Makin’ Tracks: Fulton-New Mod Era and Sportsman Epidemic – DTD Exclusive

By Bill Foley

Someone in the Fulton Speedway tower muttered, “And I thought moving to the 358’s was meant to reduce the Sportsman field?”

Well, that couldn’t be further from the truth as there certainly was more than a field with 27 Modifieds in the pits, but then there were the Sportsman.

Sixty-five, yes 65, regular SUNY Canton Sportsman were on hand for opening night. Toss in 19 Novice Sportsman and you have 84 cars in one division.

It was a regular night of racing and certainly some other tracks weren’t open, but handicapper J.R. Kennerup noted that the numbers for the Sportsman could remain constant.




Last year 40 or so proved to be the norm, but this year it has exploded. One reason could be that every car runs a feature. The Fulton management provided a trio of 25 lap full field, full point, full purse main-events for the support division.

The Small-Block Contigent

Opening night at Fulton was a bit different. The big-block brethren were gone and in their place were the small-blocks. There were 27 cars pit-side and admittedly all won’t return on a regular basis when tracks closer to home open, but it would appear at least 18 regulars are anticipated and you really don’t know who else might show up.

The main-event wasn’t really that much different from last year, at least at the front of the field, as a late yellow erased a four second Larry Wight lead. Tim Sears Jr., got past him and Wight appeared to jump the cushion on the high side between one and two on the final go around and he ended up five-tenth’s of a second behind the winner.

Ironically, Sears really wasn’t sure what the team would do when the announcement came for the departure of the big-blocks. However, there is a Kevlar LJL powerplant under the hood and a new sponsor (SJP Plus) on the rear quarter-panel. So he is set to go for what could be an interesting season.

So opening night for the Mods was the typical heads up start and Billy Whittaker was third while a pair of former Sportsman drivers, Glenn Forward and Ronnie Davis rounded out the top five.

Jordan McCreadie put on the hardest charge of the field after starting 16th and he worked his way up to a sixth place finish. Jordan is expected to be a regular this year.

Seven through ten were interesting with Bobby Harrigton, Danny O’Brien, Pat Ward and Phil Vigneri completing the top ten.

Also on hand for opening night were Mike Bowman, Tom Sears, Ryan Jordan, Madison Mulder, Tyler Meeks, Larry Welling, Jeff McGinnis, John Mulder, Greg Martin, Todd Root, Andy Noto, Joe Shields, Rich Richner, Kevin Poitras, Brian McDonald, Nick Webb and Kenny Wills.

Sportsman Just Kept Coming

Fans witnessed six full heats and 75 laps of Sportsman action.

The first two mains went right down to the wire as Brandon Ford eked out a two-tenth’s of a second win over Corey Barker while Mike Stanton passed Jessica Power in the very late going to win by seven-tenths of a second. In the end the third feature was dominated by Billy Clark Jr., but he eventually won over Mike Button by seven-tenths of a second.

The Novice Sportsman saw Quinn Wallis and Addison Bowman pick up their first ever wins.

Pit Stops

Fulton fans can expect to see a few of the Can-Am cars on Saturday nights as that track has switched to Friday. The should benefit the 358 class…

Larry Welling, from Star Lake, indicated he will be a regular. He won the first heat of the year…

Tom Sears Jr. has made the shift with a Morrison powerplant under the hood…

The quickest in hot laps was Elba’s Phil Vigneri…

Western NY Sportsman champion Greg Martin noted, “I never thought I would be able to afford to run a Modified, but the W16 made it possible.”

He might show up from time to time…

Brian McDonald was on hand, but probably won’t be back soon…

The Mulder’s, John and Madison, made their first Mod visit to Fulton. Though they run Brockville they wanted to see what the speedway was like. They too might be back occasionally, but they reside in Spencerville, Ont., which is pretty close to Brockville…

Tyler Trump missing as he was on his high school senior trip…

Chad Phelps was helping good friend Andy Noto…

Ryan Jordan had a tough night as he got caught up in a domino effect bumper tag restart which chewed up his left rear…

Todd Root, another driver up from the Sportsman division, finished 20th…

The “W’s” had the heats with Welling, Wight and Whittaker winning…

Sportsman heats were won by Garrett Rushlow, Chris Cunningham, Billy Clark, Tyler Thompson, Jessica Power, and Mike Button…

Rushlow was solid in his main event running with the leaders throughout.  Unfortunately he fell out with two laps to go…

Amy Holland worked her way up to the top six after starting 13th, but the front end got banged up and she was a DNF…

Colby Herzog has a new graphic package by Image Press in North Syracuse. Colby’s primary sponsor place is in honor of his dad who passed away unexpectedly in December…

Wade Christman put on a solid show in his OOw…

Mike Stanton got Jessica Power with just under two laps to go. Stanton worked the top side lap after lap, survived yellow flags and did it all over again in earning his spot for an interview in victory lane…

Mike Phelps started 13th and finished in a hard driven fourth…

Brandon Carvey was in the 19 which has been driven by Jason Amidon…

Former Mod driver Scott Prentice had some difficulties and ran just 16 laps of his main…

Rick Miller lost the front end early in the night and was done…

Kyle Perry was consistent early on while running third, but the car went away in the main and he finished back in 12th…

New Novice faces included Tyler Murray, Jake Holmes, Cody Wolfe, Teddy Star, Erica Bowman, Addison Bowman, and former Mod Lite runner Keith Stevenson…

Meanwhile, Jason Parkhurst outdistanced a 13 car Late Model field as he dominated the entire 20 lapper…

Dick Parkhurst noted this could be his last year as son Matt has moved to Florida. Dick noted that he wants to give Sean Beardsley a shot at winning the track championship. Sean finished second…

Chris Fleming off the pace with a disappointing seventh place finish just ahead of A.J. Kingsley…

Sharp new look for third place finishing Dale Caswell….

Dane Keller the only newer face in the field…

Billy Sauve first to be towed off after wheel problems exploded for him in hot laps…

Nick Webb also got yuke tires early on.

Well hopefully weather will settle and we can see what the 358’s will bring to Central New York this year. Possibly, with Utica-Rome having a 358 series race this Sunday there might be a few different drivers on hand at Fulton on Saturday…

That’s it for this time and anyone with comments, notes etc. please send along to foley395@hotmail.com