Newmanstown, Pa. - May 14 - Jeff Halligan finally picked up that elusive career-first victory at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday night, although it appeared that Halligan had once again settled for the bridesmaid's spot by finishing second to Chris Gerhart.
Gerhart, the defending track champion in the 600cc Micro-Sprints, held off the persistent challenges offered by Halligan, and it was Gerhart who flew under the checkered flag first. Unfortunately, the Harleysville, Pa. resident did not pass tech inspection and was disqualified, handing the win to Halligan. Reportedly, Gerhart's engine did not pass the rev limit test in post-race inspection.
In 270cc action, Heath Hehnly drove Gary Miller's Gold Rush Trailer Sales No. 82 to a second consecutive victory at the Clyde on WIX Filters 100 Nights of Racing at the high banked oval.
The three remaining features were rained out and will be made up this Saturday, May 21, at the beginning of the racing program. A full slate of qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races will follow the postponed main events from May 14. The three make-ups will feature the Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints.
Saturday's 600cc event saw Gerhart outgun polesitter Mark Yoder to grab the lead as the race went green. A long stretch of green flag racing allowed the leaders to catch the back of the field pretty quickly, with Gerhart holding a narrow lead over Yoder, Halligan, and 12th starting Brian Carber, who was making a rare start at Lanco.
Halligan and Carber wrestled second and third away from Yoder, then began to reel in the leader. Lapped traffic kept the top four in close proxmity to one another, and Halligan almost had Gerhart trapped behind a lapped car with seven to go.
Gerhart was able to muscle away from the lapped car and Halligan, roaring off turn four and pulling away a bit from his rival from Ephrata. Gerhart went on to apparently record the win, only to have it taken away in post-race tech inspection.
Halligan was named the victor after Gerhart's DQ, with Carber finishing second. Carber also received the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature award for his quick lap of 10.471 seconds during the 25-lapper.
Mark Yoder and Brittany Brown completed the top five.
With 26 of the 600's in the pit area, heat races went to Carber, Mike Dicely, and Halligan. The consolation was won by Ryan Greth.
Heath Hehnly, Manheim, may have started on the outside pole of the 270cc feature and taken the lead at the outset, then leading all the way, but his drive to victory was anything but easy.
Josh Stoyer took the green from third, then charged into second on the second trip around the oval. Stoyer caught Hehnly, and when this duo reached slower traffic at the back of the pack, things really got interesting.
Stoyer tried high and low to draw even with the leader, but to no avail. Hehnly fended off each attack as the first 23 laps of the race went clean and green. The first yellow flag appeared with 23 circuits complete and only two left to run. And sadly, that one and only caution period was needed for Stoyer, who clipped the guardrail on the frontstretch as he was trying to keep up with Hehnly.
Pete Skias, who started sixth, and Mike Rutherford, who started 12th, were now sitting second and third, respectively, for the green-white-checkered restart. Skias tried to dive under Hehnly as they blasted into turn one, but Hehnly held his line and pulled away a bit on the backstretch.
Hehnly went on to win (again), with P. Skias, Rutherford, Kevin Garman, and Dave Grube rounding out the top five.
Zack Fouse, who finished 18th, was the recipient of the Kelly Fuels Gas It Up Award on Saturday.
270cc heat races went to Jesse Maurer, Grube, and Mike Dicely. There were 24 of the 270's ready for battle on Saturday.
The rain, which had been very light but persistent all night long, became heavier as the 600cc cars were heading off the track after their feature. The next main event, for the Sportsman cars, was pushed out immediately, but the rain intensified at that point, and before long, the track was lost.
That sets up a huge program for this Saturday, May 21, with a total of eight feature races on the schedule. Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups at 5 p.m. The first make-up feature goes green at 6:00. May 21st is also Elementary School Night at Lanco, with elementary school students receiving free admission for themselves and one adult, providing they show proper I.D. to confirm their enrollment in an elementary school.
The track's annual Memorial Day Open Show is coming up on May 28, as the Xcel 600 Modified Tour visits Lanco for the first of two appearances in 2011. The Xcel 600 Modified Tour joins the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Strokes in a big holiday weekend show, with 30-lap features being presented for each division. The Memorial Day Open Show carries rain dates of May 29 and 30, if necessary.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jeff Halligan, 2.Brian Carber, 3.Mark Yoder, 4.Brittany Brown, 5.Tyler Esh, 6.Ken Miller, 7.Ryan Greth, 8.Eric Bodine, 9.A.J. Michael, 10.Shane Lewis, 11.Mike Dicely, 12.Danny Wykes, 13.Heath Hehnly, 14.Jared Davis, 15.Ryan Wilson, 16.Tony DiMattia, 17.Tim Buckwalter, 18.Robbie Kendall, 19.Brent Ely, 20.Rick Stief, 21.Monnie Wonder III, 22.Shane Braxton. DNS: Peter Michael. DQ: Chris Gerhart.
DNQ: Jermain Godshall; David Beiler.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Heath Hehnly, 2.Pete Skias, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Kevin Garman, 5.Dave Grube, 6.Mike Dicely, 7.Tyler Reinhardt, 8.Nick Skias, 9.Jesse Maurer, 10.Christi Sweigart, 11.Billy Logeman, 12.Jason Swavely, 13.Josh Stoyer, 14.Chip Geib, 15.Jay Batdorf, 16.Brett Wanner, 17.Keith Holiday, 18.Zack Fouse, 19.Lee Reinhardt, 20.Brandon Morrison, 21.John Horton, 22.Charles Hellinger, 23.Mike Uhrich. DNS: Kerry Lengel.