Resume Builders: Sheppard & Varin Lead Friday Night Utica-Rome Victors

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – Add one more.

Matt Sheppard and Danny Varin both added to their already impressive resumes at Utica-Rome Speedway on Mastrovito Hyundai First Responders Night.

For Sheppard, he claimed his sixth win of the season with the 3 Bastards Brewing Modifieds, the 77th of his Utica-Rome career.

Danny Varin on the other hand, won the first-ever USAC East Coast Sprint Car feature ever at Utica-Rome. The triumph was Varin’s sixth different division he’s tamed, including the Sportsman, Modifieds, 305-, 360-, and 410-winged Sprint Cars.

Sheppard started from the ninth position of the 30-lap feature and capitalized on several early flags to pick his way forward on his way to victory.

“This car was really good on restarts,” Sheppard stated. “It seemed like everybody hovered to the bottom in turns one and two, and it left a lane open for me.”

After two attempts on a lap-five restart, Sheppard worked his way to the fourth position from sixth while Johnstown, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner continued to pace the field from the pole starting position.

One lap later another yellow flag fell, and Sheppard once again went two for one on a restart, climbing into the runner-up spot and setting his sights on Warner.

The ‘Flying Squirrel,’ however, appeared to be up to the task, pulling away from Sheppard on the short green flag run.

“Rocky was really good out front in the clean air,” Sheppard explained. “If we didn’t get that yellow flag, I’m really not sure I would’ve gotten by him.

“Fortunately, it did, and once we got in clean air, I felt really good,” he continued.

The yellow Sheppard referenced came with 19 laps to go, and he was there to take advantage. Sheppard rolled around the outside and set sail on his way to victory as the remaining laps clicked off caution free.

Warner settled for the runner-up spot and Baldwinsville, N.Y.’s Michael Maresca rounded out the podium from 11th. Canandaigua, N.Y.’s Alex Payne came home fourth from the 12th starting position and Genoa, N.Y.’s Pat Ward completed the top five.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel IV; Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski; Unadilla, N.Y.’s Brandon Walters; Roscoe, N.Y.’s Michael Trautschold; and York, N.Y.’s Justin Wright.

The Rapid Tire USAC East Coast Sprint Cars were in town for the first time in history and put on a thrilling show.

Fonda, N.Y.’s Danny Varin outgunned Port Jervis, N.Y.’s Billy Van Inwegen to take home the victory.

“This is really cool to win this race,” Varin smiled. “We don’t know anything about these wingless cars, but we really put our heads together to come up with something.

“I told the guys before we went out, I wanted this one bad,” he added.

Varin led the first 12 laps before Van Inwegen slipped by Varin as he had backed off his pace in lap traffic.

“I backed off too much,” Varin proclaimed. “I was just trying to be so careful with the berm up there and Billy got me.”

Van Inwegen then set the pace for the next handful of laps before a caution fell on lap 17.

Varin seized the opportunity with clear track ahead, powering the top of the speedway in turns one and two and down the hill on corner exit.

Varin sped by Van Inwegen for the lead down the back straightaway and never looked back in the final eight laps of the race.

Van Inwegen settled for the runner-up position and Stephentown, N.Y.’s Matt Tanner completed the sweep for the Empire State on the podium.

Morgantown, Pa.’s Kenny Miller III and Reading, Pa.’s Steven Drevicki completed the top five in the historic event.

South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot dominated the Taylor’s Trailers LLC Crate 602 Sportsman feature after firing from the 10th starting position.

Talbot worked to the lead on lap seven and navigated lap traffic flawlessly when he reached it, on his way to his second Utica-Rome Speedway win of the year.

Ed Lukas, Allan Hodge, Josh Coonradt, from 22nd, and Seth Martin completed the top five.

Clinton, N.Y.’s Bret Belden won his second consecutive Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks feature event on Friday night.

Belden outdueled A.J. Walters on several late race restarts on his way to the victory, extending his point lead in his quest for a second straight title.

Walters settled for the runner-up spot with Devon Camenga, Michael Achzet, and Johnny Holmes rounding out the top five.

Edmeston, N.Y.’s Jayden Wust snapped his streak of three consecutive runner-up finishes with his first career Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman win.

Wust survived the caution plagued race and never blinked on any of the restarts on his way to his first win in the division.

Carson Rothwell, Andrew MacFadden, Timmy Wilmot, and Phil Arnold were the top five.

Kyle Simmons topped his second Fonda Fair Four Cylinders feature in the last three weeks, outdueling Kamrin Krause for the win. Damien Beckler picked up his first win of the season with the Singel Cams.

Racing continues on Thursday, July 4 for the second annual ‘Bill Shea Memorial’ presented by Dirt Track Digest at Utica-Rome Speedway. The night includes another round in the CNY Speedweeks for the Empire Super 360 Sprint Cars. The 3 Bastards Brewing Modifieds, Taylor’s Trailers LLC Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks are all also on the card for a non-points event in a draw/redraw format.

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[9]; 2. JS98-Rocky Warner[1]; 3. 7MM-Michael Maresca[11]; 4. 70A-Alex Payne[12]; 5. 42P-Pat Ward[5]; 6. 97-Bobby Hackel IV[7]; 7. 84Y-Alex Yankowski[10]; 8. 22W-Brandon Walters[2]; 9. 28T-Michael Trautschold[8]; 10. 19W-Justin Wright[13]; 11. 1X-Willy Decker[6]; 12. 12-Addison Bowman[17]; 13. 77-Alan Barker[3]; 14. 16S-Jeremy Slosek[24]; 15. 17-Rob Pitcher[16]; 16. 14AJ-AJ Miller[23]; 17. 9J-Jim Becker[18]; 18. 16-Aaron Jacobs[19]; 19. 27-Jason Reome[20]; 20. 76-Jamike Sowle[14]; 21. 44C-Ed Downing[22]; 22. 1Z-Jessica Friesen[4]; 23. 23-Brandon Loucks[15]; 24. 8M-Tim Mayne[21]

Did Not Start: 96-Andy Graves

Rapid Tire USAC East Coast Sprint Car Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. 01-DANNY VARIN; 2. 56-Billy VanInwegen; 3. 90-Matt Tanner; 4. 23M-Kenny Miller III; 5. 19-Steven Drevicki; 6. 20-Alex Bright; 7. 83-Bruce Buckwalter, Jr.; 8. 51-Mike Haggenbottom; 9. 53-Shawn Donath; 10. 16CW-Eric Jennings; 11. 7-Ed Aikin; 12. 4P-Chase Moran; 13. 64-Rich Carnathan; 14. 67-Jason Cherry; 15. 29-Dalton Herrick; 16. 5B-Bobby Butler; 17. 44-Gary Huston

Taylor’s Trailers Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): 1. 14T-PAYTON TALBOT[10]; 2. 77L-Ed Lukas[3]; 3. 7H-Allan Hodge[8]; 4. 00X-Josh Coonradt[22]; 5. 621-Seth Martin[4]; 6. 5EJ-EJ Gallup[1]; 7. 63-Chip Constantino[9]; 8. 23-David Dickey[15]; 9. 33-Richard Murtaugh[18]; 10. 77X-Zack Welch[6]; 11. 9K-Blaine Klinger[13]; 12. 44C-Stephen Denton[7]; 13. 262-Matthew Richardson[2]; 14. 31J-John Dumond[17]; 15. 12B-Tyler Bobar[11]; 16. 82H-David Hackett[5]; 17. 22X-Mike Richmond[12]; 18. 69-Blake Sarpriacone[19]; 19. 10A-AJ Digsby[20]; 20. 7UP-Gary Smith[25]; 21. 2K-Josh Amodio[14]; 22. 08-Dalton Doyle[23]; 23. 117N-Butchie Irwin[21]; 24. 20K-Kyle Perry[24]; 25. 12-Trey Palmer[26]; 26. 90-Brodie Davis[27]; 27. 5A-Andrew Clark[28]; 28. 314-Clayton Dumond[16]

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): 1. 81-BRET BELDEN[8]; 2. 22W-AJ Walters[6]; 3. 110-Devon Camenga[9]; 4. 81A-Michael Achzet[5]; 5. 28H-Johnny Holmes[12]; 6. 49-Ivan Joslin[7]; 7. 14K-Mike Keith[14]; 8. 14H-Hunter Keith[13]; 9. 15K-Mike Kazluaskas[11]; 10. 28G-Gus Gould[15]; 11. 44-Ray Richer[17]; 12. 13-George Cushman[1]; 13. 7-Eric Stumpf[19]; 14. 74N-Jim Normoyle[2]; 15. 715-Jason Morrison[4]; 16. 101-Ed Kotary[10]; 17. 11-George Wright Sr[18]

Disqualified: 22-Tim Wood

Did Not Start: 6-Shane Playford

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman (15 laps): 1. 43J-JAYDEN WUST[8]; 2. 4-Carson Rothwell[5]; 3. 10-Andrew MacFadden[9]; 4. 14W-Timmy Wilmot[13]; 5. 216-Phil Arnold[11]; 6. 79-Eric Winsor[16]; 7. 26B-Maddy Broedel[4]; 8. 5-Eymarah Bowman[3]; 9. 98S-Savannah Simmons[18]; 10. 85R-Bob Rowback[14]; 11. 12-Hayden Coons[2]; 12. 17S-Ernie Staelens[17]; 13. 57-Eric Jensen[6]; 14. 77V-Jamie Vanabs[15]; 15. 0-Kyle Coley[20]; 16. 618-Bobby Rhinehardt[12]; 17. 77N-Bobby Newman[7]; 18. 78-Stephen Winsor[10]; 19. 5S-Keith Simpson[21]; 20. 11V-Olivia Vitale[22]

Disqualified: 44D-Kadyn Depasquale

Did Not Start: 60-Brad Poppleton

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Feature Finish (12 laps): 1. 13D-KYLE SIMMONS[4]; 2. 09D-Kamrin Krause[9]; 3. 31D-Jeff Connolly[2]; 4. 5MS-DAMIEN BECKLER[6]; 5. 54S-Wayne Russell Jr[5]; 6. 212S-TJ Marlitt[1]; 7. 23TD-Keith Tesiero Jr[12]; 8. 35S-Hank Wedgren[7]; 9. H35S-Hank Wedgren Jr[8]; 10. 666D-Rudy King Jr[3]

Did Not Start: 78D-Jacob Kimball; 33D-John Haman