Rt 5 Vernon, NY
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VERNON, NY-Bright sunny skies greeted race fans as they filed into the Utica-Rome Speedway this past Sunday evening and the competitors did not disappoint the large crowd on hand as they put on a fantastic night of racing action for them on Schachtler Contracting and Quality Manufacturing night.  Stewart Friesen found himself standing in victory lane again as he took his fourth win of the season, which proved to another milestone in his career.  Tye-Scott Rood became a first time winner in the Sportsman while Glenn Forward was able to hold on for the Pro Stock victory.  In the Pure Stocks, Russ Marsden added another win to his win total as well.

Dave Moyer and Mike Bowman brought the Modified feature to the green flag; with Moyer grabbing the lead on lap one. Bowman kept his car on the bumper of Moyer and on lap three; he found his way past the leader to become the top car. Moyer would fall to second, where he went back and forth with Willy Decker for second. When the first caution of the night came out for the spinning machines of Steve Cummings and Jeff Leslie on lap six, Bowman held the lead with Moyer behind.  Ronnie Johnson would pull into the pit area under the yellow and would not return to the race.

Matt Sheppard had begun the race from the 10th position, but on the restart, he sat just outside the top five. Within one lap, Sheppard moved from sixth to third, falling in behind Bowman and Ryan Phelps.  Sheppard used the middle line to slide past Phelps on the next lap.  Another yellow flag flew on lap 10, bringing Sheppard to the bumper of Bowman.  Utilizing his opportunity, Sheppard took the top spot on the restart.

Sheppard, however, was not the only hard charger of the night.  Point leader Stewart Friesen began the race back on the inside of row seven. By the time the lap 10 yellow came, Friesen was in the same spot Sheppard had been on the previous caution, sixth, and on the restart, Friesen followed suit by taking third.  Bowman, who still held second, would battle with Friesen until another caution on lap 18.

As the field came to the green, the top two in points came down the front straightaway together. Sheppard took his machine to the middle of the racing surface, sticking to the line that had brought him the front.  Friesen dove to the bottom, and when the next circuit was complete, he had taken the lead. Sheppard tried to drive the car into the turns a bit harder, but he had nothing for the defending track champion.  Friesen would bring home the checkered for the fourth time this season. Second was Sheppard, with Phelps, Jimmy Davis, and Todd Burley taking the rest of the top five. Following was Bowman, Danny Varin, Pat Ward, Bobby Varin, and Mike Mahaney.

The victory for Friesen widened the lead on Sheppard to eight points. It also was the 42nd win for Friesen at Utica-Rome, tying him with Dale Planck for the all-time wins. Friesen’s first win came on May 2, 2004 and he has run as a regular at the track for seven full seasons.

Craig Pope led the opening lap of the 20 lap Sportsman feature from his pole starting position with outside pole sitter Chad Ray grabbing the point a lap later.  On lap five, Pope retook the position to lead the lap only to have eighth place starter Heath Carney charge by to take over the lead.  Carney would continue to show the way until the halfway point on lap 10.  It was then Tye-Scott Rood would slip by on the outside of Carney to take the lead as he was looking to score his first ever win.  Carney would attempt to retake the lead for several circuits and then it was Jeremy Vunk applying the pressure in the later stages but Rood was able to hang on to collect his first career win.  Vunk, Claude Hutchings Jr., Matt Janczuk, and Carney would follow Rood across the line.

At the drop of the green in the Pro Stock feature event, Shawn Frost would pace the field with heavy pressure coming from Tom Denton and Glenn Forward in the early stages of the race.  Frost would hold off the challenges until lap five, when Forward was able to slip by for the lead.  Forward would slowly begin to outdistance the rest of the field, leaving a torrid battle for the runner-up spot between Frost, Denton, Mark Effner, and Pete Stefanski who was recovering from early race incident to now challenge for a top five spot.  Frost was proving to be tough however, as he was able to continue holding on to second until lap 16 of the 20 lap affair, when the final caution of the race came out.   Forward was too strong though as he held on to grab his second win of the season over Denton, Stefanski, Frost, and Chris Carr.

Ron Hawker led the opening five laps of the Pure Stock 15 lap main event, only to have Russ Marsden take away the position on lap six.  Despite some late race challenges from Ricky Breed, Marsden held on to score the win with Breed, Hawker, Keith Stevenson, and Chris Watkins trailing at the checkered.

Racing resumes at the Utica-Rome Speedway this Wednesday, August 14, when NYCM Insurance and Big Dog BBQ presents a big four division show.  The Pro Stocks will take center stage with Paul Denton Memorial which will pay $1,394 to the winner with the Modifieds, Sportsman, and Pure Stocks with compete in a regular show.  Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with racing at 6 p.m.  For more information, please visit www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315)829-4557.

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