Liam Ryan Masters Clay Cup Nationals
DEMING, Wash. – Having already secured a big scoring night in the 1200 division, Liam Ryan turned his sole focus of the second night of the 30th annual Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway to the 600 division.
The decision paid big dividends, as Ryan won the 600 feature and set himself up for a chance to become the first driver to win two mains at Clay Cup. Kyle Johnson overcame mechanical gremlins to win the Shots 2 Go Espresso 1200 main and Jake Helsel led the last 6 laps of the 600 Restricted Feature to take the win.
Kevin Wilkinson started the 600 Feature off like a rocket, streaking to an early advantage that appeared at times insurmountable during the first 15 laps of the main. All the while, Ryan was working his way forward from 13th, putting himself into the top three around the races first stoppage at the lap 15 mark.
The ensuing Delaware style restart closed the gap significantly between Wilkinson, second place running Brock Lemley and Ryan. Wilkinson fought valiantly on the bottom, but on lap 20, saw Ryan make a huge move inside him coming off the second corner where got by both Lemley and Wilkinson in one shot. From there, it was off to the races for Liam who took the victory and in the process, had a huge point scoring night. Lemley got by Wilkinson for second.
Heath Duinkerken set quick time. Heat winners were Madison Hess, Chase Schmidt, Hayden Schmidt, Lemley and Ryan won the heats. Brayden Planko won the C Main and Jared Peterson won the B. By virtue of his night, Ryan earned the top score for the weekend and will start on the pole of tomorrow night’s $7,500 to win 40 lap A Main. Jared Peterson was the second highest scorer and will also start on the front row.
With a decent scoring night already recorded, Ryan parked his 1200 ride for the evening, opening the door for other drivers to try and eclipse him in the Shots 2 Go Espresso 1200 division. When the dust settled, Ryan and Brock Lemley earned the front row starting spot for tomorrow night’s A Main, as no one beat their first night scores.
Kyle Johnson picked up the feature win, leading all 25 laps from the pole after fighting his fuel system during hot laps, time trials and his heat race. Jacob Buckenmeyer took second and Steven Hendrickson was third. Tyson Cross set quick time and won his heat race, setting up what could have been a huge scoring night, but was caught up in a wreck on the opening lap and recorded a DNF. Other heat winners were Zach Keefe and Eric Drake.
Jake Helsel put himself in the right position to benefit from Isaac Abenroth’s bad break as he won the Friday night prelim main in the 600 Restricted. Abenroth led the first 19 laps before a gentle tap of the inside jersey barrier bent a suspension piece on the front end of his race car, ending his bid for his first 600 Restricted win.
Helsel assumed the lead and ran away for the victory, followed by Jacob Brown and Kaitlyn Hammer. Tristin Thomas was fast time. Heat wins went to Ashleigh Johnson, Helsel, Jesse Schlotfeldt and Ian Humphries. Thomas won the B Main. Tristin and Schlotfeldt were the top point scorers, setting them on the front row for the first ever 600 Restricted Clay Cup.