CNYMS: Utica-Rome summary

Sparks Continues to Roll With CNYMS Win at Utica-Rome Cory Sparks has been dominate this season, lets just put it that way. After spinning late in the feature at the Devil's Bowl Speedway a week earlier, Sparks was ready to avenge that disaster...

Sparks Continues to Roll With CNYMS Win at Utica-Rome

Cory Sparks has been dominate this season, lets just put it that way. After spinning late in the feature at the Devil's Bowl Speedway a week earlier, Sparks was ready to avenge that disaster at the track he got his first win at.

The Utica-Rome Speedway hosted their only CNYMS event of the 2004 season on the 4th of July celebration as A-Verdi Storage Containers kicked off their first of three races in their mini-series. 15 mini-sprints were able to make it out on the holiday weekend to the Action Track of the East as imminent rains were heading towards the Vernon ½ mile. Cory Sparks, the 17-year old driver out of Scotia, NY entered the night not only with the point lead, but with a streak of winning every one of the heats that he had competed in this season. Cory drew a favorable number for the heat, and after jumping up to second entering the first turn, he grabbed the position for the lead down the backstretch. That would be the final car that Sparks would have to pass for position for the rest of the night. He went on to claim his ninth heat win of the year in nine tries. Devil's Bowl Speedway's Feature winner, Pat Kuerner, ran strong to come home with a second place run in the heat with Brint Hockenberry and Jamie Kiser rounding out the re-draw qualifying positions.

Jared Fink won heat #2, but 10 minutes before that race, you would never have thought that could be possible. Jared, along with his Dad and fellow competitor, Dennis, were not aware of the new starting time at the Utica-Rome Speedway this season. They pulled in after the hot laps and barely made it out for heat #2. Fink quickly made the move up from the back of the pack to claim the top spot. Jared explained after the event, "Mike (Emhof) told me to just get out and ran a lap, so that's what I did." It was the second heat win of the season for the Germantown, NY driver as he pulled away from Don Harvey Jr., Dale Beach, and Bobby Sergeant for the win.

In the redraw, Cory was fortunate enough to draw a front row starting spot, but that wasn't enough for the Powdertech #7 driver. The #7 crew made a list of changes to the mini-sprint in between their heat race and feature, hoping it would help the car. Dave Sparks explained before the heat, "We just went out in the heats and blew away the field, and we just changed everything. I hope this works." Well it most certainly did as Sparks led all 15 laps of the event.

With no power and dusk fast approaching the speedway, a fast-paced feature allowed not only the CNYMS race to complete, but also the rest of the racing action that had to take place after the mini-sprint event. As Sparks was a half-lap ahead of the 2nd place driver, busy working his way through lapped traffic, the battle for 2nd through 4th was a sight for the fans to see. Don Harvey, Jared Fink, and Brint Hockenberry, all had to navigate around lapped traffic, as well as one another for the first ten laps of the event. On lap ten, Don Harvey attempted to run his Central Diesel #44 near the bottom of turn 2 when he brought the machine around. "I just spun out," said Harvey after the event, "There is no other way of putting it." Don fell to the last car on the lead lap, in the ninth position, with five laps remaining. On the restart, with three lapped cars in between himself and second place Brint Hockenberry, Cory Sparks took off and ran a 5 lap sprint to the finish. As Jared Fink and Hockenberry continued to tussle for the 2nd spot, Sparks was long gone to pick up his fourth feature win of the season. Jared Fink was able to get the better of that second place battle, with Brint Hockenberry running to his best ever CNYMS feature finish, coming home in third. Garry Moore took an average car in the heat to move up from the 9th starting position to finish in 4th. Pat Kuerner rounded out the top 5, making it four straight top-6 finishes for the #09 driver out of Marlborough, CT. Don Harvey Jr., despite his spin finished 6th, Bobby Sergeant was 7th, and Dale Beach was the final car on the lead lap in 8th. Dennis Fink and Al Scerbo were the first cars a lap down and finished in the top 10.

Jamie Kiser had a strong top 5 run going until he hit a tire down in turn 4 relegating his Village Motors #18 to the infield for the final two laps. One other note, Chuck Penfield, Crew Chief for Al Scerbo's #10, jumped into a back up ride and in his first race out in CNYMS competition stayed competitive, finishing 11th.

Cory Sparks is continuing to hold onto his points lead and is adding more padding each and every week. Don Harvey has moved back into the second spot in the points, with Jamie Kiser falling back to third, Jared Fink fourth, and Al Scerbo moving up into the top 5 of the standings.

The Central New York Mini Sprints get a week off this weekend, which is probably fine because their next race is during the week as the series makes their first trip to the Thunder Alley Speedpark in Evans Mills, NY. This fast 1/3 mile speedway is the perfect distance for a mini-sprint and will likely put up speeds comparable to the modifieds and 360-sprints that will be in competition as well on July 15th. This race will also be the 2nd leg of the A-Verdi Storage Containers Mini Series for the CNYMS races that are run as an undercard for the Empire Super Sprints. For more information about the drivers, schedule, sponsors, and standings, check out


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