Rt 5 Vernon, NY
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VERNON, NY- A chilly and windy evening greeted the Utica-Rome Speedway fans that braved the conditions this past Sunday, May 12, but they were treated to a fast paced show that was completed in less than three hours.  Stewart Friesen charged to the big $5,000 payday after qualifying in the consolation event while Claude Hutchings, Jr. took home the top honors in the Sportsman.  Tom Denton made a late race pass in the Pro Stock feature to take the victory in the Pro Stocks while Ricky Breed took another Pure Stock checkered flag.

Matt Sheppard and Vic Coffey brought the Modified starting field down to the green flag to begin the 50 lap main event with Coffey grabbing the early lead as he led the opening circuit.  Sheppard was able to charge by to lead lap two and slowly began to edge away from the rest of the field.  The first caution of the night came out on lap seven, allowing the field to catch up with Sheppard.  The restart saw Coffey again take the lead, and this time, he was able to hang on to it but Sheppard was all over him as he attempted to retake the lead.

While Coffey and Sheppard battle out front, it was 20th place starter Stewart Friesen who was turning heads as was charging through the pack.  By lap six, he was into the top ten and on lap 15, he cracked the top five just as Sheppard regained the lead from Coffey.  Friesen’s charge was not done yet, however as he was into third on lap 19 as the caution flew a second time, allowing him to catch up to the leading duo of Sheppard and Coffey. 

The restart saw Sheppard hold off Coffey this time for the top spot with Friesen still looking for more and on lap 21, Friesen made a pass on the low side of the speedway to grab second from Coffey.  A lap later on lap 22, Friesen completed his charge to the front as he went underneath Sheppard for the lead.  As the field completed the halfway point on lap 25, it was Friesen setting a blistering pace over Sheppard, Coffey, Larry Wight, and Brett Hearn.  Rounding out the top ten was Mike Mahaney, Ronnie Johnson, Pat Ward, Ryan Godown, and Rob Bellinger.

The final caution period of the event came on lap 28 which would be the only thing that would slow Friesen’s pace as he again took off from the field when green flag racing resumed. 12th place starter Hearn was now making his presence felt as he began to pick his way through the top five as he was fourth on lap 28 and up to third a circuit later as he began to pursue second place Sheppard.  This dropped Sheppard into the clutches of Ward, who after starting 22nd, was making an impressive charge of his own. As the circuits wound down, Sheppard and Ward would exchange the third spot on several occasions and when the checkered flag flew it was Friesen taking the $5,000 win over Hearn, Sheppard, Ward, and Mahaney.  Wight, Todd Burley, Johnson, Ryan Phelps, and Coffey.

Sportsman action saw Craig Pope lead the opening lap of the 20 lap feature with Jack Miller charging by to lead lap two.  Claude Hutchings, Jr. was on the charge from his 10th starting spot as used the high side of the speedway to make his way to the front. By lap five, Hutchings was at the front of field setting the pace as he looked to take his second win of the season.  The only yellow flag of the event came out on lap 14, and when the green flag came out again, it was again Hutchings showing the way but now Jeremy Vunk was right on his bumper.  Vunk made several bids for the win but Hutchings was able to hang on to take the win with Vunk, Matt Janczuk, Miller, and Steve Way trailing.

In the 20-lap Pro Stock feature Jim Money took the lead at the initial green flag. Money paced the field for the first three laps as he worked the high side of the speedway. Meanwhile, fifth place starter, Mark Effner utilized the bottom of the track and he used that to take over the top spot on lap four. Effner continued on the bottom of the speedway as tenth place starter Brett Belden closed in. Belden got to his back bumper by lap seven and began looking for a way by. He was able to get a run through the middle of turns one and two on lap 10 to secure the top position. Belden stayed in the middle and two laps later Effner was able to get the lead back on the bottom. Effner was chased by Belden as Tom Denton moved through the field after starting 13th. Denton worked the high-line and tracked down the leaders. On lap 18 Denton made the move in the high lane as the field exited the fourth turn and he had the lead by a nose at the line. Before another lap could be completed the caution came out for Dan Lashure as he stopped in turn two. Denton led the final two circuits en route to his second win of the season. He was followed to the line by Effner, Belden, Glenn Forward and last week’s winner Ed Ostrander.

Chris Cunningham jumped out to the lead at the start of the 15-lap Pure Stock main-event. Cunningham, who started in fourth, worked by both Stan Clark and Jim Thomas by using a three wide move to take over the top spot. Cunningham remained the leader throughout the first four laps before Chris Watkins was able to pass him for the lead on the inside of turn four. Watkins stayed put on the bottom of the speedway. Watkins was leader when the caution came out on lap nine for Bill Mason who was second at the time. Mason had mechanical issues and went off the speedway in turn four. The restart saw Watkins leading with Ricky Breed and Ron Hawker in pursuit. Watkins never wavered off the bottom speedway with Breed using the top to get by him with just two laps to go. Breed went on for his third win of the season. Watkins finished second but failed post race tech giving the second spot to Hawker. Cunningham finished in third while Tim Janczuk and Frank Hyatt completed the top five.

This Sunday, May 19, Mirabito Fuel Group and HR Refuse present a regular show of Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with racing at 6 p.m.  Click Here for Results