Rt 5 Vernon, NY
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VERNON, NY-Another huge holiday crowd filled the grandstands this past Sunday at the Utica-Rome Speedway and they didn’t leave disappointed as another they were treated to another entertaining show that saw the champions in all four of the weekly four divisions crowned on Gates-Cole Associates and Turning Stone Casino and Resort night.  Larry Wight came from deep in the Modified field to guide his new Troyer to another win while Jack Miller ended a long drought to score his first Sportsman win in 14 years.  Glenn Forward made a late pass in the Pro Stocks to grab the win while Russ Marsden took the Pure Stock win.

The final regular season Modified feature kicked off Dave Allen and Brad Alger on the front row, and the drop of the green flag saw Alger jump out to the lead, with Willy Decker taking second from his fourth starting position.  One lap later, third place starter Mike Bowman began to challenge Decker for the runner up spot.  Mike Mahaney, who had started from on the inside of the fourth row, worked his way into the top five by lap four and was looking for more.

The following circuit, Mahaney tracked the top three cars and passed them all, taking the lead away.  A caution came out on lap seven, slowing the pace down.  Starting from the eighth spot right outside of Mahaney, Pat Ward began to make his own charge to the front as he was second on the lap seven caution period.  On the ensuing restart, Ward battled with the rest of the top five, emerging in second on lap 10.  He was being chased by Stewart Friesen who had moved into third at that point after starting 11th on the grid.

Another caution came out on lap 13, bringing Mahaney back to the rest of the field.  When the green flag flew, Ward took to the outside in the first turn and took the lead.  It was at this point when 13th place starter Larry Wight began to make his presence felt as he cracked the top five on lap 11 and was in fourth on the lap 13 caution.  The restart saw Wight jump to the outside line and complete the pass on third place running Friesen and then running down Mahaney on the next lap and completing the pass on him a lap later.  Ward tried to run away with the lead, but Wight was able to catch him by using the same groove that had propelled him to second.  He pulled alongside of Ward on lap 17, battling for two laps for the lead before finally putting his teammate behind him.

Ward tried to fight back, diving low into each turn, but Wight still pulled away.  He would hit lapped traffic on lap 22, but he navigated the slower cars easily and drove off to his first win of the season at the Vernon oval.  Ward crossed the line next, followed by Mahaney, Friesen, and Todd Burley.  The rest of the top ten was filled out by Jimmy Davis, Ryan Phelps, Decker, Mike Bowman, and Marc Johnson.

With Matt Sheppard was not in attendance because he was fulfilling his Super DIRTcar Series obligation, Stewart Friesen became the track champion by starting the event, collecting his fourth consecutive Utica-Rome Speedway Modified championship and the $10,000 that goes with the title.  Friesen and Sheppard entered the night tied at the top of the standings.

At the start of the Sportsman 20 lap season finale, it was a three car battle for the lead at the drop of the green between Bobby Heinz, Robert Barker, and Chad Ray with Ray gaining the initial lead.  Ray would remain the leader until lap five when 10th place starter Claude Hutchings Jr. would charge by.  Hutchings looked like the man to beat as he began to pull away, but as the event passed the halfway point, ninth place starter Jack Miller began to reel him in.  On lap 13, Miller made his bid for the top spot stick as he slipped underneath Hutchings to become the new leader.  Despite some heavy lapped traffic and some late pressure from Hutchings, Jeremy Vunk, and Matt Janczuk, Miller was able to hang on to take the popular win with Hutchngs, Vunk, Janczuk, and Tye-Scott Rood trailing.  It was Miller’s first win since the 1999 season.  With his fourth place finish, Janczuk was the Sportsman track champion for the third consecutive season.

Chris Carr, trying to shake off some bad luck from the previous week, grabbed the early lead in the Pro Stock main event as led the first half of the 20 lap event from his outside front row starting spot.  A lap 10 caution and the ensuing restart saw 10th place starter Shawn Frost take over the lead where he remained until lap 14 when Bret Belden slipped by.  From that point on, it was a three car battle for the win as Glenn Forward joined the fray, moving into the runner-up spot on lap 18.  A lap later, Forward was all over the leader Belden as he attempted to take the lead and as the duo entered the fourth turn to take the one to go signal, contact was made between the two with Forward coming out as the leader.  Forward would hang on for the win with Belden, Frost, Carr, and Tom Denton rounding out the top five.  Tom Denton earned his seventh Utica-Rome Speedway Pro Stock championship with this being his second consecutive.

Pure Stock feature action saw Frank Hyatt grab the early lead from his fourth starting spot, and he would remain there until lap eight, when 12th place starter Russ Marsden would charge by to become the new leader.  Marsden would lead the remainder of the 15 lap feature to score the win with Hyatt, Bill Mason, Ricky Breed, and Ron Hawker chasing.  Hawker would be named the 2013 Pure Stock champion, his third consecutive and fourth overall.

MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH(30 Laps)- LARRY WIGHT, Pat Ward, Mike Mahaney, Stewart Friesen, Todd Burley, Jimmy Davis, Ryan Phelps, Willy Decker, Mike Bowman, Marc Johnson, Paul Jensen, Dave Allen, Jason Rood, Eldon Payne Jr., Dave Moyer, Justin Boehler, Aaron Jacobs, Steve Cummings, Jim Walsh, Brad Alger, and Jerry Dineen. TRACK CHAMPION-STEWART FRIESEN

SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 Laps)- JACK MILLER, Jeremy Vunk, Claude Hutchings Jr., Matt Janczuk, Tye-Scott Rood, Chad Ray, Chris Mackey, Stephen Denton, Randy Shantel, Craig Pope, Nick Krause, Ivan Joslin, Robert Barker, Darren Keyser, Bobby Heintz, Tom Tophoven, Joe Orlando, Greg Birosh, Steve Way, A.J. Filbeck, and Heath Carney. DNS- Dan Yankowski and Trevor Lindsey. TRACK CHAMPION-MATT JANCZUK

PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 Laps)- GLENN FORWARD, Bret Belden, Shawn Frost, Chris Carr, Tom Denton, Mark Effner, Ed Ostrander, Bill Knapp, Jim Normoyle, Corie Locke, John Roese, Dana Camenga, Jim Grippin, Art Newman Jr., A.J. Digsby, Jim Money, Joe Palmer, and Greg Tower. TRACK CHAMPION-TOM DENTON

PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 Laps)- RUSS MARSDEN, Frank Hyatt, Bill Mason, Ricky Breed, Ron Hawker, Rob Thieme, Chris Cunningham, Chris Watkins, Mike Kazlauskas, Jim Thomas, Bryan Owens, Ernie Staelens, Scott Wheelock, Andy Szewczyk, Mike Archer, and Keith Stevenson. TRACK CHAMPION-RON HAWKER.

EMPIRE SUPER SPRINTS FEATURE FINISH (25 Laps)- JASON BARNEY, Paul Kinney, Steve Poirier, Aaron Ott, Patrick Vigneault, Matt Tanner, Cory Sparks, Jessica Zemken, Shawn Donath, Dylan Swiernik, Danny Varin, Bryan Howland, Jeff Cook, Chuck Hebing, Sammy Reakes IV, Lance Yonge, Kevin Ward Jr., Etienne Girand, Robbie Stillwagon, Larry Wight, Joe Trenca, and Stewart Friesen.