Newmanstown, PA - Just call Alex Bright "a phenomenal clean-up guy."
The Phenom brought out his victory broom on Saturday night, sweeping both of this year's stand-alone ARDC Midget events at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. Bright captured the ARDC season opener on April 2nd at Clyde Martin, then added Saturday's Star Spangled Havoc to his racing resume`. This was the final tune up for the ARDC competitors before Battleground USAC on Tuesday, August 16, when the stars of the USAC National Midget Series visit Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway for the very first time.
And, for a while, it appeared that Saturday truly was a star spangled night for the driver from Collegeville, Pa., as Bright also crossed the finish line first in the Dayton Parts wingless 600cc Firecracker Frenzy race. Unfortunately, his No. 75a did not pass the technical inspection afterward, so the 600cc Micro-Sprint triumph went to Austin Bishop, who finished a close second to Bright in that 30-lap A-Main.
Bradley Brown of New Providence, Pa., won the Hurst Exteriors wingless 270cc Clash at the Clyde over Kyle Spence.
Justin Grosz bolted from the pole of the ARDC main to lead the first four trips around the clay. Jim Radney hounded the leader while Brett Arndt broke free from a three-car battle to run third. Ryan Greth, who won last year's inaugural Star Spangled Havoc at the Clyde, tussled with Alex Bright for the fourth position. The first caution flag waved with three laps complete when Kenny Johnson spun at the exit of turn four. Johnson stood on the gas, trying to do a 360 and continue, but his car climbed up the track and clipped the oncoming Danny Stratton.
The race's second yellow flag period occurred one lap later, as Radney's No. 95 vaulted over the left-rear tire of Grosz's car heading off the fourth turn. As Radney turned sideways, Arndt had no where to go and spun, while Radney made it to the far end of the homestretch before he, too, spun out. Grosz was able to motor away and retained the race lead. Both Arndt and Radney were able to restart at the back of the pack.
When the green waved once again, Greth powered around Grosz to snatch the lead as the duo throttled off the second corner and onto the backstretch. It wasn't long before Alex Bright and eighth-starting Trevor Kobylarz, the previous night's winner at Linda's Speedway, were running second and third. Bright stalked Greth for a few circuits before throwing a slide job on the leader in turns one and two. Greth was ready, crossing him over and regaining the top spot on the 17th tour. Twisting their cars back into one and two, however, Greth had the back end of his No. 4 snap around, spinning out of the lead with Bright in hot pursuit.
"Yeah, my eyes grew real big at that point for two reasons," grinned Bright afterward. "My first thought was, 'don't come back up in front of me!' and my second thought was, 'thank you!' because he was real fast and tough to pass."
Kobylarz, now the runner-up to Bright, tried to duck under the Lightcap Electric No. 77 on the ensuing restart, but the new leader was too strong off the top as he pulled away to his 15th career victory with the American Racing Drivers Club. It was also his third win of the season on the ARDC tour.
At the finish, he was nearly two-seconds ahead of Kobylarz, with ninth-starter Kyle Spence earning third place money. Brenden Bright and Nick Wean completed the top five.
Kenny Johnson and Ryan Greth won the pair of heat races for the Midgets. Johnson's victory was particularly impressive, as he gassed his New England Tractor No. 46x around the outside of Grosz and A. Bright near the end of the first heat - with a Volkswagen engine providing the horsepower for his triumph!
The Dayton Parts Firecracker Frenzy feature for the wingless 600cc Micro-Sprints looked as though it would belong to the high-flying Cameron Bellinger - for a while, anyway.
Mike Rutherford set the pace early with Austin Bishop on his tail tank and looking for an opportunity to pass. Bellinger started 13th but once he found his beloved high groove, the No. 6 came blasting to the front of the field. He squeezed between Bishop and the outside guardrail to snare the runner-up spot, then executed a slider on Rutherford to grab the top spot with nine laps scored. Bellinger, Rutherford, and Bishop battled furiously for a lap or two before Alex Bright made his presence known, slipping into third on a lap 11 restart.
Bellinger began to separate himself from the pack as the 30-lapper neared its halfway point. Just after he saw the crossed flags, though, Bellinger's left-rear tire rolled off its bead, forcing him to the infield. His misfortune handed the lead back to Rutherford, but three circuits later Bright threw a slider that gave him the top spot.
Kyle Spence weaved a path from 23rd on the starting grid to run third when lap 19 was scored, but his No. x7 got into the backstretch guardrail while attempting to negotiate lapped traffic and inexplicably shut off, bringing out the caution flag and sending Spence to the rear of the field.
The final laps had Bishop pass Rutherford for second and Kyle Lick, who started 22nd, rim-riding against the fence and passing several cars on the final couple of laps to finish third behind Bright and Bishop.
Unfortunately for Bright, who was wheeling a fairly new Concept Chassis owned by Lou Cicconi, the No. 75a did not pass technical inspection because of a U6SA rule violation. Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, like most tracks in the northeast that host the 600cc Micro-Sprints, follows the U6SA rule book.
Bishop, from Elverson, Pa., was declared the winner, earning the $1,000 winner's share for his first career victory at the Clyde. Lick was moved to second in the revised rundown, with Rutherford, Bradley Brown, and Robbie Hocker rounding out the top five.
With 40 cars entering the Dayton Parts Firecracker Frenzy, wingless 600cc heat winners included Mike Myers, Joey Jarowicz, Sammie LaMothe, Josh Conover, and Alex Bright. Travis Hill captured the B-Main victory.
Brandon Edgar, driving Steve Walters' No. 88x, darted into the lead at the drop of the green in the Hurst Exteriors wingless 270cc Clash at the Clyde. Kyle Spence moved from third to second and began to pressure Edgar as the leaders approached the back of the field on the 11th tour. A timely yellow flag, however, provided clear race track in front of the leaders and Edgar took advantage of it to open a comfortable margin over Spence.
As Edgar waltzed away with the lead, a terrific three-car battle erupted for the runner-up position. Spence was challenged by Mike Rutherford and seventh-starting Bradley Brown as the trio swapped second place numerous times before Brown finally secured the spot. He hunted down Edgar, with the help of a few caution periods, but could not find a way to pass the leader.
With Brown's No. 23 planted firmly in the outside lane and Edgar running the low groove, the battle for the lead was close but definitely in Edgar's favor as the low line appeared to be the quickest way around the racy oval. Calamity struck the driver from Lehighton on lap 24, though, as Edgar hopped over one of the large tractor tires that line the infield. Brown, Spence, and Rutherford sped by as Edgar's No. 88x slowed and headed for the infield grass with front end damage.
A yellow with three to go permitted Spence to take one last shot at Brown, but his attempt at slide job in turns one and two was not successful and Brown pulled away on the final trip around the clay.
As the checkered fell to end the 30-lapper, Brown recorded his first wingless win and his first victory of 2016 at Clyde Martin. Spence, who ran all three classes on Saturday, finished second with Rutherford ending up third. Brayden Winters ran a strong race to finish fourth and Billy Logeman was fifth.
With 28 of the wingless 270's signing in for competition, heat race victories went to Edgar, Tyler Ulrich, and Richie Hartman. Nick Skias took the win in the B-Main.
All three feature winners - Alex Bright (ARDC), Austin Bishop (600cc), and Bradley Brown (270cc) - picked up bonus cash as the highest finishing drivers who had a Race Chasing for Fans decal on his car. The bonus cash was offered by the Race Chasing for Fans Facebook page, Shred Racing Photos, and Nick Skias.
With Star Spangled Havoc now complete, attention turns back to the championship point battles at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. This Saturday, July 9, the five weekly Micro-Sprint divisions return for the best winged action in the northeast as the 600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, 125cc, and the Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Strokes compete in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races.
Gates will open at 4:30 on Saturday, with warm-ups getting underway at 6 p.m. and the first heat goes green at 7:00.
For additional information and all news regarding Lanco, check out the track's new website at www.clydemartinspeedway.com, the FB page at Facebook.com/ClydeMartinMemorialSpeedway, or on Twitter (@Lanco_CMMS).
ARDC Midget Feature, 30 laps: 1.Alex Bright, 2.Trevor Kobylarz, 3.Kyle Spence, 4.Brenden Bright, 5.Nick Wean, 6.Brett Arndt, 7.Ryan Greth, 8.Justin Grosz, 9.Josh Heckman, 10.Rohan Beasley, 11.Jamie Spears, 12.Jim Radney, 13.Kenny Johnson, 14.Danny Stratton.
Wingless 600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Austin Bishop, 2.Kyle Lick, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Robbie Hocker, 6.Jack Conover, 7.Greg Stevens, 8.Shaun Brandel, 9.Heath Hehnly, 10.Ryan Groff, 11.Josh Conover, 12.Tommy Kunsman, 13.Austin Quick, 14.Kyle Spence, 15.Ben Earnst, 16.DUstin Stoltzfus, 17.Brandon Heist, 18.Joey Jarowicz, 19.Mike Myers, 20.Cameron Bellinger, 21.Jesse Maurer, 22.Sammie LaMothe, 23.Travis Hill.
DQ: Alex Bright.
DNQ: Jake Starr, Jacob Severn, Frank Jarkiewicz, Ken Murray, Don Hess, Eric Heydenreich, TJ Greve, Rebecca LaMothe, Shane Linderman, Cory Grenzy, Michael Fauci, Jon Keller, Tyler Brehm, Jason Swavely, Dave Dimaio, Matt Carr.
Wingless 270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 30 laps: 1.Bradley Brown, 2.Kyle Spence, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Brayden Winters, 5.Billy Logeman, 6.Nick Skias, 7.Brian Sholley, 8.Tommy Kunsman, 9.Nick Sweigart, 10.Louden Reimert, 11.Ava Bellinger, 12.Austin Bishop, 13.Mike Skias, 14.Dylan Adams, 15.Richie Hartman, 16.Dustin Fox, 17.Kyle Lick, 18.Brandon Edgar, 19.Cameron Bellinger, 20.Dan Lane Jr., 21.Josh Stoyer, 22.Toby Blumenshine, 23.Tyler Ulrich, 24.Devin Adams.
DNQ: Andrew Dietrich, Sam LaMothe, Scott Fick, Jenna Heagy.