VERNON, NY- For the past month, Matt Sheppard and Stewart Friesen have waged a short track heavyweight bout for the Utica-Rome Speedway $10,000 title and that battle would continue in this past Sunday’s Modified 30 lap race. But while those two would wage their little battle, it would be Jimmy Davis who would put on a masterful performance to capture the $2,000 win on Mirabito Fuel Group and Daryl’s Heavy Truck Repair night. The win would be Davis’ second win of the season. In the Sportsman, AJ Filbeck would be the winner while Tom Denton was victorious in the Pro Stocks. Ricky Breed took home the win in the Pure Stocks.
It was veteran Alan Johnson that took the lead from his front row starting at the start of Modified main event as he outran pole sitter Aaron Jacobs into turn one. Johnson’s lead would only last one circuit however as fourth place starter would charge on by to be scored the leader on lap two. Davis immediately began to open up a lead on the rest of the pack, and despite several lap five restarts after a brief yellow, Davis was still proving to be the fastest car on the track as he again started to open up a huge lead when racing resumed. While Davis was setting a quick pace up front, most fans were watching the battle shaping up in the middle of the pack.
Matt Sheppard and Stewart Friesen came into the night’s action separated by just four points for the $10,000 Utica-Rome Speedway Modified title, with Sheppard holding the lead. With Friesen starting in the 12th spot Sheppard starting in 14th, fans were watching the duo as Friesen tried to put as many cars between him and Sheppard as possible while Sheppard was attempting to keep Friesen close. With 10 laps complete, Friesen as a three car buffer as he sat in the seventh spot on the track while Sheppard ran 11th. The yellow flag come out on lap 15 and it was Davis still way out front with Pat Ward, Willy Decker, Johnson, and Mike Mahaney rounding out the top five. Filling out the rest of the top ten were Friesen, Mike Bowman, Larry Wight, Sheppard, and Bobby Varin.
Following the final restart on lap 17, Davis was again running away to a large lead to continue his dominant performance while eyes again went to the point battle that was unfolding on the track. On lap 19, Sheppard had caught Friesen to hold on to the slim point lead but Friesen wasn’t done as he continued to charge towards the front in an attempt to gain more points. Friesen broke into the top five on lap 22 as he slipped by Johnson and a lap later; Sheppard did the same to keep Friesen just ahead of him. With time running out, Friesen kept pushing forward as he got by Decker on lap 25 and starting to chase down third place Mahaney. Sheppard also dismissed Decker a lap later to keep pace as he continued to keep Friesen in his sights.
With two circuits to go, Friesen had caught Mahaney as the pair took the white flag; he was able to slip by Mahaney to grab the third spot. Davis completed his dominating run by taking the win and the $2,000 payday with Ward, Friesen, Mahaney, and Sheppard trailing. Decker, Wight, Johnson, Ryan Phelps, and Bowman completed the top ten. With Friesen’s third place run and Sheppard’s fifth place finish, the pair go into the final night of points tied for the championship lead.
Outside front row starter Robert Barker out raced pole sitter Bobby Heintz to start the 20 lap Sportsman feature, and he would continue to hold that until lap three. At that point, AJ Filbeck launched himself into the lead as he would be shown the leader on lap four. From that point, Filbeck would steadily out distance the rest of the field as he began to put on a dominating performance. The only caution of the event came out on lap 11, which would put Chris Mackey and Jeremy Vunk right on Filbeck’s bumper but at the green, Filbeck again ran away from the field. On lap 12, Vunk was able to slip by Mackey to gain the second spot but he was only able to watch as Filbeck continued to pull away. Filbeck would continue his fast pace to the checkered flag as he took the win over Vunk, Matt Janczuk, Mackey, and Craig Pope.
Pro Stock feature action saw Corrie Locke with the initial lead in the 20 lap event but that was short lived as Chris Carr would charge by on lap two, after starting in the fourth spot. While Carr was showing the fast way around out front, 12th place starter Tom Denton was patiently moving towards the front of the field. In the top five by lap five, Denton was into the runner-up spot by lap eight and closing in on Carr. At the halfway point, Denton was pressuring Carr for the lead but Carr was hanging on lap after lap. On lap 14, Denton was finally able to get alongside Carr coming out of turn four while they approached lapped traffic. As the duo raced into turn one, a car suddenly slowed to go into the pits in front of the leaders, and Carr had nowhere to go and made heavy contact and ending his fine run. When racing resumed after the cleanup, Denton would race off to the win followed by Glenn Forward, Bret Belden, Shawn Frost, and AJ Digsby.
Pole sitter Andy Szewczyk led the opening two laps of the 15 lap Pure Stock main event with Bill Mason taking over the point on lap three from his third starting spot. Mason would pace the field through the middle portion of the race with heavy pressure from Keith Stevenson but on lap 11, another driver was making his presence felt. 10th place starter Rick Breed patiently made his way through the field and with five to go, he had taken the second spot. On lap 11, he made the winning pass as he got by Mason and ran off to another win. Mason, Rob Thieme, Stevenson, and Ron Hawker filled out the top five spots.
On the upcoming Labor Day Weekend, it will also be New Yorker 200 Weekend which will kick off on Sunday September 1 when Gates-Cole Associates and Turning Stone Casino and Resort presents the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints plus the final point night for the Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks. Fireworks will cap off the evening’s activities. Then on Monday September 2, Turning Stone Casino will present the New Yorker for the Modifieds which will pay the winner $10,000 to win the 100 lap race. The 602 Sportsman will also be in action for a 30 lap $1,000 to win feature, which pays $100 to start.
MIRABITO FUEL GROUP AND DARYL’S HEAVY TRUCK REPAIR
MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- JIMMY DAVIS, Pat Ward, Stewart Friesen, Mike Mahaney, Matt Sheppard, Willy Decker, Larry Wight, Alan Johnson, Ryan Phelps, Mike Bowman, Bobby Varin, Danny Varin, Todd Burley, Dave Allen, Brad Alger, Dave Moyer, Darwin Greene, Aaron Jacobs, Steve Cummings, Eldon Payne Jr., and Lance Willix.
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-AJ FILBECK, Jeremy Vunk, Matt Janczuk, Chris Mackey, Craig Pope, Claude Hutchings Jr., Heath Carney, Jack Miller, Randy Shantel, Tye-Scott Rood, Stephen Denton, Steve Way, Robert Barker, Chris Daley, Chad Ray, and Bobby Heintz.
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)-TOM DENTON, Glenn Forward, Bret Belden, Shawn Frost, AJ Digsby, Ed Ostrander, Mark Effner, Bill Knapp, Corrie Locke, Joe Palmer, Jim Money, Dana Camenga, Chris Carr, Greg Tower, and Jim Normoyle.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)-RICKY BREED, Bill Mason, Rob Thieme, Keith Stevenson, Ron Hawker, Andy Szewczyk, Russ Marsden, Chris Cunningham, Jim Thomas, Frank Hyatt, Mike Kazlauskas, Bryan Owens, Chuck Cushman, Dan Hofmann, Ernie Staelens, Chris Watkins, and Quentin Burton.