Rt 5 Vernon, NY
JIMMY PHELPS COLLECTS FIRST CAREER UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY MODIFIED WIN IN A SPECIAL TRIBUTE TO FRIEND J.J MICHAELS
Tim Fuller jumped to the lead over the 28 car starting field at the start of the 50 lap feature with Alan Johnson and Brett Hearn in tow. Hearn slipped past Johnson went after Fuller, closing in and challenging by lap five. Fuller and Hearn battled out front with the battle for the remaining top five spots heating up between Stewart Friesen, Matt Sheppard, and Johnson. With 10 lap complete, Fuller was still being hounded by Hearn with Friesen, Sheppard, and Johnson filling out the top five.
Lap after lap, Hearn would dive underneath Fuller in a bid for the lead but Fuller would pull away from the top lane and while they continued their battle, there were five cars gaining on them in the form of Friesen, Sheppard, Johnson, Jimmy Phelps, and Billy Decker. Sheppard slipped by Friesen for third on lap 18 which put him on Hearn’s tail. On lap 19 Hearn finally found the hole he was looking for and got underneath Fuller for the lead coming off turn two, but that was short lived as Sheppard got by both of them as they entered turn three and with 20 complete it was Sheppard over Hearn, Fuller, Johnson, and Friesen.
It was at this point when Phelps was making his charge as he cracked the top five on lap 24 and snagged the fourth spot on lap 26. A circuit later he climbed into the third spot behind Hearn and Sheppard with Johnson a very close fourth. With 30 laps down, it continued to be Sheppard in the front of the field with Phelps, Hearn, Johnson, and Fuller in tow with Billy Decker and Mike Mahaney trying to crack into the top five.
Sheppard continued to set the pace using the middle groove of the track with Phelps glued to the bottom as the pair drove underneath the flag stand to complete lap 34, they were side by side for the lead with Sheppard barely holding the spot. As they entered the turns one and two, Phelps was finally able to clear Sheppard for the lead with Hearn and Johnson just behind them waiting to pounce on any mistake they might make. The second and final caution of the night flew on lap 38 which bunched the field up one more time and on the restart, Phelps was up to the task as he pulled away from Sheppard and with 10 circuits remaining, it was Phelps over Sheppard, Hearn, Johnson, and Mike Mahaney who had charged from his 19th starting spot and into the top five.
From this point, Phelps seemed to have the top spot under control but the battle was on for the second spot between Hearn and Sheppard as they traded slide jobs in every turn. As Phelps collected the hard fought win at the checkered in the special Mothers Day event, Sheppard survived his crowd pleasing battle with Hearn to take the second spot with Johnson nipping Hearn at the line for third. Hearn had to settle for fourth with Mahaney coming home in the fifth spot. Early leader Fuller slipped back to sixth ahead of Decker, Ryan Phelps, Pat Ward, and Larry Wight filling out the top ten.
Sportsman action saw Joe Harrington set the early from his fifth starting spot while the mad rush from the back of the pack was on. Defending Matt Janczuk was on the charge from the 16th starting spot and into the top ten by lap five. A lap seven caution slowed the pace and gave Janczuk the chance he was looking for as he passed several cars on the restart and by lap nine he was on Harrington’s bumper. On lap 10 of the 20 lap main event, he got by Harrington for the lead and then raced off for the win, his second of the young season. Craig Pope, Jeff Leslie, Claude Hutchings, Jr., and Harrington rounded out the top five.
Jim Money led the opening four circuits of the 20 lap Pro Stock feature with Niagara region invader Pete Stefanski charging from the 11th spot to the lead by the lap five. With Stefanski setting the pace out front, it was Tom Denton on the charge from his 14th starting spot. By lap nine, Denton was in second and as lap 12 went into the books he was able to slip by Stefanski for the lead. Denton would lead the rest of the way to score his second win of the season over Jeff Pastorella, Stefanski, Shawn Frost, and Chris Carr.
The 15 lap Pure Stock saw Andy Szewczyk lead the opening circuit from his front row starting spot with seventh place starter Chris Cunningham in the lead by lap two. From that point on, it was a side by side battle for the lead, first with Cunningham and Hawker, and in the later stages it was Cunningham and Ricky Breed fighting it out. As the field took the white flag, Breed grabbed the lead only to have Cunningham charge back by on the outside as he and Breed exited turn two. The pair continued to run side by side to the checkered with Cunningham barely beating Breed to the stripe while Hawker finished in third. Stan Clark, after starting last, came home in fourth ahead of Bill Mason. Cunningham’s car was adorned with special yellow door panels with a number 31 on them in honor of J.J. Michaels.
Next week, the exciting racing action will continue with One Small Step “Go the Extra Mile” for Prader-Willi Syndrome and Mirabito Fuel Group 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. More information is available at www.uticaromespeedway.com or by calling (315)829-4557.
JJ MICHAELS REMEMBERED/LUTHER EXCAVATING RACE SUMMARY
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (50 LAPS)-JIMMY PHELPS, Matt Sheppard, Alan Johnson, Brett Hearn, Mike Mahaney, Tim Fuller, Billy Decker, Ryan Phelps, Pat Ward, Larry Wight, Tim McCreadie, Stewart Friesen, Danny Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, Kenny Tremont, Todd Burley, Bobby Varin, Brian Murphy, Casey Williams, Dave Rauscher, Steve Hulsizer, AJ Romano, Willy Decker, Danny Varin, Jimmy Davis, Gary Tomkins, Robby Bellinger, and Jason Rood. DNQ-Shannon Whaley, Adam Roberts, Lance Willix, Phil Burkart Jr., Alan Barker, Ryan Godown, Matt Hulsizer, and Mike Bowman.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH(20 LAPS)-MATT JANCZUK, Craig Pope, Jeff Leslie, Claude Hutchings Jr., Joe Harrington, Chris Mackey, Jeremy Vunk, Tye-Scott Rood, Heath Carney, Steve Way, AJ Filbeck, Jim Nagle, Randy Shantel, Jack Miller, Bobby Heinz, Aaron Jacobs, Mike Stiles, CJ Castelletti, Dave Moyer, and Stephen Denton.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH(20 LAPS)-TOM DENTON, Jeff Pastorella, Pete Stefanski, Shawn Frost, Chris Carr, Glenn Forward, Bill Knapp, Mark Effner, Ed Ostrander, Jim Normoyle, Dan Lashure, Dana Camenga, Jim Money, Bret Belden, AJ Digsby, Corie Locke, Glenn Weaver, and Andy Lashure.
PURE STOCKS FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)-CHRIS CUNNINGHAM, Rick Breed, Ron Hawker, Stan Clark, Bill Mason, Bryan Owens, Andy Szewczyk, Scott Wheelock, Tim Janczuk, Chris Watkins, Frank Hyatt, Rob Thieme, and Jim Thomas.
VERNON, NY- Sometimes things seem to happen for a reason or seem from a Hollywood script and this past Sunday evening at Utica-Rome Speedway, it was one of those nights. The speedway was honoring former driver J.J. Michaels and longtime family friend and relative Jimmy Phelps came in searching for his first ever Utica-Rome Speedway win and when the checkered flag dropped at the end of the 50 lap main event, it was a reunion between the Michaels family and Phelps as they celebrated his win in victory lane. The hard fought win was worth $5,000.