Makin’ Tracks – Utica-Rome Finally Opens – DTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

Rain, rain go away. Bill and Kim want the fans to play today.

Such was the case facing the Shea family as they had seen nothing but rotten weather that continued to stop week after week of racing.

However, 125 cars pulled through the pit gate on Sunday night on what was a prefect Chamber of Commerce night. The fans weaved their way around the yellow tape protecting the “wetland” area to find their way in.

Finally the season was underway.




Once again, much like Brewerton, a special opened the season as the Empire Super Sprints were on hand to join the 24 358 Mods, 45 Sportsman, 18 Pro Stocks and seven Novice.

Sure it was a longer show than anticipated, but at least the program was scheduled to put the Sprints and Mods toward the front to allow travelers to head home earlier. However, a decent group stayed right through the Novice.

The VP Summer Shootout Series with two races at Lebanon Valley, Albany-Saratoga and Utica-Rome finally was launched and a respectable field was on hand. I thought maybe there would be more outsiders. There were some, but for some reason I anticipated a bigger number.

Sportsman should be wall-to-wall this week with The Wild 100 lap, $2,500 to win event on the card to go along with the other regular classes.

Last week the 30 lapper for Sportsman went green to checker with 30 cars on the track. Matt Janczuk, a two-time Fulton winner this season, ran away with the win as he was seven seconds ahead of runner up Alan FInk and third place Chris Mackey (who was shaking down the car for his team). The race took all of 11 minutes and 23 seconds. Great job by the entire field.

The Mods picked up where they left off and defending track champ Billy Dunn won over Larry Wight and Erick Rudolph while Pat Ward and Lance Willix completed the top five.

Matt Tanner really put on a show in the Sprints and Danny Varin was closing while Chuck Hebing was third.

Let me tell you if you don’t stay around for the Pro Stocks then you simply aren’t a race fan. What a show! What a show!

Nick Stone, Josh Coonradt, Travis Welch, Pete Stefanski and Mike Welch were all right there in the top five with Shane Henderson right behind. As is the case most weeks this one was wheel-to-wheel all race long. Position changes were a regular occurrence. Fun time.

Pit Stops

Fourteen-year-old Payton Talbot had won at Fulton and now at UR in the Novice main as some new faces were on hand with Tucker O’Connor, Ed Lukas and Ryan Dolbear second-third and fourth. Alexis Jacobs was a regular from last year. Other new drivers included Colby Velber and Bobby Heintz…

Sportsman driver Kyle Inman put on a show in hit heat as he started way back and come feature time he went from tenth to fifth…

Josh Amodio is in the Kyle Kiehn 2. Kyle has moved to Virginia and hopes to become a full-time firefighter and is technically retired. He was one of those nice guys who was always donating his time and energy to the younger fans in hopes of building long time racing attendance…

One of the surprises of the main was Matt Steffanhagen with a solid fourth…

Top three like a Fulton night with Janczuk, Alan Fink and Chris Mackey one-two-three…

Mod driver Eldon Payne had mechanical woes all night long…

358 rookie Dave Marcuccilli came home sixth in his initial outing…

A new Mod driver who will be a regular was Doug Doig Jr. who has run 5 Mile and Thunder Mountain. His grandfather Paul and father Dave along with uncle Bobby Butcher were Mod drivers.  He’s a third generation driver…

Sprint Car driver Lance Moss is from North Carolina and after running Selinsgrove on Saturday had to decide between UR and a track in Arkansas. Rest assured the UR surface was something that he had never seen before. Sadly he was a DNQ…

DNQ’s in the Sprints included Mike Kiser, Pete Richardson, Steve Glover, Paul Pekkonen and Moss…

In feature action Corey Sparks finished fourth and Paulie Colagiovanni fifth as they put on solid late race runs…

DNQ’s for Sportsman were Steve Marshall, Chris Bonnoffski, Craig Pritchard, A.J. Digsby, Casey Cunningham, Mike Richmond, John Baker, Casey Williams, 11 year old Derrick McGrew, Jeff Holt, George Dyer, Josh Amadio, Robbie Knipe, Ryan McCartney and Addison Bowman…

Well, it all goes again this Sunday at six o’clock with hot laps at 5:10 p.m.

Notes, information, comments or anything else send along to foley395@hotmail.com