MATT SHEPPARD EXTENDS POINT LEAD WITH SIXTH WIN AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY
VERNON, NY- Parks Paving and Rasmussen Rents/Broedel Energy sponsored a night of racing action this past Sunday, July 26, that saw Matt Sheppard win his sixth race of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway, allowing him to tighten his grasp on the points lead. Other winners included Cody Clark in the 602 Sportsman, Claude Hutchings Jr. in the Open Sportsman, and Mark Effner in the Pro Street Stocks.
The Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds took the green flag with Pete Taylor and Chris Mackey on the front row, but the start was stalled with a spin by Larry Wight in the first turn, putting him to the rear of the field. With the race commencing once again, Chris Mackey took the lead on the top side through the first two turns. A lot of action was building behind him as Matt Hulsizer dove below Taylor to take and Pat Ward made it three wide for the final podium spot by driving between Taylor on the bottom and Mike Bowman on the top as they entered the west end of the speedway. Ward was able to make his car stick in the middle and drove away with third down the front stretch. With both Mackey and Hulsizer using the bottom groove, Ward stayed with the middle and was able to make the power move on the outside of both for the top spot on the fifth circuit.
A second yellow on lap seven slowed the field and put the points leader, Matt Sheppard, on the rear bumper of Ward. Sheppard dove to the bottom, which he used to navigate the field, and Ward still drove it through the middle, just edging out Sheppard as they exited the turns. Sheppard wasn’t going away, however. He stuck with him lap after lap, finally able to pull alongside Ward down the backstretch on lap 12. As they entered turn three, Sheppard pulled the slide job on Ward and solidified his position as the leader. Wad tried to run with him, but Sheppard had found his groove and pulled away at the front of the field. With Ward in second, Mike Mahaney was slowly catching the top two as the race entered the final third.
Mahaney caught Ward, but he couldn’t find enough on the bottom to make the pass. With five laps remaining, he began to search for a new line of the speedway. With two to go, Mahaney dug his right rear into the top of the racing surface before driving down the banking to the bottom and getting a full head of steam of off turn four. At the line, he had second, but he didn’t have anything for Sheppard, who took the win and furthered his point lead over Ward. With Mahaney and Ward filling out the podium, Wight and Hulsizer finished in the top five. Bowman, Rob Bellinger, Mackey, Vic Coffey, and Tim Mayne filled out the top five.
Brandon Kuhn and Cody Clark filled out the front row at the start of the 602 Sportsman feature. Clark, using his starting position on the top, took the lead on the first lap and never looked back. Kuhn held on to second for the first two circuits, but relented to Kyle Kiehn on the third lap. Jason Rood worked his way up the field from his tenth starting position to the top five, cracking it on the seventh lap after some hard fought battles. From there, he fought up to third, where he stayed. The rest of the top five was filled by Matt Janczuk and Rocky Warner.
The Open Sportsman feature was led to the green by Lucas Heintz and Randy Shantel. Both were met with pressure on the first lap as Jim Rothwell got a run on the bottom of the racing surface and took the lead on the first lap. He tried to pull away, but Jack Miller was on the move and was catching the leader by lap eight. He was finding it tough to get past Rothwell, however, and his charge stalled. Meanwhile, Claude Hutchings Jr. was battling through the field and catching the top two. On lap ten, Hutchings took his machine to the top and drove by the top two to take the lead. From there, Hutchings was able to pull away. Steve Way followed Hutchings’ lead and moved into second, but never had anything for Hutchings. Third belonged to Mike Walton, followed by Rothwell and Miller.
Jerry Streeter and Dwight Johnson lead the Pro Street Stocks to their feature event. The first lap belonged to Johnson, but the second lap slowed with a caution. On the restart, Mark Effner found a lane on the bottom and used it to his advantage, taking the lead after starting in eighth. Glenn Forward followed him to the front, but he couldn’t find a groove to give him a run on the leading Effner. As the race neared halfway, Mike Welch was fighting his way to the front, finding himself side by side with Forward on lap eight. Using the bottom, Welch was able to make the pass and begin working on Effner. A few yellows on lap 11, 13, and 15 slowed the field, giving Welch an opportunity to capitalize. Effner stuck to the bottom, so Welch moved to the top, looking for something on the top to give him the advantage. With two to go, Welch was able to get a run off of turn four and take the lead, but Effner did not go away. He fought back on the bottom and retook the lead with one lap remaining. Welch bobbled as the two entered the east end of the track, giving Effner a lead that he couldn’t overcome. With Effner and Welch in first and second, respectively, Forward, Travis Welch, and Johnson trailed.
Next Sunday, Utica-Rome Speedway features a regular show 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.
PARKS PAVING AND RASMUSSEN RENTS/BROEDEL ENERGY NASCAR WHELEN ALL-AMERICAN SERIES RACE SUMMARY
STAMPEDE STEAKHOUSE MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)-MATT SHEPPARD, Mike Mahaney, Pat Ward, Larry Wight, Matt Hulsizer, Mike Bowman, Rob Bellinger, Chris Mackey, Vic Coffey, Tim Mayne, Pete Taylor, C.J. Castelletti, and Jim Walsh.
602 SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-CODY CLARK, Kyle Kiehn, Jason Rood, Matt Janczuk, Rocky Warner, AJ Filbeck, Daryl Nutting, Stephen Denton, Glenn Forward, Nick Krause, Geoff VanRiper, Bob Henry Jr., Beth Bellinger, Chris Cunningham, Corey Barker, Brandon Kuhn, Nathan Peckham, Jimmy Morton, Casey Williams, Aaron Jacobs, John Christian, Rocco Leone, and Alan Fink.
OPEN SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-CLAUDE HUTCHINGS JR, Steve Way, Mike Walton, Jim Rothwell, Jack Miller, Jeremy Vunk, Heath Carney, Tom Tophoven, Randy Shantel, Lucas Heintz, Craig Pope, and Mike Stiles.
PRO STREET STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-MARK EFFNER, Mike Welch,Glenn Forward, Travis Welch, Dwight Johnson, Chuck Cushman, Gus Hollner, Jerry Streeter, Frank Hyatt, Bill Trexler III, Ernie Staelens, Dana Camenga, Jim Thomas, Chris Carr, and A.J. Digsby.