Wide open affair for Pro Stocks this season at Utica-Rome

VERNON, NY - Tom Denton has had a lock on the tough DIRT Pro Stock division at the Utica-Rome Speedway the past three years, scoring sixteen wins and two track championships, including the 2001 crown. However, he is moving up to the DIRT Sportsman...

VERNON, NY - Tom Denton has had a lock on the tough DIRT Pro Stock division at the Utica-Rome Speedway the past three years, scoring sixteen wins and two track championships, including the 2001 crown. However, he is moving up to the DIRT Sportsman division for the new season, leaving the door wide open for a new champion and top runner in the Pro Stocks.

Just who will be the drivers to watch when the first green flag of the 2001 season flies on Sunday May 6?

Well for starters, you have the seasoned veterans such as two-time track champion Bret Belden (1990, 1991) or one time track champions Jerry Holmes (1997) and Wayne Archer (1994). Belden became the first Utica-Rome regular to win a ARANY Pro Stock Super DIRT Series special over the invading teams last September, and all three drivers are ready with new machines and hungry for yet more wins and championships to add to their distinguished careers.

You also have Utica-Rome's only female driver, Gerry Newman plus up and coming drivers such as Jason Rood, Mike Watkins, Dave Moyer, Eric Vanderhoof, Doug Grimaldi, and Bill Knapp. In addition, you cannot forget other long time veterans John Roese, George Kiskiel, John Kiskiel, and Dave Bruno.

Returning this season will be 1998 track champion Joe Palmer, after a two year absence from competition at the speedway.

One driver to really watch for is former Syracuse Mile winner Frank Twing, who will make the long hall from eastern New York to make Utica-Rome his home track this season. In only three appearances last year, Twing dominated twice and took away two victories from the regulars. He could very well be a heavy favorite for the track championship, if he stays with the regular Sunday night racing at the speedway.

Moving up to the Pro Stock division this year will be one time Pure Stock feature winner Mark Effner, who will be behind the wheel of the former Craig Pritchard/Tom Denton machine, with a total of 20-wins and three track championships on it. If Effner can get the handle of the storied car, he will very well be in contention for victory this season.

Also moving up to the Pro Stocks from the Pure Stocks will be 2000 Fulton Speedway Pro Stock track champion and three time Utica-Rome feature winner Chad Ray, who will be piloting a former Wayne Archer chassis.

Another new driver in Pro Stock division at Utica-Rome will be former Oswego Speedway Limited Supermodified driver Charlie Pike, who will drive the famous John Keegan No. 3K. Pike, who has no previous dirt racing experience, is very excited about racing in the highly competitive Pro Stock division at Utica-Rome.

The 2001 season at the Utica-Rome Speedway gets underway on Sunday May 6, with an extra distance 40-lap special for the mighty DIRT 358-Modifieds, plus a regular program for the DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. The gates will open at 4pm, with racing set to begin at 6pm, and Slingshot heats taking the green at 5:45pm. The speedway is located on Route 5 in Vernon, and is easily accessible from NYS Thruway Exit 33. Free parking and camping is allowed on speedway grounds.

visit the official internet website at www.newuticaromespeedway.com.

-URS-

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