STEWART FRIESEN OUTLASTS MOTHER NATURE TO TAKE SECOND WIN OF SEASON AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY
VERNON, NY- Quality Manufacturing and Marble Hill Inn sponsored a weather-tested night of racing at Utica-Rome Speedway this past Sunday, June 21, and when it was done it was Stewart Friesen taking home his first win since opening day in the Stampede Steakhouse Modified division. He shared victory lane with A.J. Filbeck in the 602 Sportsman, Jeremy Vunk in the Open Sportsman, and Glenn Forward in the Pro Street Stocks. Rain moved into the area mid afternoon, which caused an over two hour delay.
The Stampede Steakhouse Modified feature event was led to the green by Mike Bowman and Chris Mackey, with Mackey the leader of the first lap. Right behind him was Vic Coffey, who started one row back in fourth. Both drivers brought their machines to the favored low side of the racing surface as they battled for the top spot. After an eight lap battle, Coffey was able to take a line lower than Mackey and squeeze his way by and overtake the lead. He wouldn’t have long as the leader, however, as Stewart Friesen was on the move, being one of the few drivers using the top side of the speedway. Friesen took the runner up spot on lap 10, and instantly got to work on the leader. Once again using the top side, Friesen got a strong run off of turns three and four and shot by the leader on lap 11. A caution a lap later would slow the field, but on the restart Friesen still proved to be the strongest car on the track.
Larry Wight was looking to change that, however. Wight also jumped up to the top side of the speedway, using a line even higher than the leading Friesen. Driving off the top side, Wight moved to third and was gaining on Coffey as the race progressed into the second half. Wight and Coffey drove side by side lap after lap, and Wight was finally able to make the pass on the 19th circuit as his teammate, the point leading Pat Ward, pulled off the racing surface with engine trouble. The pass didn’t last for long though, as Coffey found a lane on the bottom and took the spot back. A few laps later, another caution came out, with both Matt Sheppard and Mike Bowman going to the pits. When the race resumed, Friesen once more took his machine off the top side and took a sizable lead, but Coffey wasn’t going away easy. He continued his use of the bottom groove, and on the final lap, was closing in on the bumper of Friesen. Friesen used the top side once again, and had just enough to hold on for the win. Coffey finished in second, his best finish so far this season. Sheppard, after pulling off earlier, finished strong and took the last podium spot, trailed by Wight and Mike Mahaney. The top five was rounded out by Danny Varin Mackey, Bowman, Brett Wright, and Dave Moyer.
Brandon Kuhn and Brent Joy took the green for the 602 Sportsman feature. Joy took the early lead on the bottom, with Kuhn following, but he was tracked down by Alan Fink. At the halfway mark, a yellow flag was displayed for a spinning machine in turn three. On the restart, A.J. Filbeck, who had worked his way into the top five from his ninth starting spot, made a power move on the outside around Joy and took the lead. As he was driving away, point leading Rocky Warner was making his way through the field and was in second with six laps to go. He was trying to track down the leader using the bottom, but didn’t have enough. With Filbeck in first and Warner in second, Connor Cleveland, Joy, and Fink filled out the top five.
The Open Sportsman took the green with Lucas Heintz and Craig Pope at the head of the field. Craig Pope was the leader for the first few laps, but a caution on the fourth and fifth laps slowed the field. On the restart, Jeremy Vunk took the lead and never looked back. With him taking the win, Steve Way, Pope, Jack Miller, Mike Richmond finished the top five.
Jerry Streeter and Travis Welch were the duo on the front row of the Pro Street Stock feature, with both drivers conceding the top spot to A.J. Digsby on the first lap. Digsby held the lead for the first five laps until a yellow flag flew on the fifth circuit. On the restart, Digsby was under pressure from the rest of the top five, as they all were bumper to bumper going around the speedway on the bottom side of the racing surface. Mark Effner was the first to jump out of line and it proved to be a good move as he made the pass for the lead. He was pressured immediately by Glenn Forward, and was not able to hold onto to the top spot as another caution came out on lap 13. Even with the restart, Forward was able to pull away and take the win. He was followed by Mike Welch, Digsby, Effner, and Ed Ostrander.
Utica-Rome Speedway hosts its first Super DIRTcar Series race in 12 years on Wednesday, June 24th, sponsored by SUNY Canton. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. and racing starts at 7 p.m. For more information, visit www.uticaromespeedway.com or call (315) 829-4557.
QUALITY MANUFACTURING AND MARBLE HILL INN NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES RACE SUMMARY
STAMPEDE STEAKHOUSE MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- STEWART FRIESEN, Vic Coffey, Mat Sheppard, Larry Wight, Mike Mahaney, Danny Varin, Chris Mackey, Mike Bowman, Brett Wright, Dave Moyer, Pete Taylor, Pat Ward, Matt Hulsizer, Dave Rauscher, Tim Fuller, and Tim Mayne.
602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- A.J. FILBECK, Rocky Warner, Connor Cleveland, Brent Joy, Alan Fink, Corey Barker, Daryl Nutting, Jason Rood, Matt Janczuk, Nick Krause, Chris Cunningham, Brandon Kuhn, Jim Thomas, Stephen Denton, Rocco Leone, Glenn Forward, Aaron Jacobs, Geoff VanRiper, and Brandon Rauscher. DNS- Cody Clark, John Christian, and Kyle Kiehn.
OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- JEREMY VUNK, Steve Way, Craig Pope, Jack Miller, Mike Richmond, Claude Hutchings Jr., Lucas Heintz, Heath Carney, and Randy Shantel.
PRO STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- GLENN FORWARD, Mike Welch, A.J. Digsby, Mark Effner, Ed Ostrander, Chris Carr, Gus Hollner, Bill Trexler III, Frank Hyatt, Ernie Staelens, Jerry Streeter, Dwight Johnson, Travis Welch, and Bill Mason. DNS- Andy LaShure.