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MIKE MAHANEY NABS FIRST CAREER UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY IN RAIN DELAYED EVENT WHILE STEWART FRIESEN TAKES WIN IN NIGHTCAP

VERNON, NY-Race fans were treated to another action packed night of action this past Sunday, July 21, that saw six features events completed and when everything was settled, Mike Mahaney was the victor in the rain delayed Modified feature from July 7, while Stewart Friesen took the regularly scheduled Modified event.  Rick Miller took the win in the visiting Go Nuclear Late Model Series main event while AJ Filbeck was the winner in the Sportsman.  Glenn Forward took the Pro Stock win while Rick Breed collected another checkered flag in the Pure Stocks.

In the first Modified feature of the night, Dave Allen and Larry Wight led the field to the drop of the green flag. Wight would get a fantastic start and jump to the top spot, but a caution came out for the spinning machine of Robby Bellinger. With the field reset, the pair of Allen and Wight once more brought the pack to the green, but one more caution would stall the race. The pair of yellow flags eliminated Ronnie Johnson, Mike Bowman, and Bellinger.

The race got off to the second restart with Wight using the outside groove to gain the lead. Matt Sheppard began to make tracks toward the front from his fourteenth starting position. He had gained the runner up spot by lap four, but mechanical issues forced Sheppard to pull to the infield on the fifth circuit. Behind him Stewart Friesen had followed ‘Super’ Matt through the field and was in fifth when Sheppard pulled his car in.

Wight was catching the rear of the field by lap 10, giving the new second place driver Mike Mahaney a chance to diminish the lead that had been built. They navigated the slower vehicles for eight laps, with Wight maintaining his lead until the yellow flag flew once more for the slowing machine of Willy Decker, who had been running fourth.

The regrouping of the field bunched Wight with Mahaney and Friesen with 12 laps remaining. Using the opportunity the yellow flag had given him, Mahaney shot by Wight on the inside of the track and took the top spot on lap 24. Friesen followed, sticking the car on the bottom groove to complete the pass. Mahaney tried to take the lead and run with it, but yet another caution on lap 28 put the defending champion on his bumper. With two laps remaining, the green dropped on Mahaney and Friesen. They rode side by side for the last two circuits, with Mahaney getting the win by the nose of his car. Friesen would have to settle for second while Wight, Todd Burley, and Pat Ward followed to complete the top five. Alan Johnson, Ryan Phelps, Jimmy Davis, Decker, and Brad Alger finishing out the top ten.

The Modified drivers’ second chance at victory began with Alger and Darwin Greene coming to the Matt Burdick’s green, with third place starter Bowman working his way by the top two to take the lead on lap one. Alger stuck with him, however, and utilized the cushion at the top of the speedway to take back the top spot on the fifth circuit. He would get almost a full straightaway lead before a yellow came out on lap 11 for the hard collision between Dave Allen and Pat Ward that would also gather Bowman.

With the debris cleared, the field came to the restart with Alger and Alan Johnson at the front. Friesen, who had begun his second march to the front before the caution, ran in third. He completed the pass on Johnson on the top side before sliding up in front of Alger to take the lead on lap 18. Sheppard also made his way to the front of the pack, riding the bottom of the speedway. He took the runner up position away from Alger by lap twenty five.

By the time Sheppard reached the second spot, Friesen had already checked out on the field. Sheppard was the fastest car for the final few laps, but not even that combined with the lap traffic would help him catch Friesen. Sheppard took second, with Alger, Johnson, and Mahaney trailing. Wight, Phelps, Burley, Jimmy Davis, and Greene would round out the top ten. Taking home the victory, Friesen came within one win of the track record. His fantastic night also helped him climb in points, taking the lead away from Sheppard.
Bobby Heintz led the opening lap of the 20 lap Sportsman main event from his outside front row starting spot and would hold the spot until lap six.  On lap six, 10th place starter AJ Filbeck completed his charge to the front as he went by Heintz for the lead.  At the halfway point, it was Filbeck way out front followed by Jack Miller, Claude Hutchings Jr., Randy Shantel, and Chris Mackey.  Despite a caution with five to go, Filbeck was able to hold off any challenges to score his first win of the season.  Hutchings finished in the second spot with Matt Janczuk making a late race charge to finish in third.  Miller and Heath Carney rounded out the top five.

The 30 lap Go Nuclear Late Model Series saw AJ Kingsley and Dale Caswell bring the field down to the green flag with Caswell grabbing the early lead.  The caution flag would quickly come out at the completion of the first lap for a spun car, which would be the only slow down of the event.  When green flag racing resumed, Caswell again jumped out to the lead and steadily began to pull away.  Fourth place starter Rick Miller made the move into the runner up spot on lap four but at that point, Caswell was the class of the field as he still was setting a blistering pace and still pulling away. With nine laps complete, Caswell began to enter heavy lapped traffic which slowed his pace and allowed Miller to close the gap.  At the halfway point, Caswell was still out front with Miller closing with Kingsley in third.  Charlie Sandercock was up to fourth at this point after starting 13th with Alan Fink rounding out the top five.  On lap 20, Miller slipped by Caswell to lead the lap but that was short lived as Caswell regained the top spot a lap later.  Again Caswell seemed to begin to pull away but with five laps left, Miller was again reeling in the leader.  With three laps to go, Miller again passed Caswell on the outside and this time he was able to hold on to it.  Miller would drive away to secure the win with Caswell, Kingsley, Sandercock, and Fink the top five finishers.

In the 20 lap Pro Stock main event, Ed Ostrander would lead the opening circuit with Pete Stefanski taking over the lead on lap two.  Stefanski would hold on to the lead until lap five when 11th place starter Glenn Forward slipped underneath him to gain the lead.  Stefanski would make several attempts to regain the lead but Forward was too strong as he would hold on to collect his first win of the season over Stefanski, Tom Denton, Mark Effner, and Bret Belden.

Brent Tardy led the opening circuit of the 15 lap Pure Stock nightcap while Frank Hyatt would be at the point on lap two.  Sixth place starter Rick Breed wasted little time charging to the lead as he was leading the field by lap three.  Breed would run off to the win while Russ Marsden would win the exciting three car battle for second over Bill Mason and Ron Hawker.  Chris Watkins would cross the line in the fifth spot.

Next week, the Pro Stocks will take center stage at the “Action Track of the East” with the running of the Paul Denton Memorial which will pay the winner $1,394 with the last place starter getting a minimum of $150 with several other bonuses and contingencies available.  The Modifieds, Sportsman, and Pure Stocks will also be in action on NYCM and Big Dog BBQ night.  Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with racing set to begin at 6 p.m.  For more information, log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315)829-4557.
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