ROB BELLINGER, MATT JANCZUK, JACK MILLER, AND MIKE WELCH TAKE HOME THURSDAY WINS AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY
VERNON, NY- After six weeks of losing to Mother Nature, Utica-Rome Speedway owners Bill and Kim Shea decided to roll the dice and take a chance on running a special Thursday evening, June 9, event in an attempt to finally get a show in the record books. When it was all over, the winner in all divisions scored their first win of the season at the Vernon oval on Charles Tibbitts Masonry, Gates-Cole Insurance, and Whelen Engineering night. Rob Bellinger took home the $2,000 paycheck in the Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds while Matt Janczuk won the SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman main, Jack Miller took the checkered in the Broedel Energy Open Sportsman, and Mike Welch dominated the G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stock feature event.
Starting on the front row for the Gates-Cole Insurance Modified feature event was Vinnie Vitale and Rob Bellinger, with the outside man taking the lead on the first lap. Using the outside, Bellinger drove his way to a sizable lead using the top side of the speedway. It would be diminished on lap five for a spinning machine in turn two. On the restart, Marc Johnson and Mike Mahaney worked past Vitale for spots in the top three. Behind them, Danny Varin was on the move, appearing in the top five after starting eighth. Five laps later, Varin used the bottom to drive underneath Mahaney and take third.
Bellinger had built some distance again, but was beginning to run into slower traffic, allowing Johnson to make up ground. Behind the front two, Varin was pulling away from a battle that was heating up for fourth. Larry Wight caught up to Mahaney and put the pressure on from the bottom groove. At the race’s halfway mark, Wight won the battle. For Mahaney, the battle was not over yet. Stewart Friesen caught Mahaney using the same line as Wight. The two battled back and forth for six laps until Friesen pulled the slide job and completed the pass. A lap later, however, Friesen slowed for mechanical issues, bringing out the second yellow flag of the race.
The restart pulled the front two cars together once more, as Johnson had still not tracked down the leading Bellinger. On the drop of the green, Bellinger showed that he would not be denied. Pulling away, Bellinger took the checkered flags, with Johnson taking second. Varin, Wight, and Matt Sheppard rounded the top five. Behind them came Pat Ward, Vitale, Alan Johnson, Vic Coffey, and Mahaney.
The SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman started their feature with Brent Joy taking the lead from his second starting spot. He led for the first quarter of the race until a caution came out before the completion of lap six. On the restart, Matt Janczuk made a power move on the outside, passing six cars to take the lead on the west end of the speedway. From there, Janczuk never looked back, driving away from the rest of the field. The rest of the top three started outside of the top five as well, as Glenn Forward and A.J. Filbeck crossed the line in second and third, followed by Beth Bellinger and Chris Johnson.
Matt Burdick’s green flag dropped on the Broedel Energy Open Sportsman with Craig Pope and Mark Effner on the front row. Pope utilized his pole position to lead the handful of laps, but a charging Jack Miller took the lead on lap seven. A caution on lap eight rounded the field back up, but Miller took off again on the restart. Behind him, Randy Shantel rolled in the second position until Jeremy Vunk caught up and took it away in the ending laps of the race. Behind Shantel, Steve Way and Claude Hutchings Jr. completed the top five.
Frank Hyatt and Travis Welch led the G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks to the drop of the green flag. Welch took the early lead, followed by Chris Carr in second. A caution on the sixth circuit slowed the field. The restart allowed Mike Welch to drive by the top two for the lead, with Jim Normoyle tagging on behind. Those twofold hold their positions until the completion of the race. The battle for the final podium spot came down to Travis Welch and Nick Stone, with Stone taking it in the final five laps of the race, with Travis Welch and Carr following him across the line.
It will be a quick turnaround at the Utica-Rome Speedway as they will be back in action this Sunday, June 12, for a fun filled show that includes the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints, King of Dirt Series for the 602 Sportsman and Pro Stocks, Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds, and Broedel Energy Open Sportsman. SUNY Canton and Wilber-Duck Chevrolet will present the festivities which will start at 6 p.m. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. For more information, please log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315)829-4557.
CHARLES TIBBITTS MASONRY, GATES-COLE INSURANCE, & WHELEN ENGINEERING RACE SUMMARY
GATES-COLE INSURANCE MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)-ROB BELLINGER, Marc Johnson, Danny Varin, Larry Wight, Matt Sheppard, Pat Ward, Vinnie Vitale, Alan Johnson, Vic Coffey, Mike Mahaney, Ryan Bartlett, Tim Mayne, Stewart Friesen, Cory Pike, Matt Hulsizer, Dave Moyer, and Tim Fuller.
SUNY CANTON 602 SPORSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-MATT JANCZUK, Glenn Forward, AJ Filbeck, Beth Bellinger, Chris Johnson, JaMike Sowle, Brent Joy, Chris Mackey, Jack Speshock, Jason Rood, Casey Williams, Rocky Warner, Kyle Kiehn, Mike Coffey Jr, Daryl Nutting, Troy Fleming, John Christian, Charles Tibbitts, Billy Trexler III, Jimmy Moyer, David Schilling, Pat LaPage, and Rocco Leone.
BROEDEL ENERGY OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-JACK MILLER, Jeremy Vunk, Randy Shantel, Steve Way, Claude Hutchings Jr, Craig Pope, Tom Tophoven, Mark Effner, Lucas Heintz, Todd Fey, Raymond Carey, Heath Carney, and Jim Rothwell.
G&I HOMES OF VERNON PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-MIKE WELCH, Jim Normoyle, Nick Stone, Travis Welch, Chris Carr, Bill Knapp, Pete Stefanski, Chuck Dumblewski, Luke Horning, Todd Hoffman, Frank Hyatt, Jerry Streeter, Aaron Page, Chris Welch, Gus Hollner, and Andy Lashure.