By Barry Angstadt
Newmanstown, PA - Will Urkuski must have done something to tick off Lady Luck. Always fast, but if it weren't for bad luck, then Urkuski had no luck at all over the past few seasons. Heck, he even received the 600cc Hard Luck Award at last year's banquet.
Good fortune finally prevailed for the racer from Morgantown, PA as Lady Luck frowned upon another driver, enabling Urkuski to score his first win in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints on Saturday night at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Mongoose Chassis Night almost didn't take place on Saturday when a monstrous thunderstorm rolled through Newmanstown about 30 minutes prior to the scheduled starting time for warm-ups. The track crew rolled up their sleeves and went to work as the rain subsided. Hot laps got underway around 8:30 p.m. and the first heat race went green a few minutes after 9:00. With great cooperation from the drivers and officials, the entire five-division show was completed at approximately 11:40 p.m.
Joining Urkuski for victory lane photos at the end of the night were Mike Skias (Viper Chassis 270cc); Nick Skias (Sportsman); Eddie Nocera (Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke); and William Manotti (125cc) as Jim and Joyce Skias of Mongoose Chassis sponsored the night of competition.
Austin Quick set a rapid pace in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main as the first 17 tours went clean and green. At the lap 13 halfway point, Quick was out front with Chris Oraschin, Urkuski, Jim Radney, and Kyle Spence making up the top five. After the first yellow, with 17 circuits in the books, Oraschin got a terrific restart and attempted to pull ahead of Quick as they entered turn one. The two cars made contact with Quick's No. 28x turning sideways and Oraschin's No. 7J also getting out of shape. The incident collected a few others, with one car knocking Quick's machine back in the proper direction and he continued with coming to a complete stop. The other cars collected included point leader Heath Hehnly and Bradley Brown, who were weaving their way toward the front of the pack. Both Hehnly and Brown were able to continue, although they had to restart at the rear of the field.
Unfortunately for Oraschin, his car mysteriously shut off with seven to go, forcing him to retire from the race as Quick remained in control. On the restart, however, officials deemed that Quick hit the accelerator a bit too early, jumping away from the pack well ahead of the restart cone, and he was penalized two positions.
That put Urkuski into the lead, and he made the most of his golden opportunity, racing to the win by one-quarter of a second over Radney. Spence, who started tenth, finished third while the luckless Quick wound up fourth. Jarid Kunkle placed fifth. The second five consisted of Brent Ely, Shaun Brandel, Dan Souder, Chris Panczner, and Hehnly.
With 28 of the 600's in the pit area, qualifying heat victories went to Brooklyn Gable, Oraschin, and Kunkle, while Logan Spahr won the consolation race.
Mike Skias, from Reading, was simply hooked up on Saturday. He won his Viper Chassis 270 heat race, then led every one of the 25-laps in the Mongoose Chassis main event. Three caution periods dotted the race, but M. Skias just bolted away from his pursuers on each restart.
Mike Miller went from sixth to second on the opening trip around the oval, then spent the rest of the race futiley trying to keep pace with M. Skias. At the finish, Miller trailed the winner by 1.790-seconds, with 11th starting Nick Skias ending up third, giving Viper Chassis two of the top three spots on the podium. Point leader Mike Rutherford, who started the race in 12th, finished fourth and Dan Lane Jr. completed the top five. Heath Hehnly, driving Jim Skias' Mongoose Chassis No. 25s, took the initial green in 20th position, then charged to a sixth place finish.
Those Skias boys, Nick and Mike, won the two heat races for the 270's on Saturday as 21 cars signed in for action.
In the Sportsman feature, it was Nick Skias turn to shine. The Wernersville resident made it exciting, too, as he slipped past race leader Brian Kramer on the white flag lap, gunning his No. 88 past Kramer off turn four when Kramer was momentarily held up behind a couple of lapped cars.
For much of the 25-lapper, it appeared that veteran racer Mike Miller would notch his first triumph of the season. Miller led the opening 17 revolutions, and had a comfortable advantage over Kramer, when he made slight contact with a lapped car entering the first corner. It was just enough wheel-to-wheel contact to turn Miller's car sideways. As Kramer and Nick Skias darted by him, another car hit Miller's No. 4, setting it straight and pushing him forward so that he never completely stopped and the yellow flag never waved. But Miller's shot at the win was gone, although he persevered to a third-place finish.
N. Skias posted the win in the non-stop, 25-lap feature that took just 5:04.446 to complete. Kramer ran a great race to finish second, with Miller, point leader and four-time winner Cameron Bellinger, and Kane Rogers making up the top five.
Angelo Mercado and Rogers were heat race winners as the threatening weather forecast kept the field down to just 20 Sportsman competitors.
Mohnton's Eddie Nocera, the 2015 point champion of the Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Class, registered his third triumph of the current season on Saturday.
Nocera snatched the lead from Ron Wechter on lap nine, then maintained a healthy margin over Aidan Jones for the rest of the 25-lap affair.
Jones held off three-time winner and point leader Mike Coen to finish second, with Coen settling for third. Cliff Brian Jr. and Lew Kepple rounded out the top five.
Four-Stroke heat race winners included Brian and Donna Geib.
William Manotti, from Lancaster, just cannot be beaten in the 125cc division. Even though he got shoved into the outside guardrail in his heat race, Manotti's lightening quick, rock-solid No. 77 never missed a beat. He rebounded to finish second in that heat race, then drove from tenth starting spot in the feature to grab the lead on the sixth tour.
Manotti went on to win his ninth consecutive feature in the 125cc Class, beating rookie Holden Eckman to the stripe by almost three-seconds. Eckman finished as the runner-up, with Nate Gibble turning in a solid third place effort. Brandon Gibble raced home in fourth and Noah Merkey earned fifth place pay.
Brandon Gibble and Merkey were heat race winners.
Saturday's race was the first in a busy week for Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. This Tuesday, August 15, marks the return of the USAC National Midget Championship to the Clyde as Battleground: Lanco takes place beginning at 6:15 p.m. The first event of Hyper Racing 600 Speedweek, presented by SmallCarWeekly.com, featuring the wingless 600 Sprints, will also be part of the huge night of competition at the Newmanstown oval. Tanner Thorson looks to repeat his USAC victory of one year ago, while recent Belleville Nationals winner Spencer Bayston, who ran second to Thorson at the Clyde in 2016, will try to keep his momentum going with a victory at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
When everyone catches their breath after the clay-churning, ground-pounding USAC Midgets invade the Clyde, the speedway swings right back into action next Saturday, August 19, with another five division card of winged racing as the point battles enter the homestretch of 2017. Warm-ups begin at 6 p.m. on Saturday, with the first heat race going green at 7:00.
For all the details on every event, check out www.clydemartinspeedway.com. Also follow us at Facebook.com/Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway and on Twitter: @LancoCMMS.
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Will Urkuski, 2.Jim Radney, 3.Kyle Spence, 4.Austin Quick, 5.Jarid Kunkle, 6.Brent Ely, 7.Shaun Brandel, 8.Dan Souder, 9.Chris Panczner, 10.Heath Hehnly, 11.Mike Rutherford, 12.Bradley Brown, 13.Zach Light, 14.Brooklyn Gable, 15.Ryan Groff, 16.Don Hess, 17.Logan Spahr, 18.Bruce Ginther Jr., 19.Hunter James, 20.John Moore, 21.Jered Hook, 22.Chris Oraschin, 23.Bret Cronrath, 24.Nash Ely.
DNQ: Ryan Hook, Ben George, Brianne Cronrath-Wittmer, Kassidy Michael.
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Mike Skias, 2.Mike Miller, 3.Nick Skias, 4.Mike Rutherford, 5.Dan Lane Jr., 6.Heath Hehnly, 7.Toby Blumenshine, 8.Dylan Adams, 9.Adam Harnish, 10.Billy Logeman, 11.Justin Harrington, 12.Kyle Spence, 13.Christi Sweigart, 14.Jarrett Imler, 15.Brian Boyer, 16.Terry Ellex, 17.Mark Miller, 18.Andrew Dietrich, 19.Brian Sholley, 20.Walt Wampole, 21.Devin Adams.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 Laps: 1.Nick Skias, 2.Brian Kramer, 3.Mike Miller, 4.Cameron Bellinger, 5.Kane Rogers, 6.Angelo Mercado, 7.Charles Hellinger, 8.Jason Swavely, 9.Dave Schroeder, 10.Todd Martin, 11.Clinton Hauser, 12.Sheena Schaefer, 13.Ricky Sechrist, 14.Darren Schott, 15.Michael Kreiser, 16.Alan Durham, 17.Robert Shanaman, 18.Sam Borger, 19.Dan Lane Jr., 20.Steve Smith.
Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Eddie Nocera, 2.Aidan Jones, 3.Mike Coen, 4.Cliff Brian Jr., 5.Lewis Kepple Jr., 6.Zak Vickers, 7.Ron Wechter, 8.Tom Phipps Jr., 9.Ron Zimmerman, 10.Riley Simmons, 11.Sam Barge, 12.Dylan Yeingst, 13.Zachary Young, 14.Donna Geib.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 Laps: 1.William Manotti, 2.Holden Eckman, 3.Nate Gibble, 4.Brandon Gibble, 5.Kody Hibshman, 6.Noah Merkey, 7.Kerry Lengle, 8.Tyler Hershey, 9.Brandon Stuck, 10.Richard Stuck, 11.Jimmy Wampole, 12.Corey Schmuck Jr., 13.Kalani Adams, 14.Ryan Swavely. DNS: Shane Davis.
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