VERNON, NY – Matt Sheppard continues to make history at the Utica-Rome Speedway. The Waterloo, N.Y., made more of it on The Wild Animal Park/Broedel Energy Night. The defending Gates-Cole Auto Insurance DIRTcar Modified champion earned career win #34 on Sunday. The win put him in front of Utica-Rome Speedway legend Riche Evans on the all-time win list. Mike Welch captured the win in the DIRTcar Pro Stock feature and Alan Fink took home DIRTcar Sportsman honors. Danny Varin passed Jason Barney to win the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprint A-Main.
The Gates-Cole Auto Insurance 30-lap DIRTcar Modified feature got underway with Jack Miller attacking the lead at the drop of the green flag after starting on the outside of the front row. Miller paced the field for the first handful of laps as Pat Ward moved in line behind him after starting sixth. Ward stayed there until lap five when he went to the high-side of turns three and four to take the lead.
Ward was challenged immediately as he felt pressure from Marc Johnson. Johnson looked low several times as Ward worked the outside of the speedway. Ward kept Johnson at bay with the caution slowing their battle. Mike Maresca slowed in turns three and four with mechanical issues.
At the green, Ward resumed his lead with Sheppard challenging Johnson for the second spot. Eventually Sheppard was able to wrestle the second spot away from Johnson on lap 18. Ward was in traffic as Sheppard got right to his back bumper. Ward got boxed in and Sheppard went to the lead in turns one and two on lap 19.
Now the leader, Sheppard checked out in traffic as Ward searched for a groove that would allow him to possible challenge for the top spot again. It was all for naught. Sheppard went on the take home the victory. Ward ended up finishing in the second spot. Danny Varin finished in third followed by Johnson and Tim Fuller in fifth.
In the 20-lap DIRTcar Pro Stock main, Jim Normoyle started on the point and took the lead at the green. He raced in front early as the eighth starting Welch began marching forward. Welch moved into the top five by the halfway point. Normoyle continued to hold the top but Welch was coming closer. He took second on lap 13 before challenging Normoyle. They raced to the line side-by-side on lap 14 before Welch got the lead with a slide job in turns three and four. Welch was gone at that point. He took career win number seven. Normoyle finished second with Shane Henderson, Nick Stone and Todd Hoffman completing the top five.
30 cars took the green in the Broedel Energy DIRTcar Sportsman 20-lap feature. Dave Moyer utilized his front row starting spot to lead the first lap of the feature. Fink wrestled the lead away from him on the second circuit as they exited the second corner. Fink led but Moyer stayed strong as he hung right with him. Moyer retook the lead briefly before the red flag came out as Charlie Tibbitts got over in turns one and two. He wasn’t injured. The red flag negated Moyer’s pass for the top spot. Fink wouldn’t make a mistake again as checked out on the field once the green flag was displayed. Fink led the final 10 laps to take his first career Utica-Rome Speedway win. Matt Janczuk tried to no avail after starting 17th to finish second. Brent Joy finished third with Moyer fourth and Chris Mackey fifth.
Next Sunday, June 4th, the 2017 season rolls on with another show Gates-Cole Auto Insurance Modifieds, Broedel Energy DIRTcar Sportsman, DIRTcar Pro Stocks, Rookie Sportsman and Go Nuclear Late Models. Gates will open at 3:30 p.m. with racing set to go at 6 p.m.
THE WILD ANIMAL PARK / BROEDEL ENERGY RACE SUMMARY
GATES-COLE AUTO INSURANCE MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)-Matt Sheppard, Pat Ward, Danny Varin, Marc Johnson, Tim Fuller, Erick Rudolph, Bobby Varin, Alan Johnson, Rob Bellinger, Peter Britten, Mike Mahaney, Claude Hutchings Jr., Jack Miller, Ray Hoard Jr., Beth Bellinger, Rick Richner, Jeremy Wilder, Brandon Walters, Dave Allen, Randy Shantel, C.G. Morey, Steve Way, Darwin Greene, Don Bellen, Mike Maresca.
DIRTCAR PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)–Mike Welch, Jim Normoyle, Shane Henderson, Nick Stone, Todd Hoffman, Bill Knapp, Luke Horning, Gus Hollner, Ernie Staelens, Frank Hyatt, Justin Knight, Jerry Streeter, Aaron Page.
BROEDEL ENERGY DIRTCAR SPORTSMAN FINISH (20 LAPS)-Alan Fink, Matt Janczuk, Brent Joy, Dave Moyer, Chris Mackey, Tyler Thompson, Kyle DeMetro, A.J. Miller, Kyle Inman, Daryl Nutting, Dave Manchster, A.J. Filbeck, Tyler Singleton, Mark Effner, Zach Sobotka, Chris Curtis, Stephen Denton, CJ Castelletti, Ricky Yelle, Aaron Jacobs, Nathan Peckham, Jeff Taylor, Marty Kelly III, Jeremy Nestved, William August, Pat LaPage, Jason Rood, Charlie Tibbits, Kathy Bellen, Kyle Kiehn.