Story By: CHRIS MOORE / UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY – VERNON, NY – The 2022 season at Utica-Rome Speedway is officially underway following last Friday night’s ‘Honoring Alex’ Season Opener.
The ‘Home of Heroes’ remembered the late Alex Friesen with a 30-lap Sunoco Modified feature paying $6,800 to Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard, who topped an outstanding field of Modifieds in the season opener.
Racing returns this Friday (May 6) with a complete program of Sunoco Modifieds, Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, Next Generation GraphiX Pro Stocks and Fonda Fair Four Cylinders.
The Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshots and D&S Landscaping Junior Slingshots begin their new season on the inner oval.
The Next Generation GraphiX Pro Stocks will race for an increased winners’ share, with the first-place prize climbing to $1,000 for the Friday night affair.
Sheppard – the defending Modified champion – will be seeking to join Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen as the only drivers with 50 Modified wins at the Route 5-oval.
South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot claimed the season opening win for the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, besting defending champion Matt Janczuk and Niskayuna, N.Y.’s Joe Williams in a thrilling three-car battle for the win.
Grand Gorge, N.Y.’s Beau Ballard picked up where he left off in the 2021 season, winning the season opener in the Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks division. Ballard – who started fourth – topped Bret Belden and Jay Corbin.
After tech problems following his heat, Seth Martin came from the last starting position to win the dramatic Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman 15-lap feature. Four different drivers led the main event, with Martin pacing the final two to claim the victory.
Justin Pope joined Matt Sheppard and Beau Ballard as defending champions to win on opening night. Pope topped the 13-car Fonda Fair Four Cylinder field, holding a hard charging Corey Valade for the win. Dale Van Allen won the Single Cam portion of the event.
For the May 6 program, all gates open at 5 p.m. Hot laps are slated to begin at 6:30 p.m. with racing to follow at 7:30 p.m.
Grandstand admission is $12 for Adults and $10 for Seniors (ages 65 and above). Kids 11 and under get in FREE.
Pit Admission is $30 for Utica-Rome Speedway members and $35 for non-members.