Utica-Rome Speedway Sets 2017 Weekly Divisions

VERNON, NY – Utica-Rome Speedway management is diligently working on the schedule for the 2017 season.  Although dates have yet to finalize for special events, the weekly program has taken shape over the past few weeks.  The speedway plans to feature a weekly program that includes the Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Pro Stocks as well as a new to the speedway Novice Sportsman division. 

As they’ve been the past several seasons at Utica-Rome, the Modifieds remain as the Sunday night highlight for weekly action at the half-mile facility.  Matt Sheppard captured his second consecutive track championship at the speedway, his third overall in 2016.  He dominated the season parking his self-owned No.9s in Victory Lane on five different occasions.  Larry Wight, Pat Ward, Rob Belling and Danny Varin also took home triumphs in the Modifieds last season.  Fans can expect the same quality field to compete at the track in 2017 with several new faces ready to add to the top division ranks. 

Although the 602 Sportsman became a weekly division just two seasons ago, they’ve quickly become one of the most popular at the speedway.  The division saw strong weekly car counts averaging in the mid 20’s with several nights seeing car counts break the 30-car threshold.  Matt Janczuk wrestled the 2016 title away from Rocky Warner as the chase for the title came down to the final night of action back in September. 

New for 2017, the speedway has elected to add a Novice 602 Sportsman division.  This division will be open to drivers that don’t have the seat time that others in the division have.  This will allow these drivers more track time to get their feet wet before hitting the track with their more experienced peers.  Rules for the division will fall in line with other tracks in Central New York. 

Also, returning in 2017 are the Pro Stocks.  The Pro Stocks have been a staple at the speedway with some of the top drivers in Northeast competing weekly at the track including track champion Pete Stefanski.  Stefanski was able to hold off the always strong Mike Welch for his first ever title. 

Unfortunately, the Open Sportsman division will not be returning for the 2017 season.  The division struggled to gain traction as more and more drivers have purchased crate power plants to compete with the 602 Sportsman division.  After the 2015 season, rule changes were made to gain more cars each week but, car counts remained stagnant.  As a result, the difficult decision was made by speedway management to drop the division.  Currently speedway officials are working to come up with viable option to allow those with open competition engines to compete with the Modified division.  Stay tuned to the website for more information on rules in the coming months. 

Weekly action is set to begin in the month of April at the Utica-Rome Speedway with the speedway banquet scheduled for Saturday March 11, 2017 at the Vernon Downs Casino.    For more information about the upcoming banquet as well as 2017 season stay tuned into www.uticaromespeedway.com in the coming weeks.