Greth, of New Cumberland, Pa., suffered through a nasty flip in his first heat race in Saturday's Prelude to the Mania at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. The incident sidelined his Wayne Lesher owned, Hyper Racing/ NPS Racing Engines No. 1J for the remainder of Saturday night's program.
He and his team came back with a vengance on Sunday, winning both of his heat races, recording the quickest lap in the time trials that set the line-up for the Dash, winning the Dash, and then capping it off with a $10,000 victory in the 50-lap Micromania A-Main for the 600cc Micro-Sprints.
After the horrific start to the weekend, Greth authored an almost perfect conclusion on Sunday. His run to the big paycheck was not without concern, however...
"We actually made the car worse during the break," admitted Greth as he referred to the adjustments permitted during a mid-race mandatory stoppage as specified in the Micromania rules.
"The crew advised against it, but I made the call for a certain adjustment. And it almost worked against us. But I was able to make some additional adjustments inside the car during the cautions, and they helped to counteract the one we made at the break."
Winning the Dash put Greth on the pole for the Micromania A-Main. A jam-up on the initial start brought out the yellow flag and knocked Jimmy Brookens out of the race with front end damage. As a result of his misfortune, Brookens received the 600Scene.com Hard Luck Award.
After the mix-up on the original start, the yellow would fly only three more times during the 50-lap affair, and one of those caution periods was for the "halftime break", when 25 laps had been completed.
Greth jumped from the pole to lead the opening circuits over Mike Rutherford and last year's Micromania winner, Shane Lewis. The first half of the race was highlighted by an entertaining battle for the fourth position, as Brian Carber, Oklahoma's Scott Sawyer, and Mike Dicely ran three-wide at times and swapped positions for several trips around the banked oval. Carber eventually claimed the fourth spot, but would later fall out with mechanical issues.
Laps seven through 25 went clean and green, with the leaders negotiating their way in and out of heavy lapped traffic. The mandatory caution at halfway had Greth in front, with Rutherford, Lewis, Tyler Walton, and Dicely making up the top five.
Rutherford kept the second half of the race interesting, sticking his nose under Greth at both ends of the speedway on several occasions as Greth regretted the adjustment he'd insisted on at the break. The momentum he generated by running the high groove, though, allowed him to pull back in front of Rutherford each time they exited turns two and four.
The final anxious moment for Greth occurred with eleven laps remaining; he ran up on Mark Yoder and Tom Kohler, who were battling for position and racing side by side. Greth saw just enough daylight between the two cars as they blasted into the first corner, and he threaded the needle, splitting the two of them as the trio accelerated onto the backstretch.
One more restart with seven to go did not help Rutherford's effort. "I knew my only shot was to stay green and try to get him in lapped traffic. The last yellow ruined any chance I had, but Ryan ran a great race and deserved to win," noted Rutherford afterward.
Greth flew under the checkered flag, beating Rutherford to the stripe by 0.700-seconds. Walton, who became a father for the first time just a few days earlier, placed third for his best-ever finish at the Clyde.
Dicely and Lewis completed the top five, with Missouri's Joe B. Miller climbing from 13th to sixth.
Tim Buckwalter earned the Shred Racing Photos Hard Charger Award, finishing eleventh after starting 20th.
Rutherford, of Lititz, Pa., picked up a $1,000 victory in the 270cc Clash at the Clyde, a 30-lap feature highlighted by his side-by-side duel for the lead with young charger Kyle Spence.
Spence, from Bear, Delaware, won the 270cc Dash that gave him the pole for the main event. Rutherford moved into the runner-up spot on the opening lap, then stalked Spence but wasn't able to get close enough to attack the leader until a caution with seven laps complete put him on the leader's rear bumper for the restart.
From laps eight through twelve, Spence and Rutherford went side by side, with Spence on the top and Rutherford in his customary low groove. They were dead even down the straights, as neither one seemed able to gain an advantage.
Unfortunately for Spence, that scenario changed with twelve laps scored. He got a little bit loose in one and two, as the back end of his No. 25 kicked out and opened the door for Rutherford to take command.
Eighth-starting Jason Swavely and Ryan Smith, who began the race in 19th, were threading their way toward the front as Rutherford established himself as the race leader. Swavely and Smith moved past Richie Hartman on lap 17, then wrestled for the third position among themselves.
Swavely and Spence engaged in a spirited tussle for the runner-up position after a restart with eleven tours left. Swavely claimed the spot on lap 22, and Smith snatched third from Spence with six to go. One last yellow flag, with two laps left to run, did not alter the outcome as Rutherford secured his fifth 270cc Clyde Martin triumph of the season, beating Swavely to the line by slightly more than three-quarters of a second.
Smith was the recipient of the Shred Racing Photos Hard Charger Award, advancing 16 positions to finish third. Spence hung on for fourth place money, and Brayden Winters finished fifth.
A long list of sponsors made the event possible, and those businesses making valuable contributions include: Hollinger's Sports & Turf; Kioti Tractors; Hyper Racing; RTS Chassis; Shred Racing Products; Spar Racing Engines; Dayton Parts of Harrisburg; NPS Racing Engines; LHS Racing Engines; Shred Racing Photos; 600 Pro Series; Bud's Spring Service; Susquehanna Valley Speed Shop; 600Scene.com; Weld Racing; Keizer Wheels; CSI Shocks; and Saldana Racing Products. In addition, Lanco Board member Rich Fox deserves a ton of credit for coordinating the sponsorship and driver-entry efforts and organizing, along with Lanco President Tim Bortz, the entire Micromania weekend.
*There were 62 entries in the 600cc Micromania field on Sunday. The cutoff was 60 cars (and a completed program on Saturday night) in order to pay $10,000 to win and $300 to take the green.
*This was Greth's second triumph worth $10,000, with the first one coming at Hill Valley Speedway in the Super 600 Showdown in 2006.
*In addition to Greth, three drivers who finished in the top five in Sunday's A-Main have won previous editions of the 600 Showdown/Micromania events: Rutherford (2009), Dicely (2007), and Lewis (2011). But Greth is the first to repeat as the event winner and the first to score a second, $10,000 triumph. The race did not pay $10k in the years when Rutherford and Lewis were victorious.
*The Saturday and Sunday races marked the start of this year's PA 600 Speedweek series. After the weekend's main events, Mike Dicely and Shane Lewis are tied for the lead in Speedweek points.
*Lanco officials decided to pay the 40-car purse to the 270cc Clash starters, even though only 33 drivers entered the second annual 270 Clash at the Clyde. Because of that decision, Rutherford earned $1,000 for the victory, while those drivers finishing at or near the back of the pack received $170 to take the green.
*The Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature awards went to: Ryan Greth, for turning a lap at 11.825 seconds in the 600cc main; and Bear, Delaware's Kyle Spence, who scorched the oval with a lap at 12.176 during the 270cc Clash at the Clyde.
600cc Feature, 50 laps: 1. 1J,Ryan Greth; 2. 7H,Mike Rutherford; 3. 14T,Tyler Walton; 4. 44,Mike Dicely; 5. 55L,Shane Lewis; 6. 51B,Joe B. Miller; 7. 29,Scott Sawyer; 8. 48jr.,Darryl Ruggles; 9. 026,Jeff Hartman; 10. 22,Ryan Smith; 11. 25s,Tim Buckwalter; 12. 95,James Radney; 13. 70,Brock Zearfoss; 14. 27,Pat Bealer; 15. 81,Tyler Walker; 16. 75x,James Morris; 17. 75,Mark Yoder; 18. 12,Joe Kay; 19. 5,Tom Kohler; 20. 29b,Bill Thomas; 21. 71,Brian Carber; 22. 01W,Danny Wykes; 23. 2,Heath Hehnly; 24. 5e,Robbie Kendall; 25. 5x,Tyson Hall; 26. 11,Jimmy Brookens.
270cc Feature, 30 laps: 1. 5k,Mike Rutherford; 2. 14,Jason Swavely; 3. 2R,Ryan Smith; 4. 25,Kyle Spence; 5. 2B,Brayden Winters; 6. 18,Brian Marriott; 7. 72,Jesse Maurer; 8. 3s,Billy Logeman; 9. 24h,Jeff Hartman; 10. 57,Brandon Edgar; 11. 4,Ross Perchak; 12. 75,Justin Harrington; 13. 88R,Tyler Reinhardt; 14. 82,Shaun Brandel; 15. 24,Zack Fouse; 16. 34,Christi Sweigart; 17. 22,Lee Reinhardt; 18. 9,Ed Kenderdine; 19. 39,Richie Hartman; 20. 28h,Charles Hellinger; 21. 96,Ryan Morris; 22. 19F,Luke Fogg; 23. 88,Dave Dornblaser; 24.19x,Randy Oswald.