A rare bad night on June 15 lit a fire in Heath Hehnly's belly, and one week later he blazed a trail all the way to victory lane at Lanco's Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway.
The wheel-twister from Manheim, PA suffered through mechanical issues and did not even start the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint feature on June 15. Making matters even worse was the fact that Hehnly had a large number of friends and family in the stands (some from as far away as Utah) and his car owner, Chris Snyder, was under the weather and not at the race track.
Fast forward one week and Hehnly, Snyder, and crew were basking in the winner's circle after their second triumph of the season. Joining him in victory lane on Saturday were Bradley Brown (Viper Chassis 270 Sprints), Nick Skias (Sportsman), Cliff Brian Jr., (250cc Four-Stroke), and Kerry Lengle (125cc).
Hehnly utilized an excellent starting spot (second) and executed a perfect slide job on pole sitter Zach Light to grab the lead on lap one of the Hyper Racing 600 Sprint main. Jesse Snyder and Ryan Greth quickly maneuvered into the second and third positions as a gaggle of cars including Jered Hook, Brian Kramer, Ryan Groff, Mike Rutherford, and Ryan Hook fought for positions four through eight.
Hehnly's only moments of doubt and concern occurred when he had to negotiate some rather heavy lapped traffic, allowing Greth and Snyder to close the gap he'd built up during the middle stages of the 25-lapper. The third caution of the event came with only three circuits remaining, wiping away the traffic in front of the leaders and giving Hehnly some clear race track with which to work.
Sprinting out to a comfortable advantage over the final tours, Hehnly roared to the checkered by a little more than one-second over Greth, with Snyder chalking up a season-best of third. Jarid Kunkle battled the Hook brothers, Ryan Groff, Mike Rutherford, and Brent Ely to wind up fourth. Jered Hook recorded his third consecutive top five finish with a fifth-place effort.
Hehnly's triumph ended a five-race win streak for Mike Rutherford, who finished sixth on Saturday.
With 23 of the 600's entering the program, heat race victories went to Jesse Snyder, Jered Hook, and Heath Hehnly.
Bradley Brown, from New Providence, PA, made the most of a golden opportunity, as he started on the pole of the Viper Chassis 270 main and led all the way in the 25-lap affair. The victory was his second of the season in 270cc competition, and it earned him a guaranteed starting spot in a special wingless 270 race to be held on Tuesday, August 6 at Shellhammers Speedway. He was presented with a trophy on Saturday and offered a formal invitation to compete as a guaranteed starter in the event by Mark Stufflet, who (along with his wife Teri) represented the promoters of the wingless event at Shellhammers, the Reading Fairgrounds Racing Historical Society.
While Brown led the early laps, eighth-starting Mike Rutherford and Heath Hehnly waged an entertaining duel for the runner-up spot. Rutherford found the bottom to his liking and he made it work, eventually wrestling second from Hehnly and setting his sights on the high flying Brown. Rutherford closed in on the leader as Brown dealt with lapped cars, but it was his move on one of those lapped cars late in the race that pretty much sealed the deal for the race winner.
Brown threw a slider on the slower car in turns one and two, then dashed away as Rutherford was forced to wait (to make his move around the lapped car) until they got to the backstretch. Brown went on to win by several car lengths over Rutherford, with Jason Swavely, Toby Blumenshine, and Corey Schmuck Jr. completing the top five.
An ugly incident occurred with three laps scored when (at least) five cars flipped down the home chute on a restart. Several cars within the top ten got jammed up and a couple of them were squeezed into the outside guardrail, launching them into a series of flips. Billy Logeman's No. 97 was then hit - hard - as he tumbled in mid-air. Fortunately, all of the drivers involved were okay, and the list included Logeman, Josh Stoyer, Mike Uhrich, Zack Vickers, and Adam Harnish.
A nice field of 28 entered the 270cc portion of Saturday's program. Patrick Kirn, Rutherford, and Andrew Dietrich registered heat race wins. Stoyer won the consolation race.
Mike Kreiser set the pace in the early going of the Sportsman feature, but every eye in the house was on the No. 88 of Nick Skias. The Wernersville, PA throttle-jockey sliced his way from 16th to sixth in the first five trips around the clay. Skias blasted the top on a lap six restart, passing three cars and setting his sights on runner-up Anthony Yerger.
Skias and Yerger engaged in an exciting slide-fest for the next seven revolutions, with Yerger cutting low off the corners and re-passing the No. 88 each time Skias would throw a slider. The second, and final yellow flag, waved with 13 laps in the record books. On the restart, Skias bonzai-dived both Yerger and Kreiser in turns one and two to grab the top spot. He went on to lead the final 11 circuits to score his second Sportsman win in the past three races. Yerger notched a season-best second-place finish, with Kreiser racing home in third. Clinton Hauser wound up fourth and Patrick Kirn was fifth as the 25-lap main concluded.
Tommy Phipps Jr. and Charles Hellinger won the Sportsman heats.
Ephrata, PA's Cliff Brian Jr. won his third of the year in the 250cc Four-Stroke feature, but it wasn't quite as easy as some of his other victories have been, thanks to Tommy Phipps Jr.
Brian snatched the lead from Jessica Moore on the third tour, then ran out to a sizable margin over a torrid second-place battle between Moore, Phipps, Marty Brian, Jim Harrington, and Alex Lukacs. Phipps emerged from that tussle with the runner-up position and a caution period with four complete gave him a shot at the race leader.
Phipps nosed ahead as the green reappeared, clearing Brian's No. 99 as they entered the first corner. Two trips later, Brian accelerated back alongside Phipps as the duo traded the lead a few times before Brian secured it for good. Cliff rumbled to the win by almost two-seconds over Phipps, with Marty Brian's three-race win streak ending with a third-place finish. Harrington and Moore rounded out the top five.
C. Brian Jr. and Moore were Four-Stroke heat race winners.
Myerstown, PA's Kerry Lengle finished second to a Four-Stroke in the previous two features contested by the 125cc Micro Sprints. Lengle was finally able to turn the tables on Saturday, winning for the second time this season and beating Cliff Brian Jr. in the process.
Lengle started on the pole and led all the way in the 25-lapper. The early laps were highlighted by a wild battle for second between AJ Gerhart, Mike Miller, and Marty Brian. With eight tours complete, Gerhart and Miller were locked in a fierce duel for the position. They got together near the end of the backstretch, hooking wheels and spinning into turn three. They collected ten more cars in a crash that resembled "the big one" at Daytona or Talladega. Rookie Barbie Eichorn was the only flipper and the good news was that all 12 drivers involved were uninjured in the melee.
Even though Cliff Brian Jr. moved into second after the wild incident, he could not offer a serious challenge to Lengle over the duration of the event. Brian settled for runner-up money as Lengle notched the victory. Gerhart rebounded after the big crash to finish third, with Marty Brian and Shane Davis racing home fourth and fifth, respectively.
125cc heat winners were Holden Eckman and Gerhart.
Another five division card of wild and woolly winged competition takes place this Saturday, June 29. The Hyper Racing 600 Sprints, the Viper Chassis 270 Sprints, Sportsman, 125cc, and 250cc Four-Strokes will battle in qualifying heats, consolations, and 25-lap features. Gates open at 4:30 p.m., warm-ups get underway at 6:00, and the first heat race goes green at 7:00.
Coming up on Saturday, July 6, Richie Hartman Promotions takes over the Clyde for a star-spangled, first-time event. The Weber's Landscaping Firecracker 40 will offer a $2,000 payday to the winners of the wingless 600 and winged 270 A-Mains. The All Star Slingshots are also on the menu, with a $750 check awaiting the winner of the Slinger's 20-lap feature.
Two big shows in the next two weeks means only one thing...you've just gotta come out and LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Hyper Racing 600 Sprints (25 Laps): 1.Heath Hehnly, 2.Ryan Greth, 3.Jesse Snyder, 4.Jarid Kunkle, 5.Jered Hook, 6.Mike Rutherford, 7.Brent Ely, 8.Jesse Maurer, 9.Ryan Hook, 10.Chris Panczner, 11.Brian Kramer, 12.Will Urkuski, 13.Brooklyn Gable, 14.Holden Eckman, 15.Steve Schultz, 16.Donald Hess, 17.Chris Good, 18.Aaron Bollinger, 19.Ryan Groff, 20.Zach Light, 21.Jimmy Wampole, 22.Bradley Brown. DNS: Brian Carber.
Viper Chassis 270 Sprints (25 Laps): 1.Bradley Brown, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Jason Swavely, 4.Toby Blumenshine, 5.Corey Schmuck Jr., 6.Patrick Kirn, 7.Andrew Dietrich, 8.Heath Hehnly, 9.Mike Skias, 10.Dan Lane Jr., 11.Jarrett Imler, 12.Austin Graby, 13.Mike Boyer, 14.Nate Gibble, 15.Christi Sweigart, 16.Jonah Meck, 17.Nick Skias, 18.Mike Miller, 19.Billy Logeman, 20.Mike Uhrich, 21.Zak Vickers, 22.Josh Stoyer, 23.Adam Harnish, 24.Anthony Yerger.
DNQ: Trent Eberhart, Josh Ohlinger, Raymond Ohlinger, Ben Layser.
Sportsman Feature (25 Laps): 1.Nick Skias, 2.Anthony Yerger, 3.Mike Kreiser, 4.Clinton Hauser, 5.Patrick Kirn, 6.Charles Hellinger, 7.Nate Gibble, 8.Robert Shanaman, 9.Jeremy Eisenhour, 10.Jamie Flickinger, 11.Sam Borger, 12.Steve Smith Sr., 13.Brittany Zeller, 14.Ryan Heckman, 15.Noah Merkey, 16.Tommy Phipps Jr., 17.Dennis Fenstermacher.
250cc Four-Stroke Feature (25 Laps): 1.Cliff Brian Jr., 2.Tommy Phipps Jr., 3.Marty Brian, 4.Jim Harrington, 5.Jessica Moore, 6.Zachary Young, 7.Riley Simmons, 8.Jenna Heagy, 9.Eddie Nocera, 10.Ron Wechter, 11.Dick Huzzard, 12.Alex Lukacs, 13.Dylan Yeingst, 14.Jared St. John, 15.Ron Young.
125cc Feature (25 Laps): 1.Kerry Lengle, 2.Cliff Brian Jr., 3.AJ Gerhart, 4.Marty Brian, 5.Shane Davis, 6.Jessica Moore, 7.Tyler Martin, 8.Kenny Bushey, 9.Brandon Gibble, 10.Zachary Young, 11.Matt Miller, 12.Chase Layser, 13.Mike Miller, 14.RJ Rossi, 15.Holden Eckman, 16.Mike Glass, 17.Jimmy Wampole, 18.Barbie Eichorn, 19.Terry Ellex. DNS: Kayla Fetter.