VERNON, NY- A beautiful Sunday evening, a large crowd, and a pit full of race cars all added together made for an exciting night of racing at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Robbie C's Car Clinic night. Jason Rood was the big winner in the Empire...
VERNON, NY- A beautiful Sunday evening, a large crowd, and a pit full of race cars all added together made for an exciting night of racing at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Robbie C's Car Clinic night. Jason Rood was the big winner in the Empire Sports Network Pro Stock Super DIRT Series with Kenny Stafford picking up his first ever win Sportsman race as George Catanzano, Russ Marsden, and Lance Yonge also victorious. Champions were crowned in the Sportsman, Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and IMCA Modifieds.
Mitchell Jock and Tom Kuck would take the green flag from starter Matt Burdick to lead the 36-car starting field of the Empire Sports Network Pro Stock Super DIRT Series into turn 1 only to have the caution come out immediately for a multi-car crash in turn 1. Beamer Guzzardi, John Pietrowicz, Bill Knapp, and Bob Johnson all were heavily damaged and did not return to competition. On the restart, Kuck took the top spot with Jeremy Clark, Bret Belden, and Jipp Ortiz in pursuit. Ortiz's luck would quickly go bad as he jumped the cushion off turn 2 and while coming back into the racing groove, contact was made with another competitor which sent Ortiz into the backstretch guardrail. Ortiz climbed the rail and spun onto his side and slowly rolled over onto his roof. Ortiz climbed out from his upside down racer without injury and would return later, several laps down.
Clark took over the lead on the next restart, only to have Kuck retake the lead on lap 5. Jason Rood was on the move early as he moved into the runner-up position on lap 6 and set his sights on the leader Kuck. The yellow flag flew again on lap 11 when Utica-Rome Speedway point leader Roy Fifield spun in turn 4. Kuck was able to retain the lead when the green flag flew again to only have the yellow fly again a lap later for the stopped car of Bob Mills. Rood took advantage of next restart as he took the lead on lap 13. Kuck, Belden, Pete Stefanski, and Roger Chrysler filled out the top 5 positions at this point. Rood was on a mission as he set a fast pace out front as he opened up a comfortable margin. Kuck, Belden, Clark, and Chrysler were all in a heated battle for position as Rood sped away. The final caution of the night on lap 18 brought Rood back to the rest of the field, but on the restart, Rood was able to again speed away from the field to win the 25-lap affair. Kuck was able to hang on to 2nd, with Belden, Stefanski, and Clark following. By starting the event, Roy Fifield became the 2004 Utica-Rome Speedway Pro Stock champion.
Former track champion Bill Shantel, Jr. was the early leader of the 20-lap Sportsman race with young Kenny Stafford close behind. Shantel was able to hold off Stafford until lap 4 when Stafford was able to get by and was scored as the leader. As Stafford was leading, Jeremy Vunk, Steve Way, and Shantel were battling for the 2nd position until Vunk won the battle and set off after Stafford. A lap 8 caution bunched the field back together and when the field was back under green again, Vunk was the new leader. Stafford was able to get by Vunk by the halfway point, dropping Vunk back to 2nd as the yellow flew again on lap 11. This time Stafford was not going to lose the lead on the ensuing restart as he continued to look for his 1st ever Sportsman win. Paul Carey was on the march after the restart as he went from 6th on lap 11 to 2nd by lap 14. Carey was able to rundown Stafford in the closing laps, but the 16-year old driver was able to hold off the veteran Carey to win his first career Sportsman win. Carey was 2nd with Mike Button in 3rd, David Towns in 4th, and Vunk rounding out the top 5. An 8th place finish was enough to allow Jessica Zemken to be named the 2004 Utica-Rome Speedway Sportsman champion.
Sean Lias was the early leader of the IMCA Modified event with George Catanzano quickly moving into the 2nd spot by lap 2. Lias and Catanzano ran nose to tail lap after lap with Catanzano trying to slide by Lias at every turn. A lap 7 restart after a brief caution period was what Catanzano needed as he was scored the leader on the following circuit. The lead was short-lived however as Lias was back out front the following lap until Lias jumped the cushion, again allowing Catanzano to get by for the lead on lap 10. At the halfway point, it was Catanzano, Lias, Dale Caswell, Ron Root, and Aaron Jacobs. As the laps clicked off, Catanzano and Lias continued to run nose to tail up front, thrilling the Utica-Rome Speedway crowd with their intense battle for the lead. When the white flag waved, Lias made a last ditch effort for the win as he drove in to turn 1 hard and briefly regained the lead but Lias' momentum carried him up and off the turn 1 banking which allowed Catanzano to get back by and run to the checkered flag. Lias held on to 2nd, with Caswell, Root, and Jacobs following in the top 5 spots. Catanzano was named the IMCA Modified track champion for the 2004 season.
In Pure Stock action, Dave Janczuk went from his 4th starting spot to the lead by lap 1 of the 15 lap race. Russ Marsden made his weekly charge from deep in the field and by lap 4; he was in familiar position as he led the field around the fast half-mile track. Jim Thomas was able to follow Marsden to the front as he took over the 2nd by the 4th circuit. At halfway, it was Marsden opening up a comfortable margin with Thomas, Janczuk, Dave Pope, and Phil Norman trailing. Marsden would lead the rest of the event unchecked to win his 12th Pure Stock main of the year at the Utica-Rome Speedway. Thomas, Janczuk, Pope, and Art Newman trailed Marsden at the finish. Pope was named the 2004 Utica-Rome Speedway Pure Stock champion until a problem in post race technical inspection dropped Pope from the finish, handing the title to Marsden.
In Empire Super Sprint action, ESS point leader Lance Yonge and Dan Kazsubinski put on a spirited battle throughout the 25-lap non stop event as they exchanged the lead several times. Lance Yonge was able to get by Kazsubinski for good late in the event when the 2 drivers were in traffic and raced away for his first victory of the season. Kazsubinski, Bubby Kerrick, Jeff Cook, and Tim Kelly rounded out the top 5.
NOTES- The pit area was jam packed with racers as 46 Pro Stocks, 24 Sportsman, 27 Pure Stocks, 21 IMCA Modifieds, and 26 Empire Super Sprints entered for competition. With the 358-Modifieds off for the evening the 358-Modified champion was named last week when the night's activities were rained out. Rookie driver Stewart Friesen was declared the champion and will receive a hefty $10,000 in the post season awards banquets.
This Sunday will be the season finale at the speedway as Gates Cole Insurance will present the September Bonanza featuring a 40-lap $2500 to win affair for the 358-Modifieds, the Sunoco Race Fuels Combined Sportsman Super DIRT Series, and a $400 to win Pure Stock event. The 358-Modified victor will receive a starting spot for the Victoria 200 All-Star Race, which gives a competitor an extra chance to qualify for the lucrative Victoria 200 held at Fulton Speedway each fall. The Pure Stock event will open to any competitor that is legal Pure Stock/Street Stock division at any other DIRT track. Gates will open at 2 p.m. with racing starting at 5 p.m. For more information, call the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com.
ROBBIE C'S CAR CLINIC RACE SUMMARY
EMPIRE SPORTS NETWORK PRO SUPER DIRT SERIES FEATURE FINISH (25 LAPS)- JASON ROOD, Tom Kuck, Bret Belden, Pete Stefanski, Jeremy Clark, Buddy Hencke, Jerry Holmes, Joe Stefanski, Joey Ladouceur, Lee Burnett, Louie Jackson, Roger Chrysler, James Henry, Frank Guererri, Tom Denton, Roy Fifield, Mike Williams, Kenny Gates, Roch Aubin, Jim Normoyle, Ryan Lund, Jody Swamp, Mitchell Jock, Bill Pascual, Casey Swamp, Brian Belden, Ed Ostrander, Clayton Benedict, Bob Mills, Jipp Ortiz, Dave Moyer, Derek Excel, John Pietrowicz, Bob Johnson, Beamer Guzzardi, and Bill Knapp. DNQ- AJ Digsby, Ed Lazore, Dale Guernsey, Aaron Day, Jeff Witt, Craig Hale, Keith Devendorf, Allan Peters, Sean Post, and Scott Tifft.
DIRT SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- KENNY STAFFORD, Paul Carey, Mike Button, David Towns, Jeremy Vunk, Steve Way, Bill Price, Jessica Zemken, Bill Shantel Jr., Steve Anderson, Brad Alger, Pat O'Hanlan, Tim Nye, Mike Zimmerman, Butch Reiter, Bill Shantel Sr., Kyle Lewis, Casey Williams, Waylan Wilczek, Tim Votra, Dan Yankowski, Josh Flint, Sam Reakes.
IMCA MODIFIED FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- GEORGE CATANZANO, Sean Lias, Dale Caswell, Ron Root, Aaron Jacobs, Rich Townsend, Bill Anderson, Skip Pabis, Rich Riggs, Kevin Buff, Chris Thurston, George Valenti, Eric Stumph, Jim Cramer, Carol Parker, Bill Anderson Jr., Joe Rohacevich, JoJo Donato, Dan Ballard, Kevin Priest, Malcomb Warner.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)- RUSS MARSDEN, Jim Thomas, Dave Janczuk, Art Newman, Chris Cunningham, Paul Harrington, Phil Norman, Rick Condes, Stan Clark, Ron Hawker, Bob Bird, Ted Crawford, Rob Seavy, Steve Delano, Walter Koperda, Shawn Dunn, Herm Staats, Michael Barney, Dan Hatch, Dan Hill, Chuck Cushman, Frank Hyatt, Ricky Marshall, Mike Harrison, George Shultze, and Brian Meyers. DQ- Dave Pope.
EMPIRE SUPER SPRINT FEATURE FINISH TOP 10 (25 LAPS)- LANCE YONGE, Dan Kazsubinski, Bubby Kerrick, Jeff Cook, Tim Kelly, Mike Stelter, Gordy Button, Warren Alexson, Brad Knab, and Doug Emery.