Bill and Kim Shea purchase Speedway
Mark Your Calendar , "The Action Track of the East" Utica Rome Speedway Kicks off the 2015 season on Sunday April 19.
A look back at the 2014 season at
"The Action Track of the East".
Check out the Benefits of competing in the Whelen All- American series
UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY CLOSES THE 2014 SEASON AND THE COLE ERA WITH SEASON ENDING BANQUET VERNON, NY- The 2014 season at the Utica-Rome Speedway officially came to a close this past Saturday, November 29, at the Turning Stone Casino and Resort in Verona at the annual Awards Banquet. Nearly 400 attendees looked on as the top 10 were honored in the four weekly divisions of Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks. Before moving into the awards portion of the night, new track owners Bill and Kim Shea took to the stage with Bill introducing himself and his wife to the crowd and thanked them for supporting the speedway in the past and how much they looked forward to carrying on the rich tradition of the speedway. He also thanked Gene and Gloria Cole building the speedway to what it is today.
Race Director John Tiff was the next on stage and touched a little on the 2014 season before moving on to the plans for the upcoming 2015 season. He stated that the Modifieds will go back to the traditional body without the sail panels on them and said the decision on what tire brand to be used is still pending. He also stated that the 602 Crate Sportsman will be a weekly division along, running separate from the Open Sportsman. The Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks will be a combined division in 2015 and the rules for that division will be released shortly.
MODIFIEDS AND 602 SPORTSMAN WILL BE ON HOOSIER TIRES IN 2015 AT UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY Since 2005, American Racer has been the official tire for the Modifieds at the Utica-Rome Speedway but in 2015 that will change. Hoosier Tire will be the tire brand for the Modifieds and 602 Sportsman for the upcoming season. Since the announcement in mid November of their intention to purchase the Utica-Rome Speedway, Bill and Kim Shea have been hard at work to continue the tradition that outgoing owner Gene Cole set forth and make the Vernon oval a destination for drivers and fan alike. Going back to the traditional body style in the Modifieds was their first step and now going to the Hoosier will align the speedway with other tracks in the region, allowing drivers to go between tracks with few changes. “As a car owner, I appreciate the maintenance that goes into these cars when racing on multiple nights,” stated Bill Shea. “By putting ourselves on the same tire as the other tracks in the area, we hope to make it easier for drivers and crews to give us a try on Sunday nights.” The compound that will be allowed weekly is the D300 tire which is used at the majority of the other tracks that use Hoosiers. “Us switching to Hoosier has nothing to do with the product or service provided by Fred Woodworth and the rest of the staff at Lias Tire,” continued Bill. “It is because of the environment we are in now with the tracks nearest to us and where we draw many of our weekly competitors as they are all on Hoosiers now. Fred and Matt Brandle have been great to deal with and the American Racer was a great program to be a part of but I feel the change was necessary to bolster our weekly program.” Despite the change in Modifieds, and the fact that the 602 Sportsman are also on Hoosiers, the open Sportsman division will remain on American Racers. With every other track that runs an open Sportsman program on the American Racer tire, this will allows competitors in this division to travel with little changes to their cars. The Pro/Street Stock division will be allowed to run the American Racer Pro Stock or Hoosier DIRTcar Pro Stock tires on a weekly basis. For more information call the speedway office at (315)829-4557. All questions concerning rules can be directed to Bernie Lukas at (315)271-3068.
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Feb. 6, 2015) – Stewart Friesen is no stranger to historical feats. If your name is ahead of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans on any list, you’ve had a remarkable career. The all-time feature wins leader in Utica-Rome Speedway’s famous history added yet another feather in his cap in 2014 when he captured the seventh track championship of his still-young career. Friesen, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, posted seven wins and 18 top fives in the 358 Modified division at Utica-Rome to edge Matt Sheppard by 10 points in what was his fifth-consecutive title campaign. This one was not like the others, however. It was his first Utica-Rome title under the NASCAR banner. And it also netted his first career NASCAR Whelen All-American Series New York state crown. Utica-Rome has a storied history with NASCAR, but the half-mile dirt oval in Vernon, New York, hadn’t been sanctioned by the governing body since 1998. The track’s return to NASCAR in 2014 provided a fresh perspective for Friesen. “The national recognition racing under the NASCAR banner was pretty awesome,” Friesen. “And there was a little added incentive in racing up to the New York state title too.” Although he had another Utica-Rome title in hand, Friesen figured he was going to have to settle for second place in state standings until it was suggested he could run on the last Sunday of Airborne Park Speedway’s NASCAR points season and make one last push. He was able to secure a ride and registered an eighth place finish at the Plattsburgh, New York, asphalt oval, which was enough to take home the NASCAR state title by nine points over Airborne track champ Nick Heywood. The first milestone the 31-year-old Friesen reached in 2014 came on June 30 when he notched career feature win No. 50 at Utica-Rome. He passed previous track record-holder Dale Planck’s total of 42 toward the end of the 2013 season. The late Evans’ 33 wins from the asphalt era still rank third on Utica Rome’s list. “To be up there with those guys is a tremendous accomplishment, and it’s something that our team is very, very proud of,” Friesen said. Modified legends Evans and Jerry Cook, a NASCAR Hall of Fame nominee, both hailed from nearby Rome and called Utica-Rome their home track. Their impact is still at the forefront of weekly competition at the facility. “They fly the [Evans] orange No. 61 flag in the infield there every week, there’s the big Richie Evans event there every year, and obviously they do stuff to recognize Jerry Cook as well,” Friesen said. “It’s a very historic track.” Friesen’s 2014 success came behind the wheel of his No. 1 Westmoreland Golf Club Chevrolet, which is owned by Tom Cullen and led by crew chief Loren Ward. Erick Mack and Mike Thurston were also integral parts of the championship team, which received associate sponsorship from C.C. Performance Engines, Teo Pro Car and Fox Shocks. Friesen’s team remains intact and ready to continue the run of championship in 2015. “We’ll be back at Utica-Rome every week, just trying to keep on going,” Friesen said. “We’ve got a great team, everybody is still together and morale is high, and we’re going to try and come out and defend the best we can.”
Friesen Adds To Upstate New York Legacy
Utica-Rome Champ Also Takes Home NASCAR State Title
February 13,2015 VERNON, NY- With the 2015 racing season just a couple months away, Utica-Rome Speedway has released its tentative schedule for the upcoming campaign. Not only is another season of weekly NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing planned, but the track will be visited by some of the top touring series in the nation.
As has been the case the past several years, two big Modified events will bookend the summer months with the annual running of the Victoria 200 Weekend on May 24 and 25, and the New Yorker 200 Weekend on September 6 and 7. Both events will be 100 lap contests and pay $10,000 to win as part of the Race of Champions Modified Series. The mid-summer Night of Legends will also return on Sunday August 16, this time honoring previous track owner and promoter Gene Cole. Not only was Gene Cole the caretaker of the rich history at Utica-Rome Speedway, but he helped elevate it into one of the top weekly tracks in the region. Like last year, this event will see the Modifieds compete in two 50 lap events, each paying $5,000 to win each. New this season is a midweek special during Super DIRT Week on Tuesday October 6. The Modifieds and 360 Sprints will both be in action for $3,000 to win events. The Super DIRTcar Series is slated to make its return as well for a special midweek show on Wednesday June 24.
Sprint cars will again have a heavy presence at the Vernon oval as the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints will be on hand for their three traditional holiday weekend stops on Memorial Day Weekend, Independence Day Weekend, and Labor Day Weekend. The Cole Cup, a huge paying event for the 360 Sprints, will return and will again pay $10,000 to win on September 12. The 360 Sprints will also be in action for previously mentioned Super DIRT Week special. The CRSA 305 Sprint tour will also make its return on July 26. Another huge sprint event tentatively scheduled is the World of Outlaw Sprints on Sunday October 25. This will bring some of the best Sprint Car drivers in the world to the track and very well could decide the series champion.
The 602 Sportsman, added weekly this season, will have several high paying events of their own. On Monday May 25, the newly formed Upstate Sportsman Alliance and GRIT Sportsman Series will run a combined event. The GRIT Sportsman Series returns as part of the Night of Legends on August 16 while the USA Sportsman Series comes back as part of the New Yorker on September 7. All three of these events will pay $1,000 to win each.
The GO Nuclear Late Model Series will again tackle the “Action Track” for the second running of the Gnome Cup. Also returning this year are the Mod Lites with two shows, on May 3 and October 6.
The season is set to kick off on April 19 when Tri Valley Beverage present the Season Opener featuring Twin 20’s for the Modifieds plus 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks.
Utica Rome Speedway releases tentative 2015 schedule
February 23,2015 - A winter trip to Volusia Speedway in Florida is something many race teams use as an excuse to escape the cold weather of the Northeast and try to build some momentum for the upcoming season. This past week, three of the top four point earners in the Utica-Rome Speedway made the journey and by the end of the week, fans knew that they were there as all three were competitive all week long.
Larry Wight, the hard charging youngster out of the Gypsum Express stable, overcame two nights of being the rear of the field to take home the 2015 DIRTcar Nationals Big Block Modified Championship and earning the âBig Gatorâ trophy that comes with the title. On the opening night of competition last Wednesday, Wight started 14th and made a late race pass of Billy Pauch to finish the evening in the fourth spot. Night two saw Wight score another top 10 finish as he posted a seventh place finish. Things really got interesting in the final two nights as an incident with Pauch saw Wight having to restart in the rear. He didnât stay for long, however, as he roared through the field to net an impressive third place finish. Starting scratch on the final night for changing cars before the feature, the Phoenix NY native worked his way up to seventh at the checkered which provided just enough points for Wight to grab his first Florida title.
2014 and seven time Utica-Rome Speedway champion Stewart Friesen made his annual trek to the Sunshine State with the Tom and Roxann Cullen owned machine looking to make it two âBig Gatorsâ in a row, but by the end of the week, he would fall just three points shy of the title. Friesen opened up the four nights of action with a seventh place finish and then followed that up by a dominating victory on the second night. Night three saw Friesen challenge eventual winner Rick Laubach for the lead but he had to settle for the runner up position. The final night of action saw Friesen end his evening pit side which ended his shot the championship.
Matt Sheppard, the 2002 Utica-Rome Speedway champion and the runner up the past two seasons, also made the trip to Volusia. Although he showed the needed speed in all the events, he didnât get the finishes he was looking for or needed to grab the title. Sheppard opened up the four race series with a sixth place finish and chased Friesen to the line on night number two. A fourth place finish on night three would put Sheppard in the mix for the title going into the final night but mechanical issues ended his run prematurely and wiped out any thoughts of taking the title. Sheppard would ended the Florida series in the fourth spot in the points, just 12 markers back.
This trio of drivers are expected to continue to compete weekly at the Utica-Rome Speedway, along with a host of others, and battle for the lucrative NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track title. Last season, Friesen took home over $27,000 for winning the track title plus the NASCAR New York State title.
The Utica-Rome Speedway kicks off on April 19th with Twin 20's for the Modifieds plus a regular show of 602 Sportsman, Open Sportsman, and Pro Street Stocks. For more information call the speedway office at (315)829-4557. You can follow us on Facebook as well or on Twitter by following @UR_Speedway.
Photos Courtesy of DTD
UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY REGULARS
SHOW THEIR STRENGTH AT THE DIRTCAR NATIONALS IN FLORIDA