Newsmanstown, Pa. - Maybe it was the allure of the television cameras, or perhaps it was a simple case of extreme determination because he hadn't been in victory lane for a long while.
Whatever the reason, it was easy to see that Mike Dicely was on a mission in Saturday's main event for the 600cc Micro-Sprints at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. The Lewisberry, Pa. veteran wheel-twister notched his first triumph of the season as the cameras and crew from Blue Ridge Cable Channel 11 captured all the action in an event that marked the start of the fifth year of the successful partnership between the Lanco Club and Channel 11.
While Dicely had a big night, Richie Hartman's evening was even more lucrative. Hartman, from Temple, Pa., registered victories in both the 270cc and 125cc main events. His win in the 125cc headliner was his fourth consecutive triumph in that division.
Sheena Logeman won the 25-lap feature for the Sportsman Class, and Chip Geib remained undefeated in point-paying events, winning another 270cc Four-Stroke main in George Shupp's No. 15.
As Travis Esh and Jeff Halligan - both of whom graduated from high school just a few days prior to Saturday's event - ran one/two in the early laps of the 600cc feature, Dicely was slicing his way from eighth on the starting grid into the top five.
The Hyper Racing No. 44 charged into fourth position on lap five, then passed Heath Hehnly for third on the seventh trip around the oval. Three circuits later, Dicely slipped past Halligan to take over the runner-up spot, then began his pursuit of the race leader.
Just two brief caution periods slowed the pace of the 25-lapper, and Travis Esh kept Dicely behind him on the final restart with twelve laps in the books. Dicely stalked Esh for several tours, then made his move in turn two with four laps remaining. Esh got a bid wide in the corner, opening the bottom for Dicely, who took full advantage of the opportunity.
Dicely went on to win by slightly more than one second over Heath Hehnly, who managed to race past Esh in lapped traffic on the final lap. Hehnly was driving a brand new Hyper that was finished up by his car owner, Sonny Cooke, around 10 p.m. on Friday night.
Esh wound up third for his best finish in his first year of 600cc competition, while Halligan and Eric Bodine completed the top five.
It was also a good points night for Dicely, as he entered the evening trailing Mike Rutherford in the standings by a mere ten points. His victory, combined with Rutherford's 19th place finish, enabled Dicely to take the point lead by 54 tallies.
Tom Kohler, Danny Wykes, Dicely, and Halligan won heat races for the 35-car field of 600cc racers. Brent Ely and Tyler Esh won the two consolations.
Richie Hartman, a three-time 270cc Lanco point champion, recorded his first win of the season in that division on Saturday. His victory, combined with Mike Rutherford's early departure (after hitting the outside guardrail on the backstretch), produced updated point standings that have the two of them tied for the number one position in the 2012 championship chase.
"I'm real happy to give (former driver) Jared Davis his first win as a car owner," said Hartman afterward. "We tried a bunch of different things this week, and we borrowed a lot of parts tonight. Thanks to the Swavely's for giving us a shock tonight; that's just one of the parts we borrowed."
Brad Kemp and Jason Swavely battled for the lead in the early going, with Kemp in front by about 12" on lap one before Swavely pulled even in turns one and two, then squeezed up in front of Kemp as they hit the backchute for the second time.
Swavely set the pace until his mount broke on the sixth circuit. Hartman, who started eighth, was dueling with Jesse Maurer for the runner-up slot when Swavely made the sudden turn toward the infield. Maurer was momentarily pinned behind Swavely, allowing Hartman to flash by him and into the lead.
Hartman went on to win by three-quarters of a second over Maurer, with Billy Logeman finishing third. Chip Geib (who started 19th) and Brian Marriott finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Rutherford's 21st place finish not only resulted in his being tied with Hartman for the point lead, but it also tightened the standings among the entire top five positions. Maurer is now eight points behind the leaders, while Logeman is just 13 markers in arrears. Heath Hehnly is fifth, just 33 points behind the co-leaders.
Rutherford, Swavely, and Hartman were victorious in the heat races for the 27-car field. The consolation winner was Chip Geib.
Approximately 30 minutes before his 270cc triumph, Hartman captured his fourth consecutive main event for the 125cc Micro-Sprints.
Dave Grube, the feature winner on opening night, passed Nick Sweigart on the fourth trip around the clay oval to take the top spot. Grube maintained the point while Shane Braxton (started eleventh) and Hartman (started twelfth) maneuvered into the top five during the first eight laps.
Jesse Maurer was running second to Grube until his Gorski Racing teammate, Hartman, passed him at the halfway mark after a very entertaining, multi-lap battle for the runner-up position.
A yellow flag with seven to go provided the opportunity for which Hartman was waiting. On the restart, he ducked under Grube, then made the race winning pass on Grube's No. 3D.
Ken Miller, who spun on the original start, rebounded from the rear of the pack to run third in the waning laps. Miller tried the low side off turn four as he and Grube headed for the checkered, but Grube nosed in front to claim second place money as the duo crossed the stripe.
Maurer and Braxton rounded out the top five.
Twenty-one of the 125cc racers signed in for competition on Saturday, with heats going to Braxton and Darren Miller.
Sheena Logeman, Lititz, put at least a temporary halt to the domination by the Miller Racing team in the Sportsman Class, driving to a convincing victory in the 25-lapper for the 250cc Air-cooled Micros. It was the first time this season that one of the four cars from Curt Miller's stable did not win the Sportsman feature.
After Wesley Fasnacht wrestled the top spot from Matt Abers on lap five, Logeman dashed past Fasnacht on the eighth revolution to take command.
Current point leader Bret Habecker moved into second on a lap ten restart, while Jason Swavely - one of his Miller Racing teammates - sliced and diced his way from 18th on the starting grid to run fourth when that yellow flag appeared with nine laps scored. Swavely raced into third at the same time that Habecker secured second, as both drivers passed Fasnacht when the green reappeared on lap ten.
Sheena Logeman drove away from Habecker and Swavely on a couple of subsequent restarts, going on to win by almost one full second over Habecker.
Swavely, the defending point champion in the Sportsman Class, finished third with Ken Miller placing fourth. Miller was involved in a huge, multi-car pile up on the front stretch at the halfway point of the race. Five laps later he was back inside the top five, eventually settling for fourth at the finish.
Fasnacht ended up fifth when the checkered flag waved.
Habecker and Curtis R. Miller won the two heat races for the 18 Sportsman cars.
Chip Geib won for the fifth time in the feature for the 270cc Four-Stroke Micros. Geib is undefeated in point-paying races so far this season; his car finished third (with Ryan Shupp behind the wheel) in the non-point Memorial Day Open Show on May 26.
Geib was back at work on Saturday, steering his way by Kim Enck for second on the seventh tour. Craig DeSantis, who was battling the flu, was leading at that point, and Geib needed five laps to run down the veteran from Lititz and pass him for the lead.
DeSantis slid up the turn two banking on the twelfth circuit, opening the door for Geib to dart in front and take the top spot as they accelerated onto the backstretch.
DeSantis, who later admitted he was simply wearing out due to not feeling well, held on for second in the race that took just 7 minutes, 54 seconds to complete.
Ryan Morris passed Enck for third with three laps to go. Eddie Nocera finished fifth.
Two heats were run for the 14 cars that made up the Four-Stroke field on Saturday, with Geib and Morris notching the victories.
The Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action this Saturday, June 16, with another five division card of action featuring qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap main events for the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 270cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints.
Hoosier Tire Mid-Atlantic will sponsor this week's racing program. Gates open at 3:30 with warm-ups slated to begin at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Entry forms for Micromania and the Clash at the Clyde, coming up on June 30 & July 1, are available on the speedway's website at www.lancomicrosprint.com. Two full programs of qualifying (with feature races on both nights) for both the 600cc and 270cc divisions taking part, and the lure of Sunday's Micromania A-Main for the 600's paying $10,000 to the winner make this colossal weekend a "must participate/ must see" event for race teams and fans.
For all the details about the Micromania/ Clash at the Clyde event and weekend (including camping information), log on to the track's website.
600cc Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Dicely, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Travis Esh, 4.Jeff Halligan, 5.Eric Bodine, 6.Shaun Brandel, 7.Tom Kohler, 8.James Morris, 9.Ryan Smith, 10.Shane Lewis, 11.Jeff Stelter, 12.Chris Gerhart, 13.Peter Michael, 14.Kevin Steele, 15.Jimmy Brookens, 16.Brittany Brown, 17.Mike Coen, 18.Rick Perone, 19.Mike Rutherford, 20.Danny Wykes, 21.Kyle Lick, 22.Brent Ely, 23.Tyler Esh, 24.Kory Merkey.
270cc Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Billy Logeman, 4.Chip Geib, 5.Brian Marriott, 6.Christi Sweigart, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Justin Harrington, 9.Tyler Reinhardt, 10.Charles Hellinger, 11.Toby Blumenshine, 12.Rebecca LaMothe, 13.Ryan Morris, 14.Nate Weidman, 15.Josh Stump, 16.Dave Grube 17.Dan Lane Jr., 18.Kevin Kopp, 19.Brad Kemp, 20.Jason Swavely, 21.Mike Rutherford, 22.Ryan Smith, 23.Kelby Stauffer.
125cc Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Dave Grube, 3.Ken Miller, 4.Jesse Maurer, 5.Shane Braxton, 6.Felisha Kirlin, 7.Darren Miller, 8.Chris Gerhart, 9.Nate Weidman, 10.Derek Ecenrode, 11.Daniel Braun Jr., 12.Nick Sweigart, 13.Dylan Adams, 14.Jake Smith, 15.Brent Shearer, 16.Zack Hollinger, 17.Walt Wampole, 18.Bradley Brown, 19.Kory Merkey, 20.James Wampole, 21.Kyle Hehnly.
Sportsman Feature, 25 laps: 1.Sheena Logeman, 2.Bret Habecker, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Ken Miller, 5.Wesley Fasnacht, 6.Robert Shanaman, 7.Jeff Hughes, 8.Matt Abers, 9.Corey Schmuck Jr., 10.Tim Ziegler, 11.Jenna Heagy, 12.Derek Eckman, 13.Kerry Lengle, 14.Curtis R. Miller, 15.Dave Kemp, 16.Mike Heiser, 17.Dave Schroeder. DNS: Dennis Fenstermacher.
270cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Craig DeSantis, 3.Ryan Morris, 4.Kim Enck, 5.Eddie Nocera, 6.Donna Geib, 7.Kory Shissler, 8.Kenny Miller III, 9.Steve Smith Sr., 10.Greg Schmuck, 11.Earl Eveland, 12.Sheila Fetter, 13.Lewis Kepple Jr., 14.Ronald Good.