Bellinger Bags 7th Sportsman Victory; Cliff Brian Jr. Goes 2 For 2; Kyler Heiney Is 125cc Victor on 9/9
By Barry Angstadt
Newmanstown, PA - The second-to-last event of the 2017 campaign produced a couple of first time winners and all but settled four of the five point chases at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway on Saturday, September 9.
Kutztown's Jarid Kunkle finally found his way to victory lane in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main, while Kyle Spence and Andrew Dietrich notched their first 270cc triumphs of the season in the two Viper Chassis 25-lap features. Dietrich captured 270cc main that was run Saturday after being postponed on August 19.
Cameron Bellinger recorded his seventh Sportsman victory of the year and, in the process, locked up his first-ever Lanco point championship. Cliff Brian Jr. remained in contention for the Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke title by winning both features run for that division on Saturday. His first win of the night came in the postponed race from August 19.
Kyler Heiney returned to the Clyde and to the 125cc Class on Labor Day weekend, and he made his comeback complete by winning Saturday's 125cc feature.
In the 25-lap Hyper Racing 600 Sprint feature, Kunkle threw a slide job on Chris Gerhart in turns three and four to snare the top spot on the 11th trip around the oval. Kunkle took off and was never seriously challenged, winning by nearly 2.5 seconds over Gerhart, who narrowly held off Bradley Brown for the runner-up pay envelope. Gerhart picked up the ride in Ryan Hook's No. 6H for the night and made the most of his opportunity by finishing second. Austin Quick and Mike Rutherford completed the top five. By finishing seventh, Heath Hehnly only needs to show up and attempt to start his heat race in order to lock up his sixth point title in this division in what he says will be his final full season of racing.
The Viper Chassis 270 feature that was rained out on August 19 turned into Andrew Dietrich's first win at the Clyde. It was the first race of the night on Saturday, and Dietrich capitalized on the misfortune of Kyle Spence to take the lead and, eventually, the victory. Spence bolted into the early lead but fell victim, once again, to mechanical gremlins that forced him to retire with just three laps complete. Dietrich inherited the lead at that point, and he raced to the win over Heath Hehnly, point leader Mike Rutherford, Dan Lane Jr., and Mike Skias.
In the regularly scheduled Viper Chassis 270 Sprint main, Spence gained a measure of redemption as he blasted around the top of turns one and two to grab the lead at the start. He was never headed from that point on, although it appeared for a while that Nick Skias might be a prime challenger for the win. Skias found the high groove as the race neared its halfway mark, and he rolled the top at both ends of the speedway to charge into fourth position. He was challenging Danny Lane Jr. for third when he clipped the outside guardrail and flattened his right-rear tire, forcing him to drop out. Devin Adams was also very strong, running second for several laps and sticking his nose under Spence on a few occasions, but his No. 99 suffered mechanical ills and he too dropped out with just four laps remaining. Billy Logeman and Mike Rutherford dueled for second on the restart, permitting Spence to motor away and score the victory, his first 270 win of the year at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway after several near-misses. Rutherford bested Logeman for second, with Mike Skias recording another top five run, along with Lane, as they finished fourth and fifth, respectively. By virtue of his second and third place finishes on Saturday, Rutherford simply has to show up and make an attempt to run in this week's season finale in order to secure his seventh point title in the Viper Chassis 270 Class.
After winning his seventh Sportsman feature of the year on Saturday, Cameron Bellinger could actually stay home this week and still be this season's Sportsman point champion. But chances are very good that he will be racing in the Clyde's finale`, trying for his eighth triumph in what has been a banner year for the driver from Middletown, DE.
Bellinger started 23rd in Saturday's main, and he rapidly maneuvered his way to third by the time lap seven was scored. Curtis R. Miller began the feature in 22nd, and he followed Bellinger to the front. Bellinger made a three-wide move to take the lead on the tenth tour, then zipped away to his own area code in a dominating performance. Miller passed Sami Schenck for second on a restart with 14 circuits complete, but Bellinger had already checked out by the time Miller took over the runner-up position. On a restart with nine to go, Angelo Mercado, who took the initial green in 24th (last) spot, throttled his way from sixth to third. The three drivers who started in the final three starting positions ended up finishing in the top three spots as Bellinger flew to victory over Miller and Mercado. Schenck and Kane Rogers rounded out the top five.
The postponed 25-lapper for the Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprints (rained out on August 19) was a showcase for Manheim teenager Cliff Brian Jr. After lining up 13th - last - on the grid, Brian stormed his way forward, charging to fourth by lap six, then taking the runner-up slot on the ninth revolution. Tommy Phipps Jr. snatched the lead away from Zachary Young on the eighth trip around the clay, and six tours later it was Brian moving past Phipps to take command. Aidan Jones, riding a two-race win streak, pulled into second with ten to go. Jones stayed within striking distance of the leader, but he was no match for Brian in this one. Cliff Brian Jr. drove to his second win of the season - and his first since April 15 - over Jones, point leader Mike Coen, Zak Vickers, and Phipps.
The Four-Stroke Class is the one division where the point title is still up for grabs in the curtain-closing event this Saturday thanks to Brian, who made it two-for-two in the regularly scheduled Four-Stroke feature. Second in the standings to Mike Coen, Brian simply went out and did what he had to do in order to stay in contention for the championship. He started tenth in this one and had the lead by lap six, when he passed Zachary Young. The 12th starter, Kassidy Michael, made things interesting by navigating her way to second place on the seventh circuit. She stayed close to Brian, but not quite close enough to steal the lead from him. Mike Coen battled the rim-riding Zak Vickers for third, with Coen taking the spot on lap ten. Vickers then repaid the favor by sweeping past Coen on a restart at the halfway point of the feature. Brian held off Michael to notch his second triumph of the evening and, in the process, pull within 19 points of Coen as they head into the final race. Vickers, Coen, and Eddie Nocera made up the top five as the checkered flag waved over the field.
Kyler Heiney won the 125cc season opener, but soon after decided to try 270cc racing at another speedway. He returned to the Clyde, and the 125cc Class, on Labor Day weekend. And last Saturday, he found his way back to victory lane.
Heiney and William Manotti threaded their way to second and third as Shane Davis set the pace in the 25-lap main. With just five laps left to run, Heiney and Manotti slipped past Davis to take over first and second, and then it was up to Heiney to hold off the 11-time feature winner. The young charger was up to the task, winning his second of the year in the 125cc division over Manotti, Justin Harrington, Davis, and Kerry Lengle. With his runner-up effort, Manotti clinched his second consecutive 125cc point title.
There's just one more chance to LIVE the excitement that is Lanco, and it's this Saturday, September 16, in the season finale` presented by Worley & Obetz. The Hyper Racing 600's, the Viper Chassis 270's, Sportsman, 125cc, and the Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Strokes will battle in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races. Last week's races, particularly in the 600cc and 270cc divisions, took the fans to "Slide Job City" with dozens of crowd-pleasing sliders. And the Sportsman main featured three wheel-twisters coming from the very back of the 24-car field to finish first, second, and third.
Gates open at 3:30 this Saturday with warm-ups at 5 p.m. and the first heat race goes green at 6:00. At just $8 for adult general admission (with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students), it's the best bargain in motorsports!
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Jarid Kunkle, 2.Chris Gerhart, 3.Bradley Brown, 4.Austin Quick, 5.Mike Rutherford, 6.Ryan Groff, 7.Heath Hehnly, 8.Zach Light, 9.Kyle Spence, 10.Nash Ely, 11.Brent Ely, 12.Will Urkuski, 13.Chris Panczner, 14.Brooklyn Gable, 15.Jered Hook, 16.Kassidy Michael, 17.Jeff Stelter, 18.Don Hess, 19.Patrick Ely, 20.Logan Spahr, 21.Jim Radney, 22.Ben George, 23.Shaun Brandel, 24.Rebecca LaMothe.
DNQ: John Moore
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Billy Logeman, 4.Mike Skias, 5.Dan Lane Jr., 6.Toby Blumenshine, 7.Austin Graby, 8.Brian Sholley, 9.Jarrett Imler, 10.Tajae Adams, 11.Corey Schmuck Jr., 12.Jimmy Wampole, 13.Devin Adams, 14.Nick Skias, 15.Christi Sweigart, 16.Sam LaMothe, 17.Heath Hehnly, 18.Terry Ellex, 19.Andrew Dietrich, 20.Dallas Schott, 21.Brent Shearer, 22.Shane Davis.
DNS: Sami Schenck; Mark Miller. DNQ: Curtis R. Miller.
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, 25 Laps (Postponed from August 19): 1.Andrew Dietrich, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Dan Lane Jr., 5.Mike Skias, 6.Nick Skias, 7.Billy Logeman, 8.Devin Adams, 9.Toby Blumenshine, 10.Brent Shearer, 11.Brian Sholley, 12.Corey Schmuck Jr., 13.Christi Sweigart, 14.Curtis R. Miller, 15.Dallas Schott, 16.Walt Wampole, 17.Kyle Spence, 18.Jarrett Imler, 19.Austin Graby, 20.Mark Miller.
DNS: Dylan Adams; Kyle Weiss; Justin Harrington; John Ruoss.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 Laps: 1.Cameron Bellinger, 2.Curtis R. Miller, 3.Angelo Mercado, 4.Sami Schenck, 5.Kane Rogers, 6.Austin Graby, 7.Todd Martin, 8.Michael Kreiser, 9.Robert Shanaman, 10.Clinton Hauser, 11.Alan Durham, 12.Andrew Dietrich, 13.Steve Smith, 14.Patrick Kirn, 15.Ricky Sechrist, 16.Charles Hellinger, 17.Sam Borger, 18.Dave Schroeder, 19.Louie Kirn, 20.Sheena Schaefer, 21.Toby Blumenshine, 22.Brian Kramer, 23.Cody Sechrist, 24.Dan Lane Jr.
Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 Laps: 1.Cliff Brian Jr., 2.Kassidy Michael, 3.Zak Vickers, 4.Mike Coen, 5.Eddie Nocera, 6.Riley Simmons, 7.Lewis Kepple, 8.Tommy Phipps Jr., 9.Ron Wechter, 10.Ron Zimmerman, 11.Dylan Yeingst, 12.Zachary Young, 13.Aidan Jones, 14.Sam Barge.
Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Feature (Postponed from August 19), 25 Laps: 1.Cliff Brian Jr., 2.Aidan Jones, 3.Mike Coen, 4.Zak Vickers, 5.Tommy Phipps Jr., 6.Ron Zimmerman, 7.Lewis Kepple, 8.Ron Wechter, 9.Zachary Young, 10.Eddie Nocera, 11.Riley Simmons, 12.Dylan Yeingst, 13.Sam Barge.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 Laps: 1.Kyler Heiney, 2.William Manotti, 3.Justin Harrington, 4.Shane Davis, 5.Kerry Lengle, 6.Corey Schmuck Jr., 7.Jas Hehnly, 8.Kalani Adams, 9.Holden Eckman, 10.Richard Stuck, 11.Kody Hibshman, 12.Jimmy Wampole, 13.Tyler Hershey, 14.Brandon Stuck.