VERNON, NY- Gus Schmidt held off a determined Mitch Gibbs to win his first 358-Modified main event of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway on Royce International Eyewear night. Tim Clemons was the victor in the Sportsman, with Joe Palmer taking top...
VERNON, NY- Gus Schmidt held off a determined Mitch Gibbs to win his first 358-Modified main event of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway on Royce International Eyewear night. Tim Clemons was the victor in the Sportsman, with Joe Palmer taking top honors in the Pro Stocks, and Art Newman taking the Pure Stock checkered. In Central New York Mini Sprint action, Cory Sparks was the winner.
Dave Rauscher and Jim Rothwell led the 24-car 358-Modified field down to the green flag with Rothwell scored the leader at the completion of lap 1. Rauscher took the lead from Rothwell on lap 2 when the first caution of the race came out for the spun car of Jeff Kotary. Rothwell used the restart to perfection as he retook the lead from Rauscher at the drop of the green. The yellow lights blinked on again on lap for Todd Thomas who had came to a stop in turn one on lap 4.
Liverpool's Gus Schmidt, coming from 6th starting spot, grabbed the lead by the completion of lap 5 from a slowing Rothwell, who later dropped out. Schmidt survived another minor caution and continued to lead at the completion of lap 10. Mitch Gibbs of North Norwich had made the charge from 12th to 2nd at this point, with Dale Planck came from 14th to 3rd, John Ramsey in 4th, and Matt Sheppard, coming from 15th to 5th at this point.
The red flag flew on lap 14 for Mark Tily who caught the frontstretch retaining wall and flipped. Tily was unhurt in the incident. Schmidt retained the lead on the restart and at halfway it was Schmidt leading, Gibbs was in second, Sheppard up to third, Planck in fourth, and Willy Decker cracking the top 5 after starting in 16th.
For the remainder of the race, Gibbs hounded Schmidt for the lead, but the real battle on the track was for the third position. Planck, Sheppard, and Todd Burley, who charged through the field after making a pitstop were swapping positions third through fifth at every turn, thrilling the fans. When the checkered flew, Schmidt took his first win of the season, with Gibbs settling for second, Burley survived for third, and Sheppard and Planck swapping paint to the line, with Sheppard just edging Planck for the fourth position.
Jeremy Vunk grabbed the early lead in the DIRT Sportsman feature event, with Vermont resident John Scarborough passing him for the top spot at the completion of lap 4. Scarborough, looking for his first win at Utica-Rome Speedway, continued to lead at the halfway point with Tim Clemons, Bill Shantel Jr., Jamie Christian, and Vunk in the top 5. Clemons passed Scarborough exiting turn 2 on lap 11 and was never seriously challenged for the remainder of the 20-lap affair. Christian made a late race pass for second, Scarborough held on for third, Shantel crossed in fourth, and invader Lance Willix come home fifth.
Joe Palmer, of West Winfield, took the lead on the opening lap of the 15-lap DIRT Pro Stock feature event, and never would relinquish that position for the remainder of the race. It was Palmer first victory of the season at the fast half-mile. Jim Normoyle crossed in second, point leader Jerry Holmes was third, Eric Vanderhoof in fourth, and last week's winner Bret Belden rounded out the top five.
Art Newman passed Dana Camenga just before halfway of the 15-lap Pure Stock feature event and easily out distanced the rest of the field for his first win of the season. Jim Thomas crossed in second, with Rick Condes, Waylan Wilczek, and Herm Staats filled out the top five. Newman's win came in the borrowed car of fellow competitor George Schulze after his car was destroyed two weeks ago in a horrific crash.
Cory Sparks took the lead from Jeremy Quick on lap 12 of the 15-lap Central New York Mini Sprint main event to take his second victory of 2003 at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Sparks held off Matt Norrie by a half car length for the win, with Norrie settling for second, Don Harvey finished third, Dennis Fink crossed in fourth, and Bryan Hoand filled out the top five.
NOTES- 27 358-Modifieds, 17 Sportsman, 17 Pro Stocks, 14 Pure Stocks, and 21 Mini Sprints passed through the pit gates for the night's activities. John Ramsey, Paul Kinney, and Dave Rauscher won the qualifying heats for the 358-Modifieds with Brian Murphy was victorious in the consolation, while Jamie Christian and Steve Way took the Sportsman heat races. The Pro Stock heats went to Eric Vanderhoof and Joe Palmer, while the Pure Stocks heat races were won by Waylan Wilczek and Art Newman. Racing action was completed at a fan friendly 9:30 p.m.
Next Sunday evening E.J. Peter's Jeep/Hyundai will present a regular show of DIRT 358-Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks plus the fourth visit of the Central New York Mini Sprints. Gates will open 4 p.m. with racing slated to go at 6 p.m. The "Action Track of the East" is located on Route 5 in Vernon NY, just minutes from New York State Thruway Exit 33. For more information you can log on to the official speedway website at www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557.
ROYCE INTERNATIONAL EYEWEAR RACE SUMMARY
DIRT 358-MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- GUS SCHMIDT, Mitch Gibbs, Todd Burley, Matt Sheppard, Dale Planck, Willy Decker, Ted Lamb, Mark Flach, Paul Jensen, Ron Johnson, Jeff Kotary, Kevin Crave, Dave Rauscher, Joel Thomas, RC Faigle, Ben Bushaw, Ray Zemken, Brian Murphy, John Ramsey, Aaron Jacobs, Jim Rothwell, Paul Kinney, Mark Tily, Todd Thomas, and George Horning.
DIRT SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- TIM CLEMONS, Jamie Christian, John Scarborough, Bill Shantel Jr., Lance Willix, Jessica Zemken, Steve Way, Jeremy Vunk, Butch Reiter, Tim Mayne, Billy Price, Matt Janczuk, Jim Roberts, Josh Flint, Tim Nye, Paul Carey, and William Fuller.
CNY MINI SPRINT FEATURE TOP 10 FINISH (15 LAPS)- CORY SPARKS, Matt Norrie, Don Harvey, Dennis Fink, Bryan Howland, Barry Virts, Pat Kuerner, Gary Moore, Jared Fink, and Al Skerbo.
DIRT PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)- JOE PALMER, Jim Normoyle, Jerry Holmes, Eric Vanderhoof, Bret Belden, Jason Rood, Buddy Hencke, Tom Denton, George Kiskiel, Bill Knapp, Brian Belden, Chris Palmer, Mark Effner, Ed Ostrander, Dan Rickard, Paul Rogers, and Chad Ray.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)- ART NEWMAN, Jim Thomas, Rick Condes, Waylan Wilczek, Herm Staats, Rick Trexler, Dana Aikens, Phil Norman, Dave Pope, Dana Camenga, Ted Crawford, Chuck Cushman, Michael Barney, Don Decker, and Rob Seavy.