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May 20
MATT SHEPPARD WINS A THRILLER AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY; AJ FILBECK, GLENN FORWARD, AND RICKY BREED ALSO GET FIRST WINS OF 2012

VERNON, NY- For the fourth consecutive week, the fans were treated to another spectacular duel to the finish in the Modifieds at the Utica-Rome Speedway.  Every division saw someone win their first event of the 2012 season at the speedway as Matt Sheppard took the thrilling Modified victory while AJ Filbeck scored the victory in the Sportsman.  Glenn Forward was victorious in the Pro Stocks while Ricky Breed survived a dogfight to the finish to take the Pro Stock win.  The night’s action was presented by “One Small Step”, Go the Extra Mile for Prader-Willi Syndrome and the Mirabito Fuel Group.

Matt Hulsizer was the early leader of the 32 lap “One Small Step, Go the Extra Mile” Modified feature  from his pole starting spot, with fellow front row starter Jason Rood using the outside line to take over the top spot on the third circuit.  Rood’s turn out front was short lived as fifth place starter Steve Hulsizer charged to the point on lap five.  With Steve Hulsizer setting the pace, several drivers were making their way through the 28 car field and heading towards the front.  Bobby Varin was the first to make his presence felt as he moved into third, from seventh, and ninth place starter Willy Decker as they both cracked into the top five by the third circuit.  With 10 laps complete, the leader board showed Steve Hulsizer, Varin, Decker, Larry Wight, and Pat Ward in the top five with Matt Hulsizer, Matt Sheppard, Rood, Alan Barker, and Brian Murphy rounding out the top five.

Varin made his bid for the lead stick as he charged by Hulsizer for the lead as the field completing lap 13 and then the caution lights flicked on for the first and only time.  On the restart, Decker charged to the front, seeking his third win of the weekend, but Varin had other ideas as he went back by to lead at the halfway point.  Now all eyes were on the cars of Sheppard and Stewart Friesen as they had both moved into the top five from the 18th and 13th starting spots, respectively.  Friesen was the first to take a shot at Varin for the lead as he moved into second on lap 20 behind Varin with Decker, Sheppard, and Ward in close pursuit.  Rounding out the top ten at this point was Wight, Steve Hulsizer, Mike Mahaney, Alan Johnson, and Matt Hulsizer.

Now Friesen was all over Varin in attempting to snare the lead away but Varin was strong enough to hold on, and while they battled on, it was Sheppard now sneaking into the fight as he finally cleared Decker on lap 21 and motored after the duo.  With a handful of circuits left, it was now a war for the lead as Varin, Friesen, and Sheppard were running into lapped traffic.  Varin and Friesen both tried to move around a lapped car at the same with Varin on the extreme outside with Friesen running out of real estate outside of him in turn one, and Friesen’s momentary slip of the top side allowed Sheppard to slip by.  Sheppard wasted little time going after Varin as they received the two to go signal from the flagstand, Sheppard was making his run to the lead on the outside of the bottom hugging Varin.  Sheppard made the move stick as he completed the pass and was scored the leader with the white flag waving. As Sheppard took the white flag, Friesen as back after Varin for second and tried to get underneath him in turn four, and even though they made contact, Varin was able to escape and hold on to second.  Sheppard would run to the checkered to score his first win of 2012 and fifth career win at Utica-Rome Speedway.  Varin survived to grab second followed by Friesen, Ward, Wight, Decker, Mahaney, Johnson, Matt Hulsizer, and Steve Hulsizer.

Randy Shantel was the early leader of the 20 lap Sportsman main event until lap three when the field was slowed by a caution.  The restart saw a massive wreck involving at least eight cars, including point leader Matt Janczuk, Jeff Leslie, Joe Harrington, Steve Way, Jack Miller, Jim Nagle, and several others.  Janczuk, Leslie, Way, Harrington, and Nagle’s night were over as they all sustained heavy damage.  Jeremy Vunk took over on the next attempt on a restart with AJ Filbeck following him to the front.  Filbeck wasn’t satisfied with second; however, as he charged by Vunk on lap nine to become the new leader.  Despite two more cautions, Filbeck was able to hold on to take the popular win over Heath Carney, Vunk, Claude Hutchings Jr. and Aaron Jacobs.

AJ Digsby and Bret Belden each took a turn out front of the Pro Stock main event as they each led a pair of laps but it was Glenn Forward who was on a mission as charged from 11th to take the top spot on lap five.  Pete Stefanski followed Forward to the front as he was in second by lap seven from his 12th starting spot, but that is he had as he chased Forward to the finish of the 20 lap main.  Belden held on for third ahead of Shawn Frost and Tom Denton.

The Pure Stock 15 lap nightcap saw several different leaders with Rob Thieme being the first to lead the field from the drop of the green.  Lap four saw Frank Hyatt take his turn out front, only to have invader Nathan Peckham charging to the lead on lap eight.  Lap 11 saw Ricky Breed charge by the outside for the lead but Peckham was again the leader on lap 12.  Peckham and Breed would battle back and forth with Breed leading at the checkered for his first win of the season.  Peckham, Ron Hawker, Bill Mason, and Chris Cunningham rounded out the top five.

Next weekend at the “Action Track of the East” is the first big weekend of the young 2012 season with the annual running of the Victoria 200 Weekend.  On Sunday, May 27, the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints will join the Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks plus fireworks will end the evening’s activities.  On Monday, May 28, the Modifieds will return for the Victoria 200 to battle for $10,000 to win for the 100 lap main event.  Check www.uticaromespeedway.com for more details of call the speedway office at (315)829-4557.

“ONE SMALL STEP” GO THE EXTRA MILE FOR PRADER-WILLI SYNDROME AND MIRABITO FUEL GROUP RACE SUMMARY

MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (32 LAPS)-MATT SHEPPARD, Bobby Varin, Stewart Friesen, Pat Ward, Larry Wight, Willy Decker, Mike Mahaney, Alan Johnson, Matt Hulsizer, Steve Hulsizer, Ryan Phelps, Todd Burley, Ronnie Johnson, Brian Murphy, Jimmy Davis, Danny Varin, Casey Williams, Robby Bellinger, Kenny Tremont, Jason Rood, Chris Busta, Bill Trexler Jr., Dave Rauscher, Phil Burkart Jr., Shane Donath, Shannon Whaley, Adam Roberts, and Alan Barker.

SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-AJ FILBECK, Heath Carney, Jeremy Vunk, Claude Hutchings Jr., Aaron Jacobs, Craig Pope, Tye-Scott Rood, Randy Shantel, Brian Thomas, Rocco Leone, Mike Stiles, Bobby Heintz, Chris McCoy, CJ Castelletti, Craig Ritchie, Toby Klish, Pat Jones, Jack Miller, Jim Nagle, Matt Janczuk, Steve Way, Jeff Leslie, Joe Harrington, Chris Mackey, and Stephen Denton.

PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-GLENN FORWARD, Pete Stefanski, Bret Belden, Shawn Frost, Tom Denton, Chris Carr, Jeff Pastorella, Bill Knapp, Jim Normoyle, AJ Digsby, Jim Money, Andy Lashure, Dana Camenga, Corie Locke, Glenn Weaver, Ed Ostrander, Paul Rogers, and Mark Effner.

PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)-RICKY BREED, Nathan Peckham, Ron Hawker, Bill Mason, Chris Cunningham, Stan Clark, Frank Hyatt, Andy Szewczyk, Tim Janczuk, Keith Stevenson, Scott Wheelock, Jim Thomas, Bryan Owens, Chris Watkins, Warren Jones, John Clark, and Rob Thieme.