MIKE MAHANEY PASSES LARRY WIGHT ON FINAL LAP TO TAKE WIN AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY
VERNON, NY- Utica-Rome Speedway was lit up by both fireworks and racing on the Gate-Cole Insurance and Safelite Auto Glass-sponsored this past, Sunday, July 5. Mike Mahaney made a last lap pass in the Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds for his fifth career win at the track while Stewart Friesen held on for the win in the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints final of CNY Speedweek. For more on the ESS feature event, see their press release. Other winners on the night included Matt Janczuk in the 602 Sportsman, Claude Hutchings Jr. in the Open Sportsman, and Mike Welch in the Pro Street Stocks.
The duo Tim Mayne and Matt Hulsizer brought the field of Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds to the green flag of their main event on July 4th weekend. Mayne dropped to the low side to take the lead on the first lap, but Hulsizer was not going to let him get away, as he stuck with him around the speedway using the middle groove. Mayne was able to hold Hulsizer off at the line on the second circuit, but Hulsizer was too strong and took the top spot. Behind him, Larry Wight was on the move, rolling into second by lap five after starting back in eighth. Wight was using the extreme top side of the speedway, trying to use whatever moisture he could to drive his way to the front.
Hulsizer still used his middle line of the speedway as Wight closed in on the top side. Wight tried to swing it around Hulsizer as they entered turns one and two, but Hulsizer was able to shut the door on him and retain the lead as he was the stronger machine on the east end of the speedway. Wight, however, was more powerful on the exit of turn four, and he began using that to his advantage as he began to reel in the leader again. Meanwhile, the final podium spot was taken by the hard charging Mike Mahaney, who had found a line to work with on the bottom. He was running just behind the top two as they battled it out at the halfway mark of the race. Once again Wight piloted his machine to the top of turns three and four, but this time he got a run and drove past Hulsizer for the lead. Mahaney still dropped to the bottom, and was right there with the leaders as they battled through lap traffic and the lead exchanged hands. He was being gained on by both Stewart Friesen and Matt Sheppard, and all of the top five were together as the race entered the final ten laps.
Wight had the lead, but Hulsizer was not going away. He changed his line to the bottom and was still right next to Wight as the rest of the top five caught up to their battle. Mahaney ran a line just lower than Hulsizer, and made the battle for the lead a three car affair. Sheppard, running in third, was slowly closing in on the three, with Friesen not far behind. Hulsizer tried to dive low and slide up the speedway, but Wight was still faster on the top, and it opened up lane for Mahaney on the bottom. Mahaney pulled alongside Hulsizer as the two went into the third turn, and Mahaney took the runner up spot as three laps remained. Sheppard entered the fray as well, going alongside of Hulsizer as Mahaney began to battle with Wight with two to go. Wight took his car to the top side, his preferred line all night, as Mahaney used the lowest groove possible. As they came to the white flag, Mahaney’s front wheels lined up with Wight’s rear pair. They took it into the first two turns side by side, and Mahaney had enough to edge Wight down the backstretch. Wight jumped back to the outside one more time, but Mahaney made it stick on the bottom and drove to the checkered, winning his second win of the season. Wight took second, with Sheppard edging out Hulsizer at the line for the third. Friesen filled out the top five. Vic Coffey, Danny Varin, Mike Bowman, Pat Ward, and Chris Mackey rounded out the top ten.
The 602 Sportsman came to the line to start their feature with Cody Clark and Kyle Kiehn on the front row. Clark took the early lead, leading the field for the first seven laps until a yellow for a spinning car came out On the restart, Matt Janczuk was able to take advantage and power to the lead on the bottom, after starting in fifth. Janczuk pulled away from Clark and led the race until lap 19 when another caution slowed the field. The restart saw Janczuk pull away once more and take the win. The top five was filled out by Clark, Kiehn, Alan Fink, and Corey Barker.
Tom Tophoven and Craig Pope brought the Open Sportsman to their green flag for their feature, with Pope edging out Tophoven on the first circuit. Tophoven, however, was able to win the battle and drive by for the lead. He was able to create some distance for himself at the front. Behind him, Claude Hutchings Jr. was on the move, navigating his way to the front of the field. He slowly caught up to the leading as the race progressed into its second half, catching and passing Tophoven on the 11th lap. Hutchings was able to pull away, but Jeremy Vunk was moving up through the field and catching the runner up Tophoven. With two laps remaining, Vunk was able to work past Tophoven, but he didn’t have enough to catch Hutchings as Hutchings took the win. With Vunk in second, Tophoven finished in third, followed by Mike Richmond and Pope.
The Pro Street Stocks took the green for their feature with Travis Welch and Jerry Streeter at the head of the field. Ed Ostrander, coming from third, took the lead on the first lap, leading until a caution on the fifth circuit. The reemergence of green saw Mike Welch drive by Ostrander for the top spot. Behind him Chris Carr was on the move, driving to the runner up position. He chased Mike Welch as they entered lap traffic, but Welch was too strong and Carr settled for second. Ostrander, Mark Effner, and Gus Hollner trailed.
HR Refuse and Wilber-Duck Chevrolet present the GO Nuclear Late Models Series, plus a regular show of Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks next Sunday on July 12th. 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.
GATES-COLE INSURANCE AND SAFELITE AUTO GLASS NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES RACE SUMMARY
STAMPEDE STEAKHOUSE MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- MIKE MAHANEY, Larry Wight, Matt Sheppard, Matt Hulsizer, Stewart Friesen, Vic Coffey, Danny Varin, Mike Bowman, Pat Ward, Chris Mackey, Andrew Ferguson, Tim Mayne, Tommy Kinsella, Pete Taylor, and Dave Moyer.
602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- MATT JANCZUK, Cody Clark, Kyle Kiehn, Alan Fink, Corey Barker, Nick Krause, Brent Joy, Kevin Ward, Stephen Denton, A.J. Filbeck, Glenn Forward, Daryl Nutting, Casey Williams, John Christian, Geoff Van Riper, Brandon Kuhn, Ivan Joslin, Aaron Jacobs, Mike Walton, and Jim Thomas.
OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- CLAUDE HUTCHINGS JR., Jeremy Vunk, Tom Tophoven, Mike Richmond, Steve Way, Craig Pope, Heath Carney, Jack Miller, Randy Shantel, Jim Rothwell, and Lucas Heintz.
PRO STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- MIKE WELCH, Chris Carr, Ed Ostrander, Mark Effner, Gus Hollner, A.J. Digsby, Travis Welch, Dana Camenga, Frank Hyatt, Bill Trexler, Jerry Streeter, Ernie Staelens, Nick Stone, Bill Mason, Kavin Winton, Glenn Forward, and Dwight Johnson.