Rt 5 Vernon, NY
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July 14th - VERNON, NY-After losing five of the last seven events to rain, Utica-Rome Speedway was finally bathed with sunny skies this past Sunday July 14 and the fans were treated to an night filled with racing action with six feature events completed plus an on track autograph session. Matt Sheppard came away with the big win in the Modifieds with Matt Janczuk collecting his second consecutive Sportsman win. The Pro Stocks saw Shawn Frost win the makeup feature event while Bret Belden scored the win in the nightcap event. Ron Hawker found familiar territory in the Pure Stocks as he took the rain delayed feature event while the Russ Marsden returned to victory lane in the second feature on Bill Cole and Hi-Skor Lanes night.
As the Modified feature roared to a start, the duo out front was Darwin Greene and Mike Bowman. The two would hold their positions for the first lap, but they both are passed on the second lap by Jimmy Davis, who began in the fourth spot. Bowman finds his way past Greene a few circuits later, followed by Mike Mahaney.
All the while, the point leader ‘Super’ Matt Sheppard had been navigating the field, starting back in the twelfth position. By the seventh lap, he had managed to work his way to fourth. He ran behind Mahaney for only two laps before he was able to complete the pass. One lap later, he Sheppard stuck his nose below Bowman and took away the second position.
Davis had opened up a large lead on the rest of the field, but Sheppard slowly and steadily began to reel in the leader. By lap eleven, Davis was running into lap traffic, giving Sheppard the opportunity to play catch up. A caution on lap sixteen would slow the field, as defending champion Stewart Friesen spun off the top of turn four.
While he had been having trouble with the lap traffic, Davis now had Sheppard right on his back bumper as the drivers took the green on the restart. Davis drove the car to the top grove, as he had done all night, but Sheppard utilized the bottom of the racing surface to take the lead on lap seventeen. From there on out, the race belonged to Sheppard. He would open up almost a full straightaway lead on the battle for second behind him, between Davis and ‘The Rocket’ Ryan Phelps, who had started in ninth. After a few laps of side by side action, Phelps took the runner up spot. With Sheppard checking out on the rest of the drivers, Phelps settled for second with Davis, Willy Decker and Mahaney finishing out the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Todd Burley, Mike Bowman, Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, and Ronnie Johnson.
When the Sportsman took the green flag for their 20 lap feature, it was pole sitter Bobby Heintz that took the initial lead but that would be short lived as Chris Mackey would charge from the fifth spot to take over the lead by lap two. Mackey would hold down the lead for the next four circuits, but 10th place starter Claude Hutchings Jr. and 14th place starter Matt Janczuk were making a bee line towards the front. Hutchings was up to second by lap five and shown as the leader on lap six, with Janczuk now into the runner up spot on lap seven. Hutchings begin to open a sizable lead only to have a nine caution erase any advantage he had gained on the field. The restart saw Janczuk able to sneak by Hutchings for the lead, and that would be a position he would never relinquish as he raced off to collect his second consecutive win. Hutchings would cross the line in second followed by AJ Filbeck, Jack Miller, and Mackey.
The rain delayed Pro Stock feature from July 7 was the first race on the track to start the evening and it was Glenn Forward charging to the point at the drop of the green flag from his sixth starting spot. While Forward was showing the field the quick way around the big half mile, it was a dogfight for the remainder of the top five positions with Jim Normoyle, Shawn Frost, Pete Stefanski, Tom Denton, and Bret Belden swapping positions lap after lap. As lap 15 was being scored, Frost made the move for the lead as he passed Forward to take over the number one spot. Frost would hang on to score his second win of the season with Forward, Stefanski, Denton, and Belden chasing.
The second 20 lap Pro Stock main event saw pole sitter Gus Hollner was the leader as the field completed the first with third place starter AJ Digsby the leader when lap two was scored. With Digsby out front, a multi car battle for the runner up position was ensuing between Chris Carr, Joe Palmer, Belden, Denton, Forward, Stefanski, and Mark Effner. Carr held the spot initially with Belden taking it away on lap six. Two laps later, Belden charged underneath Digsby to take the lead with Denton doing the same a lap later. Denton attempted to run down Belden for the remainder of the race, and despite some dicey moments in lapped traffic, Belden was able to hold on for his first win of the season at Utica-Rome with Denton, Forward, Carr, and Stefanksi trailing.
In the held over Pure Stock feature event, Ricky Breed took the led the opening lap after starting fourth on the grid, holding off the early efforts of Jim Thomas. By lap five, it was teammate Ron Hawker in the runner up spot and in pursuit of Breed as he was looking to score another victory. Breed was able to fend off the efforts until the last lap as Hawker was able to swing to the outside and win by a bumper at the line. Breed had to settle for the second spot, just ahead of Bill Mason, Russ Marsden, and Thomas.
In the regularly scheduled Pure Stock 15 lap main event, Frank Hyatt bolted to the lead as the field completed the opening lap from his fifth starting spot. Mason hounded Hyatt early on but Marsden was the driver on the move as he was into the runner up spot from the 10th spot by lap six. By lap eight, Marsden had slipped underneath Hyatt coming out of turn four to take away the lead. Marsden would run off to collect his first win at the Vernon oval since 2010. Hawker would make a late race charge to finish second over Mason, Hyatt, and Keith Stevenson.
Utica-Rome Speedway will continue with weekly Sunday night action next week on July 21 with another huge night of raining. JM Uvanni Motors and American Homes will present the first ever visit by the Go Nuclear Late Model Series plus the makeup Modified 30 lap Modified event from July 7 plus a regular show of Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks. Race time is at 6 p.m. with the gates opening at 3:30 p.m.
BILL COLE AND HI-SKOR LANES RACE SUMMARY
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- MATT SHEPPARD, Ryan Phelps, Jimmy Davis, Willy Decker, Mike Mahaney, Todd Burley, Mike Bowman, Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, Ronnie Johnson, Stewart Friesen, Dale Planck, Darwin Greene, Robby Bellinger, Brad Alger, Jeff Leslie, Casey Williams, Adam Roberts, Dave Moyer, Steve Cummings, Dave Allen, and Aaron Jacobs.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- MATT JANCZUK, Claude Hutchings Jr., A.J. Filbeck, Jack Miller, Chris Mackey, Steve Way, Jeremy Vunk, Heath Carney, Randy Shantel, Chris Hulsizer, Mike Stiles, Tye-Scott Rood, Chad Ray, Stephen Denton, Robert Barker, Craig Pope, Nick Krause, Chris McCoy, Darren Keyser, Bobby Heintz, Brandon Kuhn, Kyle DeMetro, and Tim Barone.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH FROM 7/7 (20 LAPS)- SHAWN FROST, Glenn Forward, Pete Stefanski, Tome Denton, Bret Belden, Ed Ostrander, Chris Carr, Joe Palmer, Jim Normoyle, Corie Locke, Gus Hollner, Bill Knapp, Jim Money, Mark Effner, Andy Lashure, Dana Camenga, Tim Tower, and A.J. Digsby.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- BRET BELDEN, Tom Denton, Glenn Forward, Chris Carr, Pete Stefanski, Mark Effner, A.J. Digsby, Shawn Frost, Ed Ostrander, Joe Palmer, Jim Normoyle, Gus Hollner, Bill Knapp, Glenn Forward Jr., Corie Locke, David Demorest, Devon Camenga, Andy Lashure, and Greg Tower. DNS-Jim Money and Dana Camenga.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH FROM 7/7 (15 LAPS)- RON HAWKER, Ricky Breed, Bill Mason, Rusty Marsden, Jim Thomas, Chris Cunningham, Tim Janczuk, Nathan Peckham, Andy Szewczyk, Bryan Owens, Brent Tardy, Jery Streeter, Frank Hyatt, Chris Watkins, Keith Stevenson, and Ernie Staelens.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)-RUSS MARSDEN, Ron Hawker, Bill Mason, Frank Hyatt, Keith Stevenson, Nathan Peckham, Chris Cunningham, Tim Janczuk, Jim Thomas, Bryan Owens, Brent Tardy, Chris Watkins, Jerry Streeter, Ricky Breed, Ernie Staelens, Brian Johnson, and Andy Szewczyk.
MATT SHEPPARD FINDS UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY GOLD AS HE TAKES HIS SECOND WIN OF THE SEASON