VERNON, NY- Wilbur-Duck Chevrolet and Joe’s Jerky brought an exciting night of racing to the Utica-Rome Speedway this past Sunday, as the Super Short Track Series held a 35-lap event for the Open Sportsman to go along with an action-filled card of Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds, SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman, and G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks. Rob Bellinger picked up his second win of the season in the Modified division, while Steve Way won the Short Track Super Series Sportsman event to take home the $1000 prize. Rocky Warner won a thriller of a race with the 602 Sportsman, taking the lead in the final corner. For the Pro Stocks, Luke Horning held off Mike Welch to get his car to victory lane.

Matt Hulsizer and Tim Mayne headed the field of Gates-Cole Modifieds as they came to the green flag for their 30-lap feature event. The first circuit saw Hulsizer take advantage of his pole starting position, jumping out to an early lead. Mayne relinquished his spot to Rob Bellinger, who was then passed by a charging Marc Johnson. Bellinger, not willing to go away, stuck with Johnson as the two duked it out for the runner up spot. During their battle, a mechanical issue slowed down Hulsizer, forcing him to pull into the pits on lap six, giving the lead to Bellinger. A caution a lap later slowed the field. The return of the green was accompanied by a return of the battle between Bellinger and Johnson. The two stayed glued together, with Johnson even getting the edge on lap 9, before Bellinger found some momentum and pulled away.

With the leader pulling away from the field, the top five began to battle for position. Danny Varin and Matt Sheppard had both worked their way toward the front, gaining on the top two as the race entered its second half. Sheppard, using the middle of the racing surface, began to gain on Varin, who was using the bottom. With seven laps to go, another yellow halted the racing action. On the restart, Bellinger once again pulled away from Johnson, but Sheppard was able to get a run on Varin, completing the pass a pair of laps later. At that point, however, both Bellinger and Johnson were too far ahead for Sheppard to track down. Bellinger took home his second win of the season, following by a strong outing by Johnson. Sheppard, Varin, and Larry Wight filled out the top ten. They were followed by Alan Johnson, Vic Coffey, Pat Ward, Mike Mahaney, and Mayne.

The Short Track Super Series Sportsman 35-lap feature came to the green with Charlie Hendrickson and Brian White filling out the front row. The race was stalled, however, due to an opening lap multi-car mêlée that involved nearly half the field and adjusted the starting lineup. The incident also ended the night for five cars. When green returned, invader Brian White took the lead using the top side. He began to build a cushion between himself and Randy Shantel, who had taken over the runner up spot. The third position was filled by Jack Miller, completing a trio that would stay the same until lap 15, when speedway points leader Steve Way began to put pressure on Miller, completing the pass a lap later. Way then set his sights on Shantel, who gave up his spot on the 19th circuit.

It wasn’t long after when White started to feel the heat from Way. With White still running the top, Way dove to the bottom. The two swapped the lead back and forth, with Way breaking through on the 21st lap only to give it back to the White the following circuit. On lap 25, Way was finally able to break away from White, allowing him to drive away to take the win. Miller and Claude Hutchings Jr. both made it past White as well to fill the podium with all home track drivers. White settled for fourth, followed by Shantel.

The SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman were led to the green flag by Casey Williams and Chris Mackey, with Mackey taking the early lead. Using the bottom groove, Mackey began to pull away from Williams and Kyle Kiehn, who came from his fifth starting spot. As the top five began to string out, the top two points, Matt Janczuk and Rocky Warner, started to mount charges to the front, coming from the fifth row. When the race reached the halfway mark, Warner had battled into the top five, with Janczuk not far behind. With five to go, Warner was working over Kiehn and looking to move forward, but the top two had created too much distance to overcome.

With one lap remaining, however, a caution for a spinning car in turn one and brought the field together and gave Warner an opportunity. On the restart, both Mackey and Williams dropped to the bottom of the speedway. Warner took his machine to the top side, searching for the cushion. On the exit of turn two, Warner was shot out of a cannon, blasting past Williams for second and searching for more. On the entry to turn three, Warner pulled alongside Mackey as he carried all of his momentum to the top side once more while Mackey continued to work the bottom. On the exit of turn four, Warner pulled past Mackey and crossed the line for the win. Mackey took the runner up spot, followed by Williams, Jason Rood, and Janczuk.

The G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks took the green flag for the feature while being led by Jerry Streeter and Frank Hyatt. Neither led the first lap, with those honors instead going to the Jim Normoyle, who came from fourth. Two laps later, the lead was taken by Pete Stefanski before a caution came out on lap 3. When the green waved again, Stefanski pulled away, but the second place spot now belonged to Luke Horning, who had fought up from his starting spot in eighth. Two more cautions came out on laps 7 and 10, and both times, Horning searched for a path past the leading Stefanski. As those two battled it out, Mike Welch had moved into the final podium spot and was looking to continue his push to the front, catching the battle for the lead. With seven laps remaining in the 20-lap feature, Horning was able to work past Stefanski. Behind him, Welch did the same. With five laps left, Welch tried to catch up, but Horning made his efforts fruitless and took the victory, leaving Welch to settle for second. Stefanski, Gus Hollner, and Chris Carr trailed.

Racing action will resume in two weeks with the $10,000 to win 4th Annual Cole Cup for 360 Sprints.  Also in action on Gates-Cole Insurance and A-Verdi Storage Containers night will be the Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds and SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman.  Racing will begin at 6 p.m.  For more information, please log on to or call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557.


GATES-COLE INSURANCE MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- ROB BELLINGER, Marc Johnson, Matt Sheppard, Danny Varin, Larry Wight, Alan Johnson, Vic Coffey, Pat Ward, Mike Mahaney, Tim Mayne, John Lutes Jr., and Matt Hulsizer.

SUNY CANTON 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- ROCKY WARNER, Chris Mackey, Casey Williams, Jason Rood, Matt Janczuk, Kyle Kiehn, Nick Krause, Stephen Denton, Brad Alger, Brent Joy, Rocco Leone, A.J. Miller, Dave Manchester, Charlie Tibbitts, Billy Trexler III, and John Christian. DNS- David Schilling, Daryl Nutting, Jimmy Moyer, and A.J. Digsby.

SHORT TRACK SUPER SERIES OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (35 LAPS)- STEVE WAY, Jack Miller, Claude Hutchings Jr., Brian White, Randy Shantel, Mark Effner, Charlie Hendrickson, Chris Jordan, Heath Carney, Kevin Jordan, Shane Jablonka, Craig Pope, Aaron Jacobs, Tom Tophoven, Rich Ricci III, Alyssa Cody, Lucas Heintz, Jeremy Vunk, Jim Rothwell, Bobby Trapper Jr., and Anthony Cardamone.

G&I HOMES OF VERNON PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- LUKE HORNING, Mike Welch, Pete Stefanski, Gus Hollner, Chris Carr, Jim Normoyle, Bill Knapp, Ernie Staelens, Frank Hyatt, Jerry Streeter, Aaron Page, Chris Welch, and Joe Palmer.