Skias Makes It Two In A Row In Sportsman Class; Coen & Heiney Also Visit Victory Lane
Newmanstown, PA - It may have been just their second race together, but Jarid Kunkle appeared to be right at home in the seat of Ron Shaffer's 600cc Micro Sprint.
The college student from Kutztown blasted to his first victory of the season in Saturday night's Hyper Racing 600 feature at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, passing Jim Radney in late race lapped traffic to earn the triumph. Joining Kunkle in Saturday's winner's circle were Mike Rutherford (Viper Chassis 270cc), Nick Skias (Sportsman), Kyler Heiney (125cc), and Mike Coen (250cc Four-Stroke).
It was a night that had to be seen to be believed, with incredibly competitive action in four of the five main events, starting with the Hyper Racing 600 headliner.
Radney started on the pole and set the early pace while Austin Quick and Kunkle traded vicious slide jobs for second place. The duel for the runner-up position went on for at least a dozen laps but that wasn't the only highlight reel battle taking place on the progressively banked oval. Heath Hehnly, who started 17th, moved up to fight for a top five spot with Mike Rutherford. Kunkle finally cleared Quick for second on the 18th trip around the clay. He set sail after Radney, and caught the leader in less than two laps even though Radney had built a comfortable advantage during the middle stages of the event. Kunkle stalked Radney for three tours, then made his move when the leader hesitated a bit behind a lapped car. Kunkle shot into the top spot with three to go, and even a yellow flag with 22 complete could not derail his ride to victory. He checked out on the restart and was nearly two-seconds ahead of Radney when the checkered flag waved on lap 25.
"I am so glad that Ron asked me to drive his car," smiled Kunkle in victory lane. "The thing is a rocket, and there's so many fast cars here, but we had the best one tonight."
Radney wound up second with Quick finishing third ahead of Kyle Spence and Hehnly.
Qualifying heat victories went to Radney, Spence, and TJ Greve. Mike Thompson won the consolation race as 28 cars took part in the 600cc portion of the program.
The Viper Chassis 270cc feature was just as good and maybe even a little bit better than the 600 main, with every position among the top six or seven being contested for the entire race.
William Manotti led the first lap, but Devin Adams ducked under him and took over the top spot on the second revolution. Eighth-starting Mike Rutherford dashed to fourth in the first couple laps as last week's winner, Danny Lane Jr., steadily weaved his way from ninth on the starting grid to climb into the top five. Jarid Kunkle, driving Chuck Skias' Viper House Car, started third but fell back to sixth in the early going...although he did not stay there for long. Kunkle found the top shelf and rim-rode the high line to snare second by lap four. Rutherford moved into third on a lap five restart, and then the fireworks really kicked into high gear.
Kunkle threw a slider on race leader Devin Adams in turns one and two on the tenth trip around the oval. Kunkle slipped higher than anticipated as he drifted up the banking, as both Adams and Rutherford went by him. Kunkle passed Rutherford for second again, but exiting turn two at the halfway point of the race, Rutherford threaded the needle, splitting Kunkle and Adams to take the lead. The next six circuits found Kunkle, Adams, Lane, and TJ Greve scuffling for positions two through five and turning Clyde Martin Speedway into Slide Job City. Kunkle held on to the runner-up slot and a caution with seven to go gave him another shot at Rutherford. On the restart, Kunkle hung with the leader for a few tours, then attempted a giant slider in three and four. Afterward, Kunkle admitted that he should have slid up in front of Rutherford sooner than he did, but he waited until they hit the homestretch before trying to squeeze up in front of the No. 5k. Rutherford already had a head of steam built up after accelerating off the corner, and he tapped Kunkle's rear bumper, sending Kunkle spinning on the home chute with just two laps remaining. Rutherford emerged unscathed, and went on to win over Lane, Adams, Greve, and Kyle Spence.
Kunkle and Rutherford won heat races for the 22 car field of 270 Micros.
Nick Skias is making a habit of being involved in early race mishaps, then rebounding to win the 25-lap Sportsman feature. Saturday's event was the second consecutive week in which his No. 88 was part of an early yellow, only to find the Wernersville, Pa. native posing for photos in victory lane at the end of the race. But he had to work extremely hard to achieve this triumph, as Noah Merkey put up one heck of a fight.
Michael Kreiser and Merkey shared the front row as the 25 lapper went green, and they entertained the fans with a side-by-side duel for the first few circuits before they were joined by Ava Bellinger. Merkey chose the high line while Kreiser hugged the bottom and Bellinger looked for any opening she could find. On lap four, Mike Rutherford entered the picture after starting tenth. Rutherford rolled the top, right behind Merkey, with Kreiser still digging hard on the bottom in a three-car tussle for the top spot. Rutherford's mount gave up with eight complete, and it was Merkey scored as the leader when the yellow appeared. By lap ten, Skias flew into third after he'd spun out on the third trip around the banked oval and restarted from the back of the pack. One lap prior to the halfway signal, Skias snatched the runner-up spot from Bellinger, then began a five lap battle royale with Merkey. The duo traded slide job after exciting slide job at both ends of the speedway, swapping the point on numerous occasions before Skias was able to clear Merkey's RTS Chassis No. 31 with eight revolutions left to run. The final laps saw Skias motor away from the field, but Bellinger and Sami Schenck put on a show as they battled for third. At the finish, it was Skias winning his second straight Sportsman feature over Merkey, who was elated with his second place effort and the fact that he'd made the race so exciting. Bellinger, after sitting out the 2017 season because she gave birth to her son, finished third in just her second race back in the seat. Schenck and Toby Blumenshine completed the top five.
With 18 Sportsman signed in for competition, Rutherford and Blumenshine were victorious in heat race action.
Kyler Heiney went from third to first on the opening lap of the 125cc feature, then cruised to the win in the Ziegler's Distributors, Harrington Motorsports No. 76. Corey Schmuck Jr., who finished third on opening night, moved up one spot in week two and William Manotti roared from the rear of the field to earn third place money. Kerry Lengle, the winner on April 14, finished fourth ahead of Jas Hehnly.
After just two races, Heiney, Schmuck, and Lengle all have an average finish of 2.5 and are tied for the point lead. Jas Hehnly is just ten points behind the trio.
Schmuck and Heiney were 125cc heat race winners.
Defending 250cc Four-Stroke point champ Mike Coen had a difficult night on April 14, but he righted the ship quickly, darting from the pole to lead all the way and win on Saturday. Cliff Brian Jr. ran second to Coen for much of the 25-lap main and, while he stayed within striking distance, Brian could not get quite close enough to muster a serious bid for the lead. Coen beat Brian to the stripe by 0.111-seconds as Brian finished runner-up for the second consecutive week. Eddie Nocera took the checkered in third, with Marty Brian and the previous week's winner, Kassidy Michael, rounding out the top five.
Heat winners included Coen and Donna Geib as 16 of the Four-Stroke Micro Sprints entered Saturday's event.
The April 21st racing was fantastic, and this Saturday the five weekly divisions are set to do it all over again as the Clyde says goodbye to the month of April. Qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features are once again on tap for the Hyper Racing 600's, the Viper Chassis 270's, Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro Sprints. Gates open at 4 p.m. with warm-ups beginning at 5:30. The first heat race goes green at 6:30.
Adult general admission tickets are just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and students. Youth between the ages of six and twelve are just $2.00, and children under the age of six are free.
If you missed the tremendous action last week (or even if you didn't miss it), you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Hyper Racing 600 Micro Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jarid Kunkle, 2.Jim Radney, 3.Austin Quick, 4.Kyle Spence, 5.Heath Hehnly, 6.Mike Rutherford, 7.Kassidy Michael, 8.Jimmy Glenn, 9.TJ Greve, 10.Brent Ely, 11.Zach Light, 12.Hayden Miller, 13.Bradley Brown, 14.Logan Spahr, 15.Taylor Troxel, 16.Shaun Brandel, 17.Donald Hess, 18.Holden Eckman, 19.Nash Ely, 20.Ryan Groff, 21.Brian Kramer, 22.Chris Gerhart, 23.Bruce Ginther Jr. DQ: Mike Thompson.
DNQ: Matthew Donley, Jason Brown, John Moore, Rebecca LaMothe.
Viper Chassis 270 Micro Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Dan Lane Jr., 3.Devin Adams, 4.TJ Greve, 5.Kyle Spence, 6.Bradley Brown, 7.Andrew Dietrich, 8.Jarid Kunkle, 9.Christi Sweigart, 10.Tajae Adams, 11.Matthew Kreider, 12.Brian Sholley, 13.Sami Schenck, 14.Mike Skias, 15.Cameron Bellinger, 16.Corey Schmuck Jr., 17.William Manotti, 18.Austin Graby, 19.Jarrett Imler, 20.Nick Skias, 21.Walt Wampole. DNS: Billy Logeman.
Sportsman Micro Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Nick Skias, 2.Noah Merkey, 3.Ava Bellinger, 4.Sami Schenck, 5.Toby Blumenshine, 6.Michael Kreiser, 7.Kory Merkey, 8.Jeremy Eisenhauer, 9.Clinton Hauser, 10.Steve Smith, 11.Samuel Barge, 12.Sam Borger, 13.Austin Yingst, 14.Robert Shanaman, 15.Alan Durham, 16.Mike Rutherford, 17.Ricky Sechrist, 18.Kody Hibshman.
125cc Micro Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Kyler Heiney, 2.Corey Schmuck Jr., 3.William Manotti, 4.Kerry Lengle, 5.Jas Hehnly, 6.Shane Davis, 7.Ryan Swavely, 8.Chase Layser, 9.Dalton Eckman, 10.Adam Barge, 11.Kalani Adams, 12.Mike Glass, 13.Jimmy Wampole.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Mike Coen, 2.Cliff Brian Jr., 3.Eddie Nocera, 4.Marty Brian, 5.Kassidy Michael, 6.Tommy Phipps Jr., 7.Zak Vickers, 8.Donna Geib, 9.Riley Simmons, 10.Ron Zimmerman, 11.Jessica Moore, 12.Dylan Yeingst, 13.Ron Wechter, 14.Ted Rollins, 15.Aidan Jones, 16.Dan Lane Jr.