Curtis Miller Wins Sportsman Main; Schmuck Stops Manotti in 125cc Action; & Spence Tops 4-Strokes
by BARRY ANGSTADT
Newmanstown, PA - Austin Bishop now has a winged 600cc victory to go with his wingless win in Firecracker Frenzy on July 2nd. Bishop, from Elverson, authored a dominating performance on Saturday night, leading every lap of the 600cc main event at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Bishop checked out on the periodic restarts that dotted the 25-lap event and was never seriously challenged. Chris Gerhart made a bold move on a restart with ten laps complete, as he threaded the needle between Will Urkuski and Chris Panczner on the homestretch and moving from fourth to second in the process. Eighth starting Ryan Groff climbed to third at the finish, with Bradley Brown and Kyle Spence rounding out the top five.
"This SB3, with Randy West (of West Fabrication) working his magic on it, is a fantastic race car," said Bishop in victory lane. "With a wing or without, it gets the job done. We've had a real good season and it's because this car is so good!"
With one week to go, it appears that Heath Hehnly is a lock to win his fifth point crown in the 600cc division. Hehnly finished sixth in the main event on Saturday, while Kyle Spence, currently the runner-up in 600cc points, finished just one spot in front of his rival for the championship. Spence gained just four points on Hehnly, leaving him 124 behind - too many to make up in just one night of racing, and that is all that remains on the 2016 Clyde Martin schedule.
This Saturday, September 17, is the curtain-closing event of the 2016 campaign at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. Not only will the point champions (officially) be determined in the season finale`, but the scramble to finish in the top 15 in points in each of the five weekly divisions, will be finalized. Qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features will highlight the program of mud-slinging mayhem this Saturday, as the 600cc, 270cc, Sportsman, 125cc, and the Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints take part in Champions Night at the Clyde.
Gates open at 4 p.m. with warm-ups getting underway at 5:30. The first heat race goes green at 6:30
Last Saturday night, September 10, Bishop was joined by Mike Rutherford (270cc), Curtis R. Miller (Sportsman), Corey Schmuck Jr. (125cc), and Kyle Spence (Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke) as the evening's feature winners.
The 270cc triumph was Mike Rutherford's 5th of the season, but his first since July 16. The victory, along with Bradley Brown's 10th place finish, clinched a fifth consecutive 270cc point title for Rutherford and the Kaylor Petro No. 5k team. Rutherford, from Lititz, has a career total of six track championships in the 270cc division.
The battle for the lead was a good one throughout the 25-lap feature race, as Mike Miller led from the pole before Kyle Spence moved up to challenge Miller. The two swapped the top spot on several occasions in a duel between the young charger (Spence) and the seasoned veteran (Miller). Spence was leading when Miller passed him - again - to reclaim the point on a restart with 11 circuits scored. Rutherford then pulled alongside Spence and the duo fought for the runner-up position for the next couple of trips around the clay. Rutherford motored into second at the halfway mark and immediately chased down Miller.
Rutherford stalked his prey for about four laps before making his move. He executed a slide job on Miller in three and four, then defended Miller's cross-over move as they gassed their mounts down the front chute to complete lap 19.
Spence later passed Miller for second, but Rutherford was long gone by that time. The winner crossed the stripe almost one and three-quarter seconds ahead of Spence, with Miller settling for third. Nick Skias wound up fourth and Tyler Ulrich recorded a fifth place effort.
Curtis R. Miller registered his second Sportsman feature win of the year (and his first since June 11).
Miller, from Mertztown, Pa., started sixth and deftly navigated his way forward in the early laps. He slipped past Dave Ravel for second, then set his sights on race leader Patrick Kirn.
Miller ducked under Kirn entering turn three with 11 tours in the books. As Miller nosed ahead, the two barely touched wheels but it was enough to send Kirn's No. 16P into a spin.
The new leader now had his dad's uncle, Mike Miller, right behind him but Toby Blumenshine ended any hopes of a Miller family battle for the win when he threw a slide job on M. Miller to grab the runner-up spot on lap 14.
As the checkered flag waved it was Curtis R. Miller in for the win, with Blumenshine chasing him to the stripe. M. Miller was third while Ravel and Dan Lane Jr. completed the top five.
Sportsman point leader Dan Lane Jr. suffered mechanical problems in his heat race, relegating him to the 22nd and last starting spot for the feature. Lane rebounded by running the top relentlessly and weaving his way to fifth at the end, gaining valuable points on second place Tyler Ulrich, who finished eighth in Saturday's feature. The championship battle is settled, with Lane capturing his first crown at the Clyde.
William Manotti's six-race win streak in the 125cc Class was broken on Saturday night when Corey Schmuck Jr. gave himself a belated birthday gift by winning his first career main event. Manotti finished second and extended his point lead over Justin Harrington, who finished third on Saturday.
Schmuck, who lives in Lititz, needed six revolutions (after he moved into second place) to overtake race leader Jas Hehnly. Schmuck kept working the high line and it finally paid off as he powered around Hehnly to snatch the lead.
Even when Manotti secured the runner-up spot and had a couple of double-file restarts to try and unseat Schmuck from first place, the driver of the Team Dirt Dog/ Chester County Coatings No. 26 maintained his composure and throttled away from the 125cc division's top winner.
At the checkered, it was Corey Schmuck Jr. cashing in for his first career Lanco Micro-Sprint triumph. Manotti still had a good points night with his runner-up effort, and Harrington remained mathematically in the title chase with one race left to run by finishing third on Saturday. Hehnly and Kyler Heiney made up the top five.
Kyle Spence drove Donna Geib's No. 82 in the Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke feature after Geib had eye surgery during the week and asked him to fill in for her. Spence responded by recording his fourth triumph of the season in the Four-Stroke division. Spence, who resides in Bear, Delaware, won a non-stop, green to checker race in 5:17.314.
Lew Kepple ran a strong race to finish second, with point leader Jarrett Imler finishing third to Kassidy Michael's fourth, so Imler will carry a tenuous 29-point advantage into the season finale on Saturday, September 17. Rookie Andrew Potts was an impressive fifth in Saturday's Four-Stroke main event.
600cc heat race winners included Ryan Groff, Bradley Brown, and Heath Hehnly. A total of 23 entries were on hand on Saturday.
The 270cc heat race winners were Nick Skias, Mike Skias, and Mike Rutherford. There were 24 of the 270's in the pit area.
Winning heats for the 22Sportsman competitors were Curtis R. Miller and Dave Ravel.
With 18 of the 125cc racers signed in for competition, heat race victories fell to William Manotti and Justin Harrington.
The Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke Micros drew a field of 14, with heats going to Zak Vickers and Lew Kepple.
The Race Chasing bonus cash program had donations from Shred Racing Photos, Parke Bishop of Parke's Auto Service, Mercado-Bellinger Racing, and Mike Knappenberger of the Race Chasing for Fans Facebook page and T-shirt sales.
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Austin Bishop, 2.Chris Gerhart, 3.Ryan Groff, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Kyle Spence, 6.Heath Hehnly, 7.Chris Panczner, 8.Will Urkuski, 9.Zach Light, 10.Ryan Hook, 11.Nash Ely, 12.Mike Rutherford, 13.Brent Ely, 14.Kelby Stauffer, 15.Amber Oraschin, 16.Chris Oraschin, 17.Kassidy Michael, 18.Patrick Ely, 19.Rebecca LaMothe, 20.Shaun Brandel, 21.Danny Stratton, 22.Jason Sechrist. DNS: Jarid Kunkle.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Kyle Spence, 3.Mike Miller, 4.Nick Skias, 5.Tyler Ulrich, 6.Mike Uhrich, 7.Mike Skias, 8.Billy Logeman, 9.Richie Hartman, 10.Bradley Brown, 11.Nick Sweigart, 12.Brian Sholley, 13.Andrew Dietrich, 14.Heath Hehnly, 15.Dustin Fox, 16.Kyle Weiss, 17.Terry Ellex, 18.Christi Sweigart, 19.Jeff Harnish, 20.Daryl Davis, 21.Anthony Yerger, 22.Dan Lane Jr., 23.Adam Minzer, 24.Toby Blumenshine.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Curtis R. Miller, 2.Toby Blumenshine, 3.Mike Miller, 4.Dave Ravel, 5.Dan Lane Jr., 6.Sami Schenck, 7.Sheena Schaefer, 8.Tyler Ulrich, 9.Dave Schroeder, 10.Louie Kirn, 11.Robert Shanaman, 12.Patrick Kirn, 13.Angelo Mercado, 14.Austin Graby, 15.Steve Smith, 16.Brian Kramer, 17.Ava Bellinger, 18.Alan Durham, 19.Kane Rogers, 20.Derek Mountz, 21.Kerry Lengle, 22.Anthony Yerger.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Corey Schmuck Jr., 2.William Manotti, 3.Justin Harrington, 4.Jas Hehnly, 5.Kyler Heiney, 6.Matthew Donley, 7.Sami Schenck, 8.Cody Hibshman, 9.Brandon Stuck, 10.Heather Harris, 11.Walt Wampole, 12.Nate Gibble, 13.Shane Davis, 14.Gary Ellex, 15.Tyler Hershey, 16.Jimmy Wampole, 17.Austin Graby, 18.Brandon Gibble.
Sports n' Turf 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Lewis Kepple Jr., 3.Jarrett Imler, 4.Kassidy Michael, 5.Andrew Potts, 6.Zak Vickers, 7.Dave Williams, 8.Eddie Nocera, 9.Cliff Brian Jr., 10.Aidan Jones, 11.Brandon Yoder, 12.Ron Zimmerman, 13.Ron Wechter, 14.Zachary Young.