Chris Mackey, Josh Coonradt, and Travis Whitbeck take “Monster Mash” wins in 2019 Utica-Rome Speedway season finale
VERNON, NY- This past Saturday, October 26, Utica-Rome Speedway ended the season with a special Halloween themed event the featured three of the four weekly divisions at the historic oval. The Broedel Fuel Group DIRTcar Sportsman and Ted’s Body Shop DIRTcar Pro Stocks capped their season off with 50-lap affairs while the Rooke Sportsman competed in a 15-lap finale. Chris Mackey was the victor in the final event of the VP Racing Fuels Summer Shootout Series for the Sportsman to take the $1,000 payday while Josh Coonradt dominated the last half of the Pro Stock main to score the win. Travis Whitbeck was the winner of the Rookie Sportsman main event.
Sean Beardsley and Mike Button led the 24 car DIRTcar Sportsman starting field to the green flag, only to have the yellow flag fly immediately when several front runners got to get together in turn two. The second attempt was successful with Beardsley leading the opening three circuits, with Brian Calabrese taking over the lead on the fourth circuit. The opening 16 circuits went without incident at Calabrese was running away with the lead, hitting lapped traffic by lap 14.
The first official yellow flag of the event came out on the 16th circuit when third place running Mike Coffey Jr. caught an, infield marker tire and spun in the second turn, ending his chance at a top finish. When green flag racing resumed, 12th place starter Chris Mackey slipped by second place running Zach Sobotka to grab the runner-up spot, then setting his sights on the leader Calabrese.
The yellow lights flickered on again on lap 21, and the restart saw Mackey grab the advantage as he took over the top spot. With 25 of the 50 laps completed, the leaderboard showed Mackey, Sobotka, Mike Ballestero, Calabrese, and Jack Miller in the top five spots.
Mackey seemed to have the field under control as he built up a sizable lead, but a lap 40 caution set up the final double file restart of the event and made things real interesting for the next couple of circuits. The restart had Mackey retain the top spot but as the field come around to score lap 41, Sobotka threw a perfectly executed slide job at Mackey and slid in front of him to momentarily lead. But Mackey retaliated with perfect move of his as he hit the brakes and dove underneath Sobotka to set up a drag race to the flag stand. Mackey won the race to continue as the leader while Calabrese followed Mackey and regained the runner-up spot a lap later.
Sobotka’s chances to win the event a lap later as he came to a stop on the front stretch, bringing out the yellow. Two more cautions would slow the pace over the final seven laps, including one that set up a two lap dash at the end, but Mackey was too strong as he led the field to the checkered for his second win of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway. Calabrese, Ballestero, Miller, and Austin Germinio rounded out the top five at the line, with Germnio later disqualified for failing to make post-race weight.
Mike Kazlauskas led the opening lap of the DIRTcar Pro Stock 50-lap feature event from his outside front row starting spot, with sixth place starting Shane Henderson making quick work through the top five to take the lead using the high side around the track.
Eighth place starter Josh Coonradt was looking to continue his strong 2019 season at the Vernon oval as he drove by second place running Justin Knight on lap nine and started to run the leader Henderson down. Coonradt quickly caught Henderson but was unable to make the move around him for the top spot, as Henderson was able to fend off every one of Coonradt’s attempts.
A lap 13 caution saw Coonradt slip by Henderson on the restart to lap 14, only to have Henderson go back by on the high to regain the lead on lap 16. Coonradt quickly recovered however and charged back by Henderson to lead the field on lap 18. When the field got the halfway signal, Coonradt was starting to flex his muscle as he was quickly pulling away, leading Henderson, Tony Markou, Dean Charbonneau, and Knight.
On more caution slowed the pace on lap 42, giving Markou a brief shot at the win but Coonradt proved to be too strong as he raced to his 3rd win of the season at Utica-Rome followed by Markou, Charbonneau, Knight, and Kazlauskas.
The Rookie Sportsman main event saw Ron Deldese lead the opening two circuits, with Carter Gibbons taking over on lap three. Gibbons run as the leader ended on lap 10, when Travis Whitbeck would take over the lead for good to score the season ending win.
MONSTER MASH RACE SUMMARY
BROEDEL FUEL GROUP SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (50 LAPS)-CHRIS MACKEY, Brian Calabrese, Michael Ballestero, Jack Miller, Pat Jones, William August, Mike Button, James Venditti, Zach Sobotka, Billy Clark, Marshall Hurd, Jason Reome, CJ Castelletti, Alex Payne, Charlie Tibbitts, Bailey Groves, Tim Falter, Payton Talbot, Dalton Rombough, Brendon Gibbons, Mike Coffey Jr., Sean Beardsley, Tony Ballestero, and Justin Germinio.
TED’S BODY SHOP PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (50 LAPS)-JOSH COONRADT, Tony Markou, Dean Charbonneau, Justin Knight, Mike Kazlauskas, Frank Hyatt, Ed Kotary, Jim Normoyle, Travis Welch, David Demorest, Aaron Page, Shane Henderson, and Matt Larrivee.
BERNIE’S EXTREME PERFORMANCE PARTS ROOKIE SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)-TRAVIS WHITBECK, Carter Gibbons, Ron Deldese, Ernie Staelens, Steve Kotary, and Andrew Stadelmann.