By: Bobby Sweeney
VERNON, NY – Stewart Friesen spent the entire 61-lap Short Track Super Series feature at Utica-Rome Speedway being chased by Matt Sheppard. While Sheppard looked to challenge, the #44 remained planted atop the scoring pylon for the full distance en route to a convincing win.
With Friesen and Sheppard starting on the front row, Friesen got the initial jump over the pack. Sheppard had a tough start, dropping to fourth, but quickly regaining his footing to slide back into second. This gave Friesen some breathing room, as Friesen opened up a sizable advantage in the first ten laps before the top two hit traffic.
In traffic, Friesen remained up top whenever possible, but Sheppard started venturing lower and lower. Friesen’s lead was once nearly a straightaway, but by lap 25, Sheppard had caught him. Before Sheppard could make a move, lap traffic swayed in Friesen’s direction, allowing Friesen to put a hint of space between himself and Sheppard. Meanwhile, Alan Johnson was a distant third, some 11 seconds behind Friesen at halfway.
A caution on lap 37 for Mike Mahaney breaking from fourth reset the field and eliminated the traffic. Friesen went back to the top, with Sheppard not fully committing to any one place, and Friesen put a comfortable two-second cushion between himself and Sheppard in a hurry. Third on back saw Johnson enter a fight with Jessica Friesen, Rocky Warner, and others, with Friesen and Warner both spending time in third.
Up front, Friesen held his lead steady through traffic, with neither leader having any major trouble. With the checkered falling, it was Friesen leading wire-to-wife for the $6,161 win. Sheppard came home second, with Warner, Mat Williamson, and Alan Johnson completing the top five.
“They prepped this place good, it’s been well all year,” Friesen said. “It started off a little greasy with the water they put down but it really widened out. I figured Sheppard might get the initial jump on the bottom and see if we could keep pace with him and see what we had, but I ended up out there first. I just kept chasing the bite as it moved up the hill. I saw Jess up there for a while but I see she had a right front tire almost flat, so sucks she couldn’t be on the podium too.”
‘RICHIE EVANS REMEMBERED’ RESULTS SUMMARY – UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY JULY 22, 2021
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply North Region Event No. 6 Modified Feature Finish (50 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Matt Sheppard, Rocky Warner, Mat Williamson, Alan Johnson, Anthony Perrego, Jessica Friesen, Andy Bachetti, Erick Rudolph, Dave Marcuccilli, Alex Yankowski, Bobby Varin, Tyler Dippel, Brett Haas, David Schilling, JaMike Sowle, Shaun Walker, Bobby Hackel, Billy VanPelt, Joe Judge, JR Hurlburt, Mike Gular, Mike Mahaney, Willy Decker, Marshall Hurd, Ronnie Johnson, Billy Decker, Randy Shantel, Sean Beardsley
Did Not Qualify: Demetrios Drellos, Jeff Rockefeller, Jeff Taylor, Brian Murphy, Bob Henry Jr., C.J. Castelletti, Elmo Reckner, Ryan Krachun, Michael Trautschold, Ronnie Holmes
“Hot Rod Hodge” Dash for Cash Finish (6 laps): STEWART FRIESEN ($1,061), Matt Sheppard ($500), Billy Decker ($300), Mike Mahaney ($200), Jessica Friesen ($100), Bobby Hackel ($100), Alan Johnson ($100), Mike Gular ($100)
Belden Motorsports “Silver Fox” Award ($81): Alan Johnson (Oldest Driver)
Heather Marr Halfway Leader Bonus ($50.50): Billy Decker
Kayla & Tommy Conroy “Hodgie’s Choice” Award ($61): Jessica Friesen (Tim Hodge’s Choice)
Maresca Racing “Holy Crap You’re Short” Award ($107): Jessica Friesen (Shortest Driver)
NG Promotions “Sorry About Your Luck Award” ($150): Matt Sheppard (Started Last)
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonuses (FREE Tire Certificates): Anthony Perrego (6th) & Brett Haas (14th)
Autism Awareness Winner’s Award presented by Halmar ($250): Stewart Friesen
Behrent’s Performance Warehouse Bonuses: Mat Williamson(fourth) & Erick Rudolph(ninth)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($50): Bobby Varin (Redrew 12th)
Flach Family Lap 43 Leader Bonus ($143): Stewart Friesen
FloRacing Heat Winner Bonuses ($50): Jessica Friesen, Billy Decker, Alan Johnson & Stewart Friesen
Henry’s Exhaust System Bonus ($50 Certificate): Alex Yankowski (11th)
“Hot Rod Hodge” Hard Charger Award ($561): Mat Williamson (20th to fourth)
“Hot Rod Hodge” Missed By One Awards ($200 each): Jeff Rockefeller and Demetrios Drellos
NYSSCA Bonus ($100): Stewart Friesen
Parks Companies Hard Luck Award ($500): Billy Decker
Penske Racing Shocks Bonuses: Stewart Friesen ($150 Certificate – first); Matt Sheppard ($75 Certificate – second); Rocky Warner ($50 Certificate – third); Dave Marcuccilli ($25 Certificate – 10th)
Spyder High Performance Filters Bonuses: Alan Johnson (FREE Filter – fifth); David Schilling (50-percent Certificate – 15th)
Sunoco Race Fuels/Insinger Performance Bonuses ($50 Certificates): Matt Sheppard (second); Bobby Varin (12th); Mike Gular (22nd)
Superior Remodeling Halfway Leader Bonus ($200): Stewart Friesen
TKS Painting Front-Row Bonuses: Matt Sheppard (Pole – $50); Stewart Friesen (Outside Pole – $25)
Wilwood Brakes Lucky 7 Bonus ($75 Certificate): Jessica Friesen (seventh)
Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco Precision Hydraulic & Oil North Region Event No. 4 Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): PAYTON TALBOT, Tim Hartman, Jr., Alan Fink, Rocco Leone, Brian Calabrese, Brad Alger, Matt Guererri, Joey Bruning, A.J. Digsby, Will Shields, Shawn Frost, Tanner Warner, Richie Riggs, Michael Ballestero, Brendan Gibbons, Ajay Potrzebowski Jr., Ed Lukas, Willy Decker Jr., Dale Welty, Steve Davis, Jeremiah Munson, Addison Bowman, Joe Toth, Hunter Lapp, Tommy Collins, Dave Richer, Scott Mallette, Alex Payne, Matt Janczuk
Did Not Qualify: David Hackett Jr., Steve Constantino, Blaine Klinger, Troy Zilles, Mike Grover, Anthony Cardamone, David Manchester, Tucker O’Connor, Allan Hodge, Ed Downing, Steve Kotary, Kenny Peoples Jr., Tim Falter, Michael McCallion, John Baker, Kevin Crave, Daniel Morgiewicz, Aiden Grover, Kaiden Dgien, Bobby Hackel, Jason Reome, Kyle DeMetro
American Racer/Lias Tire Bonus (FREE Tire Certificate): Will Shields (10th)
Beyea Custom Headers Redraw Bonus ($25): Willy Decker Jr. (Redrew 10th)
Fastline Performance Bonuses ($100 Certificates): Tim Hartman (second) & Tanner Warner (12th)
NYSSCA Bonus ($50): Payton Talbot