Stewart Friesen Stays Red Hot With Another Thunder On The Thruway Victory

VERNON, NY – He did it the hard way.

On Friday night, the all-time winningest Modified driver at Utica-Rome Speedway claimed his 57th career victory. Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen rebounded from an early mistake to claim his third ‘Home of Heroes’ win in 2021. He earned $4,000.

Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston and Gene Cole’s Turn One LLC. presented the fourth round of the Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Thunder on the Thruway Series between Utica-Rome and Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway.

Friesen not only added to his Utica-Rome Speedway win total, but he also remained a perfect four-for-four in Thunder on the Thruway events.

A season-high 30 Sunoco Modifieds signed in for competition.

The 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature began with Arlington, Vt.’s Ricky Davis and Altamont, N.Y.’s Brian Gleason occupying the front row.

Davis and Gleason would occupy the top two spots for much of the early going, while some of the heavy hitters had troubles early.

On the second circuit, the current point leader, Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard, drove over the banking in turns one and two, bringing out the first yellow of the race.

When the field went back to racing, it was Stewart Friesen who slipped off the banking in turns one and two. Friesen was able to recover and return to the racetrack just outside the top-10.

While the field struggled through yellow fever in the early going, Friesen and Sheppard took advantage of the restarts, climbing through the field with each return to racing.

By lap 11, both Sheppard and Friesen had risen into the top-10, with Friesen racing inside the top-five and chasing down Gleason and Davis who were trading the lead back and forth.

Another yellow came out on lap 14 for Randy Shantel going off the racetrack in turn one. When the field went back to racing, Davis and Gleason still on the front row, and Friesen had risen back to the second row.

On the restart, Friesen used the bottom to dart underneath Gleason to take second. One lap later, Friesen switched to the top lane to drive around Davis and set sail.

While Friesen ran away to hide, a five-car battle took shape for the runner-up spot as Sheffield, Mass. Andy Bachetti, Sprakers, N.Y.’s Jessica Friesen and Sheppard joined Gleason and Davis’ fight.

Stewart Friesen would work through lapped traffic, never facing a challenge and driving to his second consecutive triumph at the Route-5 oval.

Andy Bachetti would ultimately win the battle for second in his Garrity Asphalt Reclamation No. 4 and Sheppard rallied for a podium finish in the Hurlock Auto & Speed No. 9s.

Gleason held on for fourth in his BBL Companies No. 3G and Jessica Friesen brought her One Zee Tees No. 1Z home with a top five.

Ricky Davis faded to sixth in his family-owned No. 59 and Johnstown, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner chased in the seventh position. Middlesex, N.Y.’s Alan Johnson brought the Friendly Ford No. 14J home eighth with Dave Marcuccilli claiming ninth in the MP Delivery No. M1. Darren Smith rounded out the top ten in his Jeremy Smith racing No. 12.

Oneida, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk grabbed his fifth Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman of the season, driving from his sixth place starting position to claim the win.

Janczuk worked into the runner-up position quickly, before going to work on Mexico, N.Y.’s Addison Bowman. By the halfway point, Janczuk had worked the middle groove to slide around Bowman and set sail.

Despite a pair of late-race restarts, Janczuk never blinked on his way to another win on the 2021 season. Johnstown, N.Y.’s Brian Calabrese raced from his 11th starting spot to second in the late stages of the race.

Janczuk earned $1,500 for the win.

Tanner Warner, another Johnstown native, grabbed third in what was his best Utica-Rome Speedway finish. Gloversville, N.Y.’s Mark Mortensen grabbed fourth in his second Utica-Rome appearance of 2021 and Fultonville, N.Y., native A.J. Miller rounded out the top five.

Fonda Speedway’s all-time winningest Pro Stock division driver, Kenny Gates, claimed his first career Utica-Rome Speedway win. Gates started from the sixth position and ran down pole sitter Beau Ballard using the inside lane for the breakthrough win worth $1,000.

Ballard, of Grand Gorge, N.Y., continued his stout season with a second-place finish, reclaiming the Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks point lead.

Josh Coonradt grabbed a podium finish in his first Utica-Rome Speedway appearance of the season. Jay Corbin claimed fourth and Travis Welch rounded out the top five in his first Utica-Rome Speedway run in two years.

West Winfield, N.Y.’s Jeremy Slosek got over the hump, grabbing his first Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman of the season. David Hacket Jr. came up one spot short of his second win of the season and point leader Clayton DuMond continued his consistency with a podium finish.

Billy Hillman (DOHC) and Dale Van Allen (SOHC) became first time winners in the Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinders division.

Brett Putnam and Corky Warner each grabbed their second win of the season at Utica-Rome with the Speedway Entertainment Empire State Slingshot Series in town.

Racing resumes Friday, August 6 as Utica-Rome Speedway hosts the ‘Dog Days of Summer.’ The Sunoco Modifieds headline the night with a $3,500-to-win main event.  Joining the modifieds will be the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, and the Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinders and the RUSH Late Models make their second appearance of the season.

Gates will open at 5 p.m. and racing is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.

Utica-Rome Speedway is located at 5591 NY-5 (Seneca Turnpike) Vernon, NY 13476. The official website is  Like Utica-Rome Speedway on Facebook or @UR_Speedway.


Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Thunder on the Thruway Series Sunoco Modified Event No. 4 Feature Finish (30 laps): STEWART FRIESEN, Andy Bachetti, Matt Sheppard, Brian Gleason, Jessica Friesen, Ricky Davis, Rocky Warner, Alan Johnson, Dave Marcuccilli, Darren Smith, Bob Henry Jr., Rusty Smith, JaMike Sowle, Claude Hutchings Jr., Marshall Hurd, Adam Roberts, Zack Payne, Sean Beardsley, Josh Hohenforst, Brian Murphy, Justin Wright, David Schilling, Shaun Walker, Dave Constantino, Rusty Smith, Aaron Jacobs, Randy Shantel, Tim Mayne, Jim Walsh, Willy Decker.

Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Thunder on the Thruway Series Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Event No. 4 Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Brian Calabrese, Tanner Warner, Mark Mortensen, AJ Miller, Addison Bowman, Payton Talbot, Willy Decker Jr., Chad Edwards, Ed Lukas, David Manchester, Kyle Demetro, Will Shields, Brad Alger, Chip Constantino, Cody Clark, Steve Kotary, David Dickey, Scott Mallette, Shawn Frost, Nick Stone, Anthony Cardamone, Mike Grover, Dana Camenga, Jason Reome, Pat Nolan, Richie Riggs, Ed Downing, Alan Hodge, Tim Falter, Tucker O’Connor, Dave Richer, Rocco Leone.

Fuccillo Autoplex of Nelliston Thunder on the Thruway Series Next Generation Grafix Pro Stock Event No. 4 Feature Finish (20 laps): KENNY GATES, Beau Ballard, Josh Coonradt, Jay Corbin, Travis Welch, Jason Morrison, Devon Camenga, Bill Knapp, Mike Kazlauskas, Ivan Joslin, Jim Normoyle, Kyle Hoard, John Roese, Jerry Streeter, Chuck McSpirit, Ed Kotary, Frank Hyatt, AJ Walters, Nick Stone.

Did Not Start: Brian Wesseldine

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (15 laps): JEREMY SLOSEK, David Hackett Jr., Clayton DuMond, Matthew Backus, Eric Jensen, Ernie Staelens, Jason Lopes, Mike Haman, Amber Jacobs.

Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinder Feature Finish (15 laps): BILLY HILLMAN (DOHC), Dale Van Allen (SOHC), Matt Buckovan, Jean Foster, Wayne Russell Jr., Rudy King Jr., TJ Marlitt, Donald Kimball.

Senior Services Inc. Empire State Series All-Star Slingshots Finish (20 laps): BRETT PUTNAM, Gordon Smith, Dan Slosek, Tyler Vadney, Tavien Blowers, Josh Persse, Tucker Jones, Scott Sprague, Nick Millard, Robert Morey, Eymarah Bowman, Andrew Turpin.

D&S Landscaping Empire State Series Junior Slingshots Finish (15 laps): CORKY WARNER, Dustin Sehn, Savannah Simmons, Jaden Pierce, Trevor Houghton, Lucas Duncan, Brody Janczuk, Sloan Cherko, Colt Kimball.