Story By: KASEY KREIDER / CLYDE MARTIN MEMORIAL SPEEDWAY – NEWMANSTOWN, PA – The biggest thrills and biggest spills of Labor Day weekend at the Clyde Martin Memorial Speedway commonly come from the wingless portion of the Labor Day Shootout, where three of the four divisions take off the wings to compete in a jaw-dropping and hair-raising card of racing action alongside an invading division.
All of those usual elements were in place for the 2022 running of the event, which saw white-knuckled racing become the norm throughout the hundreds of laps run over the course of the evening.
The wild night saw four more deserving drivers take home victories in Lanco’s biggest open show of the year, including some who had experienced victory in the Shootout before and others who tasted it for the first time. Steven Snyder, Jr. became the weekend’s second back-to-back Labor Day Shootout winner, scoring the victory once again in the Hyper Racing Wingless 600 event. Chris Dolan added another accolade to his 2022 season by picking up the win of the Wingless 125/4 Stroke feature. After a disastrous Winged Night, Jason Swavely returned for one final shot at victory and claimed the win of the Wingless 270 A-Main. And for the first time ever, the Stage 1 Modifieds made their appearance on Labor Day weekend, with Matt Mertz taking the checkers first in the 20-lapper.
Favorites were at the front of the 30-lap Hyper Racing Wingless 600 A-Main, as Steven Snyder, Jr. shared the front row with Alex Ruppert for the start, while Saturday night’s winner Christian Bruno and the third-place finisher Alec Quiggle completed the first two rows. The first several laps provided intense, side-by-side action throughout the field, as both the top and bottom were viable lines to run over the duration of the event.
Most of the leaders, including Snyder, Jr. and Bruno, ran predominantly on the bottom through both sets of corners, although Snyder, Jr. had begun experimenting with the top prior to the race’s first caution. Outside pole sitter Ruppert had been most committed to the top, but that commitment cost him spots, as he fell outside the top five.
While Snyder, Jr. and Bruno were 1-2 throughout most of the race, there had been some big movers working their way through the pack to try and get in contention. Jasper Zeigafuse smartly drove from eighth on the grid up to the top three, while quick-timer Bradley Brown had to come from a B-Main and picked off a few cars on each green flag run. A lap 14 pileup that started when Ruppert hit the wall in turn 1 collected more quick cars, including Matt Donley, who spent the rest of the race driving his way back up through the field.
Save for the occasional slider battle on a restart, Snyder, Jr. was still at the head of the field, just a few car lengths in front of Bruno as the race ran past halfway. The scariest incident of the night took place on that run though, as Alec Quiggle went for one of the wildest, and highest, flips in recent memory at the Clyde. Quiggle’s left front corner had broken from some contact a few laps prior, and as the car pushed up coming out of turn 2, he rode up onto the backstretch wall and the front end of the car dug into the track, sending the car pogo-sticking and tumbling through the air before it landed on all fours back on the racetrack. Quiggle hopped out of the mangled car almost immediately, miraculously okay after the harrowing ride.
Snyder, Jr. continued leading on the restart, as the groove that the leaders ran migrated to the top. Bruno knew that his best opportunity to pass the No. 21s was on a restart, and gave it his all to stay with Snyder, Jr. as the laps clicked off inside of 10 to go. But wall contact through turns 1 and 2 broke something on Bruno’s car, forcing him out of the running.
The final restart with seven laps to go saw Snyder, Jr. leading Zeigafuse and Brown back to the line, and from there, Snyder, Jr. began to check out, well on his way to back-to-back Labor Day Shootout wins. The Rising Sun, MD driver made a statement over the final run, running the fastest lap of the race and pulling away to a lead of more than three seconds at the checkered flag. Brown got past Zeigafuse on the final run to finish second, and so too did Donley, who backed up his win from eight days prior with an impressive drive back through the field to third. Zeigafuse came home fourth, with Dallas Damask completing the top five.
Heat races were won by Snyder, Jr., Zeigafuse, Ruppert, Quiggle, and Dan Lane, Jr., while the B-Mains were won by Brown and Kyle Lick.
Dylan Yeingst and quick-timer Steve Simmons were on the front row for the Wingless 125/4 Stroke feature, an event that ultimately took four attempts to get started. It was Simmons who ended up getting to the lead on the opening lap, with defending Labor Day Shootout winner Chase Layser moving to second and multi-time 2022 winner Chris Dolan jumping to third.
The bottom was the dominant line for all the lead cars, and made it so that any mistake or slip up by Simmons would open the door for either driver behind him to get a run and make the pass. Searching around the speedway for any big advantage, Layser moved up to the high line for one set of corners to test the waters. But the move didn’t bear any fruit, as he lost second to Dolan and fell back into line in third. Dolan then made his move on lap 10, getting the run off of turn 4 and making the pass into turn 1 to take the lead.
Dolan began to pull away in front, and the battle began for second, as Layser eventually made his way past for the runner-up spot. A timely caution then erased Dolan’s lead with 11 to go, and the battle would be back on for the win. Layser kept Dolan directly in front of him throughout the entire next run, staying right on the tail tank and even tapping the rear bumper of the No. 7D a few times trying to find a way past. Dolan held his ground, and a caution with two laps to go set up a green-white-checkered run to the finish.
On the restart, Dolan was able to break away just enough to keep Layser at bay for the final couple of circuits, picking up the victory by two car lengths at the line. It was another crown jewel for the York, PA driver in the 2022 season, while Layser made it two second-place finishes in as many nights at the Shootout. Simmons had his best run of the season to round out the podium after leading early, while Jarrid Hellinger and Winged Night winner Michael Hoffmaster completed the top five.
Heat races were won by Layser and John Maurer.
Anthony Yerger and quick-timer Jason Swavely led the field to green for the final micro sprint feature of the weekend in the Wingless 270 Labor Day Shootout. The start was nothing short of frantic, as Yerger and Swavely headed a battle among five or six cars, all running different lines and at times racing three-and-four-wide around the bullring. A caution on lap 3 slowed the action, and it then became a race of attrition as several cautions peppered the next few moments of the event among drivers running in the back half of the field. Those cautions included one incident which saw three cars go upside down in turn 1, although all drivers were okay.
Once the race got back into a rhythm, the battle between Yerger and Swavely resumed, as both drivers ran on the high side of the speedway, just inches off a tough cushion. Yerger led past the halfway mark, but on lap 17, he and Swavely made contact entering turn 1, which broke both drivers’ momentum and gave the lead to Toby Blumenshine, who was running the bottom.
Although Yerger had something break on his car from the contact, Swavely was able to come out of the mishap in second, and went right back to the high line, hunting down the Wingless Skeet Craft Collision Sportsman winner from earlier in the season. On lap 19, Swavely got to the lead for good, and began to pull away.
One final restart with nine laps to go gave Blumenshine and others an opportunity, but nothing would amount from it, as Swavely continued to have the fastest car on the speedway during the run. After failing to finish all three of Saturday’s Labor Day Shootout features in which he competed, Swavely ended his only A-Main of the night in the winner’s circle, claiming the Wingless 270 Labor Day Shootout for the second time. Blumenshine ended up second, with Labor Day Shootout regular and New York native Pat Kelly completing the podium. Dan Lane, Jr. came home fourth, with another one of the Empire State’s drivers in Bob Sawdey rounding out the top five.
Heat races were won by Swavely, Kelly, and Nick Walton.
With the micro features in the books, all that remained was the inaugural Labor Day Shootout A-Main for the Stage 1 Modifieds. 20 laps awaited the 21 competitors, with Matt Mertz and quick-timer Dylan Kontra going off from the front row. Mertz had looked strong en route to a heat race win earlier in the night, and led throughout the early going. 4th of July winner C. J. Fritz applied consistent pressure to Kontra for the runner-up spot, while Colin Cox and last September’s winner Mike Glass also tried to make their way toward the front.
A caution on lap 5 turned out to be the night’s final yellow flag, and the ensuing restart saw Fritz finally able to make the move on Kontra for the runner-up spot. Mertz and Fritz then broke away from the rest of the pack, separated by no more than two car lengths during almost the entire run to the finish. In a very similar battle to the 125/4 Strokes, it was Fritz efforting to take advantage of any potential mistake by Mertz, as he tried to set him up for a move to make it two-for-two at the Clyde in 2022.
But even as they worked through a few lapped cars, Fritz could never get the momentum he needed to duck out and make a pass, and he would follow Mertz’s No. 9 all the way to the finish. Mertz, a native of Allentown, PA, picked up the first Labor Day Shootout win for the Stage 1 Modifieds, with Fritz and Cox rounding out the podium. Glass and Owen Cassel made up the rest of the top five.
The heat races were won by Mertz and Glass.
Next Saturday, September 10th will be First Responders Night presented by T. J.’s Guns and Ammo at the Clyde. All first responders in attendance will receive free general admission into the event with proper identification. All five weekly divisions will return for the second-to-last points race of the season, while the 125/4 Strokes will also compete in the Cash Dash presented by the Race Chasing Award Fund. Gates will open at 4:30, with warmups and racing beginning at 6:00. With only three more chances to come to the speedway in 2022, don’t miss out on the opportunity to LIVE the excitement that is Lanco!
Hyper Racing Wingless 600 A-Main (30 Laps):
1. 21S-Steven Snyder Jr; 2. 23-Bradley Brown; 3. 15D-Matthew Donley; 4. Z71-Jasper Zeigafuse; 5. 3-Dallas Damask; 6. 57C-Cooper Fritz; 7. 21G-Geoff Federspiel; 8. 20-Dan Lane Jr; 9. 19J-Jackson White; 10. 22C-Josh Conover; 11. 21C-Mason Peters; 12. 39-Richie Hartman; 13. 22H-Fred Heinly; 14. 117-Cody West; 15. 7-Teddy Reed; 16. 5-Christian Bruno; 17. 94-Hayden Wise; 18. 05-Lavar Scott; 19. 23X-Alec Quiggle; 20. 5A-Alex Ruppert; 21. 96-Zach Jurcik; 22. 11Z-Kyle Lick; 23. 22-Kyler Heiney; 24. 10-Wayne Scott; 25. 11H-Holden Eckman; 26. 14K-Pat Kelly; 27. Z17-Michael Nolf
Wingless 125/4 Stroke A-Main (30 Laps):
1. 7D-Chris Dolan; 2. 7L-Chase Layser; 3. 16-Steve Simmons; 4. 20J-Jarrid Hellinger; 5. 32-Michael Hoffmaster; 6. 15H-Don Hess; 7. 67-Cooper Schoenly; 8. 3H-Corey Harting; 9. 12-Michael Kreiser; 10. 14-Seth Gregory; 11. 73-Andrew Rothermel; 12. 04-Sam Borger; 13. 24T-Austin Miller; 14. 17E-Easton Miller; 15. 44-Riley Simmons; 16. 112-Dylan Yeingst; 17. 78C-Toby Blumenshine; 18. 82-John Maurer; 19. 15Q-Quinn Llewellyn; 20. 17-Masen Stapleton
Wingless 270 A-Main (30 Laps):
1. 14-Jason Swavely; 2. 21-Toby Blumenshine; 3. 00-Pat Kelly; 4. 29J-Dan Lane Jr; 5. 42-Bob Sawdey; 6. 39A-Austin Mieczkowski; 7. 30-Ryan Heckman; 8. 11X-Austin Graby; 9. 21H-Matt Hoffman; 10. 27-Dylan Pennypacker; 11. 3Y-Zachary Young; 12. 99-Brandon Heist Sr; 13. 11-James Miller; 14. 5A-Anthony Yerger; 15. 48J-Frank Jarkiewicz; 16. 128-Princess Paige; 17. 72-Jonathan John; 18. 14D-Daniel Wright Jr; 19. 08-Alex Funari; 20. 0-Charles Chance; 21. 12A-Matt Andrews; 22. 71B-Brittni Hopkins; 23. 16T-Nick Walton; 24. 69-Danny Vassall
Stage 1 Modified A-Main (20 Laps):
1. 9-Matt Mertz; 2. 2-CJ Fritz; 3. 59-Colin Cox; 4. 6-Mike Glass; 5. 57-Owen Cassel; 6. 12K-Dylan Kontra; 7. 20M-Mark Mohr; 8. 88-Stephen Smith; 9. 12-Lawson Szerencits; 10. 3-Alli Cushman; 11. 99-Fabian Cushman; 12. 12X-Alexis Spatz; 13. 29-Michael Faust Jr; 14. 9X-Mike Faust; 15. 18K-Jayda Cushman; 16. S1-AJ Gerhart; 17. 18-Samantha Maguire; 18. 10-Samantha Kulp; 19. (DNS) 5K-Gavyn Krupp; 20. (DNS) 5TEEN-Johnny Fugelo; 21. (DNS) 50-Lexus Faust