Newmanstown, PA - Kutztown's Jarid Kunkle just finished up his sophomore year of college and Saturday night he celebrated by winning the 600cc feature at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Kunkle's first triumph of the season came on Fan Appreciation Night at the Clyde, presented by AJ Blosenski Trash Hauling & Recycling and Grace & Truth Fellowship Church in Morgantown, Pa. Fans were admitted for just $1.00 and donations of canned goods were collected for the Lebanon Rescue Mission.
The event was highlighted by six big main events. Along with Kunkle, drivers who made the trip to victory lane included Mike Rutherford (270cc); Dan Lane Jr. (Sportsman); Eddie Nocera (Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Strokes); and Justin Harrington was a double winner in the 125cc class. Harrington triumphed in the race postponed by rain on April 30, then came back and scored another win in the regularly scheduled main.
Kunkle needed a few attempts to wrestle the lead from Chris Oraschin in the 600cc feature. Oraschin chose the inside lane for a couple double-file restarts, but quickly moved up to take away Kunkle's preferred high groove, thereby maintaining the top spot. The fourth caution (and subsequent restart) proved to be the charm for Kunkle, though, as he stayed right beside Oraschin when the green reappeared. Heading down the front stretch and into turn one, Kunkle blasted ahead, then ran the cushion to bolt to a comfortable advantage.
"I wanted to run the middle because I could get a real good drive off the middle. I kind of pinned him down on the bottom that time and it worked," said Kunkle afterward.
Ninth-starting Heath Hehnly zipped into third with seven tours complete, then traded slide jobs with Oraschin before claiming the runner-up position. Hehnly, the four-time 600cc point champ, had a couple of chances to challenge Kunkle on late race restarts, but the Kutztown University student and his No. 75 were up to the task.
Kunkle took the checkered by just over a half-second with Hehnly settling for second. Bradley Brown ran in the top four for the entire distance and earned third place money, with Steve Whary and Jason Swavely completing the top five.
With 29 of the 600's in attendance on Saturday, heat race victories went to TJ Greve, Cameron Bellinger, and Whary. The consolation race was won by Austin Bishop.
The final main event of Fan Appreciation Night was contested by the 270cc Micros, and the final four laps were (arguably) the most exciting of the night.
Kenny Miller III prevailed in a two-lap, side by side tussle with Dan Lane Jr. to grab the early lead. A terrific four-car battle then took place for the runner-up slot, with Lane, Tyler Ulrich, Kyle Spence, and Mike Rutherford swapping positions and using every inch of the speedway as the race neared its halfway point.
On a restart with 11 to go, Rutherford sliced his way into second. Three caution periods, the last one coming with only four circuits remaining, set the stage for a fantastic finish. Miller and Rutherford began trading sliders at both ends of the speedway, with Rutherford repeatedly diving under Miller as they entered the corner, then sliding up in front of the leader. Miller was ready for each attack, however, crossing over before darting back under Rutherford's No. 5k and back into the top spot. On the final trip around the oval, Rutherford managed to keep a nose in front of Miller on the backstretch, then protected the bottom as Miller attempted to dive under him entering turn three.
Rutherford, from Lititz, narrowly captured his second win of the young season, beating Miller (who won the previous week's feature) to the stripe by 0.437-seconds. Ulrich held off Bradley Brown for third and Nick Skias wound up fifth.
The American Racer Gift Certificate, courtesy of Lias Tire/American Racer Tires, went to Rutherford and he also earned an extra bonus of $100 for his victory. The bonus cash came from the Race Chasing Facebook page, Shred Photos, and Gutshall Automotive.
Ulrich, Miller, and Brown won the 270cc qualifying heats, while Toby Blumenshine captured the consolation victory. There were 29 entries in the 270cc division on Saturday.
Elverson's Dan Lane Jr. recorded his second Sportsman Class victory of the year after a hard fought battle with the division's 2014 point champion, Curtis R. Miller. Lane's two wins have occurred in two different cars, both out of the Mike Rutherford stable.
As Miller set the pace from his pole starting spot, Lane drove the Rutherford-owned No. 6 from ninth on the starting grid to third by the 11th revolution. After he moved past Dave Ravel for second, Lane set his sights on the race leader. He stalked Miller for several laps, then made his move when Miller wiggled slightly off turn four on the 19th tour.
Lane motored to the outside of Miller, then got a huge run off turn two, rumbling down the inside lane on the back chute and into the lead. The final five circuits belonged to Lane, as he beat Miller to the checkered by more than 2 seconds.
Ravel ended up third and Tyler Ulrich drove Rutherford's No. 5k - the car in which Lane won his first feature on April 23rd - to a fourth place finish. Angelo Mercado threaded his way from 19th at the start to a fifth place effort.
The 30-car field was split into three heats, with victories collected by Nick Skias, Ulrich, and C. Miller. The consolation win went to Mercado.
Defending point champion Eddie Nocera notched his second win of the season in the Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke feature. Nocera, from Mohnton, grabbed the lead from Lewis Kepple with six laps scored. He went on to win by a large margin over Kassidy Michael, Jarrett Imler, Zak Vickers, and Kepple. Just a single caution slowed the pace of the 25-lapper, and that came after 21 tours were complete.
Kassidy Michael and Jim Harrington won the two heats for the 15-car field of Four-Strokes.
The first race of Fan Appreciation Night was a make-up feature for the 125cc Class. The 25-lapper was rained out on April 30, but Justin Harrington, from Lancaster, was ready when the green flag waved one week later.
Harrington ducked under early leader Tajae Adams on the eighth circuit, taking the top spot as they accelerated off turn two. From that point on, the win was decided, but some great racing ensued for the runner-up position.
Two-time winner William Manotti went from fourth to second on a restart with 11 to go, then waged a furious battle with Adams over the final ten tours to hang on for runner-up cash.
At the finish, it was Harrington, Manotti, Adams, Brianna Gerhart, and Corey Schmuck Jr. making up the top five.
In the regularly scheduled 125cc main, Harrington passed Brandon Gibble for the lead on the fourth trip around the clay. The first yellow flag flew with 14 laps in the books, and Manotti climbed to second on the restart.
While Manotti stayed within a few car lengths, there was no denying Harrington a second victory on Saturday. Austin Graby finished a strong third with Adams fourth and Corey Schmuck Jr. scoring another fifth-place finish.
With 17 of the 125cc racers signed in for competition, the two heat race triumphs went to Adams and Chase Gutshall.
Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway swings back into action this Saturday, May 14, with another action packed five division card of Micro-Sprint racing. The 600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, 125cc, and Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Strokes will compete in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features.
Gates open at 4 p.m. Warm-ups get underway at 5:30 and the first heat race goes green at 6:30.
Adult general admission tickets are just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Youth between the ages of six and 12 are admitted for $2.00 and children under the age of six are free. And parking is always free at the Clyde!
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jarid Kunkle, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Bradley Brown, 4.Steve Whary, 5.Jason Swavely, 6.Chris Gerhart, 7.Brent Ely, 8.Chris Oraschin, 9.Dan Souder, 10.Austin Bishop, 11.Rebecca LaMothe, 12.Ryan Hook, 13.Amber Oraschin, 14.Travis Scott, 15.Hunter James, 16.Kyle Spence, 17.Shaun Brandel, 18.Cameron Bellinger, 19.Kassidy Michael, 20.TJ Greve, 21.Will Urkuski, 22.Zach Light, 23.Ryan Groff, 24.Kenny Miller III.
DNQ: Jack Conover, Jenna Heagy, Kelby Stauffer, Jeff Boyer, Walt Wampole.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Kenny Miller III, 3.Tyler Ulrich, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Nick Skias, 6.Dan Lane Jr., 7.Mike Skias, 8.Richie Hartman, 9.Billy Logeman, 10.Nick Sweigart, 11.Logan Diehl, 12.Josh Stoyer, 13.Kyle Spence, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Dylan Adams, 16.Jarrett Imler, 17.Joe Dopke, 18.Ken Miller, 19.Kyle Weiss, 20.Toby Blumenshine, 21.Andrew Dietrich, 22.Collin Ginther, 23.Dustin Fox, 24.Nick Walton.
DNQ: Brian Sholley, William Mohring, Daryl Davis, Mike Uhrich, Alex Swift.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Dan Lane Jr., 2.Curtis R. Miller, 3.Dave Ravel, 4.Tyler Ulrich, 5.Angelo Mercado, 6.Ken Miller, 7.Sheena Schaefer, 8.Sami Schenck, 9.Ava Bellinger, 10.Toby Blumenshine, 11.Jamie Fetterolf, 12.Kane Rogers, 13.Austin Graby, 14.Dave Schroeder, 15.Ricky Sechrist, 16.Robert Shanaman, 17.Brian Kramer, 18.Alan Durham, 19.Ken Davis, 20.Anthony Yerger, 21.Patrick Kirn, 22.Kerry Lengle, 23.Darren Schott, 24.Nick Skias.
DNQ: Zak Vickers, Steve Smith, Nate Gibble, Michael Kreiser, Katelin Vragovich, Dustin Adams.
Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Eddie Nocera, 2.Kassidy Michael, 3.Jarrett Imler, 4.Zak Vickers, 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Jim Harrington, 7.Cliff Brian Jr., 8.Aidan Jones, 9.Dick Huzzard, 10.Andrew Potts, 11.Mike Coen, 12.Zachary Young, 13.Ron Wechter, 14.Ron Zimmerman.
DNS: Lester Dise.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps (Postponed from April 30): 1.Justin Harrington, 2.William Manotti, 3.Tajae Adams, 4.Brianna Gerhart, 5.Corey Schmuck Jr., 6.Austin Graby, 7.Kyler Heiney, 8.Alexis Sheely, 9.Jimmy Wampole, 10.Brandon Stuck, 11.Walt Wampole, 12.Brandon Gibble, 13.Kody Hibshman, 14.Thomas Kelly, 15.Zack Hollinger.
Regularly Scheduled 125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Justin Harrington, 2.William Manotti, 3.Austin Graby, 4.Tajae Adams, 5.Corey Schmuck Jr., 6.Brianna Gerhart, 7.Chase Gutshall,, 8.Alexis Sheely, 9.Brandon Gibble, 10.Zack Hollinger, 11.Jimmy Wampole, 12.Brandon Stuck, 13.Walt Wampole, 14.Kody Hibshman, 15.Brandon Yoder, 16.Kyler Heiney.
DNS: Thomas Kelly.