Makin’ Tracks – Utica-Rome Makin’ Tracks to Get It In

By BILL FOLEY

There was no time for drivers or staff to relax at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night.

With one eye on the rapidly moving storms that appeared were “going to miss us” and the other on the track the attempt to get the four division show in was a gallant one.

This was one of those unique nights that due to rescheduling of the previously rained out King of Dirt Sportsman and Pro Stocks, that the track had three of its four divisions as traveling series.

There is always the desire to get the travelers in. CRSA 305 Sprints were at the track only once this season while KoD will be back again. The featured home Modified class happened to be the class that is in the pits every week.




Well, a whole bunch of prelims, two consis, a brief intermission to wet the top side and a Sprint along with Sportsman feature got done. Throughout the night the winds had been gusting and simply got stronger. Then it rained on Rocky Warner’s victory lane celebration and the monsoon ended the night.

Retired Mod driver Jeff Trombley (by 1.9 second over Kyle Smith) and Warner won the mains, but the Mods and KOD Pro Stocks will have to wait. For the 19 Modified drivers it will be a double-header this Sunday night while for the Pro Stocks it will be later this season to set up a twin-bill when KOD returns.

Recently, Promoter Jimmy Phelps told me “the most important night for a promoter is Wednesday night. People look at the weather forecast and decide what they are going to do on race night. Even if the weather turns many don’t change their plans.”

Both Weedsport and Utica-Rome were victims of not only that theory, but headlines earlier on Sunday which read “2 to 4 Inches of Rain, Hail and High Winds Today.” If you read the story it said in the third or fourth paragraph that 15% of the area had the possibility of bad weather. Yes, and both tracks happened to be in that 15% area.

Bill Shea made every attempt to get the show in. The weekend before (when the cars were off) he had a successful country concert and motocross races. Weather and off dates had limited the nights or racing at Utica-Rome this year.

However, two Mod features on tap for this week with the following week being a Super DIRTcar Series-ESS Speed Week combo should hopefully get folks back in the grandstands and maybe in the habit of coming on out to the track once again.

UR Pit Stops

Jack Miller put on a David versus Goliath effort in his Modified heat. The former Open driver led early and then actually held off Matt Sheppard for several laps before Matt got by Jack in the very late stages of the event. Great run by Miller…

Group time trials set the fields for King of Dirt. Fastest in Pro Stocks was Luke Horning and Rocky Warner quickest in the Sportsman…

It was over 90 degrees in the pits and grandstands as diehard fans showed their loyalty.

Matt Janzcuk, Cody Bleau, Chris Mackey and Connor Cleveland won Sportsman heats…

Sheppard and Marc Johnson won the Mod prelims…

Defending KOD champ Robbie Speed was running third in his heat when he slid off the track…

Both Dave Marcuccilli and Tyler Thompson were at Weedsport and rushed to UR after rain out. Thompson started in back and was near a qualifying spot after lap one, but slid up the track, lost positions and ended up two spots short. The M1 won the consi and headed to the main…

Sprint car leader Josh Pieniazek got caught up with a spinning car and flipped wildly off the first turn with eight laps to go in the main event…

Warner started ninth in the main, was third on lap one. It was his third straight KoD Utica win, sixth KoD win and he won by 7.3 seconds.

Matt Janczuk broke early in the main.  His motor locked up forcing him to drop out…

Mod field one through 19 for the rained out feature will be Steve Way, Beth Bellinger, Jack Miller, Darwin Greene, Rob Bellinger, Claude Hutchings Jr., Alan Johnson, Mike Mahaney, Marc Johnson, Bobby Varin, Pat Ward, Tim Fuller, Danny Varin, Matt Sheppard, Jessey Mueller, Mike Maresca, BrandonWalters, Randy Shatel and Jim Nagle…

Many new faces were in the pits in both the Sportsman and Pro Stocks as this series brings many Eastern New York and Vermont drivers West. Most run Lebanon Valley, Albany-Saratoga and other tracks out that way.  That’s why we don’t see them very often.

Among some of the new Sportsman faces were Jack Lehner, Michael Sabia, Chad Edwards, Brian Calabrese, Jeff Watson, Brian Passalano, Robert Bublak, Cody Hunt, Justin Smith, Kevin Chaffee, Cody Bleau and Bob Maxon…

Rob Yetman and Kenny Martin were just a couple of the new faces for the Pros that are not regulars. There were many others as 22 cars will be scheduled for run in the rescheduled event later this season…

CRSA brought 21 cars, 19 Mods, 38 Sportsman and 22 Pro Stocks pit-side…

Mel Thomas had gotten a sub to video the action for sales for Thomas Video as well as live on DTD TV. Mel was working the World of Outlaws scheduled for Cornwall and made the run in three hours after the rain out…

Four announcers, three race directors and additional scorers provided musical chairs competition in the tower throughout the night…

Good working with KoD announcer Mike Warren again. He’s always fun to work with…

Mike Mallett was a bit exhausted as he was covering Freedom Speedway on Friday for DTD, and then headed to Jennerstown on Saturday for Paved Track Digest, drove five and a half hours home overnight and headed to Utica-Rome for his announcing duties on Sunday. Folks have no idea how dedicated this guy is to racing.

News, comments and anything else to foley395@hotmail.com