Newmanstown, Pa. - September 18 - The final night of racing at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway produced some heart-pounding drama, as the 2010 point champions were determined and five drivers head into the winter months with the momentum generated by winning the curtain-closing main events.
Two of the newly crowned champions came from behind on the final night to clinch their titles, while another created some anxious moments by having to qualify through the consolation, then held on to a slim point lead to secure his championship.
Bruce Ginther, Jr. waited until the last race before claiming his first 600cc triumph of the 2010 season in Saturday's finale. Joining Ginther in victory lane celebrations were Nick Skias (270cc), Shane Braxton (125cc), Chip Geib (250cc Four-Stroke), and Ken Miller (Sportsman).
Ginther outgunned polesitter Zach Fisher as the green waved to begin the 600cc main event. The previous week's winner, Tyler Ross, was the big mover in the early stages of the 25-lapper, blasting from his 12th starting spot to run third by the fifth trip around the lightning fast oval.
Ross then set his sights on Ginther, but the chauffeur of the Shred Racing, Christian Lawyer Solutions No. 28 was ready for the challenge. After a couple of mid-race restarts, Ross executed slide jobs on the leader in turns three and four, but Ginther crossed over and shot back in front as they charged down the frontstretch.
"I really expected the No. 5T to blow by me when I saw his number on the scoreboard," said Ginther afterward. "I was surprised when he didn't smoke me on those restarts. I hope he finds a Sprint Car ride for next year; I really don't want to race against him because he's so good. In fact, I may try to find a Sprint Car ride for him," joked the victor.
Ginther, who hails from Lebanon but will soon relocate to Reinholds, Pa., was able to pull away during the final laps, zipping to the checkered flag almost a full second ahead of Ross. Mark Ludwig, Jeff Halligan (who started 14th), and Mike Rutherford completed the first five at the conclusion of the race.
Chris Gerhart survived a spin in his heat race and another during the feature to secure his first 600cc point title. Qualifying through the consolation, Gerhart managed to climb from the rear of the pack to finish tenth. His closest competitors for the championship, Ryan Wilson and Ken Miller, both had problems during the feature. Wilson crashed after he was forced into the outside guardrail, while Miller was collected in a couple of skirmishes before finally finishing 17th.
With two laps complete in the 270cc feature, a scary incident occurred on the backstretch. With cars bunched two and three-wide in the middle of the field, Mike Rutherford was pinched into the outside guardrail, then violently barrel-rolled several times. Three others also flipped in the incident - Jason Swavely, Josh Stoyer, and Jay Batdorf. All four drivers were uninjured, although Rutherford was understandably shaken and a little wobbly after the hard crash.
When green flag racing resumed, Kerry Lengle continued to set the pace, but all eyes were on the high flying No. 88 driven by Nick Skias. The Wernersville resident started eighth, but quickly roared into the fourth position as lap three was scored.
Skias passed Zack Fouse for third on the fourth revolution, then snatched the runner-up slot from Christi Sweigart on lap seven. After a restart with ten circuits complete, Lengle and Skias put on a side-by-side duel for the lead, racing wheel-to-wheel for three laps before Skias finally nosed ahead as the crossed flags were displayed to the field.
Skias romped to victory, his second of the season but first since Memorial Day weekend at the Clyde. Lengle held off the winner's father, Pete Skias, for second, with Richie Hartman and Jesse Maurer completing the top five.
The top three cars sported Viper Chassis, and all three utilized Skias-built motors on their Micro-Sprints.
Heading into the 270cc finale, Richie Hartman had already clinched his third consecutive point championship. With his fifth-place finish on Saturday, Maurer locked up second spot in the standings.
He may have ended up second in the 270cc title chase, but Jesse Maurer was not to be denied in his quest for a 125cc championship. When Saturday's final event began, the Mount Joy Outlaw was a scant four points behind David Ravel. By the time the 25-lap feature went green, Maurer was four points in front of Ravel by virtue of winning his heat race, combined with a fifth place finish by Ravel in qualifying action.
Three attempts were needed to get the 125cc headliner underway, and Ravel was involved in one of those opening tangles.
Ryan Wilson squeezed ahead of Derek Ecenrode to snare the top spot on lap two. Sophomore sensation Bradley Brown was incredibly fast all night long, winning his heat race, then zooming into second early in the feature after a three-wide confrontation with Ecenrode and Shane Braxton.
Braxton returned the favor, passing Brown on a lap seven restart to secure the runner-up position. As they raced through three and four to complete the tenth trip around the high banked clay oval, Braxton pulled a slider on Wilson to grab the lead. From that point on, the race belonged to Braxton, and the focus shifted to the battle for the championship.
Maurer got by Wilson, his teammate, for third just prior to the halfway mark. With the 25-lapper heading into its waning laps, Maurer wrestled second away from Brown. With Braxton on cruise control at the head of the pack, Maurer never got close enough to challenge for the victory. Braxton waltzed home with his third triumph of 2010, but Maurer won the war by finishing second, thereby clinching his third point crown in the 125cc class.
Brown, Wilson, and Bret Habecker finished third, fourth, and fifth in the year's last feature for the 125cc Micros. Ravel rebounded from the early altercation to finish sixth, losing the title fight to Maurer by just 23 points.
When the race teams pulled into the pit area for Saturday's last event, Chip Geib trailed Peter Michael by a mere ten points in the 250cc Four-Stroke point chase. And veteran Craig DeSantis, who won the feature on September 11, was lurking in third, only 17 tallies behind Michael.
After Saturday's heat races, Geib closed to within four points of the leader, while DeSantis narrowed his deficit to eleven. At the start of the Four-Stroke feature, Geib rocketed from ninth to third in the first two circuits.
Matthew Swift led from the drop of the green, but Geib was on a mission. The Manheim native blew by George Potts, Jr. for second on a lap three restart, then, on the next tour, slipped past Swift to take command.
DeSantis charged into second at the halfway point, but Geib was simply too strong on this night. Despite numerous caution periods, Geib easily held on to the top spot, flying to his eighth victory of the season. DeSantis finished second, with Jessica Mohler edging her sister, Kim Enck, for third as they crossed the stripe.
The win, coupled with Michael's fifth-place finish, propelled Geib to the 250cc Four-Stroke championship, his fourth title in the past nine years. It is also Chip's first championship after a two-year hiatus from the driver's seat, although his engines have now claimed five consecutive point crowns in the Four-Stroke division.
When Ken Miller won his heat race in Saturday's qualifying action for the Sportsman Micro-Sprints, he locked up his second track title in that class (and his second in the past three years). But he wasn't satisfied with just clinching the championship in Saturday's finale...
Miller cruised to his seventh triumph of the season, and second straight, in the 25-lap nightcap for the Sportsman Micros. It wasn't an easy victory by any means, as his teammate, Jason Swavely, methodically worked his way forward, stealing the runner-up position from David Kemp at the halfway point of the race. Three yellows in the final ten laps provided ample opportunities for Swavely to assault his teammate, and it almost paid off on the last trip around the eighth-mile of clay.
Swavely tried a bonzai dive in turns three and four, momentarily pulling under the leader, but Miller used his momentum off the banking to remain in front as they dashed to the checkered flag.
Miller, from Birdsboro, flashed to the win by .18 seconds over Swavely, who finished the year with eight wins in Sportsman competition. The duo, driving for Curt Miller (Ken's uncle), also finished one-two in the point standings.
Joel Tolley wound up third on Saturday, with Wesley Fasnacht and Jamie Fetterolf rounding out the top five.
With the racing season now concluded at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, attention turns to the club's annual awards banquet, which is scheduled for Saturday, November 20, at the Lancaster Host. Banquet tickets are priced at $35.00, and order forms are available on the track's website at www.lancomicrosprint.com.
The 2010 champions, along with the top 15 in points in each of the five weekly classes, will be recognized at the banquet. Many special awards will be handed out as well, such as Rookies of the Year, Most Improved Drivers, Best Appearing Cars, Sportsman of the Year, and the Hard Luck Awards.
On November 20, doors will open at 5 p.m. Dinner will be served at 6:00, and the awards ceremony will follow.
The Lanco club wishes to thank all of the race teams, officials, volunteers, and fans who made the 2010 season so successful and enjoyable.
Opening night of 2011 is slated for April 16. Be there to once again LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature Finish: 1.Bruce Ginther Jr., 2.Tyler Ross, 3.Mark Ludwig, 4.Jeff Halligan, 5.Mike Rutherford, 6.Jamie Kostic, 7.Pete Skias, 8.Shane Braxton, 9.Kory Merkey, 10.Chris Gerhart, 11.Tyler Esh, 12.Zach Fisher, 13.Mark Yoder, 14.Brittany Brown, 15.Jermain Godshall, 16.Brent Ely, 17.Ken Miller, 18.Tim Buckwalter, 19.Mike Freed, 20.Ken Leese Jr., 21.Tom Kohler, 22.Ryan Wilson, 23.Shaun Brandel. 2010 Point Champion: Chris Gerhart.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature Finish: 1.Nick Skias, 2.Kerry Lengle, 3.Pete Skias, 4.Richie Hartman, 5.Jesse Maurer, 6.Christi Sweigart, 7.Zack Fouse, 8.Billy Logeman, 9.Tyler Reinhardt, 10.Mike Uhrich, 11.Phil Rupert, 12.Chip Geib, 13.Dave Grube, 14.Devin Harron, 15.Sheena Schaefer, 16.Nate Weidman, 17.Josh Stoyer, 18.Billy Murphy, 19.Dan Cogdill, 20.Jason Swavely, 21.Peter Michael, 22.Jay Batdorf, 23.Mike Rutherford, 24.Brandon Bucher. 2010 Point Champion: Richie Hartman.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature Finish: 1.Shane Braxton, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Bradley Brown, 4.Ryan Wilson, 5.Bret Habecker, 6.David Ravel, 7.Dave Grube, 8.Sonny Sweitzer, 9.Derek Ecenrode, 10.Kyle Hehnly, 11.Mark Yoder, 12.Cody Drace, 13.Walter Wampole, 14.Curtis R. Miller, 15.Daniel Braun, 16.Nick Skias, 17.Jamie Fetterolf. DNS: James Wampole; Corey Schmuck Jr.; Kaylan Petrecz. 2010 Point Champion: Jesse Maurer
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature Finish: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Craig DeSantis, 3.Jessica Mohler, 4.Kim Enck, 5.Peter Michael, 6.Matthew Swift, 7.George Potts Jr., 8.George Potts III, 10.Travis Esh, 11.Justin Zelek, 12.Lewis Kepple Jr., 13.Kim Trout, 14.Greg Schmuck, 15.Ronald Wechter, 16.Jared Esh, 17.Ed Nocera, 18.Steve Brenner. DNS: Sheila Fetter. 2010 Point Champion: Chip Geib.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature Finish: 1.Ken Miller, 2.Jason Swavely, 3.Joel Tolley, 4.Wesley Fasnacht, 5.Jamie Fetterolf, 6.Jason Hehnly, 7.Corey Schmuck Jr., 8.Jeff Hughes, 9.Dave Kemp, 10.Dennis Ziegler, 11.Jenna Keppley, 12.Dennis Fenstermacher, 13.Dwayne Mathias, 14.Donna Geib, 15.Dean Spangler Jr., 16.Jonathan Swift, 17.Bret Habecker, 18.Scott Garman, 19.Kelby Stauffer, 20.Rick Fisher, 21.Brad Kemp, 22.Sarah Shreiner, 23.Brett Wanner, 24.Keith Holiday. 2010 Point Champion: Ken Miller.