Behind the Wheel
Kings Without Wings
Smith & Rutherford Claim $3k National Open Victories at Linda's...Complete Results
(Jonestown, Pa - October 20) - Ryan Smith sure knows how to make a grand (make that a $3-grand) exit.
Last Saturday night may have been the final chapter in a storied small car racing career, but it was far from a footnote for the "Kid from Kunkletown" as he begins to write the first pages of the next step in his motorsports journey.
Smith, just completing his first full season behind the wheel of a Donald Kreitz-owned 410 Sprint Car, drove a No. 69 to victory in the 600cc portion of Linda's Speedway's National Open. It was the first National Open triumph for Smith, who began his outdoor season by winning the 600cc Dream at the Green in Millville, Pa.
Mike Rutherford, who also picked up a win (in the 270cc main) at the Dream back in April, notched his third National Open 270cc victory at Linda's on Saturday. Rutherford set quick time in the Kaylor Petro No. 5k, won his heat race, then led all 40 laps of the 270cc A-Main.
Nick Skias, this season's 270cc point champion at Linda's, registered the 25-lap triumph in the speedway's annual Race of Champions, which was postponed from Friday night to Saturday afternoon. Time trials were also on the Friday evening agenda, but Mother Nature deposited significant rainfall on two occasions on Friday, forcing the timed runs and Race of Champions to be run in the daylight on Saturday.
The qualifying heats, last-chance alphabet mains, and A-Mains were run under the lights on Saturday evening.
Quick qualifier Shane Lewis started on the pole of the 600cc feature, but Smith hung with him as they headed down the homestretch to take the green, then eased in front as the duo charged through turns one and two. A multi-car tangle in turn three caused a complete restart and negated Smith's pass for the lead.
Lewis was ready as they took the second green flag, jumping in front of Smith and building a lead before he caught the back of the pack on lap seven. The pace would not be slowed again until 23 laps were scored, so Lewis and his running mates in the top four positions were in constant traffic.
Tyler Walton raced under Smith to grab the runner-up spot on the eighth circuit, and it wasn't long before Walton was hounding Lewis as they weaved in and out of heavy lapped traffic.
It was Walton who brought out the event's second caution flag; he spun in turns three and four while trying to dive under Lewis for the race lead.
On the restart, Smith was back in second and on lap 26 he blasted to the outside of Lewis in three and four, powering in front of the Honeybrook Hustler to take a lead that he would not relinquish.
A final yellow with eight to go did not alter the outcome, although Lewis stayed close and attempted, several times, to dive under the leader. Smith's new Hyper X6 Chassis was dialed in to perfection, however, and he held on to record the $3,000 victory.
Lewis, Mike Rutherford, Kyle Lick, and Jim Young made up the top five when the checkered flag waved over the field.
With 56 cars signed in - nine different states were represented by drivers in the 600cc field - heat race winners included Lewis, Smith, Lick, Brock Zearfoss, Walton, and Paul Maxcy.
Richie Hartman won the D-Main, while Tyler DeVault captured the C-Main. The B-Main winner was Craig Fox.
In the $3,000 to win, 40-lap main for the 270cc Sprints, Rutherford and Jarid Kunkle raced side-by-side for the top spot on the first two trips around the quarter-mile, with Rutherford holding a slim advantage each time they passed the start/finish line.
With six laps in the books and Rutherford beginning to extend his advantage, Kunkle's evening came to a premature end as the motor expired on his No. 75. His demise put Pete Skias, the winner of this event in 2011, into the runner-up position.
Skias tried his best to stick with the leader, but Rutherford steadily pulled away on each of the event's eight restarts after caution periods provided opportunities for Skias to overhaul the No. 5k.
A fuel stop was scheduled for the halfway point of the 40-lapper, but it came a few laps early, after the yellow flag waved for the sixth time with 18 tours complete.
Only two additional yellows marred the second half of the race, and Rutherford was able to maintain a fairly comfortable margin over Skias. The best battle was waged between 19th-starting Nick Skias and Greg Miller, as they swapped the fourth position numerous times before Miller claimed the spot, for good, just a few laps before the race's conclusion.
Rutherford crossed the stripe 1.760-seconds in front of P. Skias, with Ken Andreas finishing an impressive third. Miller and N. Skias placed fourth and fifth, respectively.
Eight heat races were contested for the 87 entries in the 270cc Class, and the winners included Rutherford, Kunkle, Todd Bertrand, Pete Skias, Richie Hartman, Pat Bealer, Billy Logeman, and Miller.
Marty Gorr won the E-Main, while Ryan Smith began a run through the alphabet with a victory in the D-Main. Jevon Ahner captured the C-Main, and Brandon Heist scored the win in the B-Main. Smith's attempt to make the A-Main ended in the B, as he fell victim to mechanical problems while challenging for the final transfer position.
Rutherford was quickest in 270cc Time Trials over Kunkle, Smith, Pete Skias, and Steven Cox.
The National Open ended the 2012 racing season at Linda's Speedway.
600cc Sprint A-Main, 40 laps: 1.Ryan Smith, 2.Shane Lewis, 3.Mike Rutherford, 4.Kyle Lick, 5.Jim Young, 6.Mike Dicely, 7.Paul Maxcy, 8.Dwayne Gutshall, 9.Coby Adams, 10.Jay Hartman, 11.Tyler Ross, 12.Bill Thomas, 13.Brian Carber, 14.Tyler Walton, 15.Jeff Hartman, 16.Heath Hehnly, 17.Tom Schearer, 18.Tom Kohler, 19.Dan Souder, 20.Jimmy Brookens, 21.Craig Fox, 22.Jermain Godshall, 23.Steve Whary, 24.Chad Sandt, 25.Kameron Morral, 26.Brock Zearfoss, 27.Shaun Brandel, 28.Tim Buckwalter, 29.David Holbrook, 30.Brittany Brown, 31.Pat Bealer.
270cc Sprint A-Main, 40 laps: 1.Mike Rutherford, 2.Pete Skias, 3.Ken Andreas, 4.Greg Miller, 5.Nick Skias, 6.Ross Perchak, 7.Pat Bealer, 8.Mike Boyer, 9.Todd Bertrand, 10.Jay Hartman, 11.Brandon Edgar, 12.Alex Swift, 13.Sean McAndrew, 14.Brandon Heist, 15.Rob Pajauis, 16.Tommy Kunsman Jr., 17.Christi Sweigart,18.Dane Tobias, 19.Jesse Maurer, 20.Richie Hartman, 21.George Hobaugh, 22.Mike Rice, 23.Ed Kenderdine, 24.Steven Cox, 25.Zack Bealer, 26.Josh Stoyer, 27.Brayden Winters, 28.Jeff Haefke, 29.Scott Gingrich, 30.Jarid Kunkle, 31.Billy Logeman.
by BARRY ANGSTADT
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