Planck returns to victory lane at Utica-Rome (revised)

</pre> Written by Doug Zupan VERNON, NY (9/3/00) - Former track champion Dale Planck, from Homer, won his first DIRT 358 Modified feature event of the 2000 season at the New Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday September 3. Other feature winners...

</pre> Written by Doug Zupan

VERNON, NY (9/3/00) - Former track champion Dale Planck, from Homer, won his first DIRT 358 Modified feature event of the 2000 season at the New Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday September 3. Other feature winners were West Winfield's Jamie Christian in the DIRT Sportsman, Rochester's Mike Lauterborn in the ELS Super Sprints, West Winfield's Jerry Holmes in the DIRT Pro Stocks, Fulton's Ryan Phelps in the Senior Slingshots, and Kyle Reuter in the Junior Slingshots. The Pure Stock feature was rained out, and will be run on September 17.

Track Champions for 2000 are Oneida's Ron Holmes in the DIRT 358 Modifieds, West Winfield's Kevin Crave in the DIRT Sportsman, Bridgewater's Tom Denton in the DIRT Pro Stocks, Weedsport's Jackie Botindari in the Senior Slingshots, and Fulton's A.J. Kingsley in the Junior Slingshots.

Rich Price and Mike Gillette paced the 30-lap DIRT 358 Modified feature down to the flags of Starter Chip Burdick, with Mike Gillette taking the early lead. Ron Holmes, the runner up in points going into the race by six points to point leader J.J. Michaels, was on a mission as he moved into the top five by lap 4. On the same lap, John Ramsey caught Gillette and took the lead after a quick side by side battle for position. The first yellow of the event came out on lap 5, when Joe Slawiak spun in turn four.

On the lap 5 restart, Gillette retook the lead and Michaels, who seemed to have trouble moving up in the first few laps, put his foot to the firewall and moved into the top ten by the sixth circuit. At the same time, Holmes went from third to first in one lap to take the lead away from Gillette. On lap 7, Mike Hulsizer climbed the turn three wall, forcing a yellow. The Hulsizer machine had serious damage, especially to the rear of the car, and it was cradled off the speedway, but Hulsizer was not injured.

On the lap 7 restart, J.J. Michaels literally hit the afterburners and went from tenth to fifth in turns one and two. Michaels must have known Holmes was in the lead, and to win the championship, Michaels had to finish second to Holmes. By lap 8, Michaels was in fourth, and he kept picking off the spots. On lap 9, Michaels was in second and set his sites on Holmes. However, on lap 10, they were slowed when Jason Barney broke a driveshaft on his Teo Pro Car, causing a yellow flag period. Barney stopped at the flagstand, and got out of his car noticeably limping, indicating that he was hit by the driveshaft. He was taken to the Oneida Healthcare Center and was checked over, with no serious injuries or broken bones.

On the lap 10 restart, Michaels, who celebrated his birthday a day before with a huge win at Fulton Speedway, immediately went for the lead. He went side by side with Holmes, and actually took the lead, but Holmes was too strong and held onto the top spot. Coming on strong was Jack Johnson, who took over third from Ted Lamb Jr. on lap 12, and began reeling in Michaels and Holmes. On lap 14, Jack, who has had two top three finishes in the last two races at Utica-Rome, caught Michaels and began applying serious pressure on the Michaels No. 31. If Michaels finished third, he would lose the track championship by just two points. Could Jack Johnson be the spoiler in the track championship battle?

At the halfway point, the top five was Holmes, Michaels, Johnson, Lamb, and Gus Schmidt.

On lap 16, the top three cars were bumper to bumper and you could just feel the tension and drama in the air. Johnson was putting a show on, and he took over second on lap 17. One lap later it all changed. Coming out of turn four, the rear suspension broke on the Michaels No. 31, and the popular Michaels was unfortunately out of the championship hunt.

On the lap 18 restart, Dale Planck, who started thirteenth, went high in turn one and went from fourth to second as they headed out of turn two, but Johnson regained control of the spot in the third turn. On lap 19, David Townes spun in turn one, causing a quick yellow. Planck, driving his brand new Bicknell 2001x chassis on the high side, took second from Johnson on the restart, and set his sites on Holmes. It did not take Planck long to catch Holmes and challenge him for the lead. The duo went side by side and Planck took over the top spot on lap 22. Johnson who must have seen Planck pass Holmes on the outside, moved to the top and took second from Holmes on lap 23. Johnson was closing in on Planck as the laps ticked by, and even peeked underneath him several times.

However, the final yellow on lap 28 slowed the pace, when Joe Slawiak slowed in turn two. On the restart, Planck resumed control, with Johnson close behind in second and Holmes falling to fourth after a quick pass by Mitch Gibbs. Planck, who is the all-time winner at Utica-Rome and defending Track Champion, led the final two laps despite pressure from Johnson on the way to his first victory of the season at Utica-Rome. Second was Johnson (started eighteenth), third was a fast closing Mitch Gibbs (started seventeenth), fourth was Ron Holmes (started twelth), and fifth was Ted Lamb Jr (started sixth). Rounding out the top ten it was Roger Phelps, Tim Clemons, Billy Wilcox, John Barker Jr., and Mike Gillette.

After his big win, Planck commented, "The bottom was good early, but the top was much better later on in the race. This new Bicknell car is great, and this is our second win with it in a week."

With his good run, and the misfortune of J.J. Michaels, Ron Holmes became a first time Modified Track Champion. Holmes after a champagne bath commented, "This feels real good, and I feel bad that J.J. had some bad luck. It goes both ways quickly in this sport, and this summer I'd break one week and he'd have a good run. It really would not have broken my heart to see him win the championship. J.J., his family, and the team are a great bunch of people, and they really had a great season. I'd like to congratulate them and I'd also like to thank everyone that has stuck by me over the years and helped me make this season my best ever."

Mitch Gibbs, John Ramsey, and Jack Johnson won the Modified heat races.

Mike Lauterborn took the lead on lap 1 of the 20-lap ELS Sprint Car feature, as current ELS point leader Brian Dumigan moved into third over Mike Miller on lap 3. On a lap 8 restart, Dumigan took second as Lauterborn opened a huge lead. However, on lap 12, Dumigan was flying and he began closing in on Lauterborn, who started fourth. On lap 15, Dumigan caught Lauterborn in lapped traffic, and a side by side duel for the lead began, with Dumigan pulling an awesome slingshot move off turn four to take the lead. However, two laps later, coming out of turn four, Dumigan made contact with the lapped car of Dave Wickham and both cars ended up in the turn 4 wall, with the Wickham machine laying on its wing. This gave the lead back to Lauterborn, who led the remaining two laps on the way to his first career Utica-Rome ELS Sprint Car feature win. Following Lauterborn, it was Mike Miller in second, John Lieto in third, Bill Bailey in fourth, and Justin Barger in fifth.

Brian Dumigan, Mike Miller, and Justin Barger won the ELS Sprint Car heat events.

Paul Kinney took the early lead of the 20-lap DIRT Sportsman feature event, and on the second circuit, Dave Bargabos took command. On a lap 4 restart, Jamie Christian grabbed the lead and went on to his sixth win of the 2000 season at Utica-Rome. Following Christian, who started ninth, it was new Track Champion Kevin Crave in second, Steve Davis in third, Ron Richardson in fourth, and Paul Carey in fifth.

The most serious accident of the Sportsman feature came when Willy Decker caught the turn three wall on lap 7, causing a red flag and a pile of eight cars. No drivers were injured in the mishap.

Steve Davis, Dan Yankowski, Jamie Christian, and Willy Decker won the Sportsman heat races, while Tim Mayne and Kevin Crave copped the consis.

Stan Clark jumped out to the early lead in the 15-lap DIRT Pro Stock feature, but on a lap 2 restart, Jerry Holmes, who started ninth, took the top spot. Holmes was able to open up a huge lead and he went on to his third Pro Stock feature win of the 2000 season at Utica-Rome. Jason Rood, newcomer Kenny Gates, Wayne Archer, and the 2000 Track Champion Tom Denton rounded out the top five.

Stan Clark and John Roese won the Pro Stock heat events, while Jerry Holmes won the Pro Stock Dash for Cash.

Shortly after the conclusion of the Pro Stock feature, rains began falling and forced the postponement of the Pure Stock feature until September 17. The rained out feature will count toward track points, and will be the first event run that evening.

Pure Stock heat wins went to Les Lewis, Chad Ray, and Mark Effner, while Chad Ray won the Pure Stock Dash for Cash.

Ryan Phelps used the pole starting position to his advantage and led the entire distance of the 15-lap Senior Slingshot feature. Todd Land, A.J. Digsby, Bob Hoffman, and Randy Marsh followed him across the line. A.J. Kingsley led the first lap of the 12-lap Junior Slingshot event, but Kyle Reuter took over on lap 2, and let the rest of the way for his first career Utica-Rome victory. Second was Larry Wight and third was A.J. Kingsley. A.J. Digsby, Randy Marsh, and Kyle Reuter won the Slingshot heat races. Jackie Botindari and A.J. Kingsley were crowned the Senior and Junior Slingshot division 2000 Track Champions.

Coming up Sunday September 10, the New Utica-Rome Speedway will be silent with no racing scheduled. However, the speedway will come back to life on Sunday September 17, with a special show for the DIRT Sportsman ($850 to win), DIRT Pro Stocks ($600 to win), Pure Stocks ($400 to win), and Slingshots plus the final appearance of the ELS Sprint Cars. Also scheduled is the rained out Pure Stock feature from September 3. The gates will open at 2pm, and racing will begin at 5pm.

For more information, contact the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or visit the official speedway website at

Notes - 30 Modifieds, 27 Sprint Cars, 34 Sportsman, 23 Pro Stocks, 24 Pure Stocks, and 13 Slingshots filled the Utica-Rome pit area to capacity with 151 cars.


DIRT 358 Modifieds (30 Laps) - 1)DALE PLANCK, 2)Jack Johnson, 3)Mitch Gibbs, 4)Ron Holmes, 5)Ted Lamb Jr., 6)Roger Phelps, 7)Tim Clemons, 8)Billy Wilcox, 9)John Barker Jr., 10)Mike Gillette, 11)John Ramsey, 12)Jeremy Smith, 13)Jim Rothwell, 14)Mark Schoonover, 15)Bill Shantel Sr., 16)Rich Price, 17)Pete Taylor, 18)Joel Thomas, 19)Gus Schmidt, 20)Joe Slawiak, 21)David Townes, 22)J.J. Michaels, 23)Jason Barney, 24)Mike Hulsizer.

Lap Leaders - Gillette (1-4), Ramsey (5), Gillette (6), Holmes (7-21), Planck (22-30).

Did Not Qualify - Ansel Collins, Rick Kroll, Ron Cartwright, David Clark, Paul Luskin, Rob Hughes.

2000 DIRT 358 Modified Track Champion - RON HOLMES.

Unofficial Top 10 Final Point Standings - Ron Holmes 519, Dale Planck 501, J.J. Michaels 496, Billy Wilcox 483, Tim Clemons 474, Roger Phelps 467, Gus Schmidt 439, Ronnie Johnson & John Barker Jr. 418, Todd Burley 380.

ELS Sprint Cars (20 Laps) - 1)MIKE LAUTERBORN, 2)Mike Miller, 3)John Lieto, 4)Bill Bailey, 5)Justin Barger, 6)John Karklin Jr., 7)Warren Alexson, 8)Steve Rutkowski, 9)Erin Crocker, 10)Bill Guertin, 11)Brian Grisel, 12)Eric Robinson, 13)Aaron Thayer, 14)Fred Ditmer, 15)Curtis Bradshaw, 16)Darrell Bragman, 17)Rick Hart, 18)George Ely, 19)Doug Emery, 20)Brian Dumigan, 21)Dave Wickham, 22)Shawn Felt, 23)Frank Longo, 24)Eric Harrington, 25)Tom Fletcher. DNS - John Bridge, Bill Vivian.

Lap Leaders - Lauterborn (1-15), Dumigan (16-17), Lauterborn (18-20).

DIRT Sportsman (20 Laps) - 1)JAMIE CHRISTIAN, 2)Kevin Crave, 3) Steve Davis, 4)Ron Richardson, 5)Paul Carey, 6)Brian Johnson, 7)Jim Roberts, 8)Geoff VanRiper, 9)Pete Lyon, 10)Tim Mayne, 11)John Kinsella, 12)Daryl Hagen, 13)Donnie Wetmore Jr., 14)Willy Decker, 15)Dave Bargabos, 16)Robery Perry, 17)Craig Pritchard, 18)Paul Kinney, 19)Brian Murphy, 20)Dan Yankowski, 21)Butch Reiter, 22)John Christian, 23)Steve Way, 24)Mark Tily, 25)Jeremiah Munson, 26)Shawn Donath.

Lap Leaders - Kinney (1), Bargabos (2-4), Ja. Christian (5-20).

Did Not Qualify - Derek Loonen, Jim Lavalla, Shane Donath, Bill Deerfield, Andy Clement, John Powers.

2000 DIRT Sportsman Track Champion - KEVIN CRAVE.

Unofficial Top 5 Final Point Standings - Kevin Crave 504, Jamie Christian 450, Willy Decker 449, Paul Carey 440, Ron Richardson 402.

DIRT Pro Stocks (15 Laps) - 1)JERRY HOLMES, 2)Jason Rood, 3)Kenny Gates, 4)Wayne Archer, 5)Tom Denton, 6)Jeff Patrick, 7)John Kiskiel, 8)Stan Clark, 9)Eric Vanderhoof, 10)Doug Grimaldi, 11)John Roese, 12)Rob Noviczski, 13)Brian Michaels, 14)Bret Belden, 15)Mike Fritz, 16)Gerry Newman, 17)Richard Stevenson, 18)Dave Moyer, 19)Chuck Jones, 20)Shawn Frost, 21)Ed Kotary, 22)Dave Moyer, 23)Chuck Mathews.

Lap Leaders - Clark (1-2), Holmes (3-15).

2000 DIRT Pro Stock Track Champion - TOM DENTON.

Pure Stocks (15 Laps) - Rain Delayed to September 17 and will count toward track points.

Senior Slingshots (15 Laps) - 1)RYAN PHELPS, 2)Todd Land, 3)A.J. Digsby, 4)Bob Hoffman, 5)Randy Marsh, 6)Denny Tilison, 7)Jackie Botindari, 8)Mike Waterman, 9)Todd Thomas, 10)J.J. Courcy.

Lap Leaders - Phelps (1-15).

2000 Senior Slingshot Track Champion - JACKIE BOTINDARI.

Junior Slingshots (12 Laps) - 1)KYLE REUTER, 2)Larry Wight, 3)A.J. Kingsley.

Lap Leaders - Kingsley (1), Reuter (2-12).

2000 Junior Slingshot Track Champion - A.J. KINGSLEY.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jim Roberts , Pete Taylor , Mike Miller , Erin Crocker , Brian Johnson , Justin Barger , Brian Murphy , David Clark , John Barker , Jeremy Smith