Newmanstown, PA (August 28) - Big races, with lots of invaders looking to ride in, whip the host track’s regulars, then ride off into the sunset with gobs of cash in their pockets, require a different type of qualifying procedure in order to be as fair as possible to all the competitors.
At this weekend’s Labor Day Shootout, the annual two-day frenzy of fun and insanely competitive racing action, a Chili Bowl-style format will be utilized. It’s the same format recently incorporated into Hyper Racing 600 Speedweek, where it was very successful and appreciated by the race teams involved.
The format boils down to this: any of the Micro Sprint classes at the Shootout that have 25 or more entries will run heat races (draw for starting spots) that award passing and finishing points to the drivers. After the heats, drivers will be sorted based on total points and placed into Qualifier Races, where they will again receive passing and finishing points. If there are more than 40 cars entered in a class, then point positions a 41 and lower will go directly to B-Mains. After the Qualifier Races, the top 20 drivers in combined points (heats and Qualifiers) will transfer to the A-Main and everyone else will have to run a B-Main. The A-Main starting positions will be heads up from the combined qualifying points.
The format for classes with 24 or fewer entries: drivers will draw for their starting spots in the heat races. There will be a redraw for half the field (based on heat race finish) to determine starting positions in the A-Main.
On Sunday, the All Star Slingshots will utilize their familiar dual-heat process that is used for mostly all of their National Tour events, plus a B-Main for anyone who does not transfer to the A through the dual heats. Heat race lineups from Round One will simply be inverted for Round Two.
All of this information, as well as additional details about each day’s events, is available at www.clydemartinspeedway.com and on the Lanco club’s Facebook page (Facebook.com/Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway).
Looking back at the past 21 years of Labor Day Shootout winners (back to 1997), it’s easy to notice that several drivers have excelled during these holiday classics at the Clyde. From 1997 through 2006, Birdsboro’s Mike Miller - and a few of his family members - pretty much ruled the Shootout. In ‘97, Miller had the crowd cheering him on as he won four of the five A-Mains during the Shootout. The only feature that eluded him that night was the 600cc main, a race he did not enter. But Miller swept the 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and Four-Stroke races in an incredible performance. He would come back and win the 600cc feature at the 1998 Shootout.
Miller captured ten Shootout A-Mains from 1997 through 2002, including a single 270cc triumph, one 600cc victory, a pair of Four-Stroke wins, four victories in the Sportsman class (including three in a row), and two checkered flags in the 125cc division. And turning 60 has not slowed down the veteran racer; he won this year’s Viper Chassis 270 main at the Clyde Martin Memorial Race just over one month ago.
More recently, it’s been Mike Rutherford who always seems to step up his game when it’s time for the Labor Day Shootout. The Lititz, PA wheel-twister has seven wins in the winged 600 Shootout mains, including four straight from ‘05 through 2008. He’s also piled up four 270cc triumphs, two 125cc wins, three Sportsman class victories, two Four-Stroke wins, and a pair of 125cc wins from 2000 through last season’s Lanco Labor Day extravaganza. Back in 2007, Rutherford nearly swept the Shootout, winning four of five A-Mains. Only Jesse Maurer, in the 125cc feature, blemished an otherwise perfect weekend for Rutherford.
The annual Labor Day Shootout takes place on Saturday, September 1st and Sunday, September 2nd. The Shootout does utilize a rain date of Monday, September 3rd, if needed.
Gates will open at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, with pill draw ending and a driver's meeting beginning at 3:30. Warm-ups commence at 3:45 and the first heat race goes green at 4:30 on both days of the Shootout.
Saturday's "wing thing", featuring the five weekly divisions, is sponsored by Bud's Spring Service. The winged 600’s, 270’s, Sportsman, 250cc Four-Strokes, and 125cc racers will compete in qualifying events and 30-lap features.
On Sunday, Hyper Racing will sponsor the wingless 600's, wingless 270's, and combined 125cc/ 4-Stroke Challenge that will also be a wingless affair. The All Star Slingshots will also be in action on Sunday in the Slide at the Clyde National Tour event. All four of Sunday’s A-Mains will also be 30-laps in distance.
Both nights of the Shootout will offer a $1,000 paycheck to the winner of the 600cc and 270cc A-Mains, provided there are (at least) 40 cars signed in for competition. Full details, including payout information for each class, regarding the Labor Day Shootout can be found at www.clydemartinspeedway.com or at Facebook.com/Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Last year’s Shootout hosted a two-day total of 228 entries among the eight classes that took part in the annual extravaganza. The winners in Saturday’s winged portion of the holiday classic included Mike Rutherford (600cc and 270cc), Cameron Bellinger (Sportsman), Aidan Jones (250cc Four-Strokes), and Holden Eckman (125cc). Sunday’s portion turned into a Monday holiday delight, thanks to Mother Nature. Wingless winners were Heath Hehnly (600cc) and Danny Lane Jr. (270cc), while Nick Del Campo won the Slingshot race.
Ticket prices for each day of the Shootout are as follows: Adult General Admission is $10; Senior Citizens & Students are $6.00; Youth (ages 6-12) tickets are just $2.00; and children under the age of 6 are free. Pit passes will cost $30 per person, per day.
There are a limited number of camping sites available for the weekend. The camping fee is $25 for the weekend. Reservations must be made in order to camp at the track. Campers will be permitted to move in after 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 30. To reserve a camping spot, please contact Chris Snyder at: email@example.com.
Tomorrow’s preview will include a look at some others who have been very successful at the Shootout, the onset of wingless competition at the Shootout, and past Slingshot winners at the holiday event.