Wight Takes Thunder On The Thruway Modified Main Event At Utica-Rome; Yankowski Is Series Champ

Story By: CHRIS MOORE / UTICA-ROME SPEEDWAY – VERNON, NY – Phoenix, N.Y.’s Larry Wight relieved the disappointment of the blown engine in the All Star Circuit of Champions Sprint Car main at Utica-Rome Speedway Saturday with a $4,000 Sunoco Modified victory in the finale of the F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series.

Wight, who started 10th, claimed his first win at the Route 5 oval in nearly five years.

“We definitely miss coming here, the track is phenomenal,” said an elated Wight of his enjoyment of Utica-Rome Speedway. “With all the rain we had, hats off to the track crew for being able to pull this off.”

Wight started outside the fifth row following the redraw for starting position but wasted little to no time charging to the front.

Wight was into the top five in the opening two laps and got to fourth at the completion of the third lap.

Out front, Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker was fighting with East Greenbush, N.Y.’s Bobby Hackel for the top spot. Decker used the outside lane to get around Hackel and slowly pull away with the lead.

A lap-six yellow gave Wight a restart he would take full advantage of. Going from the fourth position on the restart, Wight picked off Edwards, N.Y.’s Tim Fuller and Bobby Hackel to move into the runner-up spot.

Another restart one lap later gave Wight the shot he wouldn’t miss for the top spot. Once again Wight rolled the outside to drive by Billy Decker for the lead, going from 10th to first in just seven laps.

Decker began to change his line after Wight went around him, keeping pace with Wight as the two dueled for the lead.

Eventually Wight flexed his muscle, pulling away with a commanding win, as the final 23 laps fired off caution free.

Decker held on the for the runner-up spot, and 10-time winner Matt Sheppard had a quiet third-place finish.

Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski claimed the fourth position. The finish was good enough to crown ‘Kid Rocket’ as the Thunder on the Thruway Series champion for the Modifieds.

Baldwinsville, N.Y.’s Jimmy Phelps rounded out the top five aboard his HBR Racing No. 98H.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively, were: Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen, who raced from the 21st starting position; Tim Fuller, who faded to seventh in his St. Lawrence Radiology No. 19; Bobby Hackel, aboard his family-owned No. 97; Queensbury, N.Y.’s Demetrios Drellos aboard his family-owned No. 111; and Hartford, Conn.’s Chris Curtis rounded out the top-10.

Durhamville, N.Y.’s Matt Janczuk won his ninth consecutive Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman feature.

Janczuk fired from the pole starting position for the 25-lap main event and never relinquished the lead for the $1,500 payday.

Despite several restarts with Payton Talbot alongside, Janczuk remained unphased, claiming his tenth victory of the season.

Talbot, of South New Berlin, N.Y., came home in the runner-up spot, good enough to crown him as the Thunder on the Thruway Series champion for the Crate 602 Sportsman.

Rome, N.Y.’s Chris Mackey rounded out the podium finishers, charging from the 15th starting position. Perth, N.Y.’s Chip Constantino came home fourth and Gloversville, N.Y.’s Chad Edwards rounded out the top five after starting in 16th.

The Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks ran what was arguably the best feature of the night in their 20-lap feature.

Grand Gorge, N.Y.’s Beau Ballard emerged from a three-wide battle on the final to top the field and grab the $1,000 victory.

Newport, N.Y.’s A.J. Walters beat Gloversville, N.Y.’s Luke Horning by a nose to round out the podium finishers.

Sixth-place finisher Nick Stone of Schenectady, N.Y., was awarded the Thunder on the Thruway Series championship for his efforts over the six-race series. Stone won the first four Series races to secure the championship.

Friday night racing resumes on August 26 at Utica-Rome Speedway as the five weekly divisions return to action along with the Mohawk Valley Vintage Dirt Modified Series.

Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): LARRY WIGHT, Billy Decker, Matt Sheppard, Alex Yankowski, Jimmy Phelps, Stewart Friesen, Tim Fuller, Bobby Hackel IV, Demetrios Drellos, Chris Curtis, David Schilling, Mike Mahaney, Willy Decker, Alan Johnson, Rocky Warner, Pat Ward, Ronnie Johnson, Bobby Varin, JaMike Sowle, Randy Shantel, Will Shields, Tucker O’Connor, Jim Walsh, Ronnie Holmes, Aaron Jacobs, Dale Gray Jr., Brad Poppleton.

F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series Sunoco Modified Champion: ALEX YANKOWSKI

Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Payton Talbot, Chris Mackey, Chip Constantino, Chad Edwards, Addison Bowman, Zach Sobotka, Tanner Warner, Kevin Chaffee, Matt Richardson, Cody Clark, Jeremy Slosek, Willy Decker Jr., Jordan Millard, Dave DiPietro, Josh Amodio, Dave Richer, Ed Lukas, A.J. Digsby, David Hackett Jr., Gary Derocher, E.J. Gallup, Colin Clow, Wesley Sutliff, Jason Reome, Matt Perry, Shawn Frost, Josh Fellows, Rocco Leone.

F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Champion: PAYTON TALBOT

Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): BEAU BALLARD, A.J. Walters, Luke Horning, Josh Coonradt, Kenny Gates, Nick Stone, Jason Morrison, Bret Belden, Bill Knapp, Tim Wood, Ken Griffen, John Holmes, Ed Kotary, Dillon Vanston, Aaron Page, Jim Normoyle.

F.X. Caprara Car Companies Thunder on the Thruway Series Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Champion: NICK STONE

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