Utica-Rome Speedway 2000-08-13



by Doug Zupan

VERNON, NY - Spencerport's Todd Burley rode his new Troyer DIRT 358 Modified from the fourth starting position to a blistering green to checkers victory at the New Utica-Rome Speedway on August 13 on PEPSI-COLA Night. Other feature winners on the evening were West Winfield's Kevin Crave in the DIRT Sportsman, Bridgewater's Tom Denton in the DIRT Pro Stocks, Vernon's Chad Ray in the Pure Stocks, Mexico's J.J. Courcy in the Senior Slingshots, and Fulton's A.J. Kingsley in the Junior Slingshot division.

Mark Schoonover and Pete Taylor paced the start of the 30-lap DIRT 358 Modified feature down to Starter Chip Burdick's green flag, and Mark Schoonover grabbed the early lead. Todd Burley moved from the fourth starting position into second by the end of the first lap, and set his sights on Schoonover. Deep in the pack, point contenders Ronnie Johnson, J.J. Michaels, and Ron Holmes went three wide for position, and Michaels took the spot and started moving towards the front.

On lap 6, Burley caught Schoonover and made easy work of him, taking the lead a lap later. Dale Planck moved into fifth by lap 8, while J.J. Michaels was flying on his way to the front. By the halfway point, Burley had opened a huge lead, as he was the leader over Schoonover, Billy Wilcox, Dale Planck, and Ted Lamb, Jr.

On lap 17, Billy Wilcox took over second from Schoonover, and set his sights on Burley. A lap later, point leader Ron Holmes slowed, and pulled into the infield on the frontstretch. Holmes was far enough off the track, so no yellow was needed.

Burley was still flying on the lead, and it almost seemed as if he was "in a zone." He methodically picked his way through lapped traffic, but still blistered the speedway and held a commanding lead. On lap 21, Dale Planck, who was running well, moved into the third spot with a quick pass by Mark Schoonover, who was having his best career run.

However, on lap 23, misfortune struck for Planck, who was the runner up in points going into the event, as he broke and pulled into the infield on the frontstretch. With Burley completely checked out from the rest of the field, the fans kept their eyes on the rest of the top five as Tim Clemons steadily moved towards the front. Clemons moved into the fourth spot on lap 26, and two laps later, he was third. Still making a charge with one lap to go was J.J. Michaels, as he squeaked out the fourth position from Schoonover coming out of turn four as they came down to the double checkered flags from Starter Chip Burdick. At the finish, the top five was Burley, Wilcox, Clemons, Michaels, and Schoonover.

In Victory Lane following his second Utica-Rome feature win of the season, Burley commented, "Wow, I'm glad to win this thing. We were good here early this year, then set way behind when our equipment was stolen up in Canada. This car is the same basic car as the last car, but it is brand new right from Troyer. It's a great car, and I already have two wins on it out of four races, including tonight and last week at Ransomville. We started up front and didn't have any yellows tonight, so the top drivers didn't get a chance to catch me. I have to thank everyone that supported me through our misfortune a month or so ago including Billy Colton from Troyer, Pat Morrison my engine builder, New England Race Fuels, Dick Sweet from Sweet Promotions, my crew, and the fans."

Baldwinsville's J.J. Michaels, with his strong run, moves from third to second in season point standings, just seventeen points away from Ron Holmes. For Wilcox, Clemons, and Schoonover, it was their best career Utica-Rome feature finishes. The DIRT 358 Modified feature event went green to checker for the first time in recent memory.

Pete Taylor, Mitch Gibbs, Ron Holmes, and Jeremy Smith won the Modified heat races, while the Modified Consis went to Jim Rothwell and Jason Barney.

Bill Shantel, Jr. took the early lead of the caution filled 20-lap DIRT Sportsman feature event, but on a lap 2 restart, John Christian took over the top spot. Shantel retook the lead after a quick yellow on lap 3, as Paul Carey was flying high and moved into second on the fourth circuit. Runner up in points going into the event, Kevin Crave, challenged Carey for second, and Crave took over the spot on lap 7 and mounted a charge on Shantel. A lap later, Crave took the lead, as Shantel then lost second to Carey. Christian and Shantel went side by side for third, with Christian taking the spot on lap 12. Crave, who started fourteenth, checked out from the rest of the pack and went on to his first Utica-Rome Sportsman feature win of the season. Paul Carey, John Christian, Jamie Christian, and Bill Shantel, Jr followed him across the line. With his big win, Crave took the point lead, with Willy Decker in second and Jamie Christian in third.

Sportsman Heat race wins went to Bill Shantel, Jr., Willy Decker, and Kevin Crave, while Ron Richardson and Steve Way won the Consis.

John Roese took the early lead at the start of the exciting 15-lap DIRT Pro Stock feature event, and he held the lead until a lap 6 restart, when Wayne Archer took the top spot. Archer held the lead for two laps, until Jerry Holmes made an inside move and went from third to first in turn one, taking the lead on lap 9. However, a lap later, Stan Clark made contact with Holmes in turn two, causing Holmes to spin into the infield. The yellow came out, and Clark was sent to the rear. Moving into the top five from deep in the pack was Tom Denton, as he furiously battled for the second spot with lady racer Gerry Newman. With one lap to go, Bill Knapp made contact with the outside wall on the backstretch causing a yellow flag period. Ed Kotary was also involved, and both cars were done for the night, but both drivers were uninjured. On the restart, Utica-Rome race fans saw a 3-wide battle for the win on the final lap, with Denton, Newman, and Archer. It looked as though Newman had the spot on the backstretch but Denton, who started fourteenth, proved to be too strong for Newman, and he went on to his fifth win of the 2000 season at Utica-Rome. After Denton, Newman over Archer in a photo finish for third, John Roese in fourth, and Mike Watkins in fifth.

Denton, by virtue of his victory, became the all-time Pro Stock feature winner at Utica-Rome, with eighteen career victories, compared to seventeen by Rick Miller.

Doug Grimaldi and Bret Belden won the Pro Stock Heat races.

Jeremy Bargabos was the early race leader in the 15-lap Pure Stock feature event, while top runners Chad Ray and Dave Mannise were in a torrid side by side battle for second. After several quick yellow flags, Ray and Mannise were right behind Bargabos, who lost the lead on lap 4 when Ray took command. Mannise moved into second, but Ray had already opened up a lead. Several other yellows slowed the event, but Ray was able to hold off Mannise for the victory, which was his second on the season at Utica-Rome. After Ray and Mannise, it was Jeff Pastorella, Howie Koegal, and Todd Storace.

Pure Stock Heat wins went to Chad Ray, Waylan Wilczek, and Jeff Pastorella, while Jim Thomas won the Consi.

The NYS Senior Slingshot Tour 30-lap event was led for the first nine laps by Ryan Phelps until he pulled pitside on the ninth lap, giving the lead to a fast Brian Thomas. Thomas was in command for only one lap, when he lost his chain and pulled into the infield. This gave the lead to Jackie Botindari who held the lead until lap 22 when J.J. Courcy made an inside move and became the final leader as he led the remainder of the way until the checkers flew. After Courcy, it was Botindari, Pete Neff, Brad Alger, and A.J. Digsby. A.J. Kingsley led the entire distance of the 12-lap Junior Slingshot feature and went home the winner over Larry Wight.

Todd Land, Ryan Phelps, and A.J. Kingsley won the Slingshot Heat races.

The evening was New York State Stock Car Association (NYSSCA) Night and the top finishing NYSSCA members received an additional $50 for their efforts. Todd Burley, Kevin Crave, Tom Denton, Dave Mannise, and A.J. Digsby won the extra money, while Bill Knapp received the Wild Card award by luck of the draw.

Coming up this Thursday August 17, the United Late Model Series will roll into Utica-Rome for a 40-lap Dirt Late Model Showdown. Also in racing action will be the DIRT Sportsman in a $500 to win non-point affair. The gates will open at 5pm and racing will begin at 7pm.

Coming up this Sunday August 20, FOREIGN AUTO PARTS will present a regular program of DIRT 358 Modifieds, DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots. Also scheduled are a Rollover Contest and an Old Timer's Reunion. The gates will open at 4pm and racing will begin at 6pm.

For more information, contact the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or visit the official internet website at www.newuticaromespeedway.com.

Notes: 33 Modifieds, 34 Sportsman, 22 Pro Stocks, 31 Pure Stocks, 15 Slingshots, and 5 Late Models jammed the Utica-Rome pit area. David Peek, son of the late legendary Harry Peek, raced at Utica-Rome for the first time ever. Unfortunately, Peek did not qualify for the feature. Popular Pure Stock driver Jim Thomas, from Marcy, flipped his Pure Stock in turn four during his heat race. Thomas was unhurt, and several other teams helped him fix his battered racer in time for the Consi, which he won in a crowd-pleasing manner. 5 Dirt Late Models - including Bob Vormwald, Gene Sharpsteen, Dan Stone, Jeremy Stone, and Billy Marvin were at NUR for hot laps in preparation for Thursday's big Dirt Late Model show down. They were super fast, at least a full second faster than the Modifieds. Dan Stone, from Thompson, PA, looks as though he could be a favorite for the huge win on Thursday.




DIRT 358 Modifieds (30 Laps) - 1)TODD BURLEY, 2) Billy Wilcox, 3)Tim Clemons, 4)J.J. Michaels, 5)Mark Schoonover, 6)Mitch Gibbs, 7)Ted Lamb, Jr., 8)Ronnie Johnson, 9)Gus Schmidt, 10)John Barker, Jr., 11)Roger Phelps, 12)Pete Taylor, 13)Andy Romano, 14)Jason Barney, 15)Steve Hulsizer, 16)Jeremy Smith, 17)John Ramsey, 18)Jim Rothwell, 19)Joe Slawiak, 20)Mike Gillette, 21)Bobby Utter, 22)Dale Planck, 23)Ron Holmes, 24)Mike Hulsizer.

Lap Leaders - Schoonover (1-6), Burley (7-20).

Did Not Qualify - Rich Price, Brent Cross, David Peek, Dave Sargent, Randy Storms, Joel Thomas, Bill Shantel, Sr., Mike Jacobs, Mike Fusco.

Current Unofficial Point Standings - 1)Ron Holmes 392, 2)J.J. Michaels 375, 3)Tim Clemons 360, 4)Billy Wilcox 355, 5)Dale Planck 351.

DIRT Sportsman (20 Laps) - 1)KEVIN CRAVE, 2)Paul Carey, 3)John Christian, 4)Jamie Christian, 5)Bill Shantel, Jr., 6)John Kinsella, 7)Daryl Hagen, 8)Butch Reiter, 9)Steve Davis, 10)Ron Richardson, 11)Dave Bargabos, 12)Brian Murphy, 13)Craig Pritchard, 14)Geoff VanRiper, 15)Jessica Zemken, 16)Donnie Wetmore, Jr., 17)Jim Roberts, 18)Rich Keller, 19)Willy Decker, 20)Paul Kinney, 21)Tim Mayne, 22)Dan Yankowski, 23)Shane Donath, 24)Shawn Donath, 25)Steve Way.

Lap Leaders - Shantel (1), Jo. Christian (2), Shantel (3-7), Crave (8-20).

Did Not Qualify - Brian Johnson, Jim Lavalla, Ray Zemken, Derek Loonen, Jason Potter, Pete Lyon, Mark Tily, Scott Schara, John Powers.

Current Unofficial Point Standings - 1)Kevin Crave 332, 2)Willy Decker 307, 3)Jamie Christian 304, 4)Paul Carey 292, 5)Craig Pritchard 274.

DIRT Pro Stocks (15 Laps) - 1)TOM DENTON, 2)Gerry Newman, 3)Wayne Archer, 4)John Roese, 5)Mike Watkins, 6)Jason Rood, 7)Doug Grimaldi, 8)Dave Moyer, 9)Richard Stevenson, 10)Dave Meeks, 11)Stan Clark, 12)Eric Vanderhoof, 13)Jason Doxtader, 14)Chuck Mathews, 15)John Kiskiel, 16)Jerry Holmes, 17)Bill Knapp, 18)Ed Kotary, 19)Gus Gould, 20)Chuck Jones, 21)Bret Belden, 22)Jamie Reese.

Lap Leaders - Roese (1-6), Archer (7-8), Holmes (9), Archer (10-14), Denton (15).

Pure Stocks (15 Laps) - 1)CHAD RAY, 2)Dave Mannise, 3)Jeff Pastorella, 4)Howie Koegal, 5)Todd Storace, 6)George Schulze, 7)Jeremy Bargabos, 8)Bobby Newman, 9)Les Lewis, 10)Dan Hatch, 11)Dennis Brown, 12)Bob Gloska, 13)Dan Warner, 14)Bill Lashen, 15)Marty Collmer, 16)Ken Conners, 17)Cali Hall, 18)Bill Gibson, 19)Mark Effner, 20)Walt Koperda, Jr., 21)Frank Burnell, 22)Jim Thomas, 23)Ray Fancher, 24)Rob Seavy, 25)Art Newman, Jr., 26)Dave Arbes.

DNS - Waylan Wilczek.

Lap Leaders - Bargabos (1-3), Ray (4-15).

Did Not Qualify - Dennis Kelly, Dave Pope, Rocky Warner, Dan Poland, Jr., Chuck Cushman, Jr.

NYS Slingshot Tour (30 Laps) - 1)J.J. COURCY, 2)Jackie Botindari, 3)Pete Neff, 4)Brad Alger, 5)A.J. Digsby, 6)Bob Hoffman, 7)Dennis Tilison, 8)Randy Marsh, 9)Mike Waterman, 10)Bill Cook, 11)Brian Thomas, 12)Ryan Phelps, 13)Todd Land.

Lap Leaders - Phelps (1-9), Thomas (10), Botindari (11-22), Courcy (23-30).

Junior Slingshots (12 Laps) - 1)A.J. KINGSLEY, 2)Larry Wight.

Lap Leaders - Kingsley (1-12).

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About this article
Series Stock car
Drivers Jim Roberts , Pete Taylor , Jason Potter , Brian Johnson , Brian Murphy , John Barker , Jeremy Smith , Brent Cross , Brian Thomas