VERNON, NY- A large crowd filled the stands on Sunday May 30 for the Memorial Day Weekend Special as Stewart Friesen, Jessica Zemken, Roy Fifield, Russ Marsden, Jim Money, and Jeff VanDusen all were victorious on C-Weaver, Tombstone Saloon, and ...
VERNON, NY- A large crowd filled the stands on Sunday May 30 for the Memorial Day Weekend Special as Stewart Friesen, Jessica Zemken, Roy Fifield, Russ Marsden, Jim Money, and Jeff VanDusen all were victorious on C-Weaver, Tombstone Saloon, and Pondra's Home & Hearth Realty night.
Paul Kinney and Chris Ostrowsky led the 26-car field to Matt Burdick's green flag with Paul Kinney taking the lead at the drop of the green. The caution flew quickly on lap 4 for a stopped car, bringing the field back together. Gus Schmidt took advantage of the restart, grabbing the lead from Kinney. Schmidt would hold on to the top spot for the next 4 laps when the caution flew again for debris. This time, Mark Flach was the benificary if the restart as he took the lead on the restart to lead lap 9. At lap 10, it was Flach in front, with Brian Weaver, Stewart Friesen, Mitch Gibbs, and Schmidt chasing.
Flach, searching for his first-ever Utica-Rome Speedway 358-Modified victory, first held off the challenge of Weaver, then 2-time winner Friesen and continued to lead at the lap 20 mark. Following the Flach machine were Friesen, Todd Burley, Gibbs, and Schmidt. Following a lap 23 restart, Friesen was able to sneak by to grab the lead, searching for his third consecutive win. Friesen's bid for 3 in a row would be successful as he held on to the finish. While Friesen was out front, a stellar battle for the second positon was going on between Flach, Burley, and Dave Camara. Burley would win that battle, grabbing the second spot with an incredible pass on the last lap. The finish behind Friesen would see Burley, Flach, Camara, and Schmidt round out the top five. The heat winners were Todd Burley, Mitch Gibbs, and Stewart Friesen. Friesen also collected the Wilber-Duck Chevrolet Back-to-Back Bonus, which stood at $700.
Kenny Stafford took the early in the DIRT Sportsman main from his pole starting spot over front row starting partner Billy Price. Stafford would lead the first two laps until defending champion Bill Shantel, Jr. would take over the lead on a restart. Jessica Zemken, looking for her third win in a row at the speedway, immediately began making her presence felt as she charged from her 13th starting spot into 3rd by lap 5. At that point, it was Shantel leading, Mike Button, Zemken, Price, and Pat O'Hanlan chasing. On lap 8, Zemken made her move by Button to grab second, and started to chase down the front running Shantel. By lap 10, Zemken began to pressure Shantel, and after five laps of hounding the leader, she was able to slip by to take the top spot. She would race off to her third consecutive victory, with Shantel, Button, Stafford, and Butch Reiter filling out the top five. Price and Button took home the qualifying heat wins.
Former Pro Stock champion Tom Denton would lead the first two laps of the Pro Stock main event until Jerry Holmes swung around the outside for the lead. Holmes would hold on to the lead until Bret Belden was able to get by. As Holmes and Belden battled for the top spot, Roy Fifield charged into third in search of his 3rd straight win. An intense three-car battle ensued, and on lap 14, Fifield was able to wrestle the top spot away from Belden and was able to take his 3rd win of the young season. Belden held on for second, with Holmes, Denton, and Eric Vanderhoof rounding out the top five. Qualifying heats were taken by AJ Digsby and Buddy Hencke.
Ted Crawford, Bob Bird, and Rick Trexler all took turns leading the early portions of the Pure Stock feature with all looking to end the win streak of Dave Pope. On lap 5, it began to look as the streak of repeat winners would continue as Pope would take the lead. Russ Marsden, making his first visit of the season, would grab the lead on lap 8 in an attempt to end the streak. Marsden would lead the remainder of the event, with Pope holding off a hard charging Chris Cunningham. Rick Trexler and Frank Hyatt would finish out the top five. Chuck Cushman and Marsden were victorious in the qualifying events.
Chuck Powelczyk would lead the early portion of the Four Cylinder Super Stock main event until lap 3, when the motor went sour in the Powelczyk machine. Jack Hill inherited the lead and seemed to be on his way to his third straight win. Hill began to get challenged by first time visitor Jim Money and on the lap of the main, Money and Hill would go down the backstretch side by side. Money would come out the victor with Lee Hartzog, Joey Delacruz, Claude Hutchings, and Ken Clark trailing. Chuck Powelczyk took home the lone heat race win.
In the companion Empire Super Sprint event, Darren Long grabbed the lead on lap 13 from Jeff VanDusen and dominated the remainder of the 25-lap event. Long traveled from Elida, Ohio to compete and won in his first ever visit at the Utica-Rome Speedway. However, in post-race technical inspection, Long was disqualified for motor infraction which handed the win to Jeff VanDusen.
NOTES- 128 race cars entered the pits for the night's action with 35 ESS Sprints, 26 358-Modifieds, 18 Sportsman, 21 Pro Stocks, 20 Pure Stocks, and 8 Four Cylinder Super Stocks. The track was again the hot topic of discussion but not because of rough conditions, but because of the improvement that was made since the last event at the speedway. The track was relatively smooth and fast, with Brian Weaver turning a fast time of 19.8 seconds in hot laps.
Next Sunday on June 6, Law Manufacturing Inc. will present a regular show of 358-Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Four Cylinder Super Stocks. Gates will open at 3 p.m. with racing beginning at 5:30 p.m. Remember the Utica-Rome Speedway highlight show every Sunday morning. In the Utica-Rome region, WPNY UPN 53 airs the show at 8 a.m. with WFXZ Fox 33 airing it at 10:30 a.m. Up in the north country, WWTI ABC 50 of Watertown will air the show at 9 a.m. More information can be found at the official speedway website at www.uticaromespeedway.com, or you can call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557.
DIRT SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- JESSICA ZEMKEN, Bill Shantel Jr., Mike Button, Ken Stafford, Butch Reiter, Paul Carey, Bill Price, Pat O' Hanlan, Terry Knoblach, Jeremy Vunk, Mike Zimmerman, John DeForest, Steve Way, Tim Nye, Jeremiah Munson, Ricky Quick, and Matt Janczuk. DNS-Sam Reakes Jr.
DIRT 358-MODIFIEDS FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)- STEWART FRIESEN, Todd Burley, Mark Flach, Dave Camara, Gus Schmidt, Jamie Christian, Mitch Gibbs, Bob Varin, Jeremy Smith, John Ramsey, Willy Decker, Ron Holmes, Brian Weaver, Dave Rauscher, Paul Jensen, Chris Ostrowsky, Ken McGuire, Cass Bennett, Rich Scagliotta, Mark Tily, Jeff Kotary, Paul Kinney, Dave Baranowski, Jim Rothwell. DNS- Don Mattison and Ronnie Johnson.
DIRT PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)- ROY FIFIELD, Bret Belden, Jerry Holmes, Tom Denton, Eric Vanderhoof, Dave Moyer, Bill Knapp, Chad Ray, Dave Briggs, Ryan Lund, Brian Belden, Ed Ostrander, Craig Hale, George Kiskiel, Matt Smith, Bob Mills, AJ Digsby, Buddy Hencke, Mark Effner, and Jason Rood. DNS-Chris Palmer.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)- RUSS MARSDEN, Dave Pope, Chris Cunningham, Rick Trexler, Frank Hyatt, Bob Bird, Dave Janczuk, Dave Arbes, Phil Norman, Michael Barney, Rick Condes, Andy Szewczyk, Shawn Dunn, Ray Fancher, George Wright, Jim Thomas, Rob Seavy, and Chuck Cushman. DNS-Art Newman.
ESS FEATURE FINISH TOP TEN- JEFF VANDUSEN, Dan Kaszubinski, JR Stewart, Kramer Williamson, Doug Emery, Bubby Kerrick, Doug Norrie, Tim Kelly, Bryan Howland, and Lucas Eirksen.