Newmanstown, Pa. - May 19 - With more than 1,700 enthusiastic race fans and participants looking on, Mike Rutherford authored two impressive drives to victory on Fan Appreciation Night presented by Shred Racing Products at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
As Rutherford cranked out his second triumphs of the season in both the 600cc and 270cc Micro-Sprints, a couple of other drivers decided that he wouldn't be the only one to record some special achievements in front of the packed house on Saturday night.
Chip Geib won his fourth consecutive feature in the 270cc Four-Stroke Class - a race that went caution free and concluded the fun-filled evening of great racing and dozens of giveaways to the excited fans.
Richie Hartman made it two in a row in the main event for the 125cc competitors, and Jason Swavely notched his second win of 2012 in the Sportsman Class.
Rutherford rolled off the starting grid from the inside of row six. As polesitter Jermain Godshall set a rapid pace during the first half of the 25-lapper, Rutherford methodically threaded his way toward the front.
The Lititz, Pa. wheel-twister was up to fifth by lap nine. The next eight circuits brought a terrific, three-car tussle for the runner-up position between Jeff Stelter, Tyler Esh, and Rutherford. The trio ran under a blanket as Godshall opened a sizable lead, with Stelter and Esh racing nose to tail in the high groove and Rutherford's No. 7H planted on the bottom.
On the 17th revolution, Rutherford blasted off the inside lane of turn two, gassing Gary Hunter's CARSTAR Hyper past Esh and Stelter to secure the second spot.
A restart with eight to go proved to be the downfall for Godshall, as he slid up the banking just a bit in turn four, opening the door for Rutherford to take the lead.
Rutherford went on to win for the second time this season in 600cc competition at the Clyde, crossing the stripe by almost 1.3 seconds over the strong running Godshall. Mike Dicely (started 12th) slipped past Tyler Esh with two to go to finish third. Esh and Stelter completed the top five.
With 30 of the 600's in attendance on Saturday, heat race victories went to Jeff Halligan, Rutherford, and Dicely. Heath Hehnly won the consolation race.
A short time before he captured the 600cc triumph, Rutherford utilized the same inside groove to register his second straight win in 270cc Two-Stroke action.
The Lititz driver also started eleventh in the 270 feature, charging to fourth by the time a yellow flag appeared with five laps scored.
As Mike Skias pulled out to a comfortable advantage over Christi Sweigart, Rutherford engaged in a crowd pleasing, three-wide battle for third with Chip Geib and Billy Logeman. Rutherford claimed that position, then darted under Sweigart for the runner-up spot on the eleventh trip around the superbly prepared clay oval.
On a lap twelve restart, Rutherford shoved his Kaylor Petro No. 5k underneath M. Skias in three and four, then accelerated ahead as they rocketed down the homestretch.
A few additional cautions did not deter his run to victory, as Rutherford cruised to the triumph over opening night winner Jesse Maurer, Sweigart, M. Skias, and Logeman.
M. Skias, Rutherford, and C. Geib won heats as a stellar field of 33 signed in for 270cc Two-Stroke competition. Justin Harrington notched the consolation victory.
Richie Hartman suffered through an extremely tough night in his 270cc Micro; he was involved in three skirmishes that finally knocked him out of the main event.
But Hartman came back with a vengance in the 25-lapper for the 125cc racers, winning his second consecutive feature in Gary Gorski's Cocalico Plumbing & Heating No. 29.
Kory Merkey was the early leader, but all eyes were on Hartman as he sliced and diced his way from twelfth to second in the first five laps. Hartman then went side-by-side with Merkey on lap nine, eventually edging in front of Merkey's No. 88 in turns one and two with fifteen tours remaining.
Hartman, from Temple, Pa., went on to win by 5.5 seconds over Merkey, who was satisfied to finish second after an abundance of early season hard luck in both the 125cc and 600cc divisions.
Ken Miller finished third, with eleventh starting Shane Braxton taking the checkered in fourth. Darren Miller recorded his second straight top-five effort by finishing fifth.
Bradley Brown, Braxton, and Hartman were victorious in heat race activity for the 23 entrants in Saturday's 125cc action.
Jason Swavely, Douglassville, Pa., swept from ninth to third during the first four circuits of the Sportsman feature as Mark Ludwig set the pace. One of Swavely's Miller Racing teammates, Bret Habecker, weaved his way from twelfth to fourth in ten laps, but it was Swavely who seemed to have the quickest mount on Fan Appreciation Night.
Swavely chased Ludwig, then ran wheel-to-wheel with the leader for a full lap before taking command for good in turn two, just one tour before the halfway point.
Swavely, the defending Sportsman point king, won by a healthy margin over Ludwig, Habecker, Ken Miller, and Sheena Logeman.
Two heats were necessary for the 20 Sportsman cars, with victories going to Swavely and Miller.
The 25-lap nightcap for the 270cc Four-Stroke Micros was completed in 5 minutes, 16 seconds - going from green to checkered without any interruptions. When the frantic action ended, it was Chip Geib standing in the winner's circle once again. Geib is undefeated in Four-Stroke features so far this year, winning all four of the main events presented at Clyde Martin.
This one looked fairly easy, but appearances can be deceiving, according to Geib. "We lost fifth gear, and that slowed us up during the race," admitted the Manheim resident afterward. "Luckily, we had enough of a lead and there weren't any yellows to give Ryan a shot at passing us."
"Ryan" is Ryan Morris, the Honeybrook charger who was closing in on Geib during the second half of the event. Morris washed up the banking in turn two with four to go, however, enabling Geib to extend his margin and win handily.
Morris and Craig DeSantis waged a spirited three-car tango with Geib in the early laps, as the threesome ganged up on early leader Lewis Kepple while dicing among themselves. DeSantis and Geib then swapped the lead back and forth a few times before Geib secured the top spot just prior to the halfway mark of the race.
Morris got by DeSantis, who thought his motor was blowing up and nearly pulled off the track at the halfway point. His engine sputtered but came back to life before DeSantis turned left into the infield, allowing him to soldier on to a third place finish behind Geib and Morris.
Eddie Nocera and Kepple finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Morris and Chip Geib won the pair of Four-Stroke heat races, as 15 cars competed in that class on Saturday.
The Lanco club wishes to thank all of the fans who benefitted from the free admission and attended Saturday's racing program. The club also extends its sincere gratitude to the people, businesses, and race teams who donated the multitude of prizes that were given to those in attendance. Fan Appreciation Night, the brainchild of Lanco President Tim Bortz, was a huge success thanks to the numerous individuals and groups who helped to make it so.
This Saturday, May 26, is the Clyde's annual Memorial Day Open Show, featuring qualifying heats, consolations, and 30-lap main events for the (winged) 600cc, 270cc Two-Strokes, 125cc, Sportsman, and 270cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints. In addition, the club will pay tribute to the memory of former Vice President and racer Kerry Gilbert by presenting a complete program of his favorite class, the Wingless 600's.
The Memorial Day Open Show is sponsored by Bud's Spring Service, Dallas Spring, and Eagle Suspensions. A minimum of $500 awaits the winner of the winged and Wingless 600cc main events, and the 270cc Two-Stroke victor. There will be an increased purse for all classes, and Lanco members will receive 50 "show up points" if their car attempts to qualify for an A-Main at the Open Show.
Gates will open at 2 p.m. on Saturday, with warm-ups beginning at 4:15 and the first heat race goes green at 5:30.
Adult General Admission is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Youth between the ages of six and twelve are admitted for only $2.00, while children under the age of six are free. And parking is always free at the Clyde!
Sunday, May 27 and/or Monday, May 28 will be used as rain dates for the Memorial Day Open if needed.
It's the Memorial Day Open...always a thrill and this year it's bolstered by the wild and wingless 600's! You've gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
RESULTS FROM FAN APPRECIATION NIGHT PRESENTED BY SHRED RACING PRODUCTS:
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Jermain Godshall, 3.Mike Dicely, 4.Tyler Esh, 5.Jeff Stelter, 6.Jered Hook, 7.Tom Kohler, 8.Peter Michael, 9.Shaun Brandel, 10.Brittany Brown, 11.Eric Bodine, 12.A.J. Michael, 13.Jerry Schott, 14.Mark Yoder, 15.Brent Ely, 16.Christopher Tracy, 17.Jessica Mohler, 18.Travis Esh, 19.Shane Braxton, 20.Chris Panczner, 21.Chris Gerhart, 22.Heath Hehnly, 23.Jeff Halligan, 24.Bruce Ginther Jr.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Christi Sweigart, 4.Mike Skias, 5.Billy Logeman, 6.Heath Hehnly, 7.Jason Swavely, 8.Brian Sholley, 9.Pete Skias, 10.Chip Geib, 11.Justin Harrington, 12.Ryan Morris, 13.Tyler Reinhardt, 14.Ernie Miles, 15.Mike Winkler, 16.Richie Hartman, 17.Dave Grube, 18.Dan Lane Jr., 19.Brad Kemp, 20.Josh Stump, 21.Ryan Gabers, 22.Nick Skias, 23.Toby Blumenshine, 24.Charles Hellinger.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Kory Merkey, 3.Ken Miller, 4.Shane Braxton, 5.Darren Miller, 6.Jesse Maurer, 7.Bradley Brown, 8.Brianna Gerhart, 9.Derek Ecenrode, 10.Nick Sweigart, 11.Felisha Kirlin, 12.Dave Grube, 13.Daniel Braun Jr., 14.Dylan Adams, 15.Walt Wampole, 16.Luis Gonzales, 17.Brent Shearer, 18.Zach Hollinger, 19.Kyle Hehnly, 20.Brie Weiler, 21.James Wampole, 22.Jordan Espenshade.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Mark Ludwig, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.Ken Miller, 5.Sheena Logeman 6.Curtis R Miller, 7.Kerry Lengle, 8.Wesley Fasnacht, 9.Dave Kemp, 10.Tim Ziegler, 11.Matt Abers, 12.Robert Shanaman, 13.Corey Schmuck Jr., 14.Jenna Heagy, 15.Dean Spangler Sr., 16.Mike Heiser. DNS: Dennis Fenstermacher, Derek Eckman, Dean Spangler Jr., Brian Becker.
270cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Craig DeSantis, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Donna Geib, 7.Kim Enck, 8.David Ravel, 9.Steve Smith Sr., 10.Kenny Miller III, 11.Greg Schmuck, 12.Ronald Good, 13.Colton Goshert, 14.Sheila Fetter. DNS: Kory Shissler.