Bellinger Notches 8th Sportsman Triumph; K. Michael Takes Career 1st In 4-Strokes; Manotti Makes It A Dozen In 125's
By Barry Angstadt
Newmanstown, PA - Kyle Spence reeled off five consecutive victories from May 27 through July 8, then waited until Saturday's season finale` before recording his sixth triumph of the year in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint division at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Joining Spence in the winner's circle on Saturday in a program sponsored by Worley & Obetz, the area's leading supplier of fossil fuel and alternative energy, were Josh Stoyer (Viper Chassis 270's); Cameron Bellinger (Sportsman); Kassidy Michael (Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Strokes); and William Manotti (125cc).
The final night of racing in the Clyde's 60th anniversary season officially produce the 2017 point champions in each division. Heath Hehnly registered his sixth track championship in the Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, while Mike Rutherford, despite missing the finale due to injury, claimed his seventh point title in the Viper Chassis 270cc Class. Cameron Bellinger became a first-time champion in the Sportsman Class, and Mike Coen withstood a ferocious late season charge by Cliff Brian Jr. to win the Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke title. For the second straight year, William Manotti is the 125cc point champion.
Nash Ely led the early stages of the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main, while Vineland, NJ's Kyle Spence sliced his way from tenth on the starting grid to run second by lap three. On a restart with ten circuits in the books, Spence gassed his mount past Ely and into the top spot. Bradley Brown moved into the runner-up position on lap 14, but Spence had checked out by that point. Heath Hehnly and Dan Souder slipped by Austin Quick to run third and fourth with nine tours remaining, and Jarid Kunkle roared from 18th to sixth in the first 18 laps. At the finish, it was Spence scoring his sixth win of the season over Brown, Hehnly (who wrapped up his sixth title just by attempting to start on Saturday), Souder, and Kunkle.
600cc heat winners included Patrick Ely, TJ Greve, and Spence. Kunkle won the consolation race.
Mohnton's Josh Stoyer started third in the Viper Chassis 270 feature, but he didn't stay there for long. Stoyer drove to the lead on lap one and stayed there for the duration of the 25-lapper, winning his third race of the season but his first since May 20. While Stoyer led every lap and his margin of victory was 0.680-seconds, there was plenty of intrigue and drama in this final 270cc main of 2017. Mike Rutherford came into the final race as the point leader, but Rutherford injured his ribs (badly bruised) in a 600cc flip the night before at Linda's Speedway. He sat out the finale` at the Clyde, meaning Nick Skias had to finish third or better in order to unseat Rutherford at the top of the point parade...and Skias nearly pulled off the feat. As Jarid Kunkle (subbing for Rutherford in the Kaylor Petro No. 5k) and Andrew Dietrich dueled for the runner-up position behind Stoyer, Skias was rocketing forward from his 11th starting spot to run fifth by the time lap ten was scored. He continued his rim-riding march to the front by passing Kyle Spence, then set his sights on third place Dietrich. With six laps to go, Skias attempted the pass that would have given him the point title, as he tried to duck under Dietrich entering turn one. Skias got into the corner a little too hot but couldn't clear Dietrich, so he threw the car sideways, tried to save it, but ended up spinning. He restarted at the back of the pack and eventually finished 11th. Spence passed Dietrich for third on the restart after the Skias spin, then battled Kunkle for second over the remaining laps. At the finish it was Stoyer, Kunkle, Spence, Dietrich, and TJ Greve comprising the top five.
Heat race wins went to Mike Miller, Spence, and Heath Hehnly.
Without even buckling in on Saturday, Rutherford, from Lititz, captured his seventh 270cc point crown at the Clyde. It is also his sixth consecutive 270cc championship. The last driver to beat Rutherford for the title? It was Nick Skias in 2011.
Saturday's Sportsman feature was simply "icing on the cake" for this year's newly crowned point champ Cameron Bellinger. The Middletown, DE driver won his eighth Sportsman feature of the season in dramatic fashion with a last lap pass of Danny Lane Jr.
Patrick Kirn passed Andrew Dietrich to take the lead on lap four. With Kirn out front, a torrid battle for second ensued between Lane, Nick Skias (who started tenth), Dietrich, and Bellinger. The foursome traded positions two through five on a constant basis until Lane secured the runner-up spot with nine to go. He then swept around the outside of Kirn to take the lead on the 19th trip around the clay. Bellinger claimed second with three to go and began his assault on the high flying Lane. Bellinger got a tremendous run off the turn two banking on the final tour, diving under Lane and pulling ahead at the end of the backstretch. Lane tried to pinch him down as low as possible to mess with Bellinger's line entering turn three, but it was to no avail. Bellinger nosed ahead, then cleared Lane's car exiting the final turn. Bellinger screamed to the checkered by a slim margin over Lane, with Kirn, N. Skias, and Austin Graby making up the top five.
Sportsman heat race winners were Bellinger, N. Skias, and Lane. The Sportsman consolation victory went to Michael Kreiser.
The closest battle for a point championship was in the Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke division, where Mike Coen held a 19-point edge over Cliff Brian Jr. One of the potential championship scenarios was if Brian finished second, then Coen needed to finish fifth or better to clinch the title. And guess what happened...
In the non-stop, 25-lap Four-Stroke finale`, both Brian and Coen were jostled around on the initial start and fell to the back of the field. They battled back, and Brian made it to second place with a few laps remaining, trailing race leader Kassidy Michael by a large margin. Coen was racing along in sixth - which would have tied him with Brian for the title - until he managed to pass Tommy Phipps Jr. for fifth in the waning laps. Manheim's Kassidy Michael, who took the top spot from Lewis Kepple Jr. with ten to go, won her very first Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway feature, cruising to the triumph over Brian, who came up a mere four-points short in his quest for the championship. That title went to a relieved Coen, who hails from Shamokin, and finished fifth behind fourth-place Zak Vickers.
Coen and Michael won Four-Stroke heat races.
Lancaster's William Manotti clinched the 125cc point crown at the second-to-last race on September 9. In Saturday's curtain closer, Manotti made it an even dozen feature wins with another dominating performance. He passed a strong running Richard Stuck off turn four to snare the lead with just five laps remaining, then ran away and hid from the field enroute to his 12th win of the season. Stuck finished a career-best runner-up with Kerry Lengle third, Holden Eckman fourth, and Justin Harrington finishing fifth. After a yellow on the initial start, the 125cc racers clicked off 25 consecutive green flag laps.
125cc heat race winners included Lengle and Manotti.
With the 2017 racing season now complete at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, attention turns to the annual Lanco Awards Banquet. The gala that will honor the point champions, the top-15 in points in each division, and special award winners will take place on Saturday, November 18 at the Four Seasons Golf Course Banquet Room in Landisville, PA. Doors open at 4:45 p.m. and dinner will begin at 5:30, with the awards ceremony to follow.
Banquet ticket order forms can be downloaded from the track's website at www.clydemartinspeedway.com. Orders are due to Kim Adams at the address listed on the ticket order form by November 8. Anyone wishing to place an ad in the banquet program book should contact Barry Angstadt by email at email@example.com.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Bradley Brown, 3.Heath Hehnly, 4.Dan Souder, 5.Jarid Kunkle, 6.Austin Quick, 7.Chris Panczner, 8.Ryan Groff, 9.Zach Light, 10.Jim Radney, 11.Chris Gerhart, 12.Will Urkuski, 13.Brent Ely, 14.Kassidy Michael, 15.Tyler Ulrich, 16.Shaun Brandel, 17.Jeff Stelter, 18.Logan Spahr, 19.Patrick Ely, 20.Don Hess, 21.Nash Ely, 22.Ben George, 23.Bruce Ginther Jr., 24.Tyler Hershey. DNS: TJ Greve.
DNQ: Jack Conover, Jered Hook, Todd Spahr, Rebecca LaMothe.
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, 25 Laps: 1.Josh Stoyer, 2.Jarid Kunkle, 3.Kyle Spence, 4.Andrew Dietrich, 5.TJ Greve, 6.Brian Sholley, 7.Billy Logeman, 8.Mike Miller, 9.Heath Hehnly, 10.Austin Graby, 11.Nick Skias, 12.Toby Blumenshine, 13.Corey Schmuck Jr., 14.Mike Skias, 15.Dan Lane Jr., 16.Matthew Kreider, 17.Jarrett Imler, 18.Devin Adams, 19.Christi Sweigart, 20.Tajae Adams, 21.Dustin Ellex, 22.Greg Miller, 23.Jimmy Wampole.
Worley & Obetz Sportsman Feature, 25 Laps: 1.Cameron Bellinger, 2.Dan Lane Jr., 3.Patrick Kirn, 4.Nick Skias, 5.Austin Graby, 6.Kane Rogers, 7.Brian Kramer, 8.Robert Shanaman, 9.Michael Kreiser, 10.Michele Stratton, 11.Louie Kirn, 12.Toby Blumenshine, 13.Alan Durham, 14.Clinton Hauser, 15.Andrew Dietrich, 16.Sam Borger, 17.Cody Sechrist, 18.Todd Martin, 19.Angelo Mercado, 20.Katelyn Vragavich, 21.Ricky Sechrist, 22.Steve Smith, 23.Mike Miller.
DNQ: Dave Schroeder, Dennis Adams.
Hammer Down Engines 250cc Four-Stroke Feature, 25 Laps: 1.Kassidy Michael, 2.Cliff Brian Jr., 3.Lewis Kepple, 4.Zak Vickers, 5.Mike Coen, 6.Tommy Phipps Jr., 7.Aidan Jones, 8.Ron Wechter, 9.Eddie Nocera, 10.Ron Zimmerman, 11.Dylan Yeingst, 12.Zachary Young, 13.Sam Barge, 14.Riley Simmons.
Worley & Obetz 125cc Feature, 25 Laps: 1.William Manotti, 2.Richard Stuck, 3.Kerry Lengle, 4.Holden Eckman, 5.Justin Harrington, 6.Tyler Hershey, 7.Corey Schmuck Jr., 8.Shane Davis, 9.Kalani Adams, 10.Kody Hibshman, 11.Kyler Heiney, 12.Ryan Swavely, 13.Jimmy Wampole.
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