Newmanstown, PA (April 7) - Put Alex Bright in any type of racecar at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway, and chances are he will steer it straight to the winner's circle. He proved that once again on Saturday night when he gassed Greg Stevens' 600 Sprint to victory in the No Wing Spring Fling at the Newmanstown, Pa. oval.
Also on Saturday, TJ Greve started the year the same way he ended the 2018 campaign, by winning the 270cc main event. Cliff Brian Jr. provided a thrilling nightcap to the No Wing Spring Fling with a last lap, final corner pass of his younger brother Marty to score the triumph in the 125cc/250cc Four-Stroke Challenge.
Bright earned his nickname, "the Phenom", by winning two features in the 600 Sprint Class during his rookie season at the Clyde. Since that time, he's also picked up four ARDC Midget victories as well as additional 600cc wins, including Saturday's triumph over a talent-laden field of 600cc competitors.
The Collegeville resident shot to the lead as the green flag waved, beating pole sitter Jesse Maurer to turn one. Austin Quick threw a slider on Maurer to grab second as Bright dashed out to a sizable lead. By lap 12, Brian Carber was the man on the move, sliding Maurer, then Quick, to become the runner-up. The second caution period of the race occurred with 17 complete and on the restart, the No. 2s of Mike Rutherford came to life. Rutherford, who started 18th, zipped from sixth to second in less than one lap when the green reappeared. The fourth and final yellow flew with three circuits remaining, and Rutherford gave it one last shot on the restart, gunning his mount to the inside of Bright off turn four. Bright would not allow Rutherford to clear him, though, squeezing through the narrow hole between his rival and the outside guardrail to stay in front. Over the final few revolutions, Carber passed Rutherford for second as Bright pulled away to a lead of more than a half-second. At the finish, it was Bright, Carber, Rutherford, 12th-starter Aaron Bollinger, and 17th-starting Christian Bruno who made up the top five.
Jimmy Glenn, Ryan Groff, Carber, and Kyle Spence were heat race winners for the 35-car field of non-wing 600's. Twin consolations were captured by Christian Bruno and Rutherford.
TJ Greve, from Hartly, DE, started seventh in the 30-lapper for the 270cc Sprints. Greve rapidly powered his way forward, snatching the top spot from pole sitter Patrick Kirn with a slide job in the fourth corner on lap six. Josh Stoyer and Mike Rutherford (who started 15th) became contenders as the race entered its middle stages, with Rutherford slipping by Stoyer for second at the halfway mark. Rutherford's No. 5k was hooked on the bottom while Greve rolled the top on both ends of the speedway. They battled side by side before Greve moved down to take away Rutherford's line through the corners. The fantastic duel came to an end with six to go when Rutherford suddenly drove to the infield and fell out due to mechanical gremlins. That put Stoyer back into the runner-up position, but he was no match for Greve as TJ darted to victory by 2.3-seconds over Stoyer, Andrew Dietrich, Bradley Brown, and Pete Skias. Dietrich pulled off the comeback of the night after flipping twice in his heat race, starting 20th in the feature, and bicycling wildly as he sliced his way to the front during the 30-lap race.
Greve, Cameron Bellinger, and Stoyer were victorious in heat races for the 23-cars entered in the 270cc portion of the No Wing Spring Fling.
Ephrata's Cliff Brian Jr. won the very first Non-Wing Challenge between the 125cc and 250cc Four-Strokes last September. With his victory on Saturday, he is now two-for-two in the Challenge races, but it took a miraculous effort to remain undefeated.
Brian started on the pole of the 30-lap main in his Four-Stroke, but it was the 125cc racer of Kyler Heiney who grabbed the early lead. As Heiney continued to set the pace, Brian's night seemingly went from bad to worse, as he was penalized for getting into Eddie Nocera, causing Nocera to flip, then turning over himself in a skirmish later in the race. Brian persevered however, roaring back through the field to eventually challenge Heiney for the lead by the halfway point. When Heiney hesitated just a bit behind a lapped car, Brian capitalized and jumped back into the top spot on lap 17. But his trials and tribulations were not over, as he tangled with a lapped car with just ten tours left to run, collecting Heiney in the process. While Brian's car stopped on the track as a result of the contact, Heiney's night ended as he had nowhere to go, blasting the lapped car and launching into the air. When his No. 76 landed, the impact caused major front end damage that forced him to retire. Mike Glass inherited the lead at that point, with Marty Brian in second. On the restart following the Cliff Brian/Kyler Heiney incident, it was Marty making the bold move, rocketing off turn two and shooting past Glass to snare the lead. Tommy Phipps Jr. followed Marty by Glass, and it was looking as if Marty was going to score his first Clyde Martin triumph. But his older brother had other ideas. Cliff came from the back once again, and quickly, moving back into the top three with a few laps remaining. He passed Phipps for second as Phipps' car began to slow, then set his sights on his younger sibling. Marty caught a ripple in the racing surface in turns three and four on the final lap, permitting Cliff to duck under him. The drag race to the checkered flag went to Cliff - by the slim margin of just 0.040-seconds over his little brother. Marty was a disappointed runner-up, with Glass finishing third ahead of Jessica Moore and Chase Layser.
Twenty cars entered the 125cc/250cc Four-Stroke Challenge, with heat race victories going to Bradley Brown and Mike Miller.
The "regular season" begins this Saturday, April 13, with the five weekly divisions beginning their pursuit of the 2019 point championships. RTS Chassis presents First Responders Night at the Clyde, with all First Responders (who show a current and valid I.D.) gaining free admission to the grandstand. Gates open at 4:30, warm-ups begin at 6 p.m., and the first heat race goes green at 7:00. Heats, consolations, and 25-lap feature races will make up the program for the winged 600cc, 270cc, 125cc, Sportsman, and 250cc Four-Stroke Sprints.
Come on out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, 30 Laps: 1.Alex Bright, 2.Brian Carber, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Aaron Bollinger, 5.Christian Bruno, 6.Jarid Kunkle, 7.Bobby Butler, 8.Heath Hehnly, 9.Jimmy Glenn, 10.Brenden Bright, 11.Ryan Groff, 12.Tyler Lindsay, 13.Jason Swavely, 14.Luke Thomas, 15.Holden Eckman, 16.Bradley Brown, 17.Donald Hess, 18.Jesse Maurer, 19.Ryan Greth, 20.Ben Earnst, 21.Kyle Spence, 22.Austin Quick, 23.Jim Radney, 24.TJ Greve.
DNQ: Mike Linderman, Mike Meyers, Will Urkuski, Chelsey Moore, Steven Snyder, Trey Paseka, Mark Yoder, Aidan Borden, Becca LaMothe, Chris Good, Tyler Chalk.
270cc Sprints, 30 Laps: 1.TJ Greve, 2.Josh Stoyer, 3.Andrew Dietrich, 4.Bradley Brown, 5.Pete Skias, 6.Dan Lane Jr., 7.Patrick Kirn, 8.Adam Minzer, 9.Toby Blumenshine, 10.Anthony Yerger, 11.Ben Layser, 12.Mike Rutherford, 13.Clinton Hauser, 14.Tajae Adams, 15.Kyle Spence, 16.Nick Skias, 17.Cameron Bellinger, 18.Jason Swavely, 19.Mike Miller, 20.Trent Eberhart, 21.Zack Hollinger. DNS: Adam Harnish, Kalani Adams.
125cc/250cc Four-Stroke Challenge, 30 Laps: 1.Cliff Brian Jr., 2.Marty Brian, 3.Mike Glass, 4.Jessica Moore, 5.Chase Layser, 6.Tommy Phipps Jr., 7.Holden Eckman, 8.AJ Gerhart, 9.Eddie Nocera, 10.Kyler Heiney, 11.Zachary Young, 12.Ron Young, 13.Alex Lukacs, 14.Mike Miller, 15.Brandon Gibble, 16.Dylan Yiengst, 17.Bradley Brown, 18.Olivia Pelliccotti, 19.Barbie Eichorn, 20.Ron Wechter.
Submitted by Barry Angstadt, Media Information Director/Announcer