Newmanstown, PA - It's a five hour drive from Shane Lewis' new residence in Connecticut to Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, but it turned out to be a profitable trip as the 600cc Micro-Sprint pilot pulled off a scintillating victory on Saturday night.
In one of the speedway's biggest events of the season, the annual Clyde Martin Memorial Race that is highlighted by 35-lap features for all five weekly divisions, Lewis needed every one of those extra laps in order to clinch the win over Ryan Morris.
Presented by Gold Rush Trailer Sales, the Clyde Martin Memorial event has proven to be a difficult race to win for many drivers over the years. On Saturday, though, Jason Swavely notched not one, but a pair of triumphs in the double-point, extra-money program that rewards those drivers who are dedicated to the club and speedway, week in and week out.
Swavely captured the checkered flag and received the big trophy after the 270cc and Sportsman feature races. Joining Lewis and Swavely in the winner's circle were Richie Hartman (125cc) and Ryan Morris (250cc Four-Stroke).
With double-points being awarded in the Memorial mains, the Mark Millwright & Rigging championship standings saw some big gains and losses in most of the Clyde's weekly divisions.
The 600cc race came down to an incredibly exciting duel between Lewis, who grew up in Honeybrook, Pa., and Ryan Morris, who currently resides there.
Morris started on the pole and immediately built a commanding lead over Brittany Brown and Shaun Brandel. All eyes were on Lewis, however, as his RAMM Trailer/ Lewis Automotive No. 55L blasted around the top side of the speedway, climbing from his 11th starting position to run third by lap 15.
The next nine circuits had Lewis continuously diving to the inside of Brown as he attempted to steal the runner-up spot from the one-time winner. He finally succeeded as lap 24 was scored, but it appeared that Morris had checked out by that time and Lewis would be settling for second unless another caution period aided his cause
But the Penn State graduate proved he didn't need the help of a yellow flag, eating up the distance between himself and Morris within a few laps. The duo then engaged in a battle royale for the top spot, with Lewis throwing slide jobs on Morris on turns three and four and Morris simply crossing over and reclaiming the lead as the pair charged down the homestretch. This scenario played out lap after amazing lap until Lewis seemingly seized control with less than five tours remaining.
Morris wasn't finished yet, however, as he stayed close to the leader. When Lewis twitched a bit getting into turn one on the final revolution, Morris ducked under him to reclaim the point. But there was still three-quarters of a lap to be completed...
Racing into turn three for the final time, Morris ran up on a group of lapped cars and chose the low groove. That proved to be a mistake, as Lewis drove around an open lane on the high side, powering back in front as they exited the fourth turn. He flashed across the stripe less than two-tenths of a second in front of Morris.
Brown ran a solid, steady race to finish third, as did Brandel, who place fourth. Heath Hehnly rounded out the top five.
With 21 cars on hand for the Memorial, the two heat race winners were Mark Yoder and Hehnly.
A strong running Toby Blumenshine set the pace during the first half of the 35-lapper for the 270cc Micro-Sprints. Some intense jostling for position behind Blumenshine had Jason Swavely emerge from his 12th starting spot to run second on the 19th trip around the banked oval.
On a restart with 15 to go, Swavely, from Douglassville Pa., gassed the former Mike Rice No. 14 to the inside of Blumenshine's machine. Swavely pulled ahead to secured the lead, then zipped away from the field.
Billy Logeman sliced his way into the top three by passing Christi Sweigart, then ran down and snatched second from Blumenshine as the 35-lapper entered its final stages. Swavely was long gone by that point, though, and Logeman would have to be satisfied with second place money.
At the finish, it was Swavely (his fourth win of the season and third in the past four events), Logeman, Blumenshine, Dan Lane Jr., and Brian Sholley making up the top five. It was a huge points night for Logeman, as Mark Millwright & Rigging 270cc Championship leader Mike Rutherford and second-place Heath Hehnly both encountered mechanical problems during the feature and dropped out. Logeman, third in points, cut a big chunk off his deficit and turned this point chase into a three-driver affair with his runner-up finish.
Ken Miller earned the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature Award, recording a quick trip around the clay in 10.944 seconds.
A field of 25 entered the 270cc portion of the Memorial Race, with heat race victories going to Rutherford, Swavely, and Lane. Corey Schmuck Jr. was declared the winner of the consolation as only six cars (with six to qualify) were able to roll off the starting grid. The race was checkered immediately since everyone on the track would transfer to the main event.
Swavely continued his big night in the Sportsman feature, but his second triumph of the evening did not come easily.
Taking the initial green from the inside of row six, Swavely steadily navigated his way through traffic, snaring the runner-up position from Kerry Lengle with about one-third of the race complete.
His Miller Racing teammate, Curtis R. Miller, was out front and Swavely began his pursuit of the teenaged throttle-masher from Mertztown, Pa.
Their battle for the lead was a good one, as Miller took away the outside line used by Swavely to thread his way into second. Swavely repeatedly attacked Miller from the bottom, but Miller's momentum was enough to keep his teammate behind him. With the laps winding down, Miller got a little bit too high at the exit of turn four, opening the door for Swavely to storm through and grab the lead.
Swavely dashed to his sixth Sportsman victory of the season, with Miller a disappointed runner-up. Matt Abers finished a well deserved third, with rookie Jas Hehnly cashing in for his best finish of the year in fourth. Wesley Fasnacht raced home in fifth.
The Mark Millwright & Rigging Sportsman point standings tightened up, as championship leader Bret Habecker retired early with a broken front end. Swavely's win, along with Sheena Logeman's seventh-place effort, pulled them closer to Habecker with four point races remaining on the schedule.
Swavely and S. Logeman won heat races for the 16 Sportsman cars who entered Saturday's event.
Twelfth-starting Richie Hartman, the defending 125cc track champion and current point leader, passed Chip Geib to take command of the 35-lap Memorial Race for the 125cc division. Hartman, from Reading, went on to record a 1.5-second victory, his third of the season, in Gary Gorski's Cocalico Plumbing & Heating No. 29.
Derek Ecenrode slipped by Geib late in the race to finish second, with Geib - racing a Four-Stroke against the 125cc powerplants - earning third place money.
Brent Shearer rebounded from a mid-race tangle with Kyle Hehnly to finish fourth and Dylan Adams registered a fifth-place finish.
Hartman and Geib claimed the two heat wins for the field of 17 of the 125cc racers.
The entire season of 250cc Four-Stroke competition has come down to a duel between two drivers: Ryan Morris and Chip Geib. They are the only chauffeurs to win features in this division, with Morris earning his seventh triumph in the Clyde Martin Memorial Race on Saturday. Geib has six wins so far in 2013.
The duo are also, naturally, first and second in the Mark Millwright & Rigging Four-Stroke point standings, with Morris leading the way but Geib keeping things close in the chase for the title.
In Saturday's 35-lap feature, Morris got to the front before Geib, but his path to victory was not a simple one. The Honeybrook ace had to contend with a game Lewis Kepple, who led the first 14 tours before Morris was able to wrestle the top spot from him.
Geib was dealing with impressive rookie Devin Adams, trading third position with Adams' No. 99 on several occasions until he was able to claim it for good. Geib then disposed of Kepple and began his chase of the high flying Morris. The first caution period did not occur until there were just nine laps left to run, and it wiped out a huge advantage enjoyed by Morris.
As the leaders caught the back of the field near the end of the race, Geib was able to close in on the No. 93 of Morris. While he was certainly within striking distance, Geib could not offer a serious challenge to the race leader, and Morris was once again the first to cross the finish line.
Adams trailed in third, with Kenny Miller III and Donna Geib completing the top five.
In addition to his victory, Morris was also the recipient of the Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature, turning a lap at 11.691 seconds to earn the honor.
With 11 of the Four-Strokes in the pit area on Saturday, Scott Renninger and Morris were victorious in heat race activity.
Each of the feature winners received a gift certificate as part of the K1 Race Gear Proven Performance Program presented by Nouse Signs & Graphics. The certificates can be used in the purchase of a new two or three-layer K1 Race Gear custom racing suit.
Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action this Saturday, August 17, on "Help Find Ken Mohler Night" at the speedway. Club President Kenny Mohler is sponsoring the racing program as a way of thanking all those who assisted in the search to find his father after Ken Mohler was abducted one year ago in North Carolina, and has been listed as a Missing Person since that fateful day last August.
Blue Ridge Cable Channel 11 will once again record the five main events this week, as the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints take part in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races.
After the jumbling that took place in the double-point Clyde Martin Memorial, the pressure is on in all five divisions with just four point-paying shows left on the schedule as drivers jostle for position in the Mark Millwright & Rigging Championship standings.
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Results from Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway:
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Shane Lewis, 2.Ryan Morris, 3.Brittany Brown, 4.Shaun Brandel, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Mike Rutherford, 7.Chris Gerhart, 8.Mark Yoder, 9.Ryan Hook, 10.Tyler Esh, 11.Jered Hook, 12.Jared Esh, 13.Christopher Tracy, 14.Brent Ely, 15.Will Urkuski, 16.Chris Panczner, 17.James Morris, 18.Travis Esh, 19.Taylor Troxel, 20.Rebecca LaMothe, 21.Mike Coen.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Billy Logeman, 3.Toby Blumenshine, 4.Dan Lane Jr., 5.Brian Sholley, 6.Kyle Spence, 7.Ken Miller, 8.Christi Sweigart, 9.Richie Hartman, 10.Mike Uhrich, 11.Zack Fouse, 12.Dave Grube, 13.Corey Schmuck Jr., 14.Kory Shissler, 15.Kevin Kopp, 16.Tony Echternacht, 17.Nate Weidman, 18.Mike Rutherford, 19.Barry Shearer, 20.Bradley Brown, 21.Heath Hehnly, 22.Nick Sweigart, 23.Shaun Brandel. DNS: Dylan Binkley.
DNQ: Mike Binkley.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Curtis R. Miller, 3.Matt Abers, 4.Jas Hehnly, 5.Wesley Fasnacht, 6.Kerry Lengle, 7.Sheena Logeman, 8.Anthony Yerger, 9.Dave Kemp, 10.Tim Ziegler, 11.Matt Peachey, 12.Jenna Heagy, 13.Bret Habecker, 14.Bobby Shanaman, 15.Ken Miller, 16.Charles Hellinger.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Derek Ecenrode, 3.Chip Geib, 4.Brent Shearer, 5.Dylan Adams, 6.Chase Gutshall, 7.Kyle Hehnly, 8.Matthew Donley, 9.Zack Hollinger, 10.Alexis Sheeley, 11.Nick Sweigart, 12.Kory Merkey, 13.Brie Weiler, 14.Walt Wampole, 15.Jimmy Wampole, 16.Dave Grube. DNS: Adam Minzer.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 35 laps: 1.Ryan Morris, 2.Chip Geib, 3.Devin Adams, 4.Kenny Miller III, 5.Donna Geib, 6.Lewis Kepple Jr., 7.Scott Renninger, 8.Ronald Good, 9.Kim Minzer, 10.Steve Smith Sr., 11.Eddie Nocera.