BILLY DECKER MAKES LATE RACE PASS ON STEWART FRIESEN TO WIN SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES RACE AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY
VERNON, NY-This past Wednesday, June 24, the Super DIRTcar Modified Series made a long awaited return the Utica-Rome Speedway after a 12 year absence. Billy Decker got his second DIRTcar series win of the year and second ever at the speedway, and his sixth career win at the track. An exciting Pro Street Stock feature was won by Pete Stefanski after a late race pass, and he took home the $500 check on the SUNY Canton and Community Car Wash sponsored night of racing.
The first DIRTcar Modified series race in more than a decade came to the green with Tim McCreadie and Stewart Friesen at the head of a 31 car strong field. The first lap saw Friesen use the top side of the speedway to take the lead early, leaving McCreadie behind in second. A couple of cautions in the next few laps slowed the field, collecting Pat Ward, Robby Bellinger, and Randy Chrysler. When the race restarted on lap five, Friesen stayed up front, but Brett Hearn was on the charge. Using the same line as Friesen, Hearn worked his way past McCreadie into the runner up position. Matt Sheppard, another track regular along with Friesen, was using his experience on the speedway and worked his way into the top five, trailed by a strong run from Danny Johnson. Another pair of cautions slowed the pace again, with the top five at the one third mark being Friesen, Hearn, Johnson, Larry Wight, and Billy Decker.
Friesen was strong again on the restart, leaving the four cars behind him to battle it out for second. Hearn couldn’t hold off Johnson, as he took to the middle of the racing surface to sneak by. Hearn then began to fade, allowing both Wight and Decker to go past. At the front, Johnson was trying to close in on the front running Friesen, using every lane he could to try and track him down. After the fifth caution of the night that sent Wight, Sheppard, and Anthony Perrego to the pits, Johnson tried to once again pass Friesen. He dove to the bottom and tried to slide up in front of Friesen in the second turn, but Friesen was able to hold him off and keep the lead at the halfway mark. The next five laps were riddled with yellow flags, all which took Danny Varin, Mike Mahaney, and Hearn off the track. The multiple restarts shuffled the top five again, this time giving the runner up spot to Decker, with him followed by Jimmy Phelps and Billy Dunn. By the 40th circuit, Wight had worked his back into the fifth position after a pit stop earlier.
Going into the final third of the race, Decker was searching for any line to try and close in on Friesen, who had created a strong lead for himself running off the top side. After trying the bottom, Decker moved his machine to the top side of the speedway and starting using the cushion to push his car down the racing surface. Lap after lap, Decker started to slowly reel in the leader. By lap 49, Decker was on the back bumper. He dove to the bottom of Friesen’s machine in turns one and two and stuck with him down the back stretch; diving once more to the bottom and making it stick to complete the pass for the lead. Jimmy Phelps was able to catch Friesen as well, using the bottom as well to make the pass. As the race entered its final five laps, the leading Decker was catching the slow traffic at the rear of the field, and Phelps was slowly closing in the leader, but he didn’t have enough time, and Decker took home the $6,000 paycheck. Phelps took second, followed by Wight, who finished off a strong run after leaving the track in the same position on lap 27, and Friesen. Erick Rudolph rounded out the top five. The top ten was filled out by Dunn, Justin Haers, Sheppard, Johnson, and Jimmy Davis.
Glenn Forward and Mark Effner brought the Pro Street Stock Series presented by Smith Brothers Drywall field to the green to begin their 25 lap main event with Forward gaining the edge at the start. Effner would settle into the second spot with Pete Stefanski, Steve Peserak, and Mike Welch would hold the rest of the top five spots. Effner would pressure the leader Forward for a few laps but as the race wore on, Forward would begin to lengthen his advantage over the rest of the field. Meanwhile, the battle for the third spot was going on as Stefanski, Welch, and the rim riding AJ Digsby put on great battle for position for the fans. Lap after lap, the trio of Stefanski, Welch, and Digsby would go three wide for third spot with Stefanski narrowly holding the spot each lap.
With 10 circuits to go, the final caution of the night brought the field together for dash to the finish. Forward was still being shown as the leader but this time Effner was not going to let him get away and was looking for a way to slip by. On lap 21, Effner was able to put a nose ahead at the flag stand to lead that lap but Forward was able to regain the spot on the next circuit. As the field took the two laps to go signal from starter Matt Burdick, business picked up at the front of the field. Effner again challenged Forward for the lead as they slipped up the banking in turns one and two, Stefanski saw an opportunity on the bottom of the track and went for it, bringing Welch with him. The top four were all running in a tight pack with the winner in doubt as they took the white flag with Stefanski now leading the pack followed by Forward, Effner, Welch, and Digsby. Stefanski was able to survive all last lap challenges to take to the thrilling win, barely edging out Effner, Welch, Forward, and Digsby for the $500 win.
This Sunday at Utica-Rome Speedway, presented by Herrig’s Auto Parts and Mirabito Fuel Group, is Autograph Night, which includes a regular night of racing action of Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. and racing starts at 6 p.m. For more information, visit www.uticaromespeedway.com or call (315) 829-4557.
SUNY CANTON/COMMUNITY CAR WASH SUPER DIRTCAR MODIFIED SERIES RACE SUMMARY
SUNY CANTON SUPER DIRTCAR MODIFIED SERIES FEATURE FINISH (60 LAPS)-BILLY DECKER, Jimmy Phelps, Larry Wight, Erick Rudolph, Billy Dunn, Justin Haers, Matt Sheppard, Danny Johnson, Jimmy Davis, Vinnie Vitale, Dave Rauscher, Keith Flach, Danny Varin, Brett Hearn, Pat Ward, Robbie Bellinger, Rich Scagliotta, Billy Whittaker, Gary Tomkins, Vic Coffey, Anthony Perrego, Mike Bowman, Ryan Phelps, Mike Mahaney, Elmo Reckner, Tim Fuller, Tim McCreadie, Peter Britten, Mat Williamson, Randy Chrysler, and Stewart Friesen.
PRO STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (25 LAPS)-PETE STEFANSKI, Mark Effner, Mike Welch, Glenn Forward, AJ Digsby, Steve Peserak, Chris Carr, Blaine Smith, Bill Mason, Bill Trexler III, Gus Hollner, Mike White, Marc Minutolo, Frank Hyatt, Dana Camenga, Jerry Streeter, Devon Camenga, Ron Richter, Vance Vanderwall, Tiger Chapman, and Ernie Staelens.