Story By: CHRIS MOORE / UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY – VERNON, NY – Superman has no kryptonite. For the third consecutive race night, Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard walked away the Sunoco Modified 30-lap main event at Utica-Rome Speedway. On Neivel Precision Pluming & Mechanical night, the win was once again worth $3,500 for Sheppard’s efforts.
After beginning the season with three consecutive runner-up finishes, Sheppard has found the extra gear, and has become the man to beat on Friday nights at the ‘Home of Heroes.’
“We had an awesome racecar tonight; we’ve been tweaking it every week and it was a pleasure to drive tonight,” Sheppard explained in Victory Lane, “the track was great as well, it was super-fast and smooth all night.”
Sheppard began his quest for a third consecutive win from the 10th starting position, while Tim Mayne and Brian Gleason occupied the front row.
Gleason, a Glenville, N.Y., native, quickly jumped out to the lead from the outside row, while Sheffield, Mass. star Andy Bachetti jumped from fifth to second on the initial start.
On the restart, Sheppard, who made his way to sixth on the opening lap, quickly went back to work. Sheppard used the outside line to drive to third in turns one and two and followed that with a slide job up in front of Bachetti to take second away.
Another yellow with three laps completed brought the field back together and gave Sheppard an opportunity to start alongside Gleason. When green replaced yellow again, Sheppard was not to be denied, flying around Gleason and taking the lead.
However, another yellow came out, this time for Bachetti on lap five for a left rear flat tire. Bachetti would rejoin and the field would finally go on a long green flag run.
Sheppard entered lap traffic on the lap-14 mark, as Johnstown, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner and Middlesex, N.Y.’s Alan Johnson, who started 21st, battled for second while trying to close in on Sheppard.
Bachetti was charging through the field as well, racing into the top-10, recovering from the flat tire.
A yellow came out on lap 20, once again bunching the field together, this time giving Alan Johnson a crack at Sheppard. It was to avail, as Sheppard ran away to a three-and-a-half-second victory in the remaining 10 laps in his Hurlock Auto & Speed Supply No. 9s.
Alan Johnson brought the Friendly Ford No. 14j home second following issues that plagued him in hot laps and his heat race. Andy Bachetti grabbed third after a tire change his Garrity Asphalt Reclamation No. 4.
Rocky Warner brought his Jake Spraker owned No. 1J to Utica-Rome for the first time and finished fourth, and Dave Marcuccilli rounded out the top-five in just his second visit to Utica-Rome Speedway this season.
Whitney Point, N.Y.’s Marshall Hurd finished sixth in the Midstate Recycling No. 58m, with Darren Smith of Binghamton, N.Y. grabbing seventh in the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 12.
Otisville, N.Y.’s Corey Cormier came home eighth in the Comfort Express No. 27j and Sean Beardsley finished ninth in his Neivel Precision Plumbing No. 18s. Vernon, N.Y.’s Willy Decker rounded out the top-10 in his family-owned No. 1x.
In the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman division, Oneida, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk returned, and raced from his 12th starting position to take the lead away from Addison Bowman on a mid-race restart.
Janczuk led the rest of the way, while the Mexico, N.Y., native Bowman tried desperately to keep pace with Janczuk. Janczuk would cross the finish line first.
However, after post-race inspection, Janczuk was disqualified for a rev box reading not meeting the required 6,000 limit rule.
The win was awarded to Bowman, the first of his career at Utica-Rome, worth $1,000. Oneonta, N.Y.’s Brad Alger finished second and the point leader Dave Richer rounded out the podium finishers.
Empire State drivers Joe Williams and Brian Calabrese rounded out the top-five finishers.
Schenectady, N.Y.’s Nick Stone once again dominated the Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks division, claiming his fourth victory of the season.
Despite several late race restarts, Grand Gorge, N.Y.’s Beau Ballard came up one spot short, chasing Stone across the line. Hamilton, N.Y.’s Bill Knapp rounded out the podium finishers.
Nick Stone also grabbed his first career Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman win, coming from fifth starting position to win the 15-lap feature. Two previous winners this season, Clayton DuMond and David Hacket Jr. rounded out the top three.
Matt Buckovan won the Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinder race, in just his third ever appearance in a racecar. Jean Foster was the winner of the Single Cam portion of the event.
Kyle Fallis picked up the win in the Senior Services Insurance All-Star Slingshot division, his second of the season. Fallis took advantage of Dan Slosek breaking to seal the victory.
Corky Warner was first time winner in the D&S Landscaping Junior Slingshot division, becoming the first driver to beat Colt Kimball in a heat race or feature in the Junior Slingshots.
Racing resumes Friday, July 16, for Tom Cole’s Lexi LLC. night. Grandstand admission will be just $5 for EVERYONE. The Sunoco Modifieds will headline the event. Joining the modifieds will be the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, and the Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinders.
The Senior Services Insurance All-Star Slingshots and the D&S Landscaping Junior Slingshots will be on hand as well on the inner oval.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. and racing is set to begin at 7:30 p.m.
NEIVEL PRECISION PLUMBING NIGHT RESULTS SUMMARY – UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY JULY 9, 2021
Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Alan Johnson, Andy Bachetti, Rocky Warner, Dave Marcuccilli, Marshall Hurd, Darren Smith, Corey Cormier, Sean Beardsley, Willy Decker, Shaun Walker, J.R. Hurlburt, Alan Barker, JaMike Sowle, Randy Shantel, Jeff Rockefeller, Alex Tonkin, Brian Murphy, Tim Mayne, Aaron Jacobs, Adam Roberts, Brian Gleason, Ron Holmes.
Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): ADDISON BOWMAN, Brad Alger, Dave Richer, Joe Williams, Brian Calabrese, Payton Talbot, Will Shields, Chip Constantino, Willy Decker Jr., Shawn Frost, Alan Hodge, Ed Lukas, Steve Kotary, Mike Grover, Scott Mallette, Tim Falter, AJ Miller, David Manchester, John Baker, Kyle Demetro, Rocco Leone, Richie Riggs.
Disqualified: Matt Janczuk.
Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks (20 laps): NICK STONE, Beau Ballard, Bill Knapp, Jason Morrison, Jim Normoyle, Ed Kotary, John Roese, Mike Kazlauskas, Aaron Page, Jerry Streeter, John Holmes, Ivan Joslin, Brian Wesseldine, Jimmy Eaton.
Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (15 laps): NICK STONE, Clayton DuMond, David Hacket Jr., Ed Downing, Jeremy Slosek, Matt Backus, Jason Lopes, Alexis Jacobs, Amber Jacobs, Mike Haman.
Cool Stuff Antiques Four Cylinder Feature Finish (15 laps): MATT BUCKOVAN (DOHC), Donald Kimball, Jean Foster (SOHC), TJ Marlitt.
Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshots (20 laps): KYLE FALLIS, Brett Putnam, Josh Persse, Tyler Vadney, Tucker Jones, Scott Sprague, Eymarah Bowman, Dan Slosek.
D&S Landscaping Junior Slingshots (15 laps): CORKY WARNER, Colt Kimball, Savannah Simmons, Dustin Sehn, Brody Janczuk, Ayden Goodier.