MATT SHEPPARD PASSES MATT HULSIZER TO WIN STAMPEDE STEAKHOUSE MODIFIED MAIN AT UTICA-ROME ON GATES-COLE INSURANCE NIGHT
VERNON, NY- The stars aligned for Matt Sheppard on Gates-Cole Insurance night at the Utica-Rome Speedway. The veteran driver from Waterloo, N.Y., captured the 30-lap Stampede Steakhouse Modified main-event with a late race pass of Matt Hulsizer. It was Sheppard’s second NASCAR Whelen All-American Series win of the 2015 season. Other winners included Claude Hutchings Jr., in the Open Sportsman, AJ Filbeck in the 602 Sportsman and Mike Welch in the Pro Street Stocks.
Tim Mayne and Dave Rauscher were the duo brought the Stampede Steakhouse Modified feature to the green flag, but the first start was stalled by a flip by Andrew Ferguson as he entered turn four. The wreck would collect six other drivers, including defending track champion Stewart Friesen. Ferguson was okay, but both his and Friesen’s night were done. When the race began again, Tim Mayne took advantage of his pole starting position and jumped out to an early lead. Matt Hulsizer, coming from his fourth starting spot, challenged that lead early, taking the lead after three lap battle. Mike Bowman followed him, taking second from Mayne a lap later.
Outside of the top five, Matt Sheppard was making moves through the field, finding his way into the top five on lap 11, coming from 14th. He followed Danny Johnson, another hard charger, but Johnson lost control of his machine and ended up over the banking in turns three and four, costing him his final podium spot. Pat Ward, who was collected in the seven car caution, was able to work his way into fifth by the 20th circuit. At the head of the field, Sheppard was closing in on Hulsizer, who was fighting through lap traffic. Hulsizer took his car to the top while Sheppard dove to the bottom as the battled side by side up until the final lap, when Sheppard was able to pass Hulsizer in turn one. He would hold on for the victory, with Hulsizer settling for second. Tim Fuller took third, followed by Ward and Bowman. Johnson, Erick Rudolph, Mat Williamson, Larry Wight, and Marc Johnson filled out the top ten.
The 602 Sportsman came to the start of their feature with Nick Krause and Glenn Forward on the front row. Forward took the top spot from Krause on the first lap, creating distance for himself. Corey Barker followed and took second, trailed by Dave Marcuccilli. The top five stayed steady for a while until A.J. Filbeck broke in on lap 10. He navigated had his way up to fourth when a caution came out on lap 13. On the restart, Filbeck was able to get grip and take second from Baker, with Forward coming next. Filbeck led the last five laps and won took home the win, trailed by Forward, Marcucilli, Matt Janczuk, Alan Fink, and Baker.
The Open Sportsman started with Craig Pope and Claude Hutchings Jr. leading the field. Pope was able to hold onto to his lead for a lap, but surrendered it to Hutchings on the second time around. A caution on the sixth and eleventh circuit slowed the pack, but Hutchings retained his lead. Pope would give up the runner up spot to Steve Way on lap 17, but he didn’t have enough to challenge Hutchings for the win. Pope ended up in third, with Randy Shantel and Mike Richmond finishing in the top five.
Travis Welch and Gus Hollner led the Pro/Street Stock feature field to the green, with Glenn Forward taking the lead from his third starting spot. A yellow flag on the first lap stalled the start, but Forward was able to hold onto to his lead when the green came back out. Mike Welch, coming from seventh, took second on the restart and started battling Forward for the top position. Another yellow on the ninth circuit slowed the field again, and Mike Welch was able to get by Forward and cruise on to his first career victory at the speedway. He was followed by Bret Belden, Mark Effner, Forward, and Steve Peserak.
Next week at Utica-Rome Speedway the Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds will be in action as well as the Open Sportsman, 602 Sportsman and the Pro Street Stocks. The Mod-Lite division will also be in action on the big half mile. Gates open at 3:30pm with racing action scheduled for 6pm. General admission is $13 while kids 16 and under are free. More information is available at www.uticaromespeedway.com.
NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES GATES-COLE INSURANCE RACE SUMMARY
STAMPEDE STEAKHOUSE MODIFIED FINISH (30 LAPS)- MATT SHEPPARD, Matt Hulsizer, Tim Fuller, Pat Ward, Mike Bowman, Danny Johnson, Danny Johnson, Erick Rudolph, Mat Williamson, Larry Wight, Marc Johnson, Mike Mahaney, Vic Coffey, Brett Wright, Dave Rauscher, Chris Hile, Tim Mayne, Adam Roberts, Darwin Greene, Dave Moyer, Stewart Friesen, Andrew Ferguson, and Chris Mackey.
OPEN SPORTSMAN FINISH (20 LAPS)- CLAUDE HUTCHINGS JR., Steve Way, Craig Pope, Randy Shantel, Mike Richmond, Jack Miller, Mike Stiles, Lucas Heintz, Cory Pike, Tom Tophoven, and Heath Carney. DNS- Jeremy Vunk.
602 SPORTSMAN FINISH (20 LAPS)- A.J. FILBECK, Glenn Forward, Dave Marcuccilli, Matt Janczuk, Alan Fink, Corey Baker, Cody Clark, Nick Krause, Chris Cunningham, Josh VanBrocklin, Brandon Ford, Connor Cleveland, Geoff VanRiper, Daryl Nutting, Kyle Kiehn, Rocky Warner, Aaron Jacobs, Joe Orlando, Haiden Burdick, John Christian, Stephen Denton, Rocco Leone, and Jim Thomas.
PRO/STREET STOCK FINISH (15 LAPS)- MIKE WELCH, Bret Belden, Mark Effner, Glenn Forward, Steve Peserak, A.J. Digsby, Chris Carr, Mike White, Bill Mason, Travis Welch, Gus Hollner, Andy Lashure, Nick Stone, Kevin Winton, Marc Minutolo, Ernie Staelens, Dana Camenga, and Bill Trexler III. DNS- Shawn Frost.