MATT SHEPPARD RACES TO THE WIN THIS PAST SUNDAY AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY FOR FIFTH VICTORY OF THE SEASON
VERNON, NY- Matt Sheppard gave himself a birthday present this past Sunday, July 12, as he raced his way to another NASCAR Whelen All-American Series win, his fifth of the season at the speedway, on HR Refuse and Wilber-Duck Chevrolet night. Alan Fink was the victor in the 602 Sportsman, claiming his first career win while Steve Way took the win in the Open Sportsman. Chris Carr survived a one lap dash to the finish to take his first win of the season in the Pro Street Stocks. In the visiting Go Nuclear Late Models, Aaron Jacobs pulled off the huge upset to claim his first win in dominating fashion.
When the Modifieds took head starter Matt Burdick’s green flag, Pete Taylor grabbed the lead on the opening lap over pole sitter Dave Moyer. Third place starter Mike Bowman would grab the point on lap two but the man on the move at that point was 11th place starter Mike Mahaney. By lap two, Mahaney was up to third using the bottom of the speedway and by lap four he was up to second and pressuring Bowman for the lead. Using a borrowed car after a Friday night wreck, Bowman was able to hold back Mahaney’s advances for the first 10 laps. While Mahaney was working over Bowman for the lead, Pat Ward, Stewart Friesen, and Matt Sheppard were battling their way towards the front. With a third of the 30 lap race complete it was Bowman, Mahaney, Sheppard, Friesen, and Ward filling out the top five spots.
Mahaney was finally able to wrestle the lead away using the outside lane from Bowman on the 11th lap but Bowman was not going away easy as he would not let Mahaney get away from him. On lap 14, Sheppard entered the fray as he took second from Bowman and as the field took the halfway signal Sheppard was now the leader with Mahaney, Bowman, Friesen, and Larry Wight, recovering from a lap nine pit stop, rounding out the top five positions.
Sheppard motored away from the field but business was picking up the second spot as Mahaney, Friesen, Bowman, and Wight were swapping spots lap after lap. The four drivers put an incredible display of driving as they battled for the runner-spot with Mahaney holding on to the spot for the Friesen and Wight using every inch of the wide track to try to get by. On the last lap with Sheppard comfortably out front, Friesen made the pass to grab the second spot from Mahaney at the stripe with Mahaney, Bowman, and Wight rounding out the top five. Ward, Vic Coffey, Matt Hulsizer, Chris Mackey, and Tim Mayne filled out the top 10 positions.
John Christian and Chris Cunningham started the 602 Sportsman on the front row and when the green lights flickered on it was Christian at the point. Christian would lead the first seven laps until third place starter Alan Fink slipped by on to lead lap eight. Fink would lead the remainder of the caution free event to claim his first career win at Utica-Rome Speedway. AJ Filbeck made a late race pass to claim the second spot while Matt Janczuk charged from 13th place to claim the final podium position. Christian held on to finish in the fourth with 17th place starter Rocky Warner rounding out the top five.
Pole sitter Randy Shantel led the Open Sportsman to the green flag as he gained the early advantage over fellow front row starter Tom Tophoven to lead the first circuit as he was looking to grab his second win of the season. Tophoven would grab the lead on the second circuit with fifth place starter Steve Way taking the top spot a lap later to lead lap three. For the remainder of the 20 lap event, Way would the remainder of the feature as he survived a couple mid race yellows and any attempts by seventh place starter Claude Hutchings Jr. to steal the win. Way crossed the line for his second victory of the season with Hutchings, Jack Miller, Jeremy Vunk, and Jim Rothwell chasing.
Dwight Johnson led opening two circuits of the Pro Street Stock division with fourth place starter Chris Carr taking over the lead on lap three. Carr would continue to lead while the top two in points would make their way to front as Glenn Forward and Mike Welch picked their way through the field. By lap seven, Forward had made his way to the runner-up spot while Mike Welch was up fourth. At halfway, Carr still led with Welch up to second with Forward slipping back to third. A last lap restart set up a one lap dash to the finish, and when the green came on it was Forward all over the rear bumper of Carr as he tried to steal the win. Carr would hold to win his first win of the season with Forward, Welch, Mark Effner, and AJ Digsby trailing.
See Go Nuclear Late Model Series release for details of their event.
Next week, Mike Lalonde Electrical and Gates-Cole Insurance presents a regular show of Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks plus One and One Spectator races. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. with racing 6 p.m. For more information, log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315)829-4557.
HR REFUSE AND WILBER-DUCK CHEVROLET NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES RACE SUMMARY
STAMPEDE STEAKHOUSE MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)-MATT SHEPPARD, Stewart Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Mike Bowman, Larry Wight, Pat Ward, Vic Coffey, Matt Hulsizer, Chris Mackey, Tim Mayne, Pete Taylor, Billy Whittaker, Andrew Ferguson, Jim Walsh, Danny Varin, and Dave Moyer.
602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-ALAN FINK, AJ Filbeck, Matt Janczuk, John Christian, Corey Barker, Rocky Warner, Jason Rood, Glenn Forward, Cody Clark, Rocco Leone, Nick Krause, Chris Cunningham, Kyle Kiehn, Brandon Sweet, Brent Joy, Stephen Denton, JJ Courcy, Casey Williams, Daryl Nutting, Brandon Kuhn, Geoff VanRiper, and Aaron Jacobs.
OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-STEVE WAY, Claude Hutchings Jr., Jack Miller, Jeremy Vunk, Jim Rothwell, Heath Carney, Tom Tophoven, Craig Pope, Randy Shantel, Lucas Heintz, and Mike Richmond.
PRO STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-CHRIS CARR, Glenn Forward, Mike Welch, Mark Effner, AJ Digsby, Travis Welch, Dana Camenga, Bill Trexler III, Chuck Cushman, Jerry Streeter, Ernie Staelens, Rob Thieme, Kavin Winton, Dwight Johnson, Mike Kazlauskas, Gus Hollner, Jim Thomas, Frank Hyatt, and Ed Ostrander.