Utica-Rome preview 2001-07-08

VERNON, NY: The 40th anniversary season of stock car racing at Utica-Rome Speedway continues this Sunday July 8 with the popular Family Autograph Night. In thrilling race competition on the ultra fast half-mile will be the DIRT 358-Modifieds, DIRT...

VERNON, NY: The 40th anniversary season of stock car racing at Utica-Rome Speedway continues this Sunday July 8 with the popular Family Autograph Night. In thrilling race competition on the ultra fast half-mile will be the DIRT 358-Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. Race time at "The Fastest Family Fun in Central New York" is set for 6pm.

Five different drivers have graced victory lane in the headline DIRT 358-Modified division to date this season, including J.J. Michaels, Danny Johnson, Todd Burley, the legendary Jack Johnson, and most recently John Ramsey, with the only repeat winner being Burley. Drivers that have yet to win their first 30-lap main events of the season include defending track champion Ron Holmes, Roger Phelps, Jason Barney, Steve Hulsizer, Gus Schmidt, John Barker, Mitch Gibbs, and Paul Jensen. With the top ten in point standings just over fifty points apart at the halfway mark of the race season, drivers will be working hard to earn every point they can in effort to win the coveted track championship.

Tim Clemons, Willy Decker, and Jamie Christian are the only winners to date in the highly competitive DIRT Sportsman division, while Jerry Holmes and John Pietrowicz seem to have a lock on the classy DIRT Pro Stocks. Dave Mannise and Jeff Pastorella are the drivers to beat in the Pure Stocks, while J.J. Courcy, Brian Thomas, Randy Marsh, and Dave Barrows are the early season winners in the Slingshots. On average, over 110 cars show up weekly for the action packed five division show, which is completed around 10pm to allow everyone time to go home and prepare for the week ahead.

During intermission, the much-anticipated Family Autograph session will take place, and race fans may get up close and personal with their favorite race drivers. They will be able to get autographs as well as visit with and take pictures with their favorite stars and cars of the speedway in what is always one of the most popular events of the season.

You can be a part of all the excitement this summer at Utica-Rome Speedway, a Sunday family tradition in the Mohawk Valley that produces some of the most-thrilling three and four wide racing on the entire DIRT Motorsports circuit. The track is located just east of the village of Vernon on Route 5 and is easily accessible from New York State Thruway Exit 33. Free parking and overnight camping is allowed on speedway grounds.

The gates this Sunday July 8 will open at 4pm, with racing taking the green from Starter Chip Burdick at 6pm. For more information, contact the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or log onto the official website at www.newuticaromespeedway.com.

-Doug Zupan

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Series Stock car
Drivers John Barker , Brian Thomas