Race of the Year: Stewart Friesen Earns $4,000 Thunder on the Thruway Thriller

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – Race of the Year.

For the first time this season, Stewart Friesen emerged victorious in an epic 3 Bastards Brewing Modified feature on Parks Companies Night at Utica-Rome Speedway.

After laps of trying, Friesen finally slid underneath Michael Trautschold on lap 27 and led the final four laps to take home the $4,000 victory in Round No. 4 of the F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thunder on the Thruway Series.

“We were a little better in turns three and four, but he was right where I wanted to be in one and two,” Friesen explained. “I threw everything at him, and we finally got to lap traffic and got to mixing it up there and we finally got him.”

The win for Friesen was his first of the season at Utica-Rome, and his second consecutive Thunder on the Thruway Series win after getting his first last Saturday at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway.

The Sprakers, N.Y., resident rolled from the fourth starting position following the redraw with York, N.Y.’s Justin Wright and Roscoe, N.Y.’s Michael Trautschold occupied the front row.

Friesen quickly raced to the runner-up spot on lap five and began applying pressure to Trautschold for the top spot.

The race’s lone yellow flag fell on lap seven, giving Friesen an opportunity to fire alongside Trautschold.

Trautschold held firm on the bottom side on the restart and set the pace while Friesen chased.

Meanwhile after the restart Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski and Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard moved into third and fourth to join the party up front.

For the next 22 laps, the top four put on a race of the year contender for the $4,000 top prize.

Yankowski and Sheppard swapped third back-and-forth on several occasions. All the meanwhile, the duo worked on the back bumper of Friesen for the runner-up spot.

The lead four ran within half a straightaway of each other while duking it out trying to take home the win.

When the leaders finally reached lap traffic, Friesen finally got the opportunity he needed. While Trautschold slid from the bottom to the top in turns one and two, Friesen rolled the bottom to perfection to get underneath Trautschold and completed the pass going into turn three.

Friesen set sail from there for the $4,000 win in the Halmar International No. 44.

“Mike’s been getting better and better,” Friesen praised. “He never made a mistake, made this one was tough for sure.”

Trautschold settled for the runner-up spot and Yankowski out dueled Sheppard for the final podium spot. Sheppard settled for fourth and East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel IV rounded out the top five.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were Oneida, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk; Justin Wright; Potsdam, N.Y.’s Michael Maresca; Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker; and Broadalbin, N.Y.’s Dave Constantino.

The Taylor’s Trailers LLC Crate 602 Sportsman 25-lap feature clicked off caution-free on Friday night and Lake Ariel, Pa.’s Tyler Peet picked up his second win of the season.

Peet fired from the outside of the front row and led the final 24 laps of the affair, picking up a dominant win for the $1,500 top prize.

Mike Richmond, Payton Talbot, Butchie Irwin, and A.J. Digsby completed the top five.

Clinton, N.Y.’s Bret Belden picked up his first win of the season in an exciting Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock feature.

Belden used a last lap pass to get around Devon Camenga for the win. Belden rolled the outside groove late in the race to close in on and ultimately pass Camega for the victory.

Camenga settled for second with A.J. Walters, Tim Wood, and Jason Morrison rounding out the top five.

Sharon Springs, N.Y.’s Andrew MacFadden claimed his first Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman victory.

MacFadden dominated the affair while Jayden Wust, Eric Jensen, Maddy Broedel, and Rocco Constantino completed the top five.

Rudy King Jr. (Dual Cam) and Wayne Russell Jr. (Single Cam) were both victorious with the Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.

The Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series victories went to Randy Delaney (Modified), Brian Gray (Sportsman), Joe Rando (Mystique), Curtis Condon (Late Model), and Don Briggs (Antique).

Racing continues next Friday, June 28 for Mastrovito Hyundai Night at Utica-Rome Speedway. The night serves as the first ever visit for the USAC East Coast Sprint Cars. The wingless 360 Sprint Cars join the 3 Bastards Brewing Modifieds, Taylor’s Trailers Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, and Fonda Fair Four Cylinders for an action packed night of racing.

The event will be broadcast live 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 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. 44-STEWART FRIESEN[4]; 2. 28T-Michael Trautschold[2]; 3. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[6]; 4. 9S-Matt Sheppard[9]; 5. 97-Bobby Hackel IV[8]; 6. 28X-Matt Janczuk[3]; 7. 19W-Justin Wright[1]; 8. 7MM-Michael Maresca[5]; 9. 91-Billy Decker[11]; 10. 34-Dave Constantino[12]; 11. JS98-Rocky Warner[19]; 12. 42P-Pat Ward[16]; 13. 22W-Brandon Walters[15]; 14. 1Z-Jessica Friesen[20]; 15. 12-Addison Bowman[10]; 16. 43-Keith Flach[18]; 17. 23-Brandon Loucks[23]; 18. 76-Jamike Sowle[21]; 19. 4-Cody Clark[24]; 20. 77-Alan Barker[13]; 21. 97S-Randy Shantel[17]; 22. 9J-Jim Becker[7]; 23. 1X-Willy Decker[14]; 24. 44C-Ed Downing[25]; 25. 369-Jim Walsh[26]; 26. 16S-Jeremy Slosek[22]

Taylor’s Trailers Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. 12T-TYLER PEET[2]; 2. 22X-Mike Richmond[6]; 3. 14T-Payton Talbot[10]; 4. 117N-Butchie Irwin[1]; 5. 10A-AJ Digsby[7]; 6. 63-Chip Constantino[9]; 7. 10%-Chad Edwards[19]; 8. 77L-Ed Lukas[8]; 9. 69-Blake Sarpriacone[5]; 10. 44C-Stephen Denton[4]; 11. 12B-Tyler Bobar[16]; 12. 621-Seth Martin[17]; 13. 82H-David Hackett[12]; 14. 7H-Allan Hodge[18]; 15. 2K-Josh Amodio[13]; 16. 314-Clayton Dumond[25]; 17. 9K-Blaine Klinger[20]; 18. 74-Matt Perry[21]; 19. 262-Matthew Richardson[22]; 20. 67W-Zack Welch[23]; 21. 28J-Joey Buonagurio[14]; 22. 78-Tanner Warner[15]; 23. 5EJ-EJ Gallup[11]; 24. 23-David Dickey[3]; 25. 25-Stephen Gray[24]

Did Not Qualify: 4J-JJ Courcy; 10-Jim Nagle; 00X-Josh Coonradt; 01-Dylan Nichols; 90-Brodie Davis; 08-Dalton Doyle; 4C-Michelle Courcy

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): 1. 81-BRET BELDEN[4]; 2. 110-Devon Camenga[3]; 3. 22W-AJ Walters[5]; 4. 22-Tim Wood[1]; 5. 715-Jason Morrison[6]; 6. 35-Ken Gates[7]; 7. 13-George Cushman[2]; 8. 74N-Jim Normoyle[8]; 9. 49-Ivan Joslin[10]; 10. 28H-Johnny Holmes[11]; 11. 101-Ed Kotary[9]; 12. 28G-Gus Gould[12]; 13. 63-Matt Rose[13]

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman (15 laps): 1. 10-ANDREW MACFADDEN[6]; 2. 43J-Jayden Wust[8]; 3. 57-Eric Jensen[10]; 4. 26B-Maddy Broedel[3]; 5. 44R-Rocco Constantino[14]; 6. 24-Kirsten Swartz[5]; 7. 5-Eymarah Bowman[13]; 8. 4-Carson Rothwell[7]; 9. 17S-Ernie Staelens[2]; 10. 12-Hayden Coons[4]; 11. 44D-Kadyn Depasquale[12]; 12. 60-Brad Poppleton[1]; 13. 0-Kyle Coley[11]

Did Not Start: 77N-Bobby Newman

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Feature Finish (12 laps): 1. 666D-RUDY KING JR[2]; 2. 9D-David Denova[6]; 3. 31D-Jeff Connolly[3]; 4. 54S-Wayne Russell Jr[4]; 5. 42S-Hayleigh Gates[5]; 6. 35S-Hank Wedgren[7]; 7. 212S-TJ Marlitt[1]; 8. H35S-Hank Wedgren Jr[8]

Mohawk Valley Vintage Modified Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 42-RANDY DELANEY; 2. 37A-Jack Miller; 3. 77-John Flach; 4. 28-Tom Fletcher; 5. 97-Dan Colvin; 6. 20-Eric Gifford

Mohawk Valley Vintage Sportsman Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 61-BRIAN GRAY; 2. 7-Jon Trudeau; 3. 34-Gary Reynolds; 4. 111-Merv Blackwell; 5. 124-John Constantino

Mohawk Valley Vintage Mystique Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 44B-JOE RANDO; 2. 66-Tom Church; 3. 722-Dan Karl; 4. 34-John Marks; 5. 23-Mark Anatriello

Mohawk Valley Vintage Late Model Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 7-CURTIS CONDON; 2. 28-John Roese; 3. 9-Will Reed; 4. 07-Camron Hotaling; 5. 91-Justin Knight

Mohawk Valley Vintage Antique Feature Finish (15 laps): 1. 7-DON BRIGGS; 2. 2-Jimmy Fugel; 3. 61-Brian Scofield; 4. 1-Speed Niedhammer