Utica-Rome preview 2001-06-03

VERNON, NY - Professional DIRT Motorsports stock car racing action continues this Sunday June 3 at Utica-Rome Speedway, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary season this summer. Scheduled in a regular five-star racing program are the mighty...

VERNON, NY - Professional DIRT Motorsports stock car racing action continues this Sunday June 3 at Utica-Rome Speedway, currently celebrating its 40th anniversary season this summer. Scheduled in a regular five-star racing program are the mighty DIRT 358-Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. Race time is set for 5:45pm.

J.J. Michaels and Todd Burley have claimed early season victories in the headline DIRT 358-Modified division, with Danny Johnson taking the Super DIRT Series 100-lap event on Mother's Day, making it three different winners so far this season and Burley the point leader. Other top contenders looking for their first win of the season this Sunday in the huge 30-lap main event include the legendary Jack Johnson, defending track champion Ron Holmes, Paul Jensen, Roger Phelps, Jason Barney, Ryan Baye, Steve Hulsizer, John Barker, and Gus Schmidt. Speedway management expects other popular drivers Mitch Gibbs and Ted Lamb to return to racing at Utica-Rome in the near future.

Tim Clemons has won all three DIRT Sportsman features to date and leads the point standings, but other top drivers Willy Decker, Jamie Christian, Bill Shantel Jr., Bill Trexler, and Mike Button are all hungry to knock Clemons off the top spot.

Jerry Holmes has dominated DIRT Pro Stock action at the speedway this year. However, former champions Bret Belden and Wayne Archer are running in top form and should see victory lane before too long. Other challengers for victory lane include young drivers Jason Rood, and rookie Mark Effner, who took controls of the former Tom Denton machine this season.

Jeff Pastorella and Dave Mannise have one victory each in the Pure Stock division, however Mannise may not be running the full season. So, this leaves the door wide open for drivers like Pastorella, Jim Thomas, Waylan Wilczek, Herm Staats, Bobby Newman, and Bill Mason to reach victory lane or even championship form.

You can be a part of the "Fastest Family Fun in Central New York" this summer at the Utica-Rome Speedway, a Sunday family tradition in the Mohawk Valley that produces some of the most exciting-three and four wide racing on the entire 26-track DIRT Motorsports circuit. Each Sunday night, over 100 cars take part in the competitive fast paced racing action, completed at a decent hour to enable everyone to get ready for the upcoming work week.

The track is located just east of the village of Vernon on Route 5 and is easily accessible from New York State Thruway Exit 33. Free parking and overnight camping is allowed on speedway grounds. The gates this Sunday June 3 will open at 4pm, with Slingshot heats beginning at 5:45pm and racing for other divisions taking the green from Starter Chip Burdick at 6pm.

-Doug Zupan

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Series Stock car
Drivers John Barker