Bellinger's Streak Now at Three; Manotti Wins 7th Straight; Vickers Is Four-Stroke Winner
by Barry Angstadt
Newmanstown, PA - There's an old adage in show business (and sports)..."always save the best for last." And that's exactly how things turned out on Saturday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
In just his second start of the season, Dan Souder survived a thrilling duel with Jarid Kunkle to win the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main event, which was the final race of the night. Joining Souder in Saturday's winner's circle were Mike Rutherford (Viper Chassis 270cc); Cameron Bellinger (Sportsman); Zak Vickers (HammerDown Engines 250cc Four-Stroke); and William Manotti (125cc).
Jered Hook and Dan Souder shared the front row for the 25-lap Hyper Racing 600cc feature, and the two engaged in a side by side battle for the top spot for the first four trips around the progressively banked oval. Hook was able to forge into the lead, but Souder made an outside move to grab the lead when Hook got hung up, momentarily, behind a lapped car.
Jarid Kunkle took second from Hook with a few laps remaining, then got the break he needed when the event's only yellow flag waved with just one circuit left. That put Kunkle on the leader's tail tank as the race went back to green, and he threw a slider on Souder as the pair entered turns one and two. Kunkle roared down the backstretch with the lead, but Souder wasn't finished. He threw a slide job on Kunkle in three and four, but couldn't quite clear the No. 75 as they blasted onto the home stretch. The two cars made contact, with Kunkle's mount turning sideways as Souder flashed toward the checkered flag.
Souder crossed the line first to score the win, and Kunkle somehow straightened his car to salvage the runner-up finish. Hook held off a hard-charging Bradley Brown for third, and point leader Heath Hehnly wound up fifth.
"Jarid and I are great friends," said Souder, who lives near Quakertown, Pa., in victory lane. "I would never wreck him intentionally, or anyone else for that matter, but I was going for the win. He would have done the same to me. It's great to be able to race a good friend for the win like that, and then we hugged it out afterward. I sat out the beginning of the season due to a concussion I suffered late last season; that's why I haven't been here until the past couple of weeks. So this feels really good...it's sweet to win in just my second race back here."
Thirty-one drivers entered the 600cc action on Saturday, with heat race wins going to Brent Ely, Kyle Spence, and Will Urkuski. The consolation race winner was Kameron Morral.
Mike Rutherford, from Lititz, Pa., captured his seventh win of the season in the Viper Chassis 270cc feature. Rutherford has a pair of non-point, wingless triumphs to go along with five winged victories at the Clyde.
Rutherford used similar moves to zip past Nick Skias for second, then Kyle Spence for the lead. He utilized the banking in turn two to get a big run down the back chute, dashing to the inside of Skias on lap 19 before executing the same move to pass Spence for the top spot with two to go.
The margin of victory was just over a half-second as Rutherford flew under the checkered flag ahead of Spence, with N. Skias placing third. Billy Logeman and Devin Adams completed the top five.
270cc heat winners included Andrew Dietrich and Christi Sweigart.
The 25-lap headliner for the Sportsman Class was marked by an extremely entertaining first few laps. With Ricky Sechrist out front, Nick Skias rocketed from his tenth starting position to run second within the first five tours. He brought point leader Cameron Bellinger with him, as 12th starter Bellinger pulled into third at the same time Skias took over the runner-up slot.
Skias grabbed the lead from Sechrist on lap six and Bellinger moved to second one circuit later. Skias and Bellinger fought for the lead until a yellow appeared with nine laps complete - and Bellinger had a nose in front when the lap was scored.
Near the end of the race, lapped traffic made things very interesting. Skias closed in on the high-flying Bellinger, but he could not pull off the pass prior to the duo crossing the stripe under Tim Gehret's checkered flag. Bellinger notched his third consecutive win (and fourth overall), beating Skias, Jason Swavely, Brian Kramer, and Patrick Kirn.
Bellinger and Kirn were victorious in the two Sportsman heat races.
Rookie Riley Simmons set the pace in the HammerDown Engines 250cc Four-Stroke main as seventh starting Zak Vickers maneuvered his way forward through the pack. Vickers passed Ron Zimmerman for second, then set his sights on the leader. He moved to the inside of Simmons on lap eight, and the two cars came together as they throttled down the front stretch. Simmons ended up pounding the outside guardrail and flipping wildly while Vickers was able to continue. Simmons was sore but otherwise unhurt in the incident.
Vickers, who hails from Vineland, NJ, went on to record his second win of the year, with Cliff Brian Jr. closing fast at the end of the 25-lapper, but unable to make a serious bid for the lead. Brian settled for second place money with point leader Mike Coen, who was involved in two separate tangles during the race, rebounding for a third place finish. Eddie Nocera and Tommy Phipps Jr. rounded out the top five.
Ron Zimmerman and Vickers won the Four-Stroke heat races.
Lancaster's William Manotti had to work hard to overtake race leader Noah Merkey in the 125cc main event, but Manotti finally wrestled the top spot from Merkey, on lap ten, then cruised to his seventh straight triumph.
Kerry Lengle finished second, and Corey Schmuck Jr. came from the rear after spinning early to register a third place effort. Merkey and Austin Graby finished fourth and fifth.
Manotti and Schmuck Jr. won heat races for the 125cc competitors.
This Saturday, July 22nd, the Clyde will host another five division card featuring the Hyper Racing 600's, the Viper Chassis 270's, Sportsman, 125cc, and HammerDown Engines 250cc Four-Strokes. They'll all compete in qualifying heats, consolations (if needed), and 25-lap feature races. This will be the final tune-up before the track's "granddaddy of 'em all", the annual Clyde Martin Memorial Race on July 29. The Clyde Martin Memorial Race is open to Lanco members who have entered at least half of the point-paying races this season. The Memorial offers 35-lap features (longest races of the season), double-points, and the honor of receiving the winner's trophy that is handed down from the previous year's victor.
The winner of this Saturday's Viper Chassis 270 main event will also become a guaranteed starter in the wingless 270 race at the Reading Fair in Bern Township. That race is scheduled for Monday, August 7.
The competition is as hot as the weather, and it's a great time to come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Dan Souder, 2.Jarid Kunkle, 3.Jered Hook, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Ryan Groff, 7.Kyle Spence, 8.Kassidy Michael, 9.Mike Rutherford, 10.Nash Ely, 11.Will Urkuski, 12.Kameron Morral, 13.Brent Ely, 14.Zach Light, 15.Ryan Hook, 16.Jim Radney, 17.Shaun Brandel, 18.Chris Panczner, 19.Jeff Stelter, 20.Hunter James, 21.Patrick Ely, 22.Corry Roth, 23.Kelby Stauffer, 24.Austin Quick.
DNQ: Don Hess, Taylor Troxel, Logan Spahr, Austin Graby, Chris Gerhart, Jason Swavely, Rebecca LaMothe.
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Kyle Spence, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Billy Logeman, 5.Devin Adams, 6.Brian Sholley, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Andrew Dietrich, 9.Christi Sweigart, 10.Pete Skias, 11.John Ruoss, 12.Mike Skias, 13.Toby Blumenshine, 14.Anthony Yerger, 15.Adam Harnish, 16.Justin Harrington, 17.Jarrett Imler, 18.Kyle Weiss, 19.Walt Wampole, 20.Dallas Schott, 21.Brian Boyer.
Sportsman (250cc Stock) Sprints,, 25 Laps: 1.Cameron Bellinger, 2.Nick Skias, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Brian Kramer, 5.Patrick Kirn, 6.Dave Schroeder, 7Sheena Schaefer, 8.Kane Rogers, 9.Alan Durham, 10.Michael Kreiser, 11.Clinton Hauser, 12.Robert Shanaman, 13.Steve Smith, 14.Katelyn Vragovich, 15.Samuel Borger, 16.Austin Graby, 17.Jason Conover, 18.Cody Sechrist, 19.Ricky Sechrist.
HammerDown Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Zak Vickers, 2.Cliff Brian Jr., 3.Mike Coen, 4.Eddie Nocera, 5.Tom Phipps Jr., 6.Aidan Jones, 7.Donna Geib, 8.Ron Zimmerman, 9.Lewis Kepple Jr., 10.Zachary Young, 11.Ron Wechter, 12.Dylan Yeingst, 13Riley Simmons.
125cc Sprints, 25 Laps: 1William Manotti, 2.Kerry Lengle, 3.Corey Schmuck Jr., 4.Noah Merkey, 5.Austin Graby, 6.Brandon Gibble, 7.Kody Hibshman, 8.Holden Eckman, 9.Matthew Donley, 10.Nate Gibble, 11.Aidan Svanda, 12.Tyler Hershey, 13.Ryan Swavely, 14.Brandon Stuck, 15.Ron Zimmerman, 16.Jimmy Wampole.