Surprise Ending: Sheppard Declared Utica-Rome Victor After Post-Race Tech

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – Surprise ending.

Rocky Warner crossed the finish line first at the completion of the 30-lap 3 Bastards Brewing Modified feature on Ferris Commercials Mowers at Utica-Rome Speedway.

However, Warner was not awarded the victory. After crossing the scales five pounds under the required weight limit, Warner was disqualified, and Matt Sheppard was declared the winner.

“It’s really a shame for Rocky,” Sheppard said. “He had the best car tonight for sure and I had nothing for him.”

Sheppard’s win was the eighth of the season for the Savannah, N.Y., resident at the ‘Home of Heroes’ and his fifth consecutive since the month of July began.

“I’ve lost a few like this,” Sheppard explained of the winner’s disqualification. “I don’t know that I’ve ever won one like this, but I guess things always even themselves out.”

Sheppard fired from the 12th starting position while Warner and Fultonville, N.Y.’s JaMike Sowle occupied the front row at the drop of the green flag.

Warner raced off the outside of the front row and led from the very start of the race.

Sheppard, meanwhile, quickly charged to the seventh position in the opening three laps before getting to Alex Yankowski’s back bumper, one he would chase for a while.

Warner, Sowle, and Bobby Hackel IV had separated themselves from the field after a lap five caution, setting up an epic four-car battle for the fourth position eight laps into the race.

Alan Johnson was fending off Alex Payne, Alex Yankowski, and Matt Sheppard as the quartet battled high and low attempting to gain position to run down the lead trio.

Yankowski and Sheppard were the first to make a move, both using the outside groove to get around Payne for fifth and sixth. Three laps later, the duo switched to the bottom and got by Johnson to move into fourth and fifth.

One lap later, Alan Johnson slowed off the second corner with a flat right rear tire, sending him to the pits for a new tire.

The next restart saw Sheppard make his move. After the first attempt was nixed due to a yellow on the backstretch, the next attempt came as a single-file restart.

Sowle, Hackel IV, and Yankowski tried their luck at the top groove on the restart, and Sheppard seized the opportunity.

The No. 9s drove by all the three cars using the bottom groove to drive into the runner-up spot.

From there, Sheppard chased Warner for the final 18 laps, including opportunities on a couple more restarts, but was unable to make the move.

Warner, however, lost the race when he crossed the scales too light, and Sheppard became the winner.

Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker came with a second-place finish in the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91. Decker quietly followed Sheppard toward the front of the field throughout the race. East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel IV rounded out the podium finishers.

Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski finished fourth and Canandaigua, N.Y.’s Alex Payne rounded out the top five.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Norwich, N.Y.’s Alan Barker in the Scenic View Campground No. 77; York, N.Y.’s Justin Wright, who charged to the top-10 after pitting early; Mexico, N.Y.’s Addison Bowman who claimed his best career Modified finish; Sheffield, Mass. native Andy Bachetti and Roscoe, N.Y.’s Michael Trautschold and rounded out the top-10 after both being involved in a final lap wreck.

Not to be outdone, Durhamville, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk claimed his fourth consecutive Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman victory and his seventh of the season.

The first 23-laps of the race went without a caution and Janczuk raced from 12th to take the lead and ultimately the win despite the late race restart.

Payton Talbot, Rocky Rothwell, Blake Sarpriacone, and Stephen Denton rounded out the top five.

Johnstown, N.Y.’s Jason Morrison claimed his first career Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks victory after starting from the pole position.

Morrison led all 20 laps and held off Luke Horning, Bret Belden, and Josh Coonradt for the win, despite multiple mid-race restarts. Jim Normoyle rounded out the top five.

Fulton, N.Y.’s Dalton Doyle got his first career Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman win, using the outside groove to his advantage and driving to the front and getting the win.

Doyle, a former asphalt racer, has now finished in the top two in three consecutive races.

Nick Zielinski, Johnny Feagles, Carson Rothwell, and Connor Prokop were the rest of the top five.

Dan Valade was a first-time winner with the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders in the dual cam portion and Wayne Russell Jr. got his sixth single cam win of the year.

On the inner-oval, Brett Putnam was victorious with the Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshots for the fourth time this season and Jayden Wust got his first Junior Slingshots victory.

Racing continues next Friday, August 4, when International Wire presents the return of the Empire Super Sprints (ESS) 360 Sprint Cars. Along with the ESS, the 3 Bastards Brewing Modifieds, Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, and Fonda Fair Four Cylinders will all be in action.

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


3 Bastards Brewing Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Billy Decker, Bobby Hackel IV, Alex Yankowski, Alex Payne, Alan Barker, Justin Wright, Addison Bowman, Andy Bachetti, Michael Trautschold, Alan Johnson, Ron Holmes, Tim Mayne, Aaron Jacobs, JaMike Sowle, Willy Decker, Pat Ward, Tanner Van Doren, Jim Walsh, Brad Poppleton, Jeremy Slosek, Brian Murphy, Brad Godshalk.

Disqualified: Rocky Warner

Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Payton Talbot, Jim Rothwell, Blake Sarpriacone, Stephen Denton, Josh Amodio, Jeremy Slosek, Matthew Richardson, Mike Richmond, David Hackett, Blaine Klinger, Shawn Frost, Allan Hodge, Jim Nagle, David Dickey, E.J. Gallup, Willy Decker Jr., Alex Hughes, Ed Lukas, Seth Martin, Brodie Davis, Ed Downing.

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): JASON MORRISON, Luke Horning, Bret Belden, Josh Coonradt, Jim Normoyle, Tom Denton, Johnny Holmes, Andy Graves, Ken Griffin, Tim Wood, Gus Gould, Matt Rose, Kyle Money, Mike Keith, Shawn Perez Jr., Johnny Rivers Jr., Ed Kotary, A.J. Walters, Mike Kazlauskas, George Cushman, Dalton Szewczyk.

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman (20 laps): DALTON DOYLE, Nick Zielinski, Johnny Feagles, Carson Rothwell, Connor Prokop, Aaron Page, Tyler Bobar, Kennedy Payne, Zack Welch, Matt Bukovan, Hunter Tarbania, Eymarah Bowman, Maddy Broedel, Eric Jensen, Bobby Newman, Ernie Staelens, Dave Kingsley.

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Feature Finish (12 laps): DAN VALADE (DOHC), Corey Valade, Jacob Kimball, Rudy King Jr., David Denova, Wayne Russell Jr. (SOHC), Hank Wedgren, T.J. Marlitt, Jean Foster, Kyle Coley, Hank Wedgren Jr.

Did Not Start: Hayleigh Gates, Jeff Weeks

Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshot Feature Finish (20 laps): BRETT PUTNAM, Chris Darrow, Paul Holic, Tadd Granger, Nicholas Jenkins, Scott Sprague, Jason Dufel, Caleb Still, Kevin Loveless.

Junior Slingshot Feature Finish (15 laps): JAYDEN WUST, Trevor Houghton, Sullivan Dickey, Ayden Goodier, Chase Spoor, Preston Trautschold, Brody Janczuk, Blake Banek, Ayna Sarpriacone, Bodie Marks.   

Algonkin Motel Hard Luck Award: Michael Trautschold