Swavely, Cliff Brian Jr., & Heiney Also Victorious On Opening Night of Labor Day Classic
While he's won a couple wingless 270cc A-Mains over the past few years, Kyle Spence drove to his first winged 600 Sprint victory in Lanco's Labor Day Shootout presented by Bud's Sprint Service on Saturday night at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. The triumph was the third 600cc win of the season for the driver from Bear, DE.
"I really wanted to add a winged 600 win (in the Shootout) to my list," said Spence. "It's a big race, one of the biggest in this area, and it's nice to be able to check it off the list of races I want to win."
Joining Spence in the winner's circle on Night One of the annual Labor Day Classic at the Newmanstown, PA oval were Mike Rutherford (Viper Chassis 270 Sprints), Jason Swavely (Sportsman), Cliff Brian Jr. (250cc Four-Stroke), and Kyler Heiney (125cc).
The Labor Day Shootout continues on Sunday, September 2nd, with wingless racing for the 600's, 270's, and a combined 125cc/ 250cc Four-Stroke Challenge. The All Star Slingshots also compete in the Slide at the Clyde VI. Night Two of the Shootout is sponsored by Hyper Racing. Gates open at 1:30 p.m. Warm-ups begin at 3:45 and the first heat race goes green at 4:30.
Because he earned the most qualifying points, Heath Hehnly started on the pole of the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main. Hehnly set the pace early on while TJ Greve and Kyle Spence wrestled for the runner-up spot. After several slide jobs were exchanged, Spence executed one more to clear Greve's No. 44s off turn four, securing second place on lap five. The circumstance that drastically altered the complexion of the race occurred on lap 11, when Hehnly's closing rate on a slower car at the back of the pack resulted in him clipping the left-rear of the other car. Hehnly went for a wild ride through the infield in turn three but somehow managed to get the car righted and back on the track. He fell to sixth but continued for a few laps before heading to the pits.
Spence inherited the lead because of Hehnly's jaunt through the infield, and Andrew Layser found himself in the runner-up position. The driver to watch during the middle stages of the 30-lapper as Aaron Bollinger, who started 16th but sliced his way into fourth on the 17th trip around the lightning quick oval. The second caution of the event occurred with nine to go and just after Bradley Brown stole second from Layser. On the restart, Bollinger grabbed third from Layser and set his sights on Brown. A final yellow flag, with just four circuits remaining, did not alter the outcome and Spence led Brown to the checkered by just over a half-second. Bollinger finished a strong third with Layser and Brian Kramer rounding out the top five.
Lititz, PA's Mike Rutherford and Jarid Kunkle waged war for the top spot in the Viper Chassis 270 Sprint A-Main. Kunkle led from the pole with Rutherford relentlessly hounding him for several laps as Bradley Brown and Andrew Dietrich battled for third positon right behind the leaders.
Kunkle and Rutherford continued their scuffle for the lead, with Rutherford bouncing off the backstretch guardrail at one point, until Rutherford roared off the bottom of turn four to snatch the top spot on lap ten. Brown then challenged Kunkle for second and finally claimed the spot on the 17th revolution. A caution period with 19 complete had Rutherford in command with Brown, Kunkle, Heath Hehnly, Pat Bealer (who started 15th), and Jason Swavely (started 17th) in the top six positions. That is the way they finished, too, as Rutherford notched his fourth consecutive 270cc victory and sixth of the season at the Clyde. The win is also Rutherford's fifth triumph in the winged 270cc portion of the Labor Day Shootout (since 1997).
Noah Merkey paced the early laps of the 30-lap Sportsman A-Main with Nick Skias (who started eighth) charging to third in just two trips around the clay. Skias passed Danny Lane Jr. for second on the fifth tour, then inherited the top spot when Merkey's car suddenly slowed and stopped on the back chute with nine circuits in the books. Lane also stopped under the yellow, giving Skias the lead and putting ninth-starter Jason Swavely into the runner-up position.
Skias and Swavely produced a nip-tuck battle for the lead and Swavely found himself sandwiched between a Skias family reunion as Pete Skias, Nick's dad, slipped into third with a dozen laps left to run. Swavely went side-by-side with N. Skias for a full lap before nosing in front with just four to go. Swavely, from Fleetwood, PA, buzzed to a lead of more than one second during the final laps, winning his second straight Sportsman feature and third of the year at Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway. The victory is also Jason's fourth Sportsman triumph in the Labor Day Shootout since 2010.
N. Skias, P. Skias, Kory Merkey, and 22nd starting Sami Schenck completed the top five.
Just one yellow flag interrupted the 30-lap A-Main for the 250cc Four-Stroke division on Saturday night, and that came with three tours completed. The final 27 circuits went non-stop, and Ephrata's Cliff Brian Jr., who passed Mike Coen for the lead on lap two, captured his first Shootout victory and third of the season.
Cliff's younger brother Marty made things interesting at the end; he caught his older sibling in lapped traffic, then motored under Cliff as they drag raced off turn four and headed toward the checkered flag. Marty came within a half-car length but fell just short as Cliff recorded the win.
Tommy Phipps Jr. wound up third ahead of Coen and Eddie Nocera.
Kyler Heiney, from Strasburg, PA, made short work of the 125cc field in their 30-lap feature. Heiney started on the outside of the front row, bolted to the lead at the outset, and drove off into the sunset to score a dominating win. It was his seventh victory of the season in the 125cc division, and his fourth in the past five races (and sixth in the last eight events).
Heath Hehnly, subbing for Kerry Lengle in the No. 81, passed Holden Eckman for third at the halfway point, then shuffled by Austin Graby for the runner-up slot on lap 19. A late yellow, with just three revolutions remaining, gave Hehnly one last shot at the leader, but Heiney calmly scooted away on the restart and won by a comfortable margin. Hehnly settled for second with Graby finishing third. Jas Hehnly wound up fourth and Eckman finished fifth.
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 30 laps: 1.Kyle Spence, 2.Bradley Brown, 3.Aaron Bollinger, 4.Andrew Layser, 5.Brian Kramer, 6.Alex Bright, 7.Bobby Butler, 8.Mike Rutherford, 9.Dan Souder, 10.Jesse Maurer, 11.Ryan Groff, 12.Zach Light, 13.Nash Ely, 14.Tyler Tank, 15.Austin Quick, 16.Brooklyn Gable, 17.Chris Panczner, 18.Jimmy Glenn, 19.Holden Eckman, 20.Nick Groff, 21.Joey Amantea, 22.Tommy Scott Jr., 23.TJ Greve, 24.Ben Kysor, 25.Heath Hehnly, 26.Jarid Kunkle.
DNQ: Billy Koch, Michael Thompson, Shelby Rowles, Aidan Borden, Eric Wise, Dermot Thompson, Tatter Kysor, Charles Hunt.
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, 30 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Bradley Brown, 3.Jarid Kunkle, 4.Heath Hehnly, 5.Pat Bealer, 6.Jason Swavely, 7.Kyle Spence, 8.Billy Logeman, 9.Dan Lane Jr., 10.Richie Hartman, 11.Mike Skias, 12.Nick Skias, 13.Austin Graby, 14.Christi Sweigart, 15.Ronald Helmick, 16.Nate Gibble, 17.Jonathan John, 18.Zak Vickers, 19.Patrick Kirn, 20.Angelo Mercado, 21.Andrew Dietrich, 22.Brandon Gibble, 23.Toby Blumenshine, 24.Kyle Weiss, 25.Adam Harnish, 26.Austin Yingst. DNS: TJ Greve.
DNQ: Corey Schmuck Jr., Brandon Heist, Matthew Kreider, Adam Minzer Jr., Trent Eberhart.
Bud's Spring Service Sportsman A-Main, 30 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Nick Skias, 3.Pete Skias, 4.Kory Merkey, 5.Sami Schenck, 6.Toby Blumenshine, 7.Alex Funari, 8.Mike Rice, 9.Patrick Kirn, 10.Matt Hoffman, 11.Dennis Fenstermacher, 12.Brandon Heist, 13.Brittany Zeller, 14.Sam Borger, 15.Deana Cogdill, 16.Matt Andrews, 17.Ava Bellinger, 18.Noah Merkey, 19.Dan Lane Jr., 20.Anthony Yerger, 21.Jeremy Eisenhauer, 22.Kody Hibshman, 23.Clinton Hauser. DNS: Tyler Tank.
Bud's Spring Service 250cc Four-Stroke A-Main, 30 laps: 1.Cliff Brian Jr., 2.Marty Brian, 3.Tommy Phipps Jr., 4.Mike Coen, 5.Eddie Nocera, 6.Jessica Moore, 7.Dylan Yeingst, 8.Zachary Young, 9.Katelin Vragovich, 10.Ron Wechter, 11.Jenna Heagy, 12.Riley Simmons. DNS: Dan Lane Jr.
Bud's Spring Service 125cc A-Main, 30 laps: 1.Kyler Heiney, 2.Heath Hehnly, 3.Austin Graby, 4.Jas Hehnly, 5.Holden Eckman, 6.Corey Schmuck Jr., 7.Brian Kramer, 8.RJ Rossi, 9.Jason Hehnly, 10.Chase Layser, 11.Walt Wampole, 12.Tyler Martin, 13.Mike Glass, 14.Jimmy Wampole.