VERNON, NY- Next Sunday, August 16, the Utica-Rome Speedway will host its annual Night of Legends event that will see the Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds get another big payday as well as another race for the Grit 602 Sportsman Series. On an evening that will honor former track owner Gene Cole, the Modifieds will compete in a pair of 50 lap main events that will pay $5,000 to win EACH while the Sportsman will compete for a $1,000 to win paycheck.

Track point leader in Stampede Steakhouse Modifieds, Matt Sheppard, will lead the talented field of regulars that includes Larry Wight, Pat Ward, Mike Mahaney, Vic Coffey, Stewart Friesen, Mike Bowman, Matt Hulsizer, Danny Varin, and more against a great field of cars expected to invade the Vernon oval. Drivers such at Tim Fuller, Danny Johnson, Alan Johnson, Billy Decker, Dave Rauscher, Ryan Bartlett, plus more are expected to try and tackle the Vernon oval for a chance at a good payday. If one driver was able to pull off the sweep, they would walk away with an impressive $10,000.

Even though both events will count toward track and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series points, a unique qualifying system for this race. The Modifieds will get a set of timed hot laps that will be divided into heat groups. The top four in each heat grouping will be inverted for their qualifying events. Number of heats and qualifiers will determined on race day based on number of cars entered. The second 50 lap feature will see all the lead lap cars inverted from the first event. Both 50 lap features will be all green flag laps with cautions not counting. More competitor notes can be found at

The Grit Sportsman Series makes another stop to the Vernon oval for a 30 lap $1,000 to win, $100 to start affair. Their last event here on Memorial Day saw Eric Giguere out run an impressive field of cars for the win. Matt Janczuk, Ron Davis III, AJ Filbeck, and Cody Clark gave chase to the finish but were unable to catch Giguere. Another fine field of 602 Sportsman is expected for this even as well.

The night will be in honor of former track owner and promoter Gene Cole who oversaw the rejuvenation of the Utica-Rome Speedway during his tenure. During his watch the speedway was in a state of constant upgrade with the restrooms, concession area, pit area and more seeing major changes. The infield scoring tower was also added during his tenure but his most significant contribution may be what he did off the track. Cole wanted to preserve the rich history of the Utica-Rome Speedway which saw the only two short track racers, Richie Evans and Jerry Cook who were regulars at the track, get inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. To preserve that history, Colle funded the writing and publishing of the hardcover book “The Home of Heroes” which chronicled the first 50 years of racing at the historic oval. He hired Bones Bourcier, one of the most well respected motorsports writers the business, to pen the book which covered the entire history up to that point and the end result was masterfully written and illustrated book that gave readers of all ages a glimpse at the history of the Utica-Rome Speedway. Legends like Evans, Cook, Lou Lazzaro, Ed Flemke, Rene Charland, Jack Johnson, Geoff Bodine, and more to today’s stars such Stewart Friesen, Pat Ward, Dale Planck, plus more are all covered. The hard cover book is still available at or at the speedway.

Several other legends will be on hand that night as well as Jerry Cook and Bill Wimble will be in attendance as well as one of the most colorful and respected track official in the region will be making a one return to the position that he may be most well known for. Dick Sweet, former flagger at many area race tracks, will be flagging a portion of the night’s racing action.

In the midway area of the track, several vintage race cars will also be on display which will give fans another taste of the history of the sport.

Pit gates for this action packed night of racing will open at 3 p.m. with grandstands opening at 3:30 p.m. On track racing action will start at 6 p.m.

Utica-Rome Speedway is located on Route 5 just east of the Village of Vernon, just minutes from the New York State Thruway. More information on the speedway can be found at while the speedway office can be contacted by calling (315)829-4557. The speedway also can be found on Facebook as well as on Twitter at @UR_Speedway.