Empire Super Sprints Return to Utica-Rome Speedway Friday for First Appearance Since 2019

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY The Empire Returns.

For the first time since 2019, the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints (ESS) are back at Utica-Rome Speedway this Friday night (May 13).

Broedel Energy presents the return of the 360 Sprint Car series. In addition to the ESS return, the Sunoco Modifieds, Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, and the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders will all be in action this Friday night.

Sussex, N.J.’s Davie Franek was victorious the last time the ESS visited the ‘Home of Heroes’ on July 7, 2019. ‘No Panic’ Franek was also victorious in the prior ESS visit, coming on June 23 of the same year for Franek’s only two career Utica-Rome Speedway wins.

The ESS Sprint Cars compete for a $2,000 top prize in a 25-lap main event at the Route 5 oval

Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard has kicked off his Sunoco Modified title defense with back-to-back victories to open the new season. Last Friday, Sheppard came from the 11th starting position, passing Billy Decker in the last 10 laps for the win. The win was Sheppard’s 50th career win at the Route 5 oval. Unadilla, N.Y.’s Decker came home second and Sprakers, N.Y.’s Jessica Friesen rounded out the top-three.

Payton Talbot has followed in Sheppard’s footsteps, claiming each of the first Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman features. The South New Berlin, N.Y., rising star drove around Oneida, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk on a mid-race restart for the victory. Janczuk held onto the runner-up finish and Johnstown, N.Y.’s Brian Calabrese completed the podium.

Not to be outdone, Beau Ballard won his second Next Generation Pro Stock feature to open the new season. The Grand Gorge, N.Y., native used a last lap pass to top both Bret Belden and Dan Slosek for the dramatic victory.

Hamilton, N.Y.’s Alex Hughes claimed his first Fastline Performance victory of the season. After coming up just shy in the season opener, losing the lead late in the race, Hughes was not to be denied last weekend. Hughes slid by Matt Backus just passed the halfway mark for the win while Backus took second and Eric Jensen was the top three.

Corey Valade was another driver avenging defeat in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder race. Valade finished on Justin Pope’s back bumper as the runner-up in the season opener. This time, with his teammate Pope not in attendance, Valade dominated the Dual Cam event for the victory. Jacob Kimball took home the Single Cam Portion of the event.

For the May 13 program, all gates open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. with racing to follow at 7:30 p.m.

Grandstand admission is $18 for Adults and $16 for Seniors (ages 65 and above). Kids 11 and under get in FREE.

Pit Admission is $30 for Utica-Rome Speedway members and $35 for non-members.

The night of racing – and every race in the 2022 season – will air live and on-demand on FloRacing (www.floracing.tv).

Utica-Rome Speedway is located at 5591 NY-5 (Seneca Turnpike) Vernon, NY 13476. The official website is www.uticaromespeedway.com and can be reached by phone at 315.953.4097.  Like Utica-Rome Speedway on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @UR_Speedway.