corey Schmuck Jr., 16.Dave Grube, 17.Derek Ecenrode, 18.Walt Wampole. DNS: Scott Gantert, Ray Miller.
Sportsman Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jamie Fetterolf, 2.Jeff Hughes, 3.Donna Geib, 4.Brett Wanner, 5.Jason Swavely, 6.Dwayne Mathias, 7.Jason Hehnly, 8.Robert Shanaman, 9.Dennis Ziegler, 10.Joel Tolley, 11.Kelby Stauffer, 12.Corey Schmuck Jr., 13.Tim Ziegler, 14.Dean Spangler Jr., 15.Jenna Keppley, 16.David Kemp, 17.Earl Eveland, 18.Billy Logeman, 19.Wesley Fasnacht, 20.Dennis Fenstermacher, 21.Jonathan Swift, 22.Matt Morton, 23.Ken Miller, 24.Sarah Shreiner.