Jensen returns to weekly wars

VERNON, NY - The Utica-Rome Speedway is pleased to announce that popular four-time Modified track champion Paul Jensen, 49, will be returning to the speedway this season for weekly DIRT 358-Modified competition. Jensen, of Edmeston, has not...

VERNON, NY - The Utica-Rome Speedway is pleased to announce that popular four-time Modified track champion Paul Jensen, 49, will be returning to the speedway this season for weekly DIRT 358-Modified competition.

Jensen, of Edmeston, has not raced weekly at Utica-Rome since 1998, and this season, will be driving a 1998 Troyer chassis owned by Shawn O'Herien of Wampsville. The car, previously owned by 2000 track champion Ron Holmes, will be carrying the traditional Jensen No. 57.

This is great news for Utica-Rome race fans, as Jensen is by far one of the most liked and successful drivers in the 40-year history of the speedway. For sure, he is one of the best drivers in the Central New York area, racking up wins and championships all over the Empire State, including a win in the prestigious Victoria 200 at Fulton Speedway in 1993.

"I am really looking forward to it," said the soft-spoken Jensen. "Our goal is to finish every race and do the best we can."

A trip through the Utica-Rome record books shows that Jensen has always been a winner at the speedway. When the speedway re-opened under outlaw rules in 1989, he racked up a string of ten consecutive winning seasons, along with four track championships (89, 90, 92, & 93) and 28-career feature wins, placing him fifth on the all-time feature win list at the track he calls his home. His last win came on June 21, 1998 driving the Roger Heroux owned No. H24.

When asked what it would be like if he could win another feature at Utica-Rome, the veteran driver responded, "I think it would be good to win again. I don't think I've forgotten how to win there, but there are a lot of tough drivers who really do their homework."

One of his concerns besides the tough competition is learning more about the Hoosier tires run by the Modified division at the speedway.

"I'm not very familiar with those tires, and I think I will need to learn them more than anything and how to setup the car with them," said Jensen, who has much experience in recent years with the McCreary American Racer tires.

Over the winter, Jensen has put hours of tireless work into the 1998 Troyer machine he will compete with at Utica-Rome. The car, powered by an engine Jensen built himself, was completely refurbished with all new parts and lettered by Triple T Signs in Oneida.

"It's a good car, and I think once we get the season started and understand the tires better and have the car setup properly, we will be in good shape," he said.

Sponsors joining the new team for the 2001 season at Utica-Rome include Durhamville area businesses Tamela's Excavating, Team Hummer, and Mary's Place. Jensen's Speed Equipment in Edmeston and Zig's Tires and Service in Oneida also sponsor the team.

"I'd like to thank Shawn and all our sponsors for making this possible," Jensen said.

Without a doubt, Utica-Rome race fans will be in for a real treat this summer to have Jensen back in the weekly DIRT 358-Modified wars. When adding Jensen to some of the other top weekly names such as Ron Holmes, J.J. Michaels, Dale Planck, Mitch Gibbs, John Barker Jr., Todd Burley, Billy Wilcox, Gus Schmidt Jr., Jason Barney, Roger Phelps, and Jack Johnson, it looks to be another banner year for the headline DIRT 358-Modified division at the speedway.

The 40th anniversary race season at the Utica-Rome Speedway will be kicked off in grand style Sunday May 6 with a special 40-lap feature event for the mighty DIRT 358-Modifieds. Also in action on the 2001 season lidlifter will be the DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. The gates will open at 4pm, with racing beginning at 6pm and Slingshot heats beginning at 5:45pm.

For more information, contact the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or log on to the official website at www.newuticaromespeedway.com.

-Doug Zupan

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Series Stock car
Drivers John Barker