Utica-Rome race report 2002-09-20

Brett Hearn and Dave Schulz take checkers at Utica-Rome Speedway. VERNON- Brett Hearn, of Sussex New Jersey, grabbed the early lead in the Turning Stone Casino Super DIRT Series event and held on to take home the victory at the Utica-Rome ...

Brett Hearn and Dave Schulz take checkers at Utica-Rome Speedway.

VERNON- Brett Hearn, of Sussex New Jersey, grabbed the early lead in the Turning Stone Casino Super DIRT Series event and held on to take home the victory at the Utica-Rome Speedway. In the companion Empire Sports Network Super DIRT Series race for the DIRT Pro Stocks, Dave Schulz held off Eric Gauvreau to win his third consecutive tour event.

Willy Decker and Ted Lamb brought the 31 car field down to the initial green with Decker grabbing the early advantage. Seventh place starter Brett Hearn was making his presence felt early by jumping to fourth by lap 2. Chuck Hebing was putting on a show early in the event, riding the cushion around Lamb and Hearn coming off turn two on lap 5. At that point, Decker continued to lead, followed by third place starter Matt Sheppard, Hebing, Hearn, and Lamb.

The first caution of the race came out on lap 7 when Paul Kinney spun in turn 2. On the restart, Hearn grabbed second from Hebing and set his sights on leader Willy Decker. Hearn took the lead from Decker on lap 11 and started to set a blistering pace. On lap 15, Hearn continued to lead, with Decker, Hebing, Danny Johnson, and Sheppard chasing.

The race was slowed again on lap 25 for the spun car of Tom Sears. Hearn was still leading with Decker riding in second, looking for his best tour finish ever, followed by Hebing, Danny Johnson, and Sheppard. Hebing continued to thrill the fans with his hard charging driving style, but he jumped the cushion on lap 26, dropping from third to sixth.

Caution once again flew on lap 32, closing any advantage that Hearn had built up. Hearn was scored the leader with Decker, Sheppard, Danny Johnson, and Pete Bicknell. Bicknell, who started in position twelve, was the fastest car at the track at the time. Danny Johnson dropped from competition lap 34 with mechanical problems.

Chuck Hebing's hope for a good finish came to an end on lap 39 when he pushed the car too far and spun in turn 4, bringing out he yellow. On the lap 42 restart, Hearn took off from second place Decker while Bicknell grabbed third from Sheppard. Todd Burley filled out the top five.

At the halfway point, Hearn was the leader with Bicknell now in second, with Decker, Sheppard, and Burley following. Alan Johnson, Steve Paine, Mitch Gibbs, Justin Haers, and Pat Ward filled out the top ten.

At lap 70, Hearn continued to pace the field at a quick pace with Bicknell, Sheppard, Alan Johnson, and Decker still trying to keep pace with the leader. Second place runner Bicknell lost a wheel on lap 73, bringing out the caution. Bicknell would not return to action. At the three quarter mark, Hearn was still leading Sheppard now up to second. Alan Johnson, Decker, and Burley filled out the top five. Completing the top ten were Ward, Paine, Gibbs, Haers, and Lamb.

Hearn built a comfortable lead despite several caution flags for minor incidents. On lap 87, Sheepard jumped the cushion in turn two, losing second to a hard charging Burley. At lap 90, Hearn was still scored the lead with Burley, Sheppard, Alan Johnson, and Paine in the top five.

The last caution of the night flew for the stopped car of Jim Rothwell on lap 97, adding drama to the end of the race. But Hearn would hold off all chargers with Burley, Sheppard, Alan Johnson, and Ward grabbing fifth. Paine, Gibbs, Haers, Decker, and Lamb finished the top ten.

Heat winners were Alan Johnson, Todd Burley, Pat Ward, and Ryan Baye. Consolation races went to Jim Rothwell and Gus Schmidt.

In the 25 lap Empire Sports Network Super DIRT Series event for Pro Stocks, Dave Schulz grabbed the lead on the original green. On lap 5, Schulz was chased by Steve Devos, Eric Gauvreau, Jim Lazore, and Joey Ladouceur. Graveau grabbed second on lap 12 and set sail for the leader.

Schulz was hounded by Graveau for the second half of the race, but never faltered as he took the checkered with Gauvreau a close second. Ladouceur, Devos, and Kenny Gates filled out the top five. Finishing in the top ten were Roger Chrysler, Pete Stefanski, Dave Conant, Jr., John Lazore, and Jon Miller.

Pro Stock heats went to Eric Gauvreau, Dave Schulz, Joey Ladouceur, and Steve Devos. Consi winners were Brian Michels and Dave Bruno.

NOTES- Brett Hearn was the JE Pistons fast timer, with track regular Mitch Gibbs the second fastest timer of the night. 38 DIRT 358-Modified and 43 DIRT Pro Stocks entered the pits for racing action. Rich Predmore won the Smash and Crash Demoliton Derby.

Racing action will return to the Utica-Rome Speedway for a Super DIRT Week Special when Nice 'n Easy Grocery Shoppes presents the Empire Super Sprints, DIRT Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks on October 9th. Gates will open at 5pm with racing set to go at 7pm. Utica-Rome Speedway is located on Route 5 in Vernon, just a short trip from New York Thruway Exit 33. For more information, call the speedway at (315) 829-4557, or visit the website at www.uticaromespeedway.com.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Brett Hearn , Jon Miller