It was Fan Appreciation Night at the speedway; all spectators were admitted FREE, and nobody left disappointed after Travis Esh lost the lead to Jered Hook, then took it back on the white flag lap and held on to win an exciting 25-lap main event for the 600's.
Travis' victory keeps the Esh brothers undefeated at the Clyde so far this season, as older sibling Tyler won the first two features of the 2013 campaign.
Animal Resorts of Downingtown, Pa., sponsored the track's second annual Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday, and a packed house watched Richie Hartman win his first of the year in the 270cc Class. Joining Hartman and Travis Esh in victory lane ceremonies were Jesse Maurer (125cc), Jason Swavely (Sportsman), and Chip Geib made it two in a row in the 250cc Four-Stroke division.
The night was also made special because part of the large crowd was made up of children from Christ's Home in Paradise, Pa. The safe haven for children of all ages whose families are working through difficult times, Christ's Home has been a part of the nearby community since 1936.
On Saturday evening, Fundraising Director Vernon Wright graciously accepted a $5,000 check from Jim and Jane McElya (pronounced "Mac-a-lay"). The former CEO of Cooper Tire and his wife now operate the Jim and Jane Foundation, which raises and donates money to deserving charitable organizations for disadvantaged children.
Micro-Sprint driver Ryan Morris, along with Hyper Racing employee/ Lanco Board of Directors member Chris Snyder, spearheaded the effort to bring the McElyas and Christ's Home together on Fan Appreciation Night. Snyder also went to work and solicited additional donations from businesses and individuals (those names are listed at the end of this press release). Those donations totaled $2,450. Several drivers went through the stands with their helmets, too, and the generous fans kicked in another $1,600, making the night's total amount an incredible $9,050 that was turned over to Mr. Wright in the name of Christ's Home.
A food drive was also part of the festive evening of dirt track competition and goodwill, as the Lanco family donated dozens and dozens of non-perishable food items to Christ's Home.
With spectators lining the facility in wall-to-wall, elbow-to-elbow fashion, the 110 drivers on hand did their part to make the program exciting and keep the fans cheering.
Travis Esh ducked underneath Jon Stewart on a restart with two laps complete, taking the lead in the 25-lapper for the Mark Millwright & Rigging 600cc Micro-Sprints.
A long green flag run (from laps three through 21) saw Esh, from New Providence, Pa., motor out to a big lead - but it wouldn't last. As Travis navigated his way through some heavy lapped traffic, Jered Hook and A.J. Michael steadily reeled in the race leader. Hook darted to the inside of Esh on the 20th circuit as they blasted down the backstretch, snatching the top spot and looking ready to seal the deal.
The third and fourth caution periods occurred with four to go, and a determined Esh "decided to go for the win or wreck it" when the green reappeared.
Travis forced the nose of his No. 5E under Hook as they set their cars to enter turn one on the 24th revolution. With both drivers wrestling for the same piece of real estate, they banged wheels in the corner, and Esh was back in the gas first as he shot to the lead once more at the exit of turn two.
The final lap belonged to Travis Esh, as he kept his family's 2013 unbeaten streak alive with the triumph. And it was a nice gift for his parents, Sam and Susan, who were celebrating their wedding anniversary on Saturday.
A disappointed Jered Hook gave his rival credit afterward. "That was just hard racing, and congratulations to him (Travis)," said Hook. "We've had a tough start to the season, and I've been so busy with school...I hate to lose, but I am happy that we're standing here with a good finish for a change."
Tenth-starting Heath Hehnly finished third, with Chris Gerhart (started 14th) and Chris Panczner completing the top five.
Shane Lewis was the 600Scene.com Hard Charger, rumbling from 23rd on the original start to seventh at the conclusion of the event.
Panczner, Hehnly, and Mike Coen were victorious in the 600cc qualifying heats, while Mark Yoder won the consolation as 30 cars signed in for action.
All things considered, it was a pretty nice weekend for Temple, Pa. throttle-jockey Richie Hartman.
Hartman won Friday night's 270cc main event at Linda's Speedway - his first victory at the Jonestown quarter-mile in more than a year - then relaxed by playing in a charity golf tournament (organized by his good friends and fellow racers Mike and Kim Glass) on Saturday. It was back to work on Saturday night, though, and Hartman capped his successful weekend with another 270cc victory before finishing second in the 125cc main at the Clyde.
In the Mark Millwright & Rigging 270cc headliner, Hartman executed a third to first maneuver on a restart with five laps in the books. He saw the opening down low, as runner-up Mike Rutherford stayed in line behind race leader Danny Lane, Jr. coming for the green. Hartman cranked the wheel to the left, then accelerated past a surprised Rutherford and Lane to snare the lead as the trio headed for turn one.
A pair of lapped cars, dueling for position in front of him, provided the only moment of concern for Hartman as the 25-lapper entered its final stages. "It's tough; they (lapped cars) are racing for position, and they don't know just how close the leader is to them, even though they get the 'move over' flag," explained the winner in victory lane. "But I was concerned...they were really holding me up."
Hartman was finally able to get by the two cars, pinning them between himself and Rutherford, and that proved to be all the cushion that he needed to score the triumph.
Rutherford finished second, trailing Hartman's Brick House Pub, Valley Forge Inc., Gollub's Garage, RTS Chassis No. 39 to the checkered by almost one second.
Lane recorded his best Lanco result with a third place run, with Heath Hehnly and Brian Sholley rounding out the top five.
Heat winners for the 29-car field of 270's included Bradley Brown, Rutherford, and Hehnly. Eric Falini won the consolation race.
It appeared as though Hartman may be primed to win twice on Fan Appreciation Night, given his pole position starting spot in the feature for the Mark Millwright & Rigging 125cc Micros.
Steering Gary Gorski's Pork Producers No. 29, Hartman set the pace for the first 21 circuits, until his Gorski Racing teammate, Jesse Maurer, trapped him behind a slower car at the exit of turn two. Maurer, the Mount Joy Outlaw, lined up eighth for the original start, then weaved his way toward the front. He charged into third on the sixth tour of the oval, then grabbed the runner-up spot from Kyle Hehnly as lap nine was scored.
Maurer followed Hartman until he was able to seize the opportunity to use a slower car as a pick, much as he did in winning the season opener for the 125cc Class, taking the lead from his teammate with four laps left to run.
Maurer notched his second victory of the young season (the car he's driving is undefeated, with Heath Hehnly putting it into the winner's circle on April 20 when Maurer took the night off), beating Hartman to the stripe by 0.979-seconds.
Dave Grube placed third, with Kyle Hehnly fourth and Kory Merkey earning a fifth-place payout.
Hartman and K. Hehnly won the two heat races for the 18 cars that entered the 125cc portion of the event.
After a pair of near-misses, the defending and two-time Sportsman division point champ, Jason Swavely, finally registered his first win of the year.
Transmission issues cost him the race on opening night. Then he tangled with some lapped cars while going for the lead in the season's second feature for the Mark Millwright & Rigging Sportsman Class.
No worries on Animal Resorts Fan Appreciation Night, though, as Swavely (who started eighth) rocketed through the field to secure the second position by the time two laps were posted on the scoreboard.
It only took him two more trips around the banked oval for the Douglassville driver to claim the top spot, powering to the outside of Kerry Lengle as they launched off the fourth corner to complete the fourth revolution.
Swavely cruised to the checkered flag, winning by 1.66-seconds over one of his teammates, Ken Miller.
Miller took the green in 19th, then methodically navigated his way toward the front, slipping into third with ten laps remaining. Miller moved into the runner-up slot on a restart with five to go, passing another Miller Racing teammate, Bret Habecker, whose engine was slowly expiring (he blew up as soon as he crossed the finish line at the end of the race).
At the finish, it was Swavely, K. Miller, Habecker, and a returning Jamie Fetterolf just nipped Wesley Fasnacht for fourth as they crossed the stripe.
With 20 Sportsman in the pit area on Saturday, Sheena Logeman and Swavely won heat races.
On April 20 - the second event of Lanco's 2013 season - Chip Geib lost an engine early in the night. He and his crew changed motors, and the spare carried him to victory in the Mark Millwright & Rigging 250cc Four-Stroke feature.
In the days leading up to Fan Appreciation Night on April 27, his crew rebuilt the blown engine, and it was that powerplant that carried him to his second consecutive triumph on Saturday night.
The resident of Manheim, Pa., battled side by side with Donna Geib (no relation) for a full lap before pushing his Grumpy's Small Engine Repair/Weld Shop, Shupp's Hydro Graphics No. 15 ahead of Donna's No. 82 and into the lead.
Only two yellows slowed Chip Geib's progress the rest of the way, enabling him to waltz to the win by a healthy margin (almost two seconds) over Donna Geib. Eddie Nocera finished third, with Ryan Morris and Kenny Miller III coming from the back of the pack to notch fourth and fifth, respectively.
Morris and Miller won heat races for the 13 Four-Strokes.
At a drivers' meeting before warm-ups, Lanco officials made the announcement that Mark Millwright & Rigging has signed a three-year deal to sponsor the point fund for the five weekly Micro-Sprint classes.
Contributors who so generously donated a total of $9.050 to Christ's Home included: Jim & Jane McElya; Hyper Racing; Hollinger's Sports & Turf; Ames Construction; Chris Snyder; Gutshall's Automotive; Shred Racing; Elite Concrete; Hammerdown Engines; Wayne Lesher Builders; Shearer's Welding; one anonymous person and the huge crowd on hand for Animall Resorts Fan Appreciation Night on Saturday.
This week, May 4, it's Nouse Signs & Graphics Night at the speedway, as the Lanco club hosts another five division card of Micro-Sprint racing. Gates open at 3:30, with warm-ups at 5 p.m. The first heat race goes green at 6:00.
Adult general admission is just $8.00, with discounts for Senior Citizens and Students. Tickets for youth between the ages of six and twelve are just $2.00, and children under the age of six are admitted free. And parking is always free at the Clyde!
600cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Travis Esh, 2.Jered Hook, 3.Heath Hehnly, 4.Chris Gerhart, 5.Chris Panczner, 6.Brent Ely, 7.Shane Lewis, 8.Alex Bright, 9.Ryan Morris, 10.Luke Thomas, 11.Christopher Tracy, 12.Dan Souder, 13.Ryan Hook, 14.Tyler Esh, 15.Mark Yoder, 16.Cody Kreger, 17.Taylor Troxel, 18.Will Urkuski, 19.Jon Stewart, 20.AJ Michael, 21.Mike Coen, 22.Tyler Walton, 23.James Morris, 24.Kory Merkey.
DNQ: Brittany Brown, Peter Michael, Jarid Kunkle, Mike Freed, Mike Rutherford, Jared Esh.
270cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Richie Hartman, 2.Mike Rutherford, 3.Dan Lane Jr., 4.Heath Hehnly, 5.Brian Sholley, 6.Billy Logeman, 7.Randy West, 8.Ken Miller, 9.Dave Grube, 10.Jesse Maurer, 11.Devin Harron, 12.Zack Fouse, 13.Bradley Brown, 14.Eric Falini, 15.Mike Uhrich, 16.Christi Sweigart, 17.Nate Weidman, 18.Kelby Stauffer, 19.Corey Schmuck Jr., 20.Ricky Sechrist Jr., 21.Toby Blumenshine, 22.Jason Swavely, 23.Ronald Helmick, 24.Nick Sweigart.
DNQ: Kevin Kopp, Mike Binkley, Brad Kemp, Tony Echternacht, Kory Shissler.
125cc Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jesse Maurer, 2.Richie Hartman, 3.Dave Grube, 4.Kyle Hehnly, 5.Kory Merkey, 6.Derek Ecenrode, 7.Nick Sweigart, 8.Dylan Adams, 9.Chase Gutshall, 10.Adam Minzer, 11.Brent Shearer, 12.Matthew Donley, 13.Dylan Binkley, 14.Alexis Sheely, 15.Brie Weiler, 16.Zack Hollinger. DNS: Walt Wampole, James Wampole.
Sportsman Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Jason Swavely, 2.Ken Miller, 3.Bret Habecker, 4.James Fetterolf, 5.Wesley Fasnacht, 6.Kerry Lengle, 7.Sheena Logeman, 8.Robert Shanaman, 9.Matt Abers, 10.Jas Hehnly, 11.Caleb Keller, 12.Dave Kemp, 13.Jenna Heagy, 14.Brian Becker, 15.Dean Spangler, 16.Anthony Yerger, 17.Charles Hellinger, 18.Tim Ziegler, 19.Matt Peachey. DNS: Taylor Shissler.
250cc Four-Stroke Micro-Sprint Feature, 25 laps: 1.Chip Geib, 2.Donna Geib, 3.Eddie Nocera, 4.Ryan Morris, 5.Kenny Miller III, 6.Lewis Kepple Jr., 7.Devin Adams, 8.Earl Eveland, 9.Scott Renninger, 10.Steve Smith Sr., 11.Kim Enck, 12.Ronald Good. DNS: Sheila Fetter.