AT CLYDE MARTIN
Brickerville, PA - Heath Hehnly and Mike Rutherford enjoyed a very productive night on Saturday, as they visited victory lane during the season finale at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. While Rutherford's two triumphs in 270cc action did not produce a 2009 track championship, Hehnly's win in the 600cc Micro-Sprint feature put an exclamation point on his championship effort in that class.
Rutherford notched a pair of victories in the 270cc division, winning the regularly scheduled main and the feature that was rained out on August 8. The Newmanstown, Pa. wheel-twister did everything he could to win the point title, but came up a bit short in his quest to overtake Richie Hartman. Hartman captured his second consecutive crown in the 270cc class.
Hartman was also a big winner in the 250cc Four-Stroke class, as he scored the triumph in a main event that was held over, due to rain, from August 8. That victory enabled the pilot from Shoemakersville, Pa. to secure his second straight point championship in Four-Stroke competition. Jessica Enck recorded the win in the regularly scheduled feature for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micros.
Coming into the season-ending event, the tightest point battle could be found in the 125cc division. A pair of 25-lap main events were contested on Saturday, and when the final checkered flag waved, Bret Habecker claimed his first Lanco championship by a slim margin over Dave Grube.
Sonny Sweitzer won the 125cc feature that was postponed from August 22nd, while Jesse Maurer registered his sixth victory of '09 in the nightcap.
In the season finale for the Sportsman class, Ken Miller was victorious. While Miller won the race, Penn State freshman Steve Drevicki won the war, as the Reading, Pa. chauffeur captured the first point title of his career.
Heath Hehnly entered the curtain-closer with a tenuous 61-point advantage over Jimmy Glenn. Because Glenn did not attend Saturday's event, Hehnly was assured of the 600cc crown before he took the green in the final 25-lap feature of the '09 season.
Two-time feature winner Bruce Ginther Jr. paced the opening laps of the Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic/ Viper Chassis main event, with teenager Tyler Ross chasing him for several circuits. Ross closed the gap when Ginther got hung up in lapped traffic, and Ross used that traffic to snatch the lead from Ginther with ten to go.
Hehnly needed most of the race to thread his way through the talent-laden pack, before bolting into the runner-up position with four laps remaining. Ross caught a gaggle of slower cars, allowing Hehnly to charge up to the leader's rear bumper.
On the final lap, in turns one and two, Hehnly trapped Ross behind one of the lapped cars and grabbed the top spot as they hit the backstretch. Hehnly went on to win his fourth of the year in 600cc action at the Clyde, with Ross finishing an impressive second.
Ginther Jr., Tim Buckwalter, and Jamie Kostic completed the top five.
"With Glenn not being here, I could run for the win, rather than points-race," admitted Hehnly in the winner's circle. "I have to hand it to Tyler and Bruce, they both ran a great race. It's great to win the championship for Sonny Cooke and my uncle Lee, and everybody who helps us."
The Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic/ Viper Chassis feature for the 270cc Micro-Sprints turned into another incredible run for Mike Rutherford. The "Master of the Micros" dashed from his tenth-place starting position to third in the first three trips around the high banked oval.
With Dave Grube setting the pace for the initial eight laps, Rutherford ducked under Heath Hehnly for second, then passed Grube for the lead on the ninth tour around the Clyde Martin clay. From that point on, the race belonged to Rutherford.
Richie Hartman, who entered the final 270cc main of the season with a 52-point bulge over Rutherford, raced into the runner-up spot with ten to go. He trailed Rutherford to the finish line, securing his second consecutive point title in the process. Ryan Wilson, Hehnly, and Mike Uhrich made up the top five.
The victory was Rutherford's fourth of the season in Lanco's 270cc class, and his second of the night.
Win number one came in the postponed main event from August 8, a 25-lapper sponsored by Kaylor Distributing/ Petro Chemicals. Once again, Rutherford started tenth, but found himself in second place by lap six.
The Newmanstown ace ran down race leader Jason Swavely, then made the winning pass on lap 12. It was no contest after that, as Rutherford cruised to the triumph over Swavely, Jesse Maurer, Brian Sholley, and Dave Falini.
In the regularly scheduled Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic/ Viper Chassis main event for the 250cc Four-Strokes, Lewis Kepple Jr. slipped past Dick Huzzard to snare the lead on the fourth revolution. Jessica Enck followed Kepple by Huzzard, then pressured Kepple for the next 20 circuits. Enck finally drew even with Kepple in turns three and four before shoving the nose of her No. 86 in front with two to go.
Enck went on to win her second feature of the year, with Kepple settling for second. A terrific three-car battle for the third position went to Chad Rhoads, with Ryan Gabers earning fourth-place money and Richie Hartman, who had already locked up the point title, finishing fifth.
Earlier on Saturday, the Four-Strokes competed in the Kaylor Distributing/ Petro Chemicals event that was rained out on August 8. Ed Nocera and Jared Gabers traded the lead during the middle stages of the 25-lapper, with Hartman lurking close behind in third.
Gabers fell out with mechanical problems, then Hartman wrestled the top spot from Nocera on lap 19. Hartman then sprinted away from the field to win his eighth feature of the season, with Nocera turning in a great ride to finish second. Ryan Gabers, Jason Johnson, and Craig DeSantis rounded out the top five when the checkered flag waved.
The Greenawalt Photos main event for the 125cc racers, postponed by rain on August 22nd, kept the point chase interesting. Bret Habecker entered with a 27-point lead over Dave Grube, but Grube chopped 13 points off his deficit by finishing third in the make-up feature, while Habecker took the checkered right behind him in fourth.
Nate Weidman was out front for four laps before Sonny Sweitzer and Bradley Brown made it three-wide for the lead, with Sweitzer gaining the advantage over Brown and Weidman.
Sweitzer went on to win his first of the season, with Jesse Maurer finishing second. Grube, Habecker, and Heath Hehnly complete the first five at the conclusion of the 25-lap race.
Grube cut two more points off Habecker's lead by winning his heat race, so the regularly scheduled 125cc feature began with Leesport, Pa.'s Habecker in front by 12 points.
Derek Ecenrode grabbed the early lead, with Jesse Maurer rocketing into the runner-up spot on the first lap. Three tours later, Maurer, the Mount Joy Outlaw, put himself at the head of the pack, dropping Ecenrode to second.
Cody Drace passed Ecenrode for second as lap ten was scored, but Maurer had checked out at that point. All of the focus then shifted to the battle for the championship between Habecker and Grube, who were trading positions inside the top ten cars.
Habecker passed Grube at one point, but Grube returned the favor a few laps later. Rookie Bradley Brown was racing with the title contenders, and Brown kept his No. 23 ahead of Grube as the laps dwindled.
Maurer won easily, registering his sixth triumph of the '09 season. Drace ended his year with a solid runner-up effort, while Ecenrode ran a steady race to finish third. Brown placed fourth, with Grube finishing just in front of Habecker for fifth.
By virtue of finishing one position behind Grube, Bret Habecker locked up his first Lanco point crown.
Mike Skias set the pace for 15 laps of the Sportsman feature before he glanced off the lapped car of Dave Kemp. Ken Miller, who was pressuring Skias for the lead, took full advantage of the opportunity, blasting by Skias on the homestretch to assume command.
Within a few laps, Miller had opened a huge lead, and he went on to record his third consecutive Sportsman victory, and his fifth overall in the 2009 season. Skias hung on for a well-deserved second, with three-time winner Jason Hehnly cashing in for third. Steve Drevicki's fourth-place finish stamped his Sportsman championship ticket, and Dwayne Mathias finished fifth.
600cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Heath Hehnly 2.Tyler Ross 3.Bruce Ginther Jr. 4.Tim Buckwalter 5.Jamie Kostic 6.Mike Rutherford 7.Jeff Halligan 8.Bill Thomas 9.Chris Gerhart 10.Rick Stief 11.Ken Miller 12.Kerry Gilbert 13.Brent Ely 14.Shaun Brandel 15.Jared Davis 16.Jermain Godshall 17.Ryan Hook 18.Ryan Wilson 19.Mike Freed 20.Greg Fitzpatrick 21.Jamie Fetterolf 22.Brittany Brown 23.Shane Braxton. DQ: Dean Seemans (Light at scale after race).
270cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Mike Rutherford 2.Richie Hartman 3.Ryan Wilson 4.Heath Hehnly 5.Mike Uhrich 6.Billy Logeman 7.Greg Miller 8.Jesse Maurer 9.Steve Drevicki 10.Brian Sholley 11.Jason Swavely 12.Scott Gingrich 13.Nick Walton 14.Billy Murphy 15.Todd Steffy 16.Christi Sweigart 17.Nate Weidman 18.Dave Grube 19.Jim Skias 20.Brandon Bucher 21.Ashley Camilleri 22.Lester Dice III 23.Dave Falini 24.Lyle Stroman.
270cc Micro-Sprints (Postponed on August 8): 1.Mike Rutherford 2.Jason Swavely 3.Jesse Maurer 4.Brian Sholley 5.Dave Falini 6.Billy Logeman 7.Mike Uhrich 8.Todd Steffy 9.Zack Fouse 10.Brandon Bucher 11.Nate Weidman 12.Richie Hartman 13.Heath Hehnly 14.Christi Sweigart 15.Scott Gingrich 16.Steve Drevicki. DNS: Dave Grube; Devin Harron; Nick Skias; Pete Skias; Steve Whary; Scott Fick; Cody Drace; Steve Buckwalter.
125cc Micro-Sprints: 1.Jesse Maurer 2.Cody Drace 3.Derek Ecenrode 4.Bradley Brown 5.Dave Grube 6.Bret Habecker 7.Billy Logeman 8.Nathan Weidman 9.Sonny Sweitzer 10.Shane Braxton 11.Kyle Henninger 12.Kaylan Petrecz 13.Corey Schmuck Jr. 14.Scott Gantert 15.Brianna Gerhart 16.Mark Yoder 17.Heath Hehnly 18.Carl Myer 19.Chrissy Ochs. DNS: Walt Wampole.
125cc Micro-Sprints (Postponed on August 22): 1.Sonny Sweitzer 2.Jesse Maurer 3.Dave Grube 4.Bret Habecker 5.Heath Hehnly 6.Derek Ecenrode 7.Scott Gantert 8.Bradley Brown 9.Brianna Gerhart 10.Corey Schmuck Jr. 11.Chrissy Ochs 12.Mark Yoder 13.Nathan Weidman 14.Cody Drace 15.Kyle Henninger.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints: 1.Jessica Enck 2.Lewis Kepple Jr. 3.Chad Rhoads 4.Ryan Gabers 5.Richie Hartman 6.Peter Michael 7.Ed Nocera 8.Dick Huzzard 9.Kim Enck 10.Greg Schmuck 11.Ray Merkey 12.Phil Johnson 13.Jason Johnson 14.Jesse Kopp. DNS: Craig DeSantis; George Potts Jr.; George Potts III.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints (Postponed on August 8): 1.Richie Hartman 2.Ed Nocera 3.Ryan Gabers 4.Jason Johnson 5.Craig DeSantis 6.Peter Michael 7.Jessica Enck 8.Kim Enck 9.Lewis Kepple Jr. 10.Phil Johnson 11.George Potts III 12.Jared Gabers 13.Dick Huzzard 14.Ray Merkey. DNS: Jake Booth; Michael Booth; Chris Lee.
Sportsman Micro-Sprints: 1.Ken Miller 2.Mike Skias 3.Jason Hehnly 4.Steve Drevicki 5.Dwayne Mathias 6.Jason Swavely 7.Joel Tolley 8.Wesley Fasnacht 9.Jeff Hughes 10.Brett Wanner 11.Billy Logeman 12.Dennis Ziegler 13.Donna Geib 14.Dean Spangler Jr. 15.David Kemp 16.Sheena Schaefer 17.Robert Schaffner 18.Jenna Keppley 20.Glenn Moyer 21.Mark Ludwig 22.Earl Eveland 23.Dean Spangler Sr. 24.Paul May III.