Newmanstown, PA - Elverson's Chris Panczner shook off a season's worth of bad luck on Saturday night, winning his first 600cc Micro-Sprint feature at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Joining Panczner as winners in the Mark Millwright & Rigging-sponsored weekly divisions were: Mike Rutherford (270cc); Richie Hartman (125cc); Donna Geib (250cc Four-Stroke); and Bret Habecker (Sportsman).
Saturday's entire racing program was sponsored by the Lanco's President, Kenny Mohler, as a way of saying, "thank you" to all of the club members who have supported him and his family over the past year. On August 17, 2012, Ken Mohler - Kenny's father - was abducted (from the truck that he drove for a living) in North Carolina. He is still listed as a Missing Person and the search continues as his family remains hopeful for a positive outcome. Kenny Mohler wanted to give back and simply offer a "thank you" to all of the Lanco members who went to North Carolina and assisted with the search in the days and weeks following the abduction, and to those who have contributed in other ways during the very difficult past year.
In the "Help Find Ken Mohler" 600cc main event, Panczner darted by early leader Mike Coen to grab the top spot. Panczner, who flipped while leading a race earlier in the season, made no such mistakes on Saturday. He checked out on the field while the action behind him was fast and furious.
Mark Millwright & Rigging point leader and three-time winner Tyler Esh cut a path toward the front of the pack, moving up to challenge Brittany Brown for the fourth position. He and Brown traded several slide jobs before Esh finally secured the spot. Heath Hehnly, who started seventh, was right behind Esh as they sliced their way forward.
After Esh secured third at the halfway point, he executed a slider on runner-up Mike Coen and began his pursuit of the high flying Panczner. Hehnly and Tyler's cousin, Jared Esh, soon took over the third and fourth positions, and a three-way tussle ensued for runner-up honors.
Hehnly trapped Tyler Esh behind a lapped car in turn one with six to go, using the opportunity to dash into second place. Although he closed in on Panczner, the driver of Sonny Cooke's No. 2 could not pull quite close enough to muster a serious bid for the lead.
Tyler Esh and cousin Jared waged an entertaining duel for third during the final revolutions; Jared went for the slider in three and four on the last lap, then watched as Tyler cranked his wheel to the left and raced back under him, beating Jared to the stripe for third spot by less than one-tenth of a second.
At the finish, Panczner flashed under the checkered flag by a half-second over Hehnly, with Tyler Esh nipping J. Esh for third place money. A strong, solid run for Coen saw him go home with fifth-place cash.
The 600cc jockeys were eligible for Saturday's Weld Racing Fast Lap of the Feature award, and it was Jared Esh who turned the quickest lap of the race in 10.894-seconds.
With 28 of the 600's signed in for competition on Saturday, heat race victories went to Brown, Rick Perone, and Panczner. Peter Michael won the consolation race.
Mike Rutherford of Lititz lost the 270cc point lead to Billy Logeman in the previous week's Clyde Martin Memorial Race. This week was a different story, though, as Rutherford utilized an outside, second-row starting spot to snatch the lead from Mike Binkley on the sixth trip around the ultra-fast oval. Once in front, Rutherford was firmly in control of the 25-lapper.
Bradley Brown and Dave Grube engaged in a position-swapping battle for second until Grube claimed it for good with four circuits left to run. A couple of late yellows did not alter the outcome, as Rutherford was just too strong and notched his second, 270cc triumph of the season. His victory, combined with Logeman's seventh-place effort, unofficially vaulted Rutherford back into the Mark Millwright & Rigging point lead by a slim margin with just three point-paying events remaining on the 2013 schedule.
Grube, Brown, Delaware's Kyle Spence, and Brian Sholley made up the top five when the race ended.
Nice field of 30 cars entered the 270cc portion of Saturday's program. Richie Hartman, Grube, and Rutherford captured heat race wins with Zack Fouse taking the consolation victory.
Grube, from Denver, Pa. had endured a spate of recent tough luck in the 125cc division. The run of bad luck had one silver lining, though...it put him on the pole for Saturday's 25-lap feature. Grube was primed to blow away the black cloud that hovered over him in recent weeks, but Richie Hartman had other plans...
Grube jumped out to the early lead, cruising out front while point leader and defending champion Hartman (from 11th) and his teammate, Jesse Maurer (started 12th) navigated their way through the pack. When they arrived in the second and third positions - with just five laps scored - it was time for a terrific three-car tango for the top spot.
Hartman, the Reading resident, attempted to dive under Grube on several occasions, with Grube holding him off and Maurer glued to Hartman's left-rear corner. Three or four times, on the homestretch, Hartman had to thread the needle, darting between his Gorski Racing stablemate and Grube in another assault on the race leader. Finally, with five to go, Hartman's Cocalico Plumbing & Heating No. 29 pulled even with Grube as they drag raced down the backchute. Hartman shoved his car in front of Grube in turns three and four, taking the lead and then running away to his second consecutive 125cc triumph (and fourth of the season).
Grube and Maurer went wheel to wheel for second over the final tours, with Maurer prevailing for runner-up laurels and Grube settling for third. Nick Sweigart and Brent Shearer finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
Chase Gutshall and Hartman won the two heat races for the 17-car field of 125cc racers.
Manheim's Donna Geib ended an incredible streak with her victory in the 25-lap feature for the 250cc Four-Stroke Micros. The season's first 13 events were claimed by just two drivers - Ryan Morris (seven wins) and Chip Geib (six wins).
Until Saturday, that is, when Donna Geib (no relation to Chip) passed Eddie Nocera after a restart with five to go to take command. Donna would go on to record the popular victory, while the two drivers responsible for "the Streak" struggled through problem after problem throughout the night.
Morris, the point leader, suffered terminal mechanical ills during his heat race. He obtained a ride in Ken Miller's No. 23 for the feature, but retired after completing just three laps. Morris was credited with an 11th-place finish.
Chip Geib's No. 15 was not quite up to par in his heat race, either, but he managed to finish third and went into the feature with a 31-point deficit to Morris.
Chip, who later admitted he "probably tightened the car up a bit too much" for the main event, was dueling with Dave Gravel for third when both cars spun in turn two. The incident brought out the first yellow flag of the race with nine circuits remaining. C. Geib then rebounded from the spin to finish third behind D. Geib and Nocera. Unofficially, even with the difficult night, C. Geib moved past Morris and into the top spot in the championship standings (by just five points).
The Four-Stroke feature lasted just eight minutes, 54 seconds, with Donna Geib smiling for the cameras in victory lane when it was all over. Nocera, C. Geib, impressive rookie Devin Adams, and Ravel completed the top five.
Heats for the 13 Four-Strokes went to D. Geib and Ravel.
After a quick caution on the initial start, the Sportsman feature went 25 non-stop, clean and green laps with Bret Habecker winning his fifth race of the year in 4:58.328.
Habecker, of Leesport, started fifth and grabbed the lead from Kerry Lengle on the third trip around the smooth banked oval. Curtis R. Miller rumbled from his 11th starting spot to second before ten laps had been scored, then gamely tried to run down the leader.
Habecker, a former track champion in the Sportsman Class, was too good on this night, however, and remained comfortably ahead of Mertztown's Miller. Jason Swavely, who took over the Mark Millwright & Rigging point lead with his victory in the previous week's Clyde Martin Memorial Race, started 12th and steadily weaved his way into third. Swavely and Miller diced for the runner-up position throughout the second half of the 25-lapper, with Swavely zipping past Miller on the backstretch of the final lap to earn the second-place pay envelope.
Miller finished third ahead of Lengle and strong running rookie Anthony Yerger.
There were 16 Sportsman Micro-Sprints in action on Saturday. The two heat races victories went to Habecker and Swavely.
This Saturday, August 24, will be a very special night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. On this date in 1963 - 50 years ago - the first race was held at the club's current location in Newmanstown, Pa. So this week will be highlighted by an anniversary celebration, as the 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints take part in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races.
Also making this week's event special is the fact that the entire night will be run in memory of Willie DeSantis, a longtime car builder and owner as well as dedicated member of the Lanco Club who passed away earlier this season.
Lanco officials remind everyone that the time schedule will shift back to normal this week, with gates opening at 3:30 and warm-ups beginning at 5 p.m. The first heat race will go green at 6:00. The track had been operating on a one-hour delay for the past several events, due to the summer heat. But this Saturday, August 24, the Cyde shifts back to its regular time slot.
Coming up on August 31st and September 1st is the Mark Millwright & Rigging/ Esh Racing Products Labor Day Shootout, the two-day extravaganza of Micro-Sprint mayhem that will offer $1,000 paydays to the winners of three classes (winged and wingless 600cc, and 270cc) provided there are at least 45 raceday entries per class.
There is no pre-registration for this year's Shootout; just show up on your respective raceday, pay a $60 entry fee and $30 for a pit pass, and go racing!
The winged 600's, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micros will compete on Saturday, August 31st. On Sunday, September 1st, the wingless 600's will be on the menu, along with the 270cc and 125cc divisions. Each class will take part in a dual heat race/ passing points qualifying format during the Labor Day Shootout. Both nights will conclude with 30-lap main events for the divisions on that date's agenda.
Both Saturday and Sunday of the Labor Day Shootout will adhere to the normal weekly starting time. Monday, September 2nd, will be used as a rain date.
The Labor Day Shootout, presented by Mark Millwright & Rigging/ Esh Racing Products, will be run in memory of Stoney Galebach. Galebach served as club president for several years and was a winner of more than 200 Micro-Midget/ Micro-Sprint features during his illustrious career. He passed away last winter.
Results from Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway:
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chris Panczner, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Tyler Esh, 4.Jared Esh, 5.Mike Coen, 6.Brittany Brown, 7.Mike Rutherford, 8.Jack Conover, 9.Jered Hook, 10.Brent Ely, 11.Taylor Troxel, 12.Shaun Brandel, 13.Rick Perone, 14.Chris Gerhart, 15.Ryan Hook, 16.Peter Michael, 17.Nate Prazenica, 18.Will Urkuski, 19.Rebecca LaMothe, 20.Ryan Morris, 21.Timothy Iulg, 22.Travis Esh, 23.Mark Yoder, 24.Christopher Tracy.
DNQ: Kelby Stauffer, Dave Beiler, Steve Kemery, Ernie Miles.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Dave Grube, 3.Bradley Brown, 4.Kyle Spence, 5.Brian Sholley, 6.Ken Miller, 7.Billy Logeman, 8.Heath Hehnly, 9.Richie Hartman, 10.Mike Uhrich, 11.Mike Binkley, 12.Christi Sweigart, 13.Barry Shearer, 14.Darren Miller, 15.Zack Fouse, 16.Nick Sweigart, 17.Gregg Walter, 18.Keith Holiday, 19.Toby Blumenshine, 20.Damon Bomgardner, 21.Shaun Brandel, 22.Jesse Maurer, 23.Jason Swavely, 24.Dan Lane Jr.
DNQ: Nate Weidman, Matt Carr, Dylan Binkley, Ricky Sechrist Jr., Corey Schmuck Jr., Kevin Kopp.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Jesse Maurer, 3.Dave Grube, 4.Nick Sweigart, 5.Brent Shearer, 6.Derek Ecenrode, 7.Kyle Hehnly, 8.Dylan Adams, 9.Chase Gutshall, 10.Matthew Donley, 11.Alexis Sheely, 12.Zack Hollinger, 13.Walt Wampole, 14.Kory Merkey, 15.Brie Weiler, 16.Chip Geib, 17.James Wampole.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Donna Geib, 2.Eddie Nocera, 3.Chip Geib, 4.Devin Adams, 5.Dave Ravel, 6.Scott Renninger, 7.Lewis Kepple Jr., 8.Jessica Mohler, 9.Ronald Good, 10.Steve Smith Sr., 11.Ryan Morris. DNS: Kim Minzer.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Bret Habecker, 2.Jason Swavely, 3.Curtis R. Miller, 4.Kerry Lengle, 5.Anthony Yerger, 6.Ken Miller, 7.Jas Hehnly, 8.Sheena Logeman, 9.Wesley Fasnacht, 10.Dave Kemp, 11.Matt Abers, 12.Bobby Shanaman, 13.Tim Ziegler, 14.Jenna Heagy, 15.Charles Hellinger.