Newmanstown, PA - On Saturday night, Kyle Spence finally got back to victory lane at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Spence, from Bear, Delaware, broke out of his 600cc drought by winning his fourth main event of the season at the Newmanstown oval. It was Spence's first triumph since June 11 in the Clyde's super-competitive 600cc division.
Joining Spence in the winner's circle on Saturday were Nick Sweigart (270cc), Toby Blumenshine (Sportsman), Zak Vickers (Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke), and William Manotti, who captured his fifth consecutive (and seventh overall) win of 2016 in the 125cc Class.
Saturday's event served as a final tune up for this weekend's annual Labor Day Shootout, the two-day extravaganza of clay kickin' competition and high speed adventure at the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. It's the first end-of-the-season big show in the tri-state area, and it will offer both winged and wingless action over the course of the weekend.
Saturday, September 3 is a "wing thing", as the winged 600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, and Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke Micros battle in 30-lap A-Mains. Any division that pulls at least a 24-car field will compete in qualifying heats and "A Qualifiers" that will feature passing and finishing points. After the "A Qualifiers" the top 20 in points will transfer to the main event while everyone else tries to race their way in through B-Mains.
Sunday's qualifying format mirrors that of Saturday for any division that boasts an entry list of 24 or more. But race teams in the 600cc and 270cc classes will leave their wings at home on Sunday, September 4, as wild and woolly wingless action takes center stage. The 125cc Micros will compete with wings, and the All Star Slingshots are also on Sunday's menu.
Gates open at 2 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, with warm ups slated for 3:45. The first heat race will take the green flag at 4:30 on both days of the Labor Day Shootout. This year's Shootout is sponsored by West Fabrications (Saturday) and Hyper Racing (Sunday).
Should the 600cc and/or 270cc entry lists reach 40 or more (in both winged and wingless formats), then the A-Mains will pay $1,000 to the winner!
In Saturday's 600cc main event, Kyle Spence grabbed the lead from Rebecca LaMothe on the second trip around the lightning-quick oval. Spence would go on to lead the remaining laps, but the competition was fierce behind him.
LaMothe, Ryan Hook, and Bradley Brown tussled for the runner-up position as Mike Rutherford and Brent Ely closed in on them. On the seventh circuit, Brown broke free from the three-car battle and secured second place. The first yellow of the race occurred with 12 tours complete as a multi-car incident developed in turn four.
Heath Hehnly, the current 600cc point leader, was steadily climbing his way into the top five - after starting the race in 15th - when he spun on the backstretch with eight to go. After a frantic charge over the final eight revolutions, Hehnly minimized the point chase damage by ending up in seventh position.
Spence, who is second in the standings, gained some points on Hehnly by scoring his fourth win of the season in 600cc competition. Brown was the runner-up while Ryan Hook ran strong the entire race and finished third. Jason Swavely threaded his way to a fourth place effort and Rutherford earned fifth place cash.
Heat race victories went to Jered Hook, Brown, and Becca LaMothe. Chris Gerhart won the consolation race as 31 cars took part in the 600cc portion of the program.
Nick Sweigart, Myerstown Pa., scored his first career 270cc triumph in the 2015 season finale. Eleven months later, Sweigart was back in the winner's circle, taking the lead at the start of Saturday's 25-lap feature then holding off Mike Rutherford on a few late race restarts to record the win.
While Sweigart maintained a fairly comfortable lead during the race, Rutherford had to navigate his way forward from 13th on the starting grid. The five time champion of the 270's throttled past Dan Lane Jr. and Nick Skias on the first lap after a restart with nine to go to claim the runner up slot. At the same time, Randy West, who started 12th, slipped by Brian Sholley and Richie Hartman to move into fifth. Some wild scrambling during the final laps jostled the finishing order, but it was Sweigart holding strong out front to notch the victory.
Rutherford settled for second (and thereby increasing his point lead) and Nick Skias wound up third. West was fourth and Toby Blumenshine completed the top five.
With 27 of the 270's in the pit area, heat race wins were registered by N. Skias, Adam Minzer, and Mike Skias. Tyler Ulrich was scored first in the consolation race.
Toby Blumenshine, from Reinholds, captured his second Sportsman Class victory of the season on Saturday night. Blumenshine started third, snatched the lead on the first trip around the clay, then went on to win by more than 2.5-seconds over Sami Schenck, who notched her best finish of the campaign with a runner-up effort.
Sheena Schaefer started 14th but quickly worked her way into the top five. Schaefer wound up third ahead of Tyler Ulrich. Sportsman point leader Dan Lane Jr. had to qualify through the consi, which he won, then sliced his way from 19th on the original start to finish fifth.
Angelo Mercado had a second place finish vanish when his Quickel Deer Farm/ Betts Garage No. 3m locked up and quit about 30 feet from the finish line.
Michael Kreiser, Angelo Mercado, and Ulrich were heat race winners for the 27-car field of Sportsman competitors, and Lane won the consolation race.
The Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke feature saw Lady Luck shine on Zak Vickers, who gave himself a nice 15th Birthday gift by winning his second race of the year. But Vickers, who lives near Philadelphia, had to work hard and survive a late race attack from Jarrett Imler in order to secure the victory.
Donna Geib bolted from seventh to first in just two tours and Vickers went from sixth to second in the same time frame. Geib was bidding for her second straight win in Four-Stroke action, but her No. 82 mysteriously traveled up the banking and into the turn one guardrail with seven laps remaining, knocking her out of the lead and the race.
Vickers inherited the top spot at that point, and he seemed to be in control of the event until Jarrett Imler came after him with just a couple circuits left to run. Imler and Vickers traded the lead with two to go before Vickers reclaimed it for good as they headed for the white flag.
Vickers led the final lap without a strong challenge from Imler, who still had a very good night by finishing second. Because Kassidy Michael flipped while running fourth on the tenth tour (she was credited with a 12th place finish), Imler took over the Four-Stroke point lead with his runner up finish.
Aidan Jones nipped Eddie Nocera for third at the stripe, while Dave Williams ended up fifth.
Geib and Dave Ravel won the heat races for the 17-car field of Sports n' Turf Four-Strokes.
Who can stop William Manotti in the 125cc Class? The driver from Lancaster, PA scored his fifth consecutive, and seventh overall, feature win on Saturday. And, for the second time this season, he got some unintended assistance from Austin Graby.
On July 23, Graby had a certain win slip through his fingers when his car gave out with just three laps remaining in the 125cc feature. The lucky recipient of Graby's misfortune? Who else but William Manotti...
On Saturday, it was deja vu all over again, as Graby passed Tyler Hershey for the top spot on the ninth circuit and took off with the race lead. Just four laps later, however, Graby's No. 87 suddenly slowed with mechanical issues, handing the lead to...the Kelly Cadillac No. 77 driven by William Manotti.
Manotti dominated the rest of the 25-lapper, winning handily over Jas Hehnly, who emerged from an entertaining battle with Tajae Adams to finish second. Adams wound up third ahead of Kyler Heiney and Brandon Gibble.
Manotti also stretched his point lead over Justin Harrington after Harrington's No. 29 suffered from mechanical gremlins and fell out of the race. He finished 12th.
With 18 of the 125cc racers signed in for competition, heat race wins fell to Heiney and Harrington.
Mike Knappenberger and Will White of the Race Chaser Group, along with Shred Photos and 600cc driver Patrick Ely offered cash bonuses for the Clyde Martin racers on Saturday. The first and second place finishers in each heat race had their names entered in a drawing, with three names pulled as winners of the cash bonuses. Angelo Mercado, Brandon Gibble, and Mike Miller were the recipients of the extra cash from the Race Chasers Group and Shred Photos.
In honor of his 50th birthday, Ely put up a pair of $50 bills - with one going to the highest finisher in the 600cc consi who had a Race Chasing decal on the car (Kelby Stauffer), and the other bonus to the driver who turned the quickest lap in the 600cc feature - and had a Race Chasing decal on his/her car (Heath Hehnly).
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Bradley Brown, 3.Ryan Hook, 4.Jason Swavely, 5.Mike Rutherford, 6.Dan Souder, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Shaun Brandel, 9.Zach Light, 10.Chris Panczner, 11.Chris Gerhart, 12.Jack Conover, 13.Jarid Kunkle, 14.Matt Carr, 15.Brent Ely, 16.Will Urkuski, 17.Kelby Stauffer, 18.Ryan Groff, 19.Rebecca LaMothe, 20.Nash Ely, 21.Angelo Mercado, 22.Hunter James, 23.Jered Hook, 24.Austin Bishop.
DNQ: Chris Oraschin, Kassidy Michael, William Manotti, Amber Oraschin, Ronald Helmick, Tyler Ulrich, Kyle Melvin.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Nick Sweigart, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Randy West, 5.Toby Blumenshine, 6.Brian Sholley, 7.Greg Miller, 8.Heath Hehnly, 9.Billy Logeman, 10.Richie Hartman, 11.Dan Lane Jr., 12.Tyler Ulrich, 13.Bradley Brown, 14.Adam Minzer, 15.Daryl Davis, 16.Dustin Fox, 17.Terry Ellex, 18.Mike Miller, 19.Mike Uhrich, 20.Christi Sweigart, 21.Dallas Schott, 22.Joe Kepple, 23.Mike Skias.
DNQ: Kyle Spence, AJ Gerhart, Jason Swavely, Christopher Steigerwalt.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Toby Blumenshine, 2.Sami Schenck, 3.Sheena Schaefer, 4.Tyler Ulrich, 5.Dan Lane Jr., 6.Austin Graby, 7.Ava Bellinger, 8.Dave Schroeder, 9.Louie Kirn, 10.Charles Hellinger, 11.Patrick Kirn, 12.Robert Shanaman, 13.Steve Smith Sr., 14.Ricky Sechrist, 15.Angelo Mercado, 16.Alan Durham, 17.Michael Kreiser, 18.Anthony Yerger, 19.Kerry Lengle, 20.Corey Schmuck Jr., 21.Dustin Adams, 22.Dave Ravel, 23.Mike Miller, 24.Kane Rogers.
DNQ: Dennis Fenstermacher, Nick Skias, Brian Kramer.
Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Zak Vickers, 2.Jarrett Imler, 3.Aidan Jones, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Dave Williams, 6.Andrew Potts, 7.Cliff Brian Jr., 8.Dick Huzzard, 9.Lewis Kepple Jr., 10.Donna Geib, 11.Ron Zimmerman, 12.Kassidy Michael, 13.Dave Ravel, 14.Mike Coen, 15.Zachary Young, 16.Brandon Yoder, 17.Ron Wechter.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.William Manotti, 2.Jas Hehnly, 3.Tajae Adams, 4.Kyler Heiney, 5.Brandon Gibble, 6.Tyler Hershey, 7.Corey Schmuck Jr., 8.Nate Gibble, 9.Shane Davis, 10.Walt Wampole, 11.Jason Hehnly, 12.Justin Harrington, 13.Austin Graby, 14.Cody Hibshman, 15.Matthew Donley, 16.Brandon Stuck, 17.Jimmy Wampole. DNS: Noah Merkey.