Friesen Returns to Utica-Rome, Walks Off With 62nd Career Modified Victory

News from Utica-Rome Speedway – The Home of Heroes

Media Contact: Brett Deyo –

For Immediate Release/August 27, 2022

Friesen Returns to Utica-Rome, Walks Off With 62nd Career Modified Victory

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – 62 for the 44.

For the 62nd time in his Utica-Rome Speedway career, Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen was victorious with the Sunoco Modifieds on Wilcox Sealing & Paving/Wilcox Construction LLC and Ferris Mowers night.

Friesen raced from the 10th starting position to claim his third win of the season, and his first at the ‘Home of Heroes’ since July 15.

“Really cool to be back here in Victory Lane, (Matt) Sheppard’s been on fire here and keeping the ‘9s’ behind us has been tough,” expressed a relieved Friesen in Victory Lane.

“There’s been a lot of supporters behind our deal but we’re finally starting to get our heads above water.”

With Friesen rolling from the outside of the fifth row, Fultonville, N.Y.’s JaMike Sowle and Norwich, N.Y.’s Alan Barker occupied the front row.

At the drop of speedway starter Joe Kriss’ green flag, Sowle quickly grabbed the top spot, while Barker faced a challenge from Duanesburg, N.Y.’s Ronnie Johnson for the runner-up spot.

Barker quickly pulled away from Johnson and ‘RJ’ came under fire for third from York, N.Y.’s Justin Wright.

Wright – a feature winner this season – raced around Johnson for the final podium spot and the top three settled in for the first half of the 30-lap affair.

With the top three in lockstep, attention turned outside the top five to Friesen. Friesen first raced around Johnson for the sixth spot when the field completed the eighth circuit.

Three laps later, Matt Sheppard was by Johnson as well and into seventh. The Savannah, N.Y., resident was coming to life after staying in his 11th starting spot for several laps.

While the two titans were maneuvering forward, the lead trio was entering traffic, bringing them all within car-lengths of each other.

Sowle, still leading, first approached Aaron Jacobs who was running in the top groove, Sowle dropped to the bottom and slid underneath Jacobs, bringing Barker with him, now on his back bumper.

The following lap, Barker was peaking a nose underneath Sowle for the lead before the race’s first yellow flag fell as Jacobs went over the turn one embankment.

Just prior to the yellow, Friesen had risen to the top five after getting underneath Alex Yankowski for the fifth spot.

Friesen went to work on the ensuing restart, as the Halmar No. 44 began to roll the bottom with ease. Friesen raced by Wright and Genoa, N.Y.’s Pat Ward reaching a podium spot.

Three laps later, as the field was completing lap No. 19, Friesen was underneath Barker to take the runner-up spot away.

Friesen used a slide job two circuits in the fourth turn to take the lead away from Sowle.

Friesen held the lead for good, pulling away in the final nine laps to claim the $2,400 payday and his 62nd career Modified win at Utica-Rome Speedway.

Sowle came home second, his best Utica-Rome Speedway finish aboard the Carole and Alton Palmer owned No. 76.

Barker claimed his best finish of the season, taking third aboard the Klinger Motorsports No. 77 machine.

Sheppard came home fourth, good enough to secure his second consecutive Utica-Rome Speedway Modified title heading into Championship Night next weekend.

Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker rounded out the top five piloting the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91 machine.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were: Wright, taking his best finish since his win on Twin 20’s night; Covington Township, Pa.’s Yankowski, aboard his family-owned No. 84y; Ward in the Joe Beyea-owned No. 42p; Vernon, N.Y.’s Willy Decker who rose to the top-10 in the late stages of the race; and Johnstown, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner rounded out the top-10 in his Jason Simmons Racing No. 98.

Durhamville, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk record setting streak continued with his 10th consecutive Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman victory, worth $1,000.

Janczuk, after starting 16th, used multiple early race restarts to pick positions off before closing in on leader Josh Amodio. Janczuk raced around Amodio as the field completed the 10th trip around the half-mile and never looked back for his 11th win of the season.

Amodio held on for second and Gilbertsville, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot used a late-race charge to round out the top three.

Vernon, N.Y.’s Willy Decker Jr. came home fourth and Rome, N.Y.’s Chris Mackey rounded out the top five.

Fort Johnson, N.Y.’s Josh Coonradt matched fellow Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks competitor Beau Ballard with his sixth win of the season.

After the first half of the 20-lap main clicked off caution free, a pair of midrace yellows gave Coonradt the restarts he needed to take the lead away.

On a lap-12 restart, Coonradt used the inside groove to slide up in front of Johnstown, N.Y.’s Jason Morrison for the lead and the win. Morrison held on for second and Averill Park, N.Y.’s Jay Corbin rounded out the top three.

Grand Gorge, N.Y.’s Beau Ballard came home in fourth and Newport, N.Y.’s A.J. Walters completed the top five.

Seth Martin claimed his sixth Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman win of the season, dominating the 20-lap affair.

The win gave Martin a firm hold on the points championship after his closest competitor, Zack Welch, dropped out with a broken front end.

Eric Jensen claimed another runner-up finish and Tim Deffer rounded out the top three.

Sophia DeNova was victorious for the first time in her career with the Fonda Fair

Four Cylinders leading all 12-laps of the feature. Hunter Tarbania was the Single Cam winner of the event.

The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series (MVVDMS) also joined the program for their one and only appearance of the 2022 season after the first scheduled visit was canceled on May 27.

Jack Miller (Modified), John Roese (Late Model), Brian Gray (Sportsman), Harry Baldwin (Mystique), and John Wood (Antique) were all victorious in the lone MVVMDS appearance of the season.

Friday night racing concludes September 2 at Utica-Rome Speedway as the five weekly divisions conclude their championship chases along with the Slingshots on the inner oval.

Utica-Rome Speedway will also come to life September 4 (Sunday) as the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco invades the Route 5 oval for the Halmar International ‘Elite’ Series for a $25,000-to-win main event. The Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman ($1,000-to-win), Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks ($1,000-to-win), and the Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman ($500-to-win) will round out the program.

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


Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, JaMike Sowle, Alan Barker, Matt Sheppard, Billy Decker, Justin Wright, Alex Yankowski, Pat Ward, Willy Decker, Rocky Warner, Erick Rudolph, Ronnie Johnson, Darren Smith, Will Shields, Shaun Walker, Alan Johnson, Danny Varin, David Schilling, Tim Mayne, Ronnie Holmes, Aaron Jacobs, Randy Shantel, Brad Poppleton.

Did Not Start: Joe Beyea

Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Josh Amodio, Payton Talbot, Willy Decker Jr., Chris Mackey, Jim Nagle, Matt Richardson, Jeremy Slosek, Dave Richer, Addison Bowman, David Dickey, Stephen Denton, Mike Richmond, Brent Joy, A.J. Miller, Brad Alger, Ed Lukas, David Hackett Jr., Gordon Smith, David Manchester, Ed Downing, Allan Hodge, Kyle DeMetro, Josh Fellows, Steve Kotary.

Did Not Start: Rocco Leone

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): JOSH COONRADT, Jason Morrison, Jay Corbin, Beau Ballard, A.J. Walters, Bret Belden, Bill Knapp, Jim Normoyle, Andy Graves, Ken Griffin, Ed Kotary, Dillon Vanston, John Holmes, Hunter Keith.

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): SETH MARTIN, Eric Jensen, Tim Deffer, Corky Warner, Ernie Staelens, E.J. Gallup, Mike Haman, Timmy Wilmot, Brody Davis, Maddy Broedel, Alex Hughes, A.J. Greco, Dylan Piersall, Zack Welch.

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Cruiser Feature Finish (12 laps): SOPHIA DENOVA (DOHC), David DeNova, Matt Bukovan, Austin Vanderhoof, Hunter Tarbania (SOHC), Wayne Russell Jr., Blaze Post, Jean Foster, Len St. Andrews, Hank Wedgren, Rudy King Jr., Kyle Coley.

Mohawk Valley Vintage Modified Feature Finish (15 laps): JACK MILLER, John Flach, Ed Lawrence, Joe Rando, Jon Kuleszo, Duane Hiller, Dan Colvin.

Did Not Start: Darral Hulbert

Mohawk Valley Vintage Late Model Feature Finish (15 laps): JOHN ROESE, Will Reed

Mohawk Valley Vintage Sportsman Feature Finish (15 laps): BRIAN GRAY, Mike Francisco, Merv Blackwell, Jimmy Fugel, Malachi Mathews, Byron Seyfried, Andy McFadden, John Constantino.

Did Not Start: Frankie Brown

Mohawk Valley Vintage Mystique Feature Finish (15 laps): HARRY BALDWIN, Dan Karl, George Berberich, Jimmy Hyde, Marty Kelly Jr.

Mohawk Valley Vintage Antique Finish (15 laps): JOHN WOOD, Don Briggs, John Mason, Speedy Niedhammer, Brian Moore.

Did Not Start: Tex Gorden