Rudolph Takes Win and First Championship at Utica-Rome

VERNON, NY – Late race passes were the norm on Sunday night at the Utica-Rome Speedway with Erick Rudolph, Kyle Inman, Rob Yetman and Mike Grover all finding their way to victory lane in their respective divisions in a racing program presented by The Wild Animal Park, Turn I LLC and the Kotary Family.

The highlight of the night’s racing program was the Wild 100 Ultimate Sportsman Showdown for the Broedel Fuel Group DIRTcar Sportsman division. It looked like Matt Janczuk was going to steal the show only for Kyle Inman to track him down late. Inman made a pass with just three laps to go with win his first ever Utica-Rome Speedway feature as well as a $2,500 paycheck in the non-stop 100 lap feature event.

“Finally,” commented Inman afterwards. “This has been years in the making. We’ve been coming here non-stop, making the two-and-a-half-hour ride just to win one of these things. To win it tonight, the way we did, we started deep after we pulled the 11 pill. We had some work to do. It’s insane, it’s the first time I’ve ever gone 100 laps.”

Janczuk started the 100-lap feature from the outside of row two allowing him to take the lead on the second circuit. Janczuk has been the dominate car for much of the 2019 racing season and early on it was more of the same. As Janczuk set the quick pace at the front Inman was busy working forward from 11th.

As the race reached lap 30, it was Janczuk at the helm with Inman and Alan Fink wrestling for second. Fink took the position for several laps before Inman took it back. Over the next 20 laps they swapped the spot multiple times with Inman finally taking control of second on lap 54. At this point Janczuk had amassed a near 10 second lead.

Over the next 45 laps Inman chipped away at the advantage. While Janczuk worked the middle to bottom of speedway through traffic, Inman found his own lane on the top. Inman blasted the cushion all the way around the speedway allowing him to quickly navigate through the slower cars.

With 10 laps to go the lead was down to less than a second. Janczuk got hung up behind some slower cars allowing Inman to draw closer. On lap 95 the top two were nose to tail. Inman looked for an opportunity to pounce.

That opportunity came on lap 98. Janczuk went through the middle in turns one and two opening the top lane for Inman. He rocketed by at the exit of the turn to take the lead. He stayed in front the final two laps to win his first ever Utica-Rome feature, the big check and the six-foot giraffe trophy that came with it.

“I saw Matt getting closer,” said Inman. “I was running him down, running him down. I was on the bottom a little bit to cool the tires. The top was so fast. We could stick it up there. The thing was just hooked. We started closing the gap and got caught up. He went to the bottom; I went to the top we were side-by-side. It was crazy. He tried sliding me in three and four. It was so much fun.”

Janczuk settled for a disappointing second followed by Fink, Kevin Root and Charlie Tibbitts.

The DIRTcar 358-Modifieds settled their chase the championship on Sunday as next week the Super DIRTcar Series big-block Modifieds make their one and only appearance at the track. As has been the case all year, Rudolph was able to overcome adversity to take the win and his first ever Utica-Rome track championship.

“We had a few timely cautions there and found a line the car liked,” commented Rudolph. “I kind of stuck with that. It was an extremely versatile car. It’s been an awesome car all year really.”

Glenn Forward raced out to the lead in the early laps while Rudolph was busy working his way to the front from the 10th starting spot. Forward set a steady pace with Billy Whittaker emerging as a challenger on lap five.

By lap nine Whittaker had pulled to even terms with Forward looking for the lead. He’d get it a lap later on the low side of turns one and two. Whittaker was able to open the gap on the field with Forward settling in for second for now. On lap 14, as Rudolph and Forward battle for second, the two came together in turn two. Forward spun bringing out the caution.

The next restart saw Rudolph go over the banking in turn one to bring out a caution as he had cut down a right front tire and was unable to steer his car. He dove to the pit area to get a fresh tire, but had to line-up at the back of the field.

“Maybe I was a little aggressive over there,” stated Rudolph. “I thought I had him cleared. We both got into the tire and got into each other a little bit. I had to make a pit-stop for a flat tire.”

Rudolph was methodical as he picked off nearly a car a lap in his race to get back to the front of the field. He was assisted by a few cautions, including one that came out on lap 15 as something broke on the rear of Whittaker’s car ending his bid for a win. This handed the lead to invader Rocky Warner.

Warner showed the way with Billy Dunn challenging him. Dunn was rebounding from his own difficulties earlier in the race when he went over the banking in turns three and four to find himself at the tail of the field.

The final 10 lap were run without interruption with Rudolph back on the podium chasing Dunn and Warner. He got by Dunn on lap 23 before he went back by him a lap later. They raced hard for second until lap 28 when Rudolph finally cleared him.

Rudolph got to Warner’s bumper on lap 29 before making the pass on the final circuit. Warner opened the door on the bottom of turns one and two allowing Rudolph to sneak underneath him for the lead as they raced down the backstretch.

“The last lap there I hit it perfect,” cited Rudolph. “We were able to make the winning the pass. We don’t like to make things difficult on ourselves like that usually.”

Rudolph picked up his sixth win with Warner coming home second. Dunn finished in third followed by Pat Ward and Lance Willix.

The Gene Kotary Memorial 30-lap main-event for the Ted’s Body Shop DIRTcar Pro Stocks and the $1,500 top prize went to Yetman.

Shane Henderson opened the race with the lead from his outside front row starting position. He remained at the point with early pressure coming from Jason Meltz. Meltz got close, but couldn’t make the pass for the lead.

Henderson’s next challenger was perennial front-runner Nick Stone. Stone applied pressure for several laps with Henderson up to the task for the first few laps. Henderson then found himself in traffic. Henderson ended up choosing the wrong lane and he got stuck behind a slower car opening the door for Stone to shoot by down low on the backstretch to secure the lead on lap 13.

Stone stayed at the front with the action behind him picking up. Henderson kept second for several circuits as he kept both Meltz and Pete Stefanski in check. They applied constant pressure. Rob Yetman joined the mix as well with 10 laps remaining.

On lap 25 caution was necessary as Aaron Page spun on the backstretch after contact with another car. The restart gave the field another shot at Stone. Yetman refired from third. He took second on the restart before finding his way by Stone for the lead on the bottom of turns three and four on lap 26.

Yetman led the final few laps for the huge payday. Stone finished second with Chuck Dumblewski, Meltz and Henderson completing the top five.

The Bernie’s Extreme Performance Parts Rookie Sportsman were the final feature of the evening. Their 15-lap program began with Ernie Staelens leading early. He fought off pressure from Mike Grover. Then, on lap five, the pressure became two much as Grover worked his way by Staelens through the middle of turns three and four. From there Grover kept the field behind him to take home the win. Dana Camenga finished second while Tanner Warner finished third. Alexis Jacobs ended up fourth followed by Staelens in fifth.

Next Sunday night, September 1, Broedel Fuel Group and Clinton Tractor presents The Super DIRTcar Series New Yorker 100 for the big-block Modifieds, the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints plus the final night of points for the Broedel Fuel Group DIRTcar Sportsman and Ted’s Body Shop DIRTcar Pro Stocks. The Bernie’s Extreme Peformance Rookie Sportsman are also on the card.

The grandstands admission price for this event is $30 with seniors/military members/students costing $27. Kids 16 and under are $5. Pit prices for the event are $35 for all DIRTcar Members and $40 for non-members. Pit gates will open at 2:30pm while spectator gates open at 3:30pm. Racing starts at 6pm.

Those looking for information about the upcoming season at Utica-Rome Speedway can like us on Facebook at Utica-Rome Speedway, find us on Twitter @UR_Speedway or on the web at


DIRTTRACKDIGEST.COM DIRTCAR 358-MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (30-LAPS): 1 ERICK RUDOLPH 2 Rocky Warner 3 Billy Dunn 4 Pat Ward 5 Lance Willix 6 Tyler Thompson 7 Glenn Forward 8 Billy Shantel Jr. 9 Claude Hutchings Jr. 10 Ben Bushaw 11 Collin Dubois 12 Lucas Heintz 13 Cameron Black 14 Dave Doig 15 Randy Shantel 16 Anthony Cardamone 17 Billy Whittaker 18 A.J. Miller 19 Aaron Jacobs

DNS Dave Marcuccilli

THE WILD 100 ULTIMATE SPORTSMAN SHOWDOWN BROEDEL FUEL GROUP DIRTCAR SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (100-LAPS): 1 KYLE INMAN 2 Matt Janczuk 3 Alan Fink 4 Kevin Root 5 Charlie Tibbitts 6 Tyler Corcoran 7 Chris Mackey 8 Dylan Zacharias 9 Brent Joy 10 A.J. Miller 11 Will Shields 12 Tyler Murray 13 Connor Cleveland 14 Chris Hulsizer 15 Zach Sobotka 16 Andrew Buff 17 A.J. Filbeck 18 Addison Bowman 19 Willy Decker Jr. 20 Chris Corbitt 21 Rocco Leone 22 Payton Talbot 23 Dave Manchester 24 Isiah Forward 25 CJ Castelletti 26 Brandon Carvey 27 Brian Calabrese 28 Rich Townsend 29 Ryan Dolbear 30 Dave Moyer

DNQ: Richie Riggs, Jimmy Moyer, Tucker O’Connor, Mike Coffey Jr., Craig Pritchard, George Dyer, Ed Lukas, Mark Effner, Tim Falter, Michael Wagner-Fitzgerald, Jeff Taylor, Robert Bublak, Stephen Denton, Mike Richmond, Frank Sobotka, Josh Amadio Heat Winners ($25) – Inman, Janczuk, Root, Fink

GENE KOTARY MEMORIAL TED’S BODY SHOP DIRTCAR PRO STOCKS FEATURE FINISH (30-LAPS): 1 ROB YETMAN 2 Nick Stone 3 Chuck Dumblewski 4 Jason Meltz 5 Shane Henderson 6 Josh Coonradt 7 Kim Duell 8 Mike Welch 9 Kenny Gates 10 Ruck Duzlak 11 Luke Horning 12 Jason Morrison 13 Bill Knapp 14 Pete Stefanski 15 Russ Marsden 16 Mike Kazlauskas 17 Jay Fitzgerald 18 Aaron Page 19 Jerry Streeter 20 Frank Hyatt 21 Matt Roberts 22 Dean Charbonneau 23 Ernie Staelens 24 Jim Normoyl

Contingency Prize Winners
Welch Motorsports – Rob Yetman ($500)
Empire Super Sprints – Nick Stone ($100)
First Place Lap 2 Tiger Pettinello – Shane Henderson ($100)
First Place Lap 5 Alan Kotary – Shane Henderson ($200)
First Place Lap 7 Randy Come – Shane Henderson ($50)
First Place Lap 10 Alan Kotary – Shane Henderson ($200)
First Place Lap 14 Randy Come – Nick Stone ($50)
First Place Lap 21 Ed Kotary – Nick Stone ($221)
First Place Lap 25 John Ramsey – Nick Stone ($25)
Hard Charger Randy Come – Rick Duzlak ($100)

BERNIE’S EXTREME PERFORMANCE PARTS ROOKIE SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (15-LAPS): 1 MIKE GROVER 2 Dana Camenga 3 Tanner Warner 4 Alexis Jacobs 5 Ernie Staelens 6 Bobby Heintz