Newmanstown, PA (August 4) - It was a race that had more plot twists, along with many incredible action sequences, than most motion pictures or television shows. There were comebacks from adversity, heroic moves that tested the fences, and, when the checkered flag finally waved to end the terrific event, there was a winner who set a record.
In his first race back since he broke his arm almost eight weeks ago, Zeb Wise became the youngest winner - ever - of a USAC National Midget feature when he captured the 40-lap, P1 Insurance National Midget Championship Series race on Saturday night at Lanco’s Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Wise, from Angola, IN, did not take the lead until lap 29, and that is probably a good thing as the early leaders seemed snake bit and ended up in tangles and/or knocked out of the race.
On the original start, Cullman, Alabama’s Kevin Thomas Jr. threw a slide job on pole sitter (and current National points leader) Logan Seavey of Sutter, CA. Thomas shot out to a comfortable lead as Spencer Bayston, Brady Bacon, and Wise tussled for third. The first yellow flag flew with three circuits complete and on the restart, Bayston slid Seavey for second, but the pass was wiped out by another caution because Tyler Courtney flipped in turn four, collecting Alex Bright. Both were able to restart at the back of the pack.
On the fifth tour, Bayston executed another slider on Seavey and this time it worked, moving Bayston, who was quickest in time trials with a new track record of 10.129-seconds, to second. Last season’s National Midget point champ, Bayston, then went after the race leader, and he quickly caught Thomas as they encountered a heavy pack of cars running at the rear of the field. Thomas was able to separate himself from the pack as the leaders caught and began to negotiate lapped traffic by the ninth revolution.
On lap16, as Thomas attempted to put a lap on Andrew Layser, the duo banged wheels in turns three and four. Thomas, the race leader, spun out, collecting a few others with Brady Bacon flipping but able to restart.
Bayston inherited the top spot at that point as Thomas headed pit side. Bacon made it back onto the track. Bayston charged out to a commanding lead over Seavey, and soon 15-year-old Zeb Wise entered the picture, executing a slider on Seavey to take over the runner-up slot at the halfway point. One circuit later, Justin Grant took over third and he held that position until he encountered some lapped traffic. He flipped in turns three and four, after contact with a few of the cars he was trying to lap, with 24 complete, collecting Tim Buckwalter.
Tyler Courtney, who flipped early in the race, was back up to sixth with 24 down, and he re-entered the top five with just seven tours remaining.
Wise led lap 29 - barely - over Bayston after slide-jobbing him in one and two. With two to go, Bayston made contact with some lapped scars as he tried to keep pace with the winner.
With two to go, Bayston tried an acrobatic move in lapped traffic, made contact with one of the slower cars, and spun in the fourth turn. Seavey actually drove his car into and off of the fence. During the yellow to repair the fence, Courtney headed for the pits with a flat left-rear tire. He made it back out prior to the green flag waving again.
On the green-white-checkered restart, Bright’s No. 77 came to life, enabling him to move up to third. He passed Seavey for second on lap 39, then closed on Wise during the final trip around the progressively banked oval. Wise kept him at bay to seal the deal and become USAC’s youngest-ever winner of a P1 Insurance USAC National Midget Tour event at the ripe old age of 15.
Alex Bright finished a hard-earned second, with Seavey - the current national tour’s point leader - settling for third. Adam Pierson finished finished fourth and Bacon rebounded nicely from his roll-over to finish fifth. Justin Grant returned from his rollover to record a seventh place finish and Tyler Courtney persevered to finish tenth.
In time trials, Spencer Bayston turned the quickest lap at 10.129-seconds. Courtney was close behind at 10.136, and Brady Bacon was third best in time trials at 10.293. The first two, by Bayston and Courtney, were both under the current track record of 10.208, set by Carson Macedo. Spencer Bayston now holds the track record for the USAC Midgets at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
Chad Boat, Courtney, and Seavey were heat race winners for the 24 Midget competitors.
Spence Wins Hyper Racing 600 Speedweek Event
Bear, DE’s Kyle Spence won the Hyper Racing 600 Speedweek race, putting him in the catbird’s seat to clinch the Speedweek point title in the final race on Sunday at Championship Energy Action Track USA in Kutztown, PA.
Spence started on the pole by virtue of earning the most qualifying points in his heat race and his “A Qualifier Race.”
He and Alex Bright shared the front row, and Spence darted out in front at the drop of the green. Bright tried everything in his arsenal to overtake the race leader, but to no avail.
Tim Buckwalter and Ryan Greth battled for third right behind the lead duo before Buckwalter forged ahead and eventually passed Bright for second. With nine laps scored, however, Buckwalter’s mount threw a chain while he was running second. Heath Hehnly started 13th and methodically weaved his way up to fifth by the ninth revolution.
On the 23rd of the 30-laps that made up the 600 main, Greth and Bradley Brown were dicing for third position. Brown threw a big slider on Greth to grab the spot, but Greth came storming back, trying a slide job of his own. He did not clear Brown’s car in three and four, but made contact with Brown and both of them flipped wildly in turn three.
That put Hehnly in third for the restart. Spence and A. Bright continued to run one-two, but now A. Bright had his hands full with Jarid Kunkle, who started 12th in Saturday’s main event for the 600’s.
Kunkle wrestled second away from Bright, then ran down Kyle Spence in the waning laps and challenged for the lead. Kunkle threw a huge slider in three and four on the final lap, but Spence was ready and drove back under him to reclaim the top spot.
At the finish, it was Spence winning, Kunkle finishing a disappointed second, A. Bright hanging on for third, with Heath Hehnly and TJ Greve founding out the top five.
A terrific 64 car field entered the Hyper Racing 600 Speedweek event. Six heats were run with wins going to Tommy Kunsman, Brown, Spence, Kenny Miller III, Kunkle, and Greth.
The four “A-Qualifier races” went to Lou Cicconi, Brown, Billy Koch, and Hehnly. B-Main winners included Mike Thompson, Jason Swavely, and Jacob Severn.
Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway is back in action next Saturday, August 11, with its five weekly divisions resuming their respective point chases. The Hyper Racing 600 sprints, the Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Stroke Micro Sprints will battle in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features.
Gates will open at 4:30 with warm-ups getting underway at 6 p.m. the first heat race goes green at 7:00.
USAC National Midget Series, 40 Laps: 1.Zeb Wise, 2.Alex Bright, 3.Logan Seavey, 4.Adam Pierson, 5.Brady Bacon, 6.Tanner Carrick, 7.Justin Grant, 8.Andrew Layser, 9.Spencer Bayston, 10.Tyler Courtney, 11.Chad Boat, 12.Kenny Miller III, 13.Brayton Lynch, 14.Ethan Mitchell, 15.Tommy Kunsman, 16.Shawn Jackson, 17.Jason Rice, 18.Brenden Bright, 19.Tim Buckwalter, 20.Kevin Woody, 21.Kevin Thomas Jr., 22.Kenney Johnson.
DNS: John Anderika; Kyle Craker.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 30 Laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Jarid Kunkle, 3.Alex Bright, 4.Heath Hehnly, 5.TJ Greve, 6.Billy Koch, 7.Jesse Maurer, 8.Lou Cicconi, 9.Kenny Miller III, 10.Jim Radney, 11.Aaron Bollinger, 12.Kassidy Michael, 13.Michael Thompson, 14.Nash Ely, w15.Ryan Groff, 16.Tomas Partington, 17.Austin Quick, 18.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 19.Colin White, 20.Jason Swavely, 21.Ryan Greth, 22.Bradley Brown, 23.Tim Buckwalter, 24.Andrew Layser, 25.Mike Rutherford, 26.Jacob Severn.
DNQ: BJ Antonio, John Crowder, Mike Linderman, Steve Bracall, Joey Amantea, Scotty Smith, Damon Paul, Aidan Borden, Dave Dimaio, Cory Grenzy, John Kahl, Joe Snyder, Carl Parker, Luke Thomas, Shaun Brandel, Shawn Rooney, Paige Moss, Geordan Marrero, Raelynn Moss, Chad Sandt, Hunter Metzger, Holden Eckman, Don Hess, Dallas Sanders, Nathan Miller, Ty Hevins, Will Urkuski, Steve Whary, Kyle Lick, Jake Frye, Christian Bruno, Brandon Pavel, John Vreeland, Ryan Timms, Zak Gorski, Ben Earnst, Dustin Cates, James Morris.
Submitted by Barry Angstadt