Utica-Rome 2002 champions crowned

Tim Clemons, Mark Hoffman, and Dave Pope win on last regular show of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway, track champions also crowned. VERNON -- Utica-Rome Speedway hosted the Empire Super Sprints and Central New York Mini Sprints on the final ...

Tim Clemons, Mark Hoffman, and Dave Pope win on last regular show of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway, track champions also crowned.

VERNON -- Utica-Rome Speedway hosted the Empire Super Sprints and Central New York Mini Sprints on the final regular show of the season, with Tim Clemons, Mark Hoffman, Dave Pope, Dan Kaszubinski, and Dave Norrie taking the feature wins. Track champions were also crowned on this evening, with Jamie Christian, Jason Rood, and Dave Mannise taking home the championships in their respective divisions.

Ben Novak and Steve Way brought the DIRT Sportsman field down the green flag with Way gaining early control from his outside front row starting spot. The first caution of night flew on lap 5 when John Christian spun in turn 4. Steve Kotary was sent to the rear by track officials for helping Christian around. Way continued to lead with Dave Bargabos, Butch Reiter, Tim Clemons, and Tim Mayne following.

On the restart, Way again took control of the field til lap 8 when the caution flew for Bill Shantel Jr, who stopped on the frontstretch. On the restart, Tim Clemons, the tenth place starter, jumped out to the lead in the former Jack Johnson Sprint PCS TEO. At the halfway point of the 20 lap race, Clemons began to open a commanding lead over Reiter, Way, Kevin Crave, and Paul Carey. Filling out the top ten on lap 10 were Bargabos, Mayne, Jamie Christian, Tim Nye, and Jim Roberts.

Clemons pulled away to a straightaway lead til the caution flew on lap 15 for the spun car of Josh Flint. The rest of the top five at that point was Crave, Reiter, Carey, and Bargabos. Clemons once again pulled away on the restart til the caution came out for the final time on lap 18 for the stopped car of Ben Novak. When green returned, Crave stayed close to Clemons but couldn't mount a charge. Clemons took the checkered followed by Crave, Reiter, Jamie Christian, and Carey. Dave Bargabos came home in sixth, followed by Mayne, Roberts, Steve Kotary, and Way. Jamie Christian turned in another solid performance to take home the 2002 DIRT Sportsman track championship.

The DIRT Pro Stocks had a tight points battle going into the final points race of the 2002 season, with the top four seperated by a mere 20 points. Gerry Newman took control of the full field of DIRT Pro Stocks on the original green. She controlled the field until lap 13 when Mark Hoffman passed her for the lead and the win. Newman held on for second with Joe Palmer, Buddy Hencke, and Jason Rood followed. Buddy Hencke was crowned the 2002 DIRT Pro Stock champion until the car failed post-race tech inspection. His carburetor was found to be illegal, unofficially handing the track championship to Jason Rood.

Dave Mannise's once huge points lead shrunk to 8 points over Chuck Cushman going into the final points race for the Pure Stock division. Les Lewis took early command at the drop of the green til he spun after contact with another competitor on lap 5. Waylon Wilczek inherited the lead and held it until Dave Pope passed him on lap 8. Pope hung on to win followed by Wilczek, Cushman, Art Newman, and Rick Trexler. Dave Mannise's sixth place finish was enough to give him the 2002 Pure Stock championship by just 2 points.

Dave Norrie took home the win in the Central New York Mini Sprints feature. The race was marred by a scary flip on the aborted original start of the event. A Mini Sprint hopped over another competitor and took flight into the starter's stand. Starters Matt Burdick and Tom Meadows were uninjured in the incident.

Dan Kaszubinski got the lead in the Empire Super Sprint feature event when leader Mike Lutz pulled into the infield with mechanical problems. Kaszubinski held on to win over Bubby Kerrick, Jeff VanDusen, Mike Stelter, and Bob Podolak. The race was slowed by one caution, but the 20 lap race was still run in a short 9 minutes and 45 seconds. Track officials put track timing transponders the cars of Mike Lutz, Dan Kaszubinski, Mike Woodring, Ryan Coniam, and Rick Wilson. Ryan Coniam ran the fastest lap of the night, a fast 17.540 seconds, for an average speed of 102.643 mile per hour.

The DIRT 358-Modifieds were not in action this evening. Twenty year old Matt Sheppard was crowned the 2002 track champion last week.

Coming up on Sunday, September 15th, FX Caprara Car Companies presents the Turning Stone Casino DIRT 358-Modified Championship Series (100 laps), Empire Sports Network Super DIRT Series for the DIRT Pro Stocks (25 laps), and a $500 to win Smash and Crash Demolition Derby. Pit gates will open at 3pm while the grandstands will open at 4pm. Time trials will begin at 5:30pm with racing scheduled to begin at 6pm. The Utica-Rome Speedway is located on Route 5 in Vernon, just a few minutes from New York State Thruway exit 33. For more information, call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557, or visit the website at www.uticaromespeedway.com.

DIRT SPORTSMAN (20 LAPS)-TIM CLEMONS, Kevin Crave, Butch Reiter, Jamie Christian, Paul Carey, Dave Bargabos, Tim Mayne, Jim Roberts, Steve Kotary, Steve Way, John Christian, Bill Shantel, Jr., Tim Nye, Josh Pieniazek, Steve Davis, Billy Price, Josh Flint, John Deforest, Ben Novak, Darren Keyser, and Mike Button


DIRT PRO STOCK (15 LAPS)- MIKE HOFFMAN, Gerry Newman, Joe Palmer, Buddy Hencke, Jason Road, Bret Belden, Eric Vanderhoof, Kenny Gates, Dave Conant, Bob Gile, Chad Ray, Bill Knapp, Bill Losdell, Denny Smith, Brian Belden, Mark Effner, Rick Davehauer, AJ Digsby, Chris Palmer, Eric Nelson, Wayne Archor, Dave Meeks, Larry Megan, and Dave Moyer


PURE STOCK (15 LAPS)- DAVE POPE, Waylon Wilczek, Chuck Cushman, Art Newman, Rick Trexler, Dave Mannise, Jim Thomas, Rick Condes, Shawn Simmons, Jerry Button, Les Lewis, Don Oldick, Phil Norman, Mike Budka Jr, Jim Colsen, Mike Barney, Mark Jennings, Ted Crawford, Justin Knight, and George Schulz


CENTRAL NEW YORK MINI SPRINT FEATURE TOP 10(15 LAPS) -- DAVE NORRIE, Matt Norrie, Jared Fink, Don Harvey, Ryan Lund, Bryon Howland, Lance O'Dell, Cory Sparks, John Lieto, and Phil Perowchick

EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT FEATURE TOP 10(20 LAPS)- DAN KASZUBINSKI, Bubby Kerrick, Jeff VanDusen, Mike Stelter, Bobby Podolak, John Karklin Jr, Lance Yonge, Rick Wilson, Billy White, and Ryan Coniam


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Series Stock car
Drivers Jim Roberts