Matt Sheppard outraces Jeremy Wilder to take $4,000 to win New Yorker 100 at Utica-Rome Speedway
VERNON, NY- After being delayed three weeks due to weather Utica-Rome Speedway was finally open this past Sunday, May 13, for a big Mother’s Day event. St. Lawrence Radiology serving Oneida Healthcare, Lewis County Hospital & Open MRI of Mohawk Valley LLC, Budweiser, and VP Racing Fuels presented the night’s action which featured the New Yorker 100 for the DIRTcar 358-Modified Series plus the Broedel Energy Sportsman, Ted’s Body Shop Pro Stocks, and Rookie Sportsman. Matt Sheppard survived a furious battle with Jeremy Wilder to take the DirtTrackDigest.com 358-Modified main event while AJ Filbeck took home the Broedel Energy Sportsman checkered flag. Mike Welch started the defense of his championship by winning the Ted’s Auto Body Pro Stock main event while Addison was the Rookie Sportsman winner.
Wilder started on the point with Sheppard flanked to the outside. Sheppard gained the top position at the green flag. He worked the high lane around the speedway pulling away in the early go of the 100-lap affair. Sheppard had a amassed a comfortable advantage when the caution came out on lap 16 for a slowing Jimmy Cottrell.
Action got back underway with Sheppard and Wilder at the front of the field. Sheppard continued to lead by the time the race got to lap 20 with Fuller taking second from Wilder. Fuller gave a Sheppard a challenge but just didn’t have enough to get by.
Sheppard pulled away before catching traffic on lap 33. His efforts in traffic were short lived as the caution was necessary for a slowing Lance Willix who had a right rear tire go south. The green came with Sheppard leading while Wilder make a run at him on the outside. He wasn’t able to make the move for the lead.
At the midway point of the race Sheppard was back in slower traffic being tracked by Wilder and Mat Williamson. The traffic impeded Sheppard’s pace allowing Wilder to start to close the gap. The race was picking up before the race was slowed by another caution for a slowing Glenn Forward on lap 62.
The final third of the race was run without caution with Sheppard on the point and Wilder lurking back in second. Wilder never allowed Sheppard to get to far away from him as he stayed less than a second behind.
Sheppard began searching the race track on lap 75 as Wilder’s pace began to quicken. The lead for Sheppard got smaller and smaller while they also fought the challenge of slower cars at the back of the pack. Now the action at the front picked up.
On lap 82 Sheppard got bottled up a bit on the bottom of turns three and four and Wilder rocketed around his outside to take over the lead. This forced Sheppard to regroup while Wilder now showed the way, but the race was far from over.
Wilder worked high, Sheppard low with the pair only a few feet apart while Williamson added himself to the mix for the lead. Sheppard wrestled the lead back away from on lap 90 on the bottom of turns three and four with Wilder literally on his bumper.
The final ten laps saw a wild three car battle at the front between Sheppard, Wilder and Williamson. Sheppard held his line on the bottom while Wilder blasted the top. Williamson sat third looking for the open door.
Wilder made his move on the final lap through turns three and four. He got a huge run off the exit of corner to pull along-side of Sheppard coming to the checkered flag. Sheppard was able to win by .042 seconds at the line.
Wilder had to settle for second while Williamson came home third. Larry Wight advanced from the seventh position to finish in the fourth spot while Billy Dunn came from eighth to finish fifth.
Kyle Kiehn and Mike Button led the 28-car Broedel Energy Sportsman starting field the green flag with grabbing the early lead. Button would remain the leader after a couple of quick cautions in the early portion of the 20-lap main event. While Button was looking for his first Utica-Rome win in over a decade, it was sixth place starter AJ Filbeck making moves to gain the third spot by the end of the second circuit, Filbeck pressured second place running Kiehn for the next handful of laps, finally slipping by on lap seven.
Filbeck’s charge continued as he immediately caught front running Button and as the field hit the halfway point the of the event, Filbeck completed his charge to the front as he went around Button for the top spot. Filbeck would lead the remainder of the event, holding off several late challenges Kyle Inman. Filbeck would score the opening night win over Inman, Kiehn, Dave Marcuccilli, and Tommy Collins Jr.
Nick Stone took command of the Ted’s Body Shop Pro Stock 20-lap main event, charging from his fourth-place starting spot to lead the opening lap. Stone’s run ended on the fifth circuit as his left front tire came off the car, which handed the lead over to Pete Stefanski. Stefanski would only lead lap six however, as Shane Henderson slipped by as lap seven was scored.
Defending track champion Mike Welch was the next driver to get by Stefanski, and he immediately set his sights on the leader Henderson. Welch repeatedly showed his nose to the Henderson but was unable make the pass. With five to go, Welch dove underneath Henderson in turn one and was able to slide up in front of Henderson as they exited turn two. Welch would lead the remaining circuits to grab the win over Henderson, Stefanski, Travis Welch, and Bill Knapp.
Addison Bowman took the lead on seven of the Rookie Sportsman main event to take his first Utica-Rome Speedway checkered flag with Ted Starr, Casey Cunningham, Dave Boisclarr, and Alexis Jacobs.
Racing action resumes on Sunday, May 20, when Wilber-Duck Chevrolet and Bill Herrig’s Auto Parts presents PICK 4 Show and Stockbridge Valley Reading Challenge presents the DirtTrackDigest.com DIRTcar 358-Modifieds, Broedel Energy DIRTcar Sportsman, Ted’s Body Shop DIRTcar Pro Stocks, and Rookie Sportsman. Gates will open at 3 p.m. with racing at 6 p.m. For more information, please log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com or follow us on Facebook and Twitter.
ST. LAWRENCE RADIOLOGY/BUDWEISER/VP RACING FUELS RACE SUMMARY
DIRTTRACKDIGEST.COM MODIFIED NEW YORKER 100 FEATURE FINISH (100 LAPS)-MATT SHEPPARD, Jeremy Wilder, Mat Williamson, Larry Wight, Billy Dunn, Jimmy Phelps, Tim Fuller, Rocky Warner, Marc Johnson, Erick Rudolph, Chad Brachmann, Bobby Varin, Tim Sears Jr., Tyler Trump, Pat Ward, Mike Maresca, Billy Whittaker, Tyler Meeks, Eldon Payne Jr., Jack Lehner, Demetrios Drellos, Ronnie Davis III, Randy Shantel, Jessey Mueller, Lance Willix, Glenn Forward, Ryan Bartlett, Alan Johnson, Jimmy Cottrell, Jordan McCreadie. DNQ-Randy Green, Bobby Herrington, Jack Miller, and Steve Way.
BROEDEL ENERGY SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-AJ FILBECK, Kyle Inman, Kyle Kiehn, Dave Marcuccilli, Tommy Collins Jr., Mike Button, Matt Janczuk, Alan Fink, Stephen Denton, Chris Mackey, Brent Joy, Charlie Tibbitts, James Meehan, Corey Barker, Tyler Thompson, Andrew Buff, Chris Cunningham, Jeff Taylor, Dave Moyer, Alex Yankowski, AJ Miller, Cody Clark, Tom Juno, Daryl Nutting, Jeremy Nestved, Mark Effner, CJ Castelletti, and Tyler Corcoran. DNQ-Tye-Scott Rood, AJ Digsby, Justin Buff, Aaron Jacobs, Taylor Lamb, Colby Herzog, Lucas Heintz, Isiah Forward, and Rocco Leone.
TED’S BODY SHOP PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-MIKE WELCH, Shane Henderson, Pete Stefanski, Travis Welch, Bill Knapp, Jim Normoyle, Mike Kazlauskas, Aaron Page, Ernie Staelens, Jerry Streeter, and Nick Stone.
ROOKIE SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)-ADDISON BOWMAN, Ted Starr, Casey Cunningham, Dave Boisclarr, and Alexis Jacobs. DNS-Dwight Nichols.