Written by Doug Zupan VERNON, NY - Todd Burley from Spencerport came from the fourth starting position and claimed his second consecutive DIRT 358-Modified feature win of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway last Sunday in the 30-lap main event.
Written by Doug Zupan
VERNON, NY - Todd Burley from Spencerport came from the fourth starting position and claimed his second consecutive DIRT 358-Modified feature win of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway last Sunday in the 30-lap main event. Burley, 30, took the lead from Gus Schmidt on lap 6 and held off a late race charge by defending track champion Ron Holmes on to claim the win, worth $1,500.
Mitch Gibbs and Gus Schmidt led the 26-car starting field for the 30-lap DIRT 358-Modified feature down to Starter Chip Burdick's green flag, with Schmidt roaring out to the lead after a wild three wide move. Schmidt opened up a lead, however, Todd Burley, went right on by after a lap five restart, with Roger Phelps taking over second. All eyes were on the orange machine of Jack Johnson, who has been fast in recent weeks. Johnson, driving a Mopar powered TEO Pro Car, started fourteenth and by lap 10, had just taken over fifth from Steve Hulsizer.
At the halfway mark, the top five was Burley, Phelps, Holmes, Johnson, and Gibbs, with the driver on the move being Johnson. With Burley pulling away, Johnson was closing in on the top three, as Holmes caught second place driver Roger Phelps. A great battle for second ensued between the trio, and Phelps used the lapped traffic to keep Holmes and Johnson behind him for the moment. However, Holmes got by with just five circuits remaining and began reeling in Burley as the laps ticked by.
Holmes got the break he wanted with two to go when a late race caution came out, but on the restart Burley pulled right away and went on to his second consecutive victory at Utica-Rome. Holmes held on for second, while Jack Johnson sneaked by Phelps for third on the final restart. Phelps was fourth, with Hulsizer going across the line in fifth. Completing the top ten it was Ryan Baye, Mitch Gibbs, Gus Schmidt, J.J. Michaels, and Jeff Rudalavage. The win for Burley was the fifth of his career at the speedway, and fourth on the season for Troyer Engineering.
"It's a lot easier to win one with a heads up start," said Burley about becoming the first repeat winner this season. "Tonight the track was good but the top was going away. I saw Ronnie down there, and I moved down to the bottom and it worked out well for us in the end. I'd like to thank Mirabito Fuel Group, Troyer, New England Race Fuels, Sweet Racing Promotions, and Morrison Performance for helping us get here tonight."
358-Modified heat wins went to Gibbs, Schmidt, and Phelps, while Wayne Reutimann Jr won the consi. Four cautions slowed the 30-lap feature event, with the most serious being for an accident between Chad Ward and Rich Price. Ward was out for the night with heavy right side damage on his Bicknell machine.
Willy Decker used the pole starting position to his advantage and won his first DIRT Sportsman feature of the season. However, it was not easy for Decker, who lost the lead to Jamie Christian on lap 6 and had to work hard to get it back on lap 11. Decker led the rest of the way, and was never seriously challenged by Christian until the closing laps when he peeked under several times. Decker went across the line first, followed by Christian, three time winner Tim Clemons, Kevin Crave, and Steve Davis. Decker, Jamie Christian, and Davis were victorious in the Sportsman heats, while Paul Kinney won the consi.
Jerry Holmes was on a mission to make it a three-peat in the DIRT Pro Stock feature, and that he did. Holmes, who started second, dominated the entire 15-lap distance and remains undefeated this season. Second was Bret Belden, third was Wayne Archer, fourth was Jason Rood, and fifth was Jim Normoyle. Pro Stock heat races were won by Rood, Holmes, and Belden.
Teenager Waylan Wilczek was determined to win his very first feature in the Pure Stock division, but eight time track champion Dave Mannise took over the top spot with two to go and went on to his second victory of the young season. Rounding out the top five, it was Jeff Pastorella, Jim Thomas, and David Pope. Pastorella and Wilczek copped the Pure Stock heat wins.
J.J. Courcy led the entire distance of the 15-lap Slingshot feature event and went on to his second victory of the season. Following Courcy, it was Denny Tilison, Pete Neff, Les Streeter, and Mike Teachout. Courcy and Tilison won the Slingshot heat events.
Notes - 123 cars filled the Utica-Rome pit area, including 29 358-Modifieds, 29 Sportsman, 24 Pro Stocks, 18 Pure Stocks, and 13 Slingshots. An excellent crowd was on hand on the beautiful evening, and the entire show was completed by 10:15pm, enabling everyone to get home at a decent hour to prepare for the upcoming workweek. DIRT Driver of the Week, Jeff Rudalavage, invaded Utica-Rome, and went home to Pennsylvania with a tenth place finish. The handicapping system will kick into effect this week, after the first three regular shows using a draw to lineup the heat races and a heads up start for the features. Troyer Engineering has now won all four Modified feature events to date at Utica-Rome, and the popular chassis arguably has been the hot setup over the last few seasons at the speedway. The winner of the popular One on One Spectator races was Walt Koperda Jr. DIRT Racing continues this Sunday June 17, with a regular program of DIRT 358-Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. Race time is set for 5:45pm. To catch up on the latest news, point standings, driver rosters, action photos, and more, log on to the official website at www.newuticaromespeedway.com.
NEW UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY
RACE DATE: JUNE 10, 2001
DIRT 358-Modifieds (30 Laps) - TODD BURLEY, Ron Holmes, Jack Johnson, Roger Phelps, Steve Hulsizer, Ryan Baye, Mitch Gibbs, Gus Schmidt Jr., J.J. Michaels, Jeff Rudalavage, John Ramsey, Mike Fusco, Pete Taylor, Jason Barney, Andy Romano, Joel Thomas, Mark Flach Jr., Bill Shantel Sr., John Barker Jr., Paul Jensen, Wayne Reutimann Jr., Mike Hulsizer, Rich Price, Jeff Kotary, Chad Ward, Charlie Humes.
Lap Leaders - Schmidt (1-5), Burley (6-30).
Did Not Qualify - Joe Slawiak, Nick Vatalaro, Ted Lamb Jr.
Unofficial Point Standings (Top Five Listed Only) - Todd Burley 172, Roger Phelps 144, Ryan Baye 138, Ron Holmes 137, Jack Johnson and Gus Schmidt Jr. 136.
DIRT Sportsman (20 Laps) - WILLY DECKER, Jamie Christian, Tim Clemons, Kevin Crave, Steve Davis, Shane Donath, Mike Button, Jim Rothwell, Bill Trexler Jr., John Kinsella, Gordy Button, Jim Roberts, Paul Carey, Shawn Donath, Daryl Hagen, Dan Yankowski, Dave Bargabos, Jessica Zemken, Paul Kinney, Jim Lavalla, John Christian, Bill Shantel Jr., Brian Johnson, Tim Mayne.
Lap Leaders - Decker (1-5), Ja. Christian (6-10), Decker (11-20).
Did Not Qualify - Tom Denton, Mark Tily, Todd Thomas, Butch Reiter, Tony Ross.
Unofficial Point Standings - Tim Clemons 172, Willy Decker 166, Jamie Christian 162, Mike Button 132, Bill Trexler Jr. 122.
DIRT Pro Stocks (15 Laps) - JERRY HOLMES, Bret Belden, Wayne Archer, Jason Rood, Jim Normoyle, Brian Belden, Mark Hoffman, Bill Knapp, Chuck Jones, Heath Carney, Gerry Newman, John Pietrowicz, Dave Moyer, Stan Clark, Eric Vanderhoof, Butch Green, Mark Effner, Ray Fancher, Steve Cosselman, Doug Grimaldi, John Roese, Dave Meeks, Charlie Pike, Gus Gould.
Lap Leaders - Holmes (1-15).
Pure Stocks (15 Laps) - DAVE MANNISE, Waylan Wilczek, Jeff Pastorella, Jim Thomas, David Pope, Joe Bono, Bill Mason, Herm Staats, Rob Seavy, Art Newman Jr., Les Lewis, Mike Kirk, Bob Gloska, George Schulze, Tim Nye, Ron Poland Jr.
Lap Leaders - Wilczek (1-13), Mannise (14-15).
Slingshots (15 Laps) - J.J. COURCY, Denny Tilison, Pete Neff, Les Streeter, Mike Teachout, Randy Marsh, Dave Barrows, A.J. Digsby, Mike Waterman, Joe DeJohn, David Nimey, A.J. Kingsley, John Powers.
Lap Leaders - Courcy (1-15).