MOD LITES JOIN ANOTHER ACTION PACKED PROGRAM THIS SUNDAY AT THE UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY ON WHELEN ENGINEERING NIGHT
VERNON, NY-After two exciting weeks so far into the young 2015 season, Utica-Rome Speedway returns to action this Sunday, May 3, with another action packed program. Whelen Engineering will present a regular show of Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks plus the first visit by the Mod Lites. The weekly four divisions will be again racing as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.
With three point events completed, a pair of teammates are tied atop the Stampede Steakhouse Modified point standings with LJL Racing’s Larry Wight and Pat Ward showing the way. While neither have wins yet, consistency have been the key to their seasons so far. Both have runner-up finishes and both have had to make pit stops during events and race their way back to the front. Two time winner Matt Sheppard is five points out of the lead and final lap turn four miscue two weeks ago may be all the has stopped him from owning victory lane at the Vernon oval in 2015. Young Erick Rudolph sits 10 points off the point lead with defending champion and winner on opening night, Stewart Friesen, rounding out the top five. Friesen went into action last week as the point leader but an opening lap incident cut his night short and cost him a chance to retain his spot. Veteran Danny Johnson, Tim Fuller, Mat Williamson, last week’s runner-up Matt Hulsizer, and Vic Coffey fill out the top 10 point positions. Mike Bowman, Mike Mahaney, Chris Hile, Dave Rauscher, Adam Roberts, Darwin Greene, and Brett Wright are just some of the drivers looking to break into the top 10 spots.
AJ Filbeck has been the fastest car in the opening two weeks for the 602 Sportsman and his win last week and runner-up finish have given him the early point lead. There is a logjam for the second spot with Alan Fink, Matt Janczuk, and Dave Marcuccilli all tied. Cody Clark currently holds on to the fifth spot with opening night winner Rocky Warner, Glenn Forward, Connor Cleveland, Josh VanBrocklin, and Daryl Nutting rounding out the top 10 positions.
In the Open Sportsman, the two of the fastest cars from last year are again front runners this season but each has seen a race night end prematurely while each scoring wins on the other night. Jeremy Vunk won on opening but motor issues this past Sunday in hot laps sent him home early while Claude Hutchings Jr. recovered from mechanical issues in the opener to win this past Sunday. But, they still are behind in the standings and the only driver with top fives (both second place runs) in both events, Steve Way, is the current point leader. He is trailed by Jack Miller, Randy Shantel, and Hutchings in a three way tie for second while Mike Stiles sits in the fifth spot. Filling out the top 10 positions are Mike Richmond, Heath Carney, Tom Tophoven, Corey Pike, and Lucas Heintz while Vunk has fallen to the 11th spot.
The Pro Street Stock division is again providing some of the best racing of any given race night and this past Sunday was no different. Current point leader Mike Welch had to fend off a late race charge by Bret Belden to secure his first career win at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Opening night winner Mark Effner sits just four points out of the top spot in second with Chris Carr and AJ Digsby are tied for third while Glenn Forward in the fifth spot. Bill Mason, Gus Hollner, Travis Welch, Kevin Winton, and Bill Trexler III are the rest of the top 10 in the standings.
The Mod Lites will join in on the fun this Sunday as they try to tackle the fast half mile oval after several year absence. The Mod Lites have provided some super-fast competitive racing in past visits and more of the same can be expected this week. In the 10 appearances in the past, there have been eight different winners with only current 602 Sportsman campaigner Rocco Leone and Ryan Charland winning more than once.
Admission for Sunday action packed program is still just $13 for adults while kids 16 and under are free. Students, military, and seniors admission is set at $10 with proper ID. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. while racing will begin at 6 p.m.
Utica-Rome Speedway is located on Route 5 just east of the village of Vernon and just minutes from the New York State Thruway. Operating on Sunday nights throughout the summer, Utica-Rome Speedway operates under the NASCAR banner as part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series. Known for its special events and lucrative point fund, this year’s Stampede Steakhouse Modified champion will net a minimum of $13,000, the “Action Track of the East” continues to be entertainment the whole family can enjoy. For more information, log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557. The speedway also has a presence in the social media, including Facebook and Twitter at @UR_Speedway.