VERNON, NY-Another huge holiday weekend of racing is upon as this Sunday, July 5, the Utica-Rome Speedway will celebrate Independence Day with an action packed show of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing. Gates-Cole Insurance and Safelite Auto Glass presents the return of the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints for their final event of ESS Central New York Speedweek plus a full show of Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks. Following the nights on track action, a huge fireworks display will fill the sky above the famed Vernon oval to put the finishing touches of the holiday weekend.

Taking advantage of Pat Ward’s mechanical woes on June 21, Matt Sheppard was able to use his third place finish to take the point lead in the lucrative chase for the track title that could net him over $13,000. Ward slipped back the second spot, still within striking distance as he sits just 13 points back with his teammate Larry Wight in the third spot, 20 points out of the runner-up spot. Mike Mahaney and Tim Fuller round out the top five spots with Vic Coffey, defending champion Stewart Friesen, Mike Bowman, Erick Rudolph, and Matt Hulsizer filling out the top 10 positions. Sheppard leads the way in wins with four wins followed by Friesen with two and Wight, Mahaney, Fuller and Billy Decker all having one win each. In the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series New York State rankings, Sheppard sits in the second spot closely followed by Ward in third. Wight (8th), Mahaney (11th), and Fuller (18th) also find themselves in the top 20 in the state standings.

With Utica-Rome Speedway hosting the final night of the SUNY Canton Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint Central New York Speedweek presented by Einstein Construction Group, the champion for the five day series will again be crowned at the Vernon speed plant. Right now, momentum is on defending ESS champion and current ESS Championship Tour point leader Steve Poirier’s side as he comes into Speedweek on the heels of a win at Lebanon Valley and a top five finish in all events completed so far plus a stellar record at all of the tracks that are part of the five night marathon. Last year’s Speedweek champion Jason Barney sits in second in tour points followed by Matt Tanner, Jeff Cook, Chuck Hebing, Tommy Wickham, Paulie Colagiovanni, Paul Kinney, Parker Evans, and Zach Wiegand. Dave Axton, Danny Varin, Shawn Donath, Mike Stelter, and other ESS followers are all expected to follow most, if not all, of the events. Throw in invaders such as Davie Franek, Mark Smith, and Bryan Howland plus Modified stars Stewart Friesen and Larry Wight it will be a stellar field of drivers in the pits on Sunday.

The 602 Sportsman will compete in a NASCAR point only event with no track points being awarded to allow any regulars to compete in the 602 Sportsman event at Weedsport Speedway. A draw for heats and a redraw for the feature will be used for the cars that are in competition.

A regular show of Open Sportsman and Pro Street Stocks is also on the schedule and when everything is settled, a huge display of crowd pleasing fireworks will take to the skies. Always one of the best fireworks display in the area, this Sunday should be no different.

Gates open this Sunday at 3 p.m. with racing set to begin at 5:30 p.m. Adult admission is $22 for adults with Military, Seniors, and Students at $18. Kids 16 and under are FREE.

For more information including a full season schedule, point standings, and much more please log on to The speedway office number is (315) 829-4557. Utica-Rome Speedway is located on Route 5 just east of the Village of Vernon and is just minutes from the New York State Thruway.