VERNON, NY- This past Sunday, August 7th, Utica-Rome Speedway kicked off its final full month of racing with four caution-free NASCAR Whelen All-American feature events, sponsored by LaLonde Electrical and Parry’s Maintenance/Oneida Lake Marina. Danny Varin won his second Gates-Cole Insurance $2000-to-win Modified feature event in a dominant performance. He shared victory lane with John Christian in the SUNY 602 Sportsman, Randy Shantel in the Broedel Energy Open Sportsman, and Mike Welch on the G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks.

Matt Hulsizer and Vic Coffey filled out the head of the field for the start of the Gates-Cole Insurance Modified feature. Hulsizer took advantage of his pole starting to spot to grab the lead on the first lap, but third place starter Danny Varin challenged him for top spot as they started the second circuit. With Hulsizer on the top, Varin dove to the bottom to complete the pass and take the lead. From there, Varin began to pull away from the field. Behind him, Hulsizer was able to create some distance from Coffey, who was getting pressure from a charging Rob Bellinger. On lap 11, Hulsizer jumped the cushion, causing him to drop 4 positions as he made his way back onto the speedway.

This left Bellinger in the runner up spot, fresh from winning his battle with Coffey. At the halfway mark, Varin was still running away from the opposition, but Bellinger was determined to catch up. While Varin remained on the bottom, Bellinger was bouncing his right rear off the cushion on the top side. Following Bellinger was Matt Sheppard, who was trying every line on the speedway to try and catch the top two. The lead Varin had built, however, was unsurmountable and he took home the win. Bellinger finished in second after a strong run from seventh, followed by Sheppard, Larry Wight, and Coffey. Marc Johnson finished in sixth after starting in last place. He was trailed by Hulsizer, Mike Mahaney, Alan Johnson, and Pat Ward.

The SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman were brought to the green flag by Charlie Tibbitts and John Christian, with Tibbitts holding onto his lead for the first four laps. On the fifth, Christian was able to work his way around for the top spot. Tibbitts, after giving up the lead, lost another spot to A.J. Digsby on lap 6 as he began to charge to the front. At the midpoint of the race, Digsby was still trying to catch the leader. With five to go, Digsby lost his spot to Casey Williams, but got it back a lap later. Digsby couldn’t hold on to the spot, however, as he gave the spot up to A.J. Filbeck with two to go. With Christian taking the checkered, it was his first career win in a 602 Sportsman, with his last win coming in 2002 in the Open Sportsman. Filbeck took second, followed by Brent Joy, Kyle Kiehn, and Matt Janczuk as they worked their way into the top five on the final lap.

The front row of the Broedel Energy Open Sportsman was filled by Tom Tophoven and Craig Pope. Tophoven, using his pole starting position, pulled away from Pope, who relinquished his spot to Randy Shantel, who came from fourth. Going his first win, Tophoven tried to pull away from Shantel, but the runner up driver slowly started to reel in the leader. On lap 13, Shantel found his chance, passing Tophoven for the lead, and eventually the win seven laps later. Tophoven settled for second, followed by Jack Miller, Claude Hutchings Jr., and Steve Way.

Aaron Page and Frank Hyatt brought the G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks to the start of their feature event, but neither led the first lap, with those honors going fifth-place starter Chris Carr after he used the middle groove to take the lead in turn two. Jim Normoyle ran in second, but he could only watch as Carr started to run away with the lead. Three laps later, Mike Welch charged by Normoyle for the runner up spot after starting in eighth. From there, Welch set to the task of tracking down Carr, who was running away. With 10 to go, Welch looked go be gaining on the leader. On lap 15, Welch had caught Carr and began to work over the leader, completing the pass with two laps remaining. With Welch holding on for the win, the rest of the top five was filled out by Carr, Luke Horning, Pete Stefanski, and Normoyle.

A huge event is on tap for next Sunday, August 14, as the race day starts in the early afternoon with remainder of the event from May 22.  The GO Nuclear Late Model Series will complete the remainder of their 30 lap main event while the Race of Champions Modifieds will run the entire 55 lap Sunoco Race Fuels Victoria 200 feature event.  Once completed, the stands will be cleared to start another full program for the Annual Night of Legends.  NASCAR Hall of Famer Jerry Cook, former track promoter Dick Waterman, and the late Bill Wimble will be honored with a big night of racing.  The Race of Champions Dirt Modifieds will compete in a 60 lap feature and will be joined by the SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman, G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks, and the Crate Late Models.  The gates for the nightcap will open at 3:30 p.m. with racing set to begin at 6 p.m.  For more information, please log on to www.uticaromespeeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557.


GATES-COLE INSURANCE MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)-DANNY VARIN, Rob Bellinger, Matt Sheppard, Larry Wight, Vic Coffey, Marc Johnson, Matt Hulsizer, Mike Mahaney, Alan Johnson, Pat Ward, Alan Barker, Jim Nagle, Tim Mayne, Joe August Jr., Beth Bellinger, and Brandon Rauscher.

SUNY CANTON 602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-JOHN CHRISTIAN, AJ Filbeck, Brent Joy, Kyle Kiehn, Matt Janczuk, Brad Alger, AJ Digsby, Casey Williams, Rocky Warner, Charles Tibbitts, Chris Mackey, Stephen Denton, Jason Rood, David Schilling, AJ Miller, Aaron Jacobs, Kyle Fink, Dave Moyer, and Rocco Leone.

BROEDEL ENERGY OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (35 LAPS)-RANDY SHANTEL, Tom Tophoven, Jack Miller, Claude Hutchings Jr., Steve Way, Jeremy Vunk, Mark Effner, Craig Pope, Heath Carney, Todd Fey, and Raymond Carey.

G&I HOMES OF VERNON PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-MIKE WELCH, Chris Carr, Luke Horning, Pete Stefanski, Jim Normoyle, Gus Hollner, Frank Hyatt, Ernie Staelens, Jerry Streeter, Aaron Page, and Bill Knapp.