Back On Top: Matt Sheppard Earns $4,000 Thunder on the Thruway Victory at Utica-Rome

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – Back on top.

For the fourth time this season, and the 75th time in his career, Matt Sheppard went to Utica-Rome Speedway Victory Lane, besting the 3 Bastards Brewing Modified field.

The Savannah, N.Y., resident came from the sixth starting spot in Round No. 2 of the F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series to pick up the $4,000 paycheck.

“We’ve been doing some experimenting the last couple weeks,” Sheppard explained. “We put the car right back to where it was all last year, and it was just as good as always.”

After finishing third last Friday night, and skipping out on last Saturday’s non-points race, Sheppard returned to Victory Lane for the first time since May 3.

With the win, Sheppard became the first 3 Bastards Modified driver to reach 75 wins at the ‘Home of Heroes.’

“This place has a lot of history,” Sheppard smiled. “It’s really cool to be at the top of that list.”

Sheppard worked from his sixth starting position and got by Sprakers, N.Y.’s Jessica Friesen for the runner-up spot just as the field completed lap 11.

The race’s lone yellow flag came out at that point, bringing Sheppard right up alongside race leader Rocky Warner.

On the restart, Sheppard rolled the middle groove perfectly, and then bested Warner in turns three and four to take the lead away for good.

Sheppard led the remaining 19 laps for the victory to claim the $4,000 top prize.

Rocky Warner settled for second in the Jason Simmons Racing No. 98 and Jessica Friesen wound up third.

Genoa, N.Y.’s Pat Ward followed up last Friday’s win with a fourth-place finish and Potsdam, N.Y.’s Michael Maresca completed the top five.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski; Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker; Walden, N.Y.’s Anthony Perrego; Norwich, N.Y.’s Alan Barker; and Broadalbin, N.Y.’s Dave Constantino.

South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot picked up his first win of the season in the Taylor’s Trailers LLC Crate 602 Sportsman feature event.

Talbot started on the outside of the front row and led all 25 laps of the caution plagued affair for the $1,500 winner’s share.

Mike Richmond, Tyler Peet, Chad Edwards, and Allan Hodge completed the top five.

Troy, N.Y.’s Devon Camenga claimed his first career Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks win on Friday night.

Camenga took the lead away from George Cushman at the completion of lap six and never looked back, picking up the $1,000 win.

Nick Stone, Bret Belden, A.J. Walters, and George Cushman rounded out the top five.

Fort Johnson, N.Y.’s Josh Coonradt rattled off his third win of the early season with the Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman.

Coonradt used a midrace restart to climb to second before ultimately taking the lead and picking up the victory.

Carson Rothwell, Eric Jensen, Kirsten Swartz, and Jayden Wust were the top five.

Jacob Kimball dominated all night in the Fonda Fair Four Cylinder division, leading all 12 laps in dominant fashion for his first win of the season.

Wayne Russell Jr. claimed his fourth win of the season in the Single Cam portion of the event.

Jack Miller won the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified feature rebounding back from an early yellow to win the Modified feature while Merv Blackwell picked up the Sportsman win.

Joe Rando won the Mystique feature and John Roese was the Late Model and Doug Mathewson was the Antique winner.

Racing continues Friday, May 31 with all five weekly divisions in action, plus the Slingshots on the inner oval. Upstate Spray Foam presents $5 Friday at Utica-Rome Speedway. The May 31 event will be headlined by the 3 Bastards Brewing Modifieds and joined by the Taylor’s Trailers Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, and Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.

The event will be broadcast live on FloRacing (

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): 1. 9S-MATT SHEPPARD[6]; 2. JS98-Rocky Warner[2]; 3. 1Z-Jessica Friesen[1]; 4. 42P-Pat Ward[4]; 5. 7MM-Michael Maresca[12]; 6. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[9]; 7. 91-Billy Decker[5]; 8. 4P-Anthony Perrego[3]; 9. 77-Alan Barker[11]; 10. 34-Dave Constantino[7]; 11. 1X-Willy Decker[10]; 12. 28T-Michael Trautschold[16]; 13. 16S-Jeremy Slosek[26]; 14. 19W-Justin Wright[15]; 15. 22W-Brandon Walters[18]; 16. 12B-Addison Bowman[17]; 17. 76-Jamike Sowle[23]; 18. 97S-Randy Shantel[21]; 19. 23-Brandon Loucks[13]; 20. 27-Jason Reome[25]; 21. 8M-Tim Mayne[19]; 22. 97-Bobby Hackel IV[8]; 23. 82H-Ron Holmes[14]; 24. 96-Andy Graves[24]; 25. 4C-Cody Clark[20]; 26. 44C-Ed Downing[22]

Taylor’s Trailers Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. 14T-PAYTON TALBOT[2]; 2. 22X-Mike Richmond[10]; 3. 12T-Tyler Peet[5]; 4. 10%-Chad Edwards[6]; 5. 7H-Allan Hodge[7]; 6. 78-Tanner Warner[3]; 7. 82H-David Hackett[13]; 8. 11Z-Nick Zielinski[4]; 9. 318-Dave Richer[17]; 10. 63-Chip Constantino[14]; 11. 33-Richard Murtaugh[12]; 12. 117N-Butchie Irwin[25]; 13. 23-David Dickey[20]; 14. 31J-John Dumond[16]; 15. 2K-Josh Amodio[9]; 16. 262-Matthew Richardson[23]; 17. 74-Matt Perry[1]; 18. 314-Clayton Dumond[8]; 19. 9K-Blaine Klinger[19]; 20. 621-Seth Martin[22]; 21. 12B-Tyler Bobar[24]; 22. 10A-AJ Digsby[18]; 23. 44C-Stephen Denton[21]; 24. 5EJ-EJ Gallup[11]; 25. 15-Shawn Frost[15]

Did Not Qualify: 77L-Ed Lukas; 67W-Zack Welch; 69-Blake Sarpriacone; 28J-Joey Buonagurio; 90-Brodie Davis; 55-Jonny Feagles

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): 1. 110-DEVON CAMENGA[4]; 2. 8N-Nick Stone[8]; 3. 81-Bret Belden[7]; 4. 22W-AJ Walters[10]; 5. 13-George Cushman[1]; 6. 6-Shane Playford[2]; 7. 49-Ivan Joslin[3]; 8. 74N-Jim Normoyle[11]; 9. 15K-Mike Kazluaskas[6]; 10. 81A-Michael Achzet[12]; 11. 35-Ken Gates[5]; 12. 22-Tim Wood[9]; 13. 28H-Johnny Holmes[18]; 14. 101-Ed Kotary[14]; 15. 14H-Hunter Keith[13]; 16. 28G-Gus Gould[16]; 17. 14K-Mike Keith[17]; 18. 25Y-Ken Griffin[21]; 19. 27Z-Brent Tarby[15]; 20. 44-Ray Richer[19]

Did Not Start: 715-Jason Morrison

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman (15 laps): 1. 00X-JOSH COONRADT[8]; 2. 4-Carson Rothwell[5]; 3. 57-Eric Jensen[7]; 4. 24-Kirsten Swartz[1]; 5. 43J-Jayden Wust[11]; 6. 10-Andrew MacFadden[6]; 7. 5-Eymarah Bowman[9]; 8. 12-Hayden Coons[2]; 9. 26-Maddy Broedel[4]; 10. 44R-Rocco Constantino[18]; 11. 5C-Randy Cosselman[17]; 12. 13J-Jim Mallia[13]; 13. 36-Matt Bukovan[20]; 14. 44D-Kadyn Depasquale[15]; 15. 0-Kyle Coley[19]; 16. 92C-Lance Hill[3]; 17. 77N-Bobby Newman[16]; 18. 17-Mike Haman[12]; 19. 60-Brad Poppleton[14]

Did Not Start: 17S-Ernie Staelens

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Feature Finish (12 laps): 1. 78D-JACOB KIMBALL[1]; 2. 666D-Rudy King Jr[5]; 3. 31D-Jeff Connolly[3]; 4. 68D-Mike Matthews[2]; 5. 54S-WAYNE RUSSELL JR[4]; 6. 35S-Hank Wedgren[6]; 7. 212S-TJ Marlitt[7]; 8. H35S-Hank Wedgren Jr[8]

Mohawk Valley Vintage Modified Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 37A-JACK MILLER; 2. 42-Randy Delaney; 3. 97-Dan Colvin; 4. 22C-Anthony Cardamone; 5. 28-Tom Fletcher; 6. 8-Darrell Hulbert

Mohawk Valley Vintage Sportsman Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 111-Merv Blackwell; 2. 124-John Constantino; 3. 34-Gary Reynolds; 4. 61-Brian Gray; 5. 1-Nathan McFadden

Disqualified: Jon Trudeau

Mohawk Valley Vintage Mystique Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 44-JOE RANDO; 2. 21B-Harry Baldwin; 3. 43-Ray Preston; 4. 23-Mark Anatriello; 5. M-Kevin Montanye

Did Not Start: 0-George Palmer; 33x-Pete Nowicki

Mohawk Valley Vintage Late Model Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 28-JOHN ROESE; 2. 7-Curtis Condon; 3. 9-Will Redd; 4. 07-Camron Hotaling

Did Not Start: 03-Bill Knapp

Mohawk Valley Vintage Antique Feature Finish (12 laps): 1. 32-DOUG MATTHEWSON; 2. 2-Jimmy Fugel; 3. 96-Mike Wheeler; 4. 76-John Wood; 5. 1-Ed Lawrence; 6. 29-Mike Cole; 7. 73-Dan Haslun

Did Not Start: 7-Don Briggs; 61-Bryan Scoville