Newmanstown, Pa. - May 15 - Mohnton's Jared Davis shook off the bad luck that plagued him during the early portion of the 2010 season, winning the first 600cc feature of his career at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday.
Richie Hartman, Shoemakersville, captured the 270cc main event. It was Hartman's first trip back to victory lane since the season opener on April 17.
After suffering a mechanical failure while leading with two laps to go on May 8, Ryan Wilson bounced back to win Saturday's 125cc feature race.
In the 250cc Four-Stroke feature, Jessica Mohler won her first of the year, while Jason Swavely annexed his initial Sportsman class triumph of 2010.
All of the competitors in the five feature races were rewarded with some extra cash in their pay envelope, courtesy of the Lancaster Barnstormers Fundraiser, a cross-promotion between the minor league baseball team and the Lanco Micro-Sprint club.
In addition to the terrific action on the speedway, Saturday's event also included an appearance by ARCA driver Kyle Martel of Lebanon, Pa. Martel had his No. 43 Chevrolet Impala on display at the track as he and his crew promoted the upcoming ARCA race at Pocono (on June 5) by distributing some free tickets.
Eric Bodine darted from the pole to set the early pace in the 600cc main event. Jared Davis sliced his way into the runner-up spot on the seventh circuit, then set his sights on the leader, who by that time had built a nice cushion over his closest pursuers.
Many in the crowd were watching Heath Hehnly at that point. Hehnly, the defending 600cc track champ, had maneuvered through heavy traffic, climbing from 19th on the starting grid to run ninth on the same lap that Davis secured the second position.
With Bodine's No. 99x firmly entrenched in the low groove, Davis went to work on the top side of the eighth-mile oval. "I think the top got better as the race went on," he remarked later. "I didn't plan on running up there because I thought the inside would be the preferred line tonight. But I kept on getting faster as I ran up high."
Davis, now in his second season of 600cc competition, utilized the high groove to pull even with Bodine. The duo waged a side-by-side battle all the way around the track for three laps before Davis finally surged ahead, taking the lead with eight to go. He went on to claim the victory by almost four-tenths of a second over Bodine, with Jon Stewart turning in an impressive ride to finish third. Jeff Halligan and Shane Braxton rounded out the top five, with Hehnly advancing to sixth when the checkered fell.
After the race, Davis explained how he soldiered through the difficulties he encountered during the first part of the 2010 racing season. "Confidence...I never lost it," he said. "All of these people standing here with me," as he pointed to the family and crew surrounding him in victory lane, "they didn't lose confidence in me as I struggled with motor problems and all sorts of other issues. So this win is for all of them."
During the 25-lap feature, Eric Bodine turned the quickest lap by any of the 24 starters to earn the Valken Racing Fast Lap of the Week. Bodine's quick trip around the speedway was 10.861 seconds.
With 31 of the 600's in the pit area, three intense heat races went to Bodine, Davis, and Stewart. Hehnly won the consolation.
Richie Hartman was a man on a mission in the 270cc feature. The resident of Shoemakersville, Pa. blasted from ninth to fourth during the initial two trips around the clay. On a restart with two complete, Hartman propelled his No. 39 past Josh Stoyer and Peter Michael in one swoop, then wrestled the top spot from a very fast Billy Murphy on lap five. From that point on, the 25-lapper belonged to Hartman.
Pete Skias bolted by Murphy for second as lap eight was scored. With ten circuits remaining, Skias gave up second place to Jesse Maurer, setting up an entertaining, wheel-to-wheel fight for third between Pete and his son, Nick Skias. On this night, it would be the son who gained the upper hand, as Nick rocketed around the top of the banking to overtake his dad and finish third behind Hartman and Maurer. Todd Steffy earned fifth-place money.
In the winner's circle, Hartman talked about an early race incident that almost cost him the victory. "(Mike) Uhrich started to spin, and I went under him, but caught a piece of his car. It broke my right-rear shock...maybe I ought to run with only three shocks from now on. And I think the motor blew up as I took the checkered, too."
The two-time and defending point champion of Lanco's 270cc class also revealed that his family-run team brought a new set-up to the track on Saturday. "We've been really bad the last few weeks; the motor wasn't right and the car was bad, too. We worked hard on the car this week and used a new set-up tonight, and it was really good," understated Hartman.
Hartman, Murphy, and Peter Michael won qualifying heats for the 29 cars signed in for 270cc action. The consi was won by Zack Fouse.
By finishing 17th, Peter Michael was the recipient of the Kelly Fuels Gas It Up gift certificate.
Ryan Wilson went from fourth to first on the opening lap of the 125cc headliner, passing one of his Gorski Racing teammates, Ray Miller, for the lead in turns three and four. A third member of Gary Gorski's formidable stable, Jesse Maurer, slipped into the runner-up slot on the second revolution. But Wilson would not be denied as he navigated through dense lapped traffic with relative ease and crossed the stripe several car-lengths ahead of Maurer.
"Yeah, revenge was on my mind tonight," said Wilson afterward. "I should have won last week, but it blew up while I had a big lead with two to go. It's great to win in Gary's car; he's definitely got good stuff."
Bret Habecker and David Ravel waged a torrid duel for third position, with Habecker claiming that spot on the 18th tour. Shane Braxton squeezed by Dave Grube late in the event to finish fifth.
An ever growing 125cc field swelled to 23 cars on Saturday, with Maurer, Wilson, and Sonny Sweitzer registering victories in the heat races.
"We sat out last week because we had a freak thing happen inside the motor. That's how our luck has been so far this year." But nothing freaky happened to Jessica Mohler this past Saturday evening, and she flew to her first 250cc Four-Stroke triumph of the 2010 season.
Mohler took advantage of her pole position starting spot, grabbing the lead at the outset of the 25-lap feature. Despite some of the division's heavy hitters moving into position to challenge her as the race evolved, the young charger from Reamstown simply drove away from the field on a couple of restarts to claim the victory.
Point leader Peter Michael swept by Craig DeSantis for second with six trips left, but Mohler had checked out by then, leaving Michael to settle for runner-up honors. Mohler won by 2.4 seconds, with Michael, DeSantis, Chip Geib, and Lewis Kepple Jr. completing the first five to cross the finish line.
Four-Stroke heats went to Gary Potts III and Geib.
In the Sportsman feature, Jason Swavely caught a huge break when his teammate, Kenny Miller, spun out of the lead while attempting to avoid a lapped car that was out of shape exiting turn four.
Miller launched from fourth to the lead on the opening lap, and Swavely moved from eighth to fourth in the first pair of revolutions around the speedway. Swavely was third with four laps complete, then passed Paul May III for second on the eighth circuit. Miller, however, had built a commanding lead by that time, and he appeared to have a lock on his second triumph of the year. But it was not to be...
The incident that robbed Miller of a certain victory occurred with ten to go and handed the win to Swavely. For Jason, it was bittersweet, as he would rather beat his teammate in a head-to-head race. But, considering the fact that he's been super-fast in most of the season's first four races, only to have mechanical issues take him out well before the checkered, he was more than willing to take this win under any circumstances.
"We've had motor problems," he explained. "Every time we got out front or near the front, we blew up. So tonight feels good, but I didn't want to see that (Miller spinning out of the lead); he's my team car."
Sportsman heat wins were claimed by Kenny Miller, Billy Logeman, and Jason Hehnly. Tim Ziegler won the consolation race.
This Saturday, May 22, will see another five-division card of Micro-Sprint racing at Clyde Martin. This week also features the first of seven events to be taped by Blue Ridge Cable Channel 11. The five main events will be shown on Sunday afternoon (check local listings for times).
Also this Saturday, members of the Jesus Race Team will perform face painting for kids of all ages.
Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00, and the entire program will be sponsored by Seltzer's Smokehouse Meats.
600cc Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jared Davis, 2.Eric Bodine, 3.Jon Stewart, 4.Jeff Halligan, 5.Shane Braxton, 6.Heath Hehnly, 7.Tyler Ross, 8.Jamie Kostic, 9.Ken Miller, 10.Mark Ludwig, 11.Mike Freed, 12.Tom Kohler, 13.Tyler Esh, 14.Jeff Hartman, 15.Shaun Brandel, 16.Jermain Godshall, 17.Bruce Ginther Jr., 18.Mike Rutherford, 19.Mark Yoder, 20.Kory Merkey, 21.Brent Ely, 22.Ryan Wilson, 23.Brittany Brown, 24.Shane Lewis.
270cc Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Pete Skias, 5.Todd Steffy, 6.Billy Murphy, 7.A.J. Michael, 8.Christi Sweigart, 9.Chip Geib, 10.Greg Miller, 11.Kerry Lengle, 12.Dave Grube, 13.Jay Batdorf, 14.Josh Stoyer, 15.Mike Enck, 16.Edward Holz II, 17.Peter Michael, 18.Jay Hartman, 19.Zack Fouse, 20.Devin Harron, 21.Jason Swavely, 22.Mike Uhrich, 23.Brian Marriott, 24.Sheena Schaefer.
125cc Feature, 25 laps: 1.Ryan Wilson, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.David Ravel, 5.Shane Braxton, 6.Dave Grube, 7.Bradley Brown, 8.Mark Yoder, 9.Sonny Sweitzer, 10.Corey Schmuck Jr., 11.Devin Harron, 12.Curtis R. Miller, 13.Kaylan Petrecz, 14.Kyle Hehnly, 15.Jason Harris, 16.Derek Ecenrode, 17.James Wampole, 18.Daniel Braun, 19.Jared Hartlieb, 20.Brianna Gerhart, 21.Ray Miller, 22.Cody Drace. DNS: Walt Wampole.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jessica Mohler, 2.Peter Michael, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Chip Geib, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Ed Nocera, 7.George Potts III, 8.Jared Esh, 9.Kim Enck, 10.Michael Booth, 11.Jake Booth, 12.Greg Schmuck, 13.Matthew Swift, 14.Steve Brenner, 15.Sheila Fetter, 16.Jesse Kopp.
Sportsman Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Paul May III, 3.Dwayne Mathias, 4.Brett Wanner, 5.Jamie Fetterolf, 6.Kelby Stauffer, 7.Ken Miller, 8.Joel Tolley, 9.Jeff Hughes, 10.Dennis Ziegler, 11.David Kemp, 12.Jason Hehnly, 13.Bret Habecker, 14.Donna Geib, 15.Jason Tolley, 16.Dennis Fenstermacher, 17.Jenna Keppley, 18.Tim Ziegler, 19.Billy Logeman, 20.Robert Shanaman, 21.Wesley Fasnacht, 22.Mike Skias, 23.Corey Schmuck Jr., 24.Dean Spangler Jr.