Archive for the 'Utica-Rome' Category

Utica-Rome Speedway’s April 2nd Chill Factor Cancelled Due to Lingering Snow and Wet Grounds

VERNON, NY — The upcoming 2017 season opener at the Utica-Rome Speedway, scheduled for Sunday, April 2, has been canceled due to a recent winter storm and the accompanying snow melt that has followed the storm. Winter Storm Stella dumped 40” of snow on the speedway, which has made preparations for the scheduled opener nearly impossible to the wet grounds as the snow began to melt. The “Chill Factor” was to feature a $3,000 to win event for the Gates-Cole Auto Insurance Modifieds plus a $1,000 to win show for the Broedel Energy DIRTcar Sportsman.

Action will now begin on the track on April 23 when Budweiser presents the start of points season for the Gates-Cole Auto Insurance DIRTcar Modifieds, Broedel Energy DIRTcar Sportsman, and DIRTcar Pro Stocks plus the first ever Gladiator Twin 20’s for the 360 Sprints. The pit gates will open at 12:30 p.m. while the grandstands will open at 2 p.m. Racing is set to begin at 4 p.m.

Competitors are reminded that a DIRTcar license is needed to compete in any of the DIRTcar-sanctioned divisions and are encouraged to purchase a license beforehand to help alleviate any opening night lines. To help competitors do this, Bill and Kim Shea are hosting a pre-season pizza party at the Utica-Rome Speedway Club, which is located directly in front of the speedway in the former Tombstone Saloon location. $30 of each license purchased from Utica-Rome Speedway will be directly put into the 2017 drivers point fund. The party starts at 5 p.m. and will continue until 1 a.m.

Continue reading ‘Utica-Rome Speedway’s April 2nd Chill Factor Cancelled Due to Lingering Snow and Wet Grounds’

Gates-Cole Insurance Returns as Title Sponsor for the Modifieds for the 2017 Season at Utica-Rome Speedway

VERNON, NY- For the second consecutive year, Gates-Cole Insurance will be the title sponsor the headline Modified division at the Utica-Rome Speedway. With the continuing support from Gates-Cole Insurance, the Modified division will once again carry the name of the Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds for the 2017 season.
Gates-Cole Insurance has had a presence in the local motorsports scene for several decades, most notably on the car of recent New York State Stock Car Association Hall of Fame inductee Paul Jensen.  When Gene Cole took over Utica-Rome Speedway in 2002, Gates-Cole Insurance became more involved with title sponsorship of some the speedway’s biggest events, and their involvement will continue 2017 as they will again sponsor several nights throughout the season.
With over 100 years of experience, Gates-Cole Insurance has become a trusted name in Central New York when providing customers with all their insurance needs.  Auto Insurance, Life Insurance, Homeowners Insurance, Fire Insurance, Business Insurance, or whatever else you need insured, Gates-Cole Insurance has you covered.  With 10 locations in the region, Gates-Cole makes it easy for you to get the quote you need.  Whether you do it in person, on the phone, or online, their excellent customer service will meet all your insurance needs.  For more information on Gates-Cole Insurance including locations, log on to  For outstanding service by outstanding people, make sure you call Gates-Cole Insurance for all your insurance needs. Continue reading ‘Gates-Cole Insurance Returns as Title Sponsor for the Modifieds for the 2017 Season at Utica-Rome Speedway’

Utica-Rome Speedway Ready for Ambitious 2017 Schedule

VERNON, NY – After a 2016 season that saw Mother Nature take her toll on the Utica-Rome Speedway, owners Bill and Kim Shea are ready for a fresh start in 2017. The schedule for the speedway is jam packed with some new events as well as old as the track looks to diversify its offerings to reach a wider variety of race fans.

New for 2017 is the Chill Factor 40 for the Gates-Cole Auto Insurance DIRTcar Modifieds scheduled for April 2. This is one of the first events, if not the first, scheduled in New York for the Modified and 602 Sportsman divisions. The 40-lap feature offers a $3,000 to win purse with $300 going to drivers who qualify. Also on the docket that day is the DIRTcar 602 Sportsman. Their 30-lap feature is set to pay $1,000 to win with $100 reserved for any drivers that qualifies. Drivers from other divisions are welcome to attend with several open practice sessions scheduled throughout the day for them regardless of division. The nightcap for the race is the only appearance in 2017 by Kings Smash’em Crash’em Demolition Derby.

After the Chill Factor the speedway goes silent for two weeks before returning for the traditional season opener for the Gates-Cole Auto Insurance DIRTcar Modifieds, DIRTcar Sportsman and DIRTcar Pro Stocks on April 23. This year these divisions are joined by the Gladiator Twin 20’s for the 360 Sprint Cars. For first time at Utica-Rome, Sprint Car teams have the chance to compete in a pair of $1,500 to win 20-lap features. Rules and qualifying procedures for the event will be announced in the coming weeks. This visit by the 360 Sprint Cars is the first of many as Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints return for their traditional dates on Memorial Day, July 4th and Labor Day weekends while the 360 Sprint Car open Cole Cup is set for October.
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Airborne, Freedom and Utica-Rome Speedways Join DIRTcar Northeast as Sportsman Modified Home Tracks in 2017

CONCORD, N.C. – Jan. 26, 2017 – DIRTcar Northeast officials are proud to announce the additions of Airborne Speedway, Freedom Raceway Park and Utica-Rome Speedway as Sportsman Modified home tracks for the 2017 season. The addition of the trio of New York facilities increases the number of DIRTcar Sportsman Modified sanctioned tracks to 17 for the upcoming season.

Airborne Speedway in Plattsburgh, NY returns to a dirt surface in 2017 with promoter John Walker leading the conversion. The track will host the DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds on a weekly basis as well as a North Region tour event in September. Airborne is also the newest track to the Super DIRTcar Series tour. It will host the Big-Block Modifieds at the half-mile oval on Thursday, July 6.

Freedom Motorsports Park, located in Delevan, NY, provides a home track to drivers in the southwestern area of the state under the guidance of Bob Reis. The 1/3-mile clay oval hosts Friday night racing from May to September less than one hour southeast of Buffalo.

Continue reading ‘Airborne, Freedom and Utica-Rome Speedways Join DIRTcar Northeast as Sportsman Modified Home Tracks in 2017’

Regionalized DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series Format on Tap for 2017

CONCORD, N.C. – Jan. 14, 2017 – On the heels of a strong season in 2016 that saw over 230 different DIRTcar Sportsman Modified drivers compete in 15 series points shows, DIRTcar Racing officials will unveil a new format for Sportsman Modified teams in 2017.

Currently,19 different tracks have signed up for DIRTcar Sportsman Modifieds Series with negotiations ongoing for additional dates. To accommodate the increased demand, tour events being scheduled from the last weekend in April through late-September will be run under a regional format, with the schedule divided into four regions – North, West, Central and the East, which was announced earlier today will be a part of the King Of Dirt tour. DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series teams will only be required to participate in a region of their choice in order to earn valuable series points. Point races run in other regions will become optional events for teams.

Home Track Bonus Points awarded for participating at one of the many DIRTcar Racing sanction tracks is again the foundation for the 2017 schedule. Bonus points from the regional DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series will be added to a driver’s home track total on September 25. In addition to 1,000 Series bonus points, each regional points champion will earn a guaranteed starting spot at the Super DIRT Week Sportsman Championship at Oswego Speedway as well as a preferred starting spot in the World Short Track Championship at the Dirt Track at Charlotte.

Continue reading ‘Regionalized DIRTcar Sportsman Modified Series Format on Tap for 2017’

Utica-Rome Speedway Joins DIRTcar in 2017

Speedway set to sanction weekly action for the first time since 2004

VERNON, N.Y. (December 5, 2016) – After a three-year run as a NASCAR home track, the Utica-Rome Speedway is making a change for the upcoming season. The owners of the facility, Bill and Kim Shea, have elected to make a move into the DIRTcar Racing fold. It is the first time in over 10 years that the facility will fly the DIRTcar banner.

“We had a great run with NASCAR but after looking at our options going forward Kim and I think it’s time to try something different,” said speedway owner Bill Shea. “Last season we ran a Super DIRTcar Series event and we had a great response from the fans and the drivers. We want to build upon that for this year. We look forward to furthering the relationship with DIRTcar going forward as we continue to grow Utica-Rome Speedway.”

The speedway and DIRTcar officials have been working behind the scenes over the past few months to iron out the details of the deal. Mike Perrotte, the Director of Series and Sanctioning for DIRTcar Northeast, was excited about finally being able to bring Utica-Rome Speedway into the mix.

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Utica-Rome Speedway Sets 2017 Weekly Divisions

VERNON, NY – Utica-Rome Speedway management is diligently working on the schedule for the 2017 season. Although dates have yet to finalize for special events, the weekly program has taken shape over the past few weeks. The speedway plans to feature a weekly program that includes the Modifieds, 602 Sportsman, Pro Stocks as well as a new to the speedway Novice Sportsman division.
As they’ve been the past several seasons at Utica-Rome, the Modifieds remain as the Sunday night highlight for weekly action at the half-mile facility. Matt Sheppard captured his second consecutive track championship at the speedway, his third overall in 2016. He dominated the season parking his self-owned No.9s in Victory Lane on five different occasions. Larry Wight, Pat Ward, Rob Belling and Danny Varin also took home triumphs in the Modifieds last season. Fans can expect the same quality field to compete at the track in 2017 with several new faces ready to add to the top division ranks.
Although the 602 Sportsman became a weekly division just two seasons ago, they’ve quickly become one of the most popular at the speedway. The division saw strong weekly car counts averaging in the mid 20’s with several nights seeing car counts break the 30-car threshold. Matt Janczuk wrestled the 2016 title away from Rocky Warner as the chase for the title came down to the final night of action back in September.

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Utica-Rome Speedway Modified Regulars Make Presence Felt with Strong Efforts in Time Trials at Super Dirt Week

VERNON, NY- When the final event of the 2016 season was completed this past Tuesday, the focus for drivers, crews, and fans alike shifted to the 45th running of Super DIRT Week. For the first time since the inception of the event, Super DIRT Week is being held at a different venue than the New York State Fairgrounds and with the 2016 version being held on the southeastern shore of Lake Ontario at the Oswego Speedway.

Despite the new location, a familiar name has claimed the pole for the Bud Light 300 which will be held this Sunday, October 9. Matt Sheppard, the 2016 Utica-Rome Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Modified track champion, bested a huge field of DIRTcar Big Block Modified competitors in time trials as he toured the now clay covered 5/8ths mile track in 22.783 seconds to gain the pole award. In DIRTcar 358-Modified time trials, Sheppard was fourth quick. Both efforts were good enough to guarantee starting spots in Saturday’s Riccelli-Northern Salute to the Troops 150 and Sunday’s Bud Light 300.

While Sheppard was grabbing headlines with pole-winning effort for the Bud Light 300, other Utica-Rome Speedway Modified regulars were also making their presence felt. Third place point man Danny Varin raised a few eyebrows with his Bud Light 300 qualifying effort as he tripped the clock at 23.283 seconds, good enough for the fourth spot in Sunday’s main event.

Continue reading ‘Utica-Rome Speedway Modified Regulars Make Presence Felt with Strong Efforts in Time Trials at Super Dirt Week’

Matt Sheppard Super in Utica-Rome Speedway Season Finale, Takes $5,500 Win While Lucas Wolfe Scores $3,000 360 Sprint Checkered Flag

VERNON, NY- The Utica-Rome Speedway concluded it 2016 season this past Tuesday, October 4, with a special event presented by Broedel Energy to coincide with the beginning of Super DIRT Week in Oswego NY.  The event saw Matt Sheppard take the twice delayed Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series (originally scheduled for May 22) Victoria 200 55 lap victory, worth $5,500, while Pennsylvanian Sprint star Lucas Wolfe take the $3,000 360 Sprint checkered flag.  Paul Klager won the TUSA/Pro Race Car Mod Lite main event.

Mike Mahaney and Vic Coffey brought the 26 car Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series to the green flag to start the 55 lap main event with Coffey immediately launching to the lead.  2016 Utica-Rome Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series track champion Matt Sheppard quickly settled into the second spot in pursuit of Coffey. A lap one incident caused by several car getting together and stopping in turn one slowed the pace and when all cars got moving, Coffey held on to the lead on the restart.  With Coffey running the top side of the track and Sheppard on the bottom, the duo put on a spirited battle for the lead throughout the first handful of circuits.

On lap eight, the leaders started to encounter lapped traffic, with Coffey getting bottled up behind a slower car which allowed Sheppard to slip by to lead lap nine.  With Sheppard now the leader, Coffey kept pace with the him and was not allowing him to get away.  As the top two battled for position, there was an early crowd pleasing battle throughout the rest of the top as Alan Barker, Mahaney, Danny Varin, Pat Ward, and Bobby Varin all diced for position with Barker holding the edge for third early over Mahaney and Danny Varin.

Continue reading ‘Matt Sheppard Super in Utica-Rome Speedway Season Finale, Takes $5,500 Win While Lucas Wolfe Scores $3,000 360 Sprint Checkered Flag’

$3,000 to Win 360 Sprints Open, Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series and Mod Lites at Utica-Rome Speedway to Kick Off Huge Week of Racing in Central New York

 This coming Tuesday, October 4, will be the final on track event of the 2016 season at the Utica-Rome Speedway will a thrilling three division show featuring the completion of the Victoria event for the Race of Champions Dirt Modifieds, from May 22, plus a $3,000 to win 360 Sprint Car open event plus the Pro Race Car Mod Lites. Broedel Energy, which is the Official Fuel Supplier of the Utica-Rome Speedway, will present the night’s action.

Track officials are hopeful that the “Tuesday Night Thunder” program this Tuesday will finally see the conclusion of the $5,500 to win Victoria event that was originally set to be completed on May 22. On that day, qualifying was completed and a preliminary feature was on the track when rain came, ending the day’s action. An attempt was made to complete the event on Sunday, August 14, in conjunction with the annual Night of Legends program but rain again dashed all hopes of getting racing in that day. Hopes are high that the third time will be the charm, and the long range forecast supports those hopes, and the 55 lap Race of Champions main event will be completed. For drivers that were not in attendance on the original date, there will be a last chance qualifier where a minimum of four drivers will be added to the feature lineup that will pay a minimum of $250 to start. If an already qualified driver does not return, another car will be added to the field. A 30 car starting field is planned.

For the second consecutive year, the 360 Sprints will be part of the action in the special “Tuesday Night Thunder” program where they will compete in $3,000 to win and $300 to start A Main. Last season when the cars hit the track, Paul Kinney blasted around the track while setting the track record of 15.598 seconds. Stewart Friesen took home the win in the main event. Many of the best 360 Sprint drivers are expected to attend for the curtain call in the speedway’s final event of the 2016 season. So far, Lucas Wolfe and Billy VanInwegan have stated they plan on attending to join the talent laden field. A draw will set the heat lineups with a redraw setting the top 12 in the A Main. Cole Cup technical rules will be effect.

Continue reading ‘$3,000 to Win 360 Sprints Open, Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series and Mod Lites at Utica-Rome Speedway to Kick Off Huge Week of Racing in Central New York’

Mark Smith Beats Danny Varin and Chuck Hebing for $10,000 Cole Cup Win at Utica-Rome Speedway, Matt Sheppard and Rocky Warner also take wins

VERNON, NY-It was a battle right down to the end, but Mark Smith made the Pennsylvania Posse proud by capturing Sunday night’s Gates-Cole Insurance/A-Verdi Storage Containers Cole Cup at the Utica-Rome Speedway.  It was Smith’s first ever win at the half-mile facility and one of the biggest of his career as he took home a $10,000 payday.  Matt Sheppard took the companion Race of Champions New Yorker 40 for the Modifieds while Rocky Warner took the $1,000 Race of Champion Sportsman Series win.

For Smith, of Sunbury, Pa., it was his third Empire State victory of the season.  He’s taken a knack to running the slicker tracks in New York, including the tricky surface at Utica-Rome

“Everyone talks about how slick these tracks are,” said Smith.  “I like it like this.   I think the guys did a hell of a job with this racetrack.  It is really fun.  Our tracks down home are really big and fast.  You get strung out.  I like these tracks.  They are wide, slick and racey.”

Continue reading ‘Mark Smith Beats Danny Varin and Chuck Hebing for $10,000 Cole Cup Win at Utica-Rome Speedway, Matt Sheppard and Rocky Warner also take wins’

Rocky Warner, Nick Stone, and Mike Kiser All Win On Night One of Cole Cup/New Yorker Weekend

VERNON, NY-The Utica-Rome Speedway started to put the finishing touches on it 2016 summer season with a special Saturday, September 19, show as part of its two-day Cole Cup/New Yorker Weekend.  Wilber-Duck Chevrolet and Gates-Cole Insurance presented the return of the King of Dirt Pro Stock and 602 Sportsman Series and CRSA Sprints.  When everything was done, it was Rocky Warner taking another big win in the King of Dirt Sportsman main while Nick Stone found Victory Lane in the King of Dirt Pro Stocks.  Mike Kiser would set the early pace in the CRSA Sprints and hang on to take the win.

When money is on the line at the Utica-Rome Speedway, you can bet that Rocky Warner will be at the front of field, contending for the win.  In all the higher paying events this season in the 602 Sportsman, Warner was winning or contending for the win when the checkered flag fell.  This time, Warner would secure the win to take his second King of Dirt win of the season at the Vernon oval.  At the start, Stephen Denton and Cody Bleau would lead the 27 car King of Dirt “Salute to the Troops 30” feature to the green flag with Bleau jumping out the lead using the extreme outside of the speedway.  Denton wasn’t going away easily as he harassed Bleau repeatedly in the early going.  Then as lap eight was going on to the scoreboard, Denton slipped by Bleau for the lead by hugging the extreme bottom of the track.  Denton would hold that spot until eighth place starter Rocky Warner slipped by on lap 10.  Again, Denton wasn’t giving up as he continued to hold run second with Bleau pressuring to retake the spot. Lap 13 saw Bleau go around the outside of Denton and look to close the gap on the front-running Warner.  Bleau’s shot at running down the leader was short-lived, however, as he slipped over the edge of the track in turns three and four.  Bleau would restart and pick up at the rear of the field.

With Warner out front, it was 2016 SUNY Canton Sportsman track champion putting on a show as he made his way from his 25th starting spot into the top five by lap 15.  A circuit later, Janczuk was in second and looking for more as he pulled up onto the rear deck lid of Warner.  The final restart of the race would come on lap 19, and Warner seemed ready as he pulled away from the field where he would stay for the rest of the event.  Janczuk would settle for second followed by Dave Marcuccilli, AJ Filbeck, Connor Cleveland, Denton, Kevin Root, David Schilling, Andrew Buff, and Corey Barker.

Continue reading ‘Rocky Warner, Nick Stone, and Mike Kiser All Win On Night One of Cole Cup/New Yorker Weekend’

A Busy Weekend of Racing PlannedfFor Utica-Rome Speedway Coming Up Highlighted by $10,000 to Win Cole Cup for 360 Sprints; Race of Champions Modifieds Also See Action in $3,000 to Win Event

VERNON, NY- Utica-Rome Speedway plans to end the summer racing season with an exciting two-day show that will feature 360 Sprints, 305 Sprints, Dirt Modifieds, Crate Sportsman, and Pro Stocks. On Saturday, September 10, the King of Dirt Sportsman and Pro Stock Series will return to the Vernon oval along with the CRSA 305 Sprints. A practice session for the 360 Sprints and Modifieds will also be held, weather permitting, for drivers looking to prepare for the following day. Then on Sunday, September 11, the rescheduled $10,000 to win 3rd Annual Cole Cup for the 360 Sprints will be joined by the Race of Champions Dirt Modifieds that will compete in the New Yorker 40, paying $3,000 to win. The Race of Champions Crate Sportsman will also see action as well in a $1,000 to win affair.

Interest has been growing over the past several weekends from competitors alike for the 3rd edition of the Cole Cup. The $10,000 top prize has gained the interest of PA Posse members Greg Hodnett, Lucas Wolfe, and Aaron Ott and as long as their weekend goes as planned, they plan on attending. According to his website, Texas driver Sam Hafertepe Jr. will also be in attendance. Add in the top drivers from the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints such as Steve Poirier, Jason Barney, Chuck Hebing, Paul Kinney, Matt Tanner, and more plus Davie Franek from the United Racing Club and the field gets more and more impressive. Add in Mark Smith and Bryan Howland plus Modified drivers Danny Varin, Bobby Varin, Larry Wight, and Mike Mahaney to the list of drivers expected with some more surprises still expected. USAC’s Chris Windom has expressed interest as has some of the Sprint Cars of New England competitors. Danny Varin won the last 360 Sprint event at the speedway, held this past Sunday as he held off Poirier to the checkered.

The New Yorker 40 for the Race of Champions Dirt Modifieds has been added to the schedule for Sunday, September 11, and with no conflicts, a strong field of cars is expected. The favorite going into the event to collect the $3,000 payday is track champion, Matt Sheppard. Runner-up in the standings, Larry Wight, will surely have something to say about that however, as he is a threat to win whenever he hits the track. Pat Ward, Mike Mahaney, Marc Johnson, Vic Coffey, Matt Hulsizer, Rob Bellinger, and Alan Johnson are just some of the track regulars that should be on hand. Like the Sprints, some surprise entrants are expected as well in the Modifieds as several teams have called with questions.

Continue reading ‘A Busy Weekend of Racing PlannedfFor Utica-Rome Speedway Coming Up Highlighted by $10,000 to Win Cole Cup for 360 Sprints; Race of Champions Modifieds Also See Action in $3,000 to Win Event’

Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Join Weekly Divisions on Championship Night this Sunday, Track Champions to be Crowned

VERNON, NY- After a season that has seen some great racing in between dodging the rain, the Utica-Rome Speedway point season will come to a close this Sunday, September 22, in all four of the weekly divisions. Broedel Energy and Rasmussen Rents will present the final night of points and see the track champions crowned for the Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds, SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman, Broedel Energy Open Sportsman, and G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks. The Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints will also be on hand for what will be a tune up for the $10,000 to win Cole Cup on September 11. The Back to School Backpack Giveaway for the kids, courtesy of the Bobby Page Foundation and the Utica-Rome Speedway Kids Club, will take place during intermission.

Like the other divisions, the Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds have a close point battle going in this Sunday’s event as defending champion Matt Sheppard looks to secure another title over Larry Wight, who sits just 12 points shy of the lead. Danny Varin sits in third followed by Pat Ward, Marc Johnson, Rob Bellinger, Mike Mahaney, Vic Coffey, Alan Johnson, and Matt Hulsizer.

In the SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman, defending champion Rocky Warner looks to grab his second title in a row, but Matt Janczuk stands his way as he holds a two-point edge over Warner coming into this weekend. Kyle Kiehn, Chris Mackey, and Brent Joy round out the top five with Rocco Leone, Jason Rood, Glenn Forward, John Christian, and David Schilling trailing.
Continue reading ‘Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Join Weekly Divisions on Championship Night this Sunday, Track Champions to be Crowned’

Mother Nature Strikes Again as Utica-Rome Speedway Loses Another Show to Rain

VERNON, NY- All too often throughout the 2016 campaign at Utica-Rome Speedway, Mother Nature has saved her fury for Sundays and as track officials were preparing for the Sunday, August 21 program, she struck again. Late morning rain sweeping through the region and a forecast the called for several more hours of rain forced track owners Bill and Kim Shea to cancel. This will be the eighth complete rain out in 2016 and the ninth affected by rain.

Gates-Cole Insurance and Certified Auto Outlet was to present a full show of Gates-Cole Insurance Modifieds, SUNY Canton 602 Sportsman, Broedel Energy Open Sportsman, and G&I Homes of Vernon Pro Stocks plus Vintage Sportsman/Modifieds.

This coming weekend is a rare double header at the Utica-Rome Speedway. On Friday, August 26, Clinton Tractor will present Truck Pulls by Shootout Productions, featuring four divisions of trucks including Enhanced Gas, 2.5 Workstock, 2.6 Diesel, and Mod 4×4. Gates open at 4:30 p.m. with pulling starting at 7 p.m. More information can be found at
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Pit Box: East Thunders Into Bristol

Whelen Southern Mods Return To Caraway


 • Following a three-week hiatus the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East will return to action with the fifth annual PittLite 125 on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway. Last year’s winner Kyle Benjamin will look to become the series’ first two-time victor in Thunder Valley. Todd Gilliland also has a chance to sit alone in the K&N Pro Series record books as he will look to become the first driver in East or West history to win his first five career starts. He’s currently tied for the mark with Dan Gurney, who won his first four K&N Pro Series West races (then known as Pacific Coast Late Models) from 1963-66.

• The NASCAR Whelen Southern Modified Tour returns to Caraway Speedway for the second time this season for Saturday’s Dogwood 150. Andy Seuss won this race last year and is still looking for his first checkered flag of the season while George Brunnhoelzl III enters as victor of the past two events. Burt Myers won the season opener at Caraway in March and holds a one-point advantage over Brunnhoelzl in the standings. After the Dogwood 150, the tour will take its annual spring break until July.

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Warner Gives Utica-Rome National Recognition

NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division II-V Update

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Long-time race fans in Rome, New York, and throughout the country often think of two drivers when Utica-Rome Speedway is mentioned in conversations.

NASCAR Hall of Famers Richie Evans and Jerry Cook called Rome home and became legends racing in modifieds, and now there’s another driver trying to get his name in the national championship picture in the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series.


In this week’s Division II national standings Rocky Warner, who just won the track championship in the Sportsman 602 division at Utica-Rome last week, now is in the hunt to bring another title home to speedway. Warner has moved into a tie for the Division II points lead with Columbus (Ohio) Motor Speedway’s Kyle Purvis at 483 apiece. Although the NASCAR season is complete at his home track, Warner is happy just to be in the hunt for the title.

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Friesen Adds to Upstate New York Legacy

Utica-Rome Champ Also Takes Home NASCAR State Title

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Stewart Friesen is no stranger to historical feats. If your name is ahead of NASCAR Hall of Famer Richie Evans on any list, you’ve had a remarkable career.

The all-time feature wins leader in Utica-Rome Speedway’s famous history added yet another feather in his cap in 2014 when he captured the seventh track championship of his still-young career.

Friesen, from Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, posted seven wins and 18 top fives in the 358 Modified division at Utica-Rome to edge Matt Sheppard by 10 points in what was his fifth-consecutive title campaign.

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Huge Month of March to Launch 10th Anniversary Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour in 2014

Extra Bonus Money to Be Awarded To Top 5 Modified Drivers after Busy Month!

BINGHAMTON, NY — The 2014 Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour will begin its 10th Anniversary Season with a huge month of March to get it all underway. The seventh annual Ice Breaker will take place at the Selinsgrove Speedway on March 14th and 15th and will get a busy month under way. An extra incentive has just been added to the top five drivers in the RoC Modified Tour points after the March swing. An extra $3,000 has been posted as an individual bonus to be split up among those top five. The March RoC tour races already boast big purses for the Modified teams that take part in the early season must see events.

In the past the early season Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour events have been hugely successful and this year the top five teams at month’s end will receive a little extra bonus dough. The driver leading the RoC Modified Tour points at the end of March will get a $1,000 bonus the second, third, fourth and fifth place drivers will each get a $500 bonus. The early season events don’t always represent who will be in the point race at the end of the season which will provide an opportunity for a team that gets hot early to cash in. Last year Bobby Varin led the points at the conclusion of March over Stewart Friesen, Craig VonDohren, Jimmy Horton and Ryan Godown.

The annual IceBreaker event has been a big success at the popular Selinsgrove Speedway in years past. Once again this year the weekend will serve as the openers for the Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour. On Friday, the RoC Small Block event will take place with Saturday set for the RoC Big Block Modifieds. Only a driver’s best single day finish of the two will count toward the overall RoC point standings. This past season Duane Howard recorded the Friday night win with Saturday falling victim to the weather for the first time since the event’s inception. Sunday is a rain date as needed. On Friday the RoC Small Blocks will run in a 25 lap event paying $2,500 to win. There will also be practice on Friday for the RoC Big Block teams and RoC Sportsman Teams. On Saturday The RoC Modifieds will do battle in a 40 lap event paying a minimum of $5,000 to win and the RoC Sportsman will make their inaugural trip to Selinsgrove in a 20 lap feature paying $1,200 to win.

Continue reading ‘Huge Month of March to Launch 10th Anniversary Race of Champions Dirt Modified Tour in 2014’

Whelen All-American Changes Announced

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – NASCAR announced several new initiatives for the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Thursday at the annual Track Operators Meeting.

The competition changes, which go into effect in 2014, are designed to spotlight the sport’s young stars and reward the achievements of drivers at every level of the series. They were announced at the meeting, which was held in conjunction with the touring and weekly series awards ceremonies in Charlotte, N.C.

Starting next season, a national champion will be crowned in all five divisions of the series. In recent seasons, the Finalist Program honored top competitors in Div. II-V.

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Utica-Rome An Historic NASCAR Icon

Era of Jerry Cook, Richie Evans Remembered

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y., is among the most celebrated in NASCAR short track racing history.

NASCAR pavement Modified fans know it as home track for national champions Richie Evans and Jerry Cook in the 1960s and 1970s. In recent decades, dirt Modified fans revel in competitive standards set by Paul Jensen then Dale Planck in the 1990s to current standard bearer Stewart Friesen.

The track and NASCAR announced Saturday night that Utica-Rome would be part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series in 2014.

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Utica-Rome Reconnects in 2014

New NASCAR Era For Famed New York Dirt Track

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — A revered New York short track will reconnect with NASCAR in 2014.

Utica-Rome Speedway in Vernon, N.Y., rejoins the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series next year. Gene Cole has owned and operated the 52-year-old half-mile dirt track since 2002. The announcement was made Saturday night at the track’s annual year-end awards banquet.

“We welcome Gene, Utica-Rome Speedway, its participants and fans to the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series,” said Kevin Nevalainen, NASCAR senior manager of racing operations. “NASCAR and Utica-Rome have shared chapters of history together. We look forward to sharing an exciting future.”

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Frank Gehling Passes Away at 70

Frank Gehling, 70, Retired Norwalk Race Car Driver

NORWALK, Conn. – Frank Gehling of Norwalk died Nov. 14 at his home. He was 70.

Born May 5, 1942, in Newton, Mass., he was the son of Daniel Chester Gehling and Esther Lawson. He had a love for race car driving early on and began his racing career at age 16.

As a pit crewman, Gehling traveled to more than 40 races a year. He became interested in driving when a driver was late one night and he was asked to fill in.

When he was 19, Gehling purchased a three-quarter midget and fudged his age to obtain a racing license. He competed during the winter months indoors in Hempstead, N.Y. In 1963, he was introduced to stock car racing and the Southern New York Racing Association.

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NEAR Hall of Fame Member “Wild Bill” Slater Passes at Age 83

It was learned Sunday, July 15 that New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame member “Wild Bill” Slater has passed-away.

Arrangements are incomplete at this time.

A member of the first-class inducted into the New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame in 1998, Slater drove his first race at Lonsdale R.I. in 1949 and for the next twenty years he won at tracks from Oxford Plains Maine to Trenton New Jersey.

He was a four time champion at the Norwood Arena and a two-time Sportsmen champion at Thompson. He won on the dirt at Stafford and on the pavement  He was often a top-three finisher in the NASCAR National Sportsman championship run, even though he raced against full time drivers while he held down a weekly job. 

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NEAR Presents “Class of 2012” At 15th Annual New England Auto Racing Hall of Fame Inductions

East Windsor, CT — On Sunday January 29, The New England Antique Racers (NEAR), presented the 15th annual New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Inductions. Award-winning sportswriter Matt Buckler served as Master of Ceremonies for the well-attended event held at LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.

Receiving induction honors this year were drivers Reggie Ruggiero, Joey Kourafas, Moe Gherzi, Jerry Humiston, and Roland Lapierre Sr., owner/mechanics Mario Fiore and Jim Jorgensen and track operator Irene Venditti.

Though not present due to prior commitments, longtime Northern media personality Dave Moody was the recipient of the prestigious “Jack Ratta Memorial Media Award.” Veteran auto racing journalist and Hall of Fame Member Pete Zanardi received the Danny Pardi Memorial Award for his many contributions to NEAR over the years.

A pivotal figure during the formative years of the sport and truly one of the regions earliest stars, Moe Gherzi came to stock cars following a brief fling with midget racing during the busy post-war era. Gherzi won for some of the best teams in the early days of the sport while displaying a flashy style which became his trademark. Nicknamed “Moneybags” owed to a knack of winning many big-dollar events, he tasted success at virtually all of the regions tracks. He later served as the longtime Racing Director at Connecticut’s Plainville Stadium. Accepting for her late father from presenter Dave Dykes was Ms. Alma Michaud.

[Photo Galleryby Nicholas Teto

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Gherzi, Humiston, Lapierre Hall of Fame Inductees

A trio of modified racing pioneers – Moe Gherzi, Jerry Humiston and Roland Lapierre – are the veterans committee selections to join the New England Auto Racers Hall of Fame Class of 2012.

The trio will be inducted along with drivers Reggie Ruggiero and Joey Kourafas, owner/mechanics Mario Fiore and Jim Jorgensen and track operators/promoters Irene Venditti and Donald Hoenig at the 15th annual Hall of Fame Banquet on Sunday Jan. 29 at the LaRenaissance Banquet Hall in East Windsor, CT.

Ticket information and order forms will be available soon on the NEAR website (

The colorful Gherzi was one of Southern New England’s first racing stars. Driving for a number of owners including the Scambato and Garuti families, Gherzi, who started in the Midgets, built an impressive stock car resume in the formative years at Plainville Stadium, Riverside Park and the Waterford Speedbowl. Following his 25-plus years in the cockpit, Gherzi was racing director at Plainville.

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Measure of the Man

Equal parts talent, lifestyle and legend earn Evans his Hall call

Every Christmas Day, no matter how cold or how much snow was on the ground, Richie Evans would drive his race car over to The Rusty Nail, the Rome, N.Y., bar that also sponsored his famous orange and black No. 61, to celebrate the holiday. For Evans was never far from his roots.

This week, short-track fans up and down the East Coast were celebrating the announcement that Evans would be one of five people inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Evans made his name with eye-popping statistics from his career in a Modified.

But Evans cemented his legend a long time ago with the stories that surrounded his career.

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Evans Inducted To NASCAR Hall

2012 class includes Yarborough, Wood, Inman, Waltrip

1981 - Richie Evans at Stafford

1981 - Richie Evans at Stafford

Members of the 55-member NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session in Charlotte, N.C., to vote on the induction class of 2012. The announcement was made by NASCAR Chairman and CEO Brian France in the NASCAR Hall of Fame’s “Great Hall.”

The class was determined by votes cast by the Voting Panel, which included a nationwide fan vote conducted through NASCAR.COM. The accounting firm of Ernst & Young presided over the tabulation of the votes.

As was the case for the first two classes of the NASCAR Hall Of Fame, the results of this year’s voting were competitive. Yarborough led with 85 percent of the vote, followed by Waltrip (82%), Inman (78%), Evans (50%) and Wood (44%).

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Coastal 181 Publishers New Book on Racing Legend Bill Wimble Being Released In July

Coastal 181 is proud to announce the upcoming release of the much-anticipated autobiography of Bill Wimble, one of the most respected figures in American racing.

The two-time NASCAR National Sportsman Champion spins tales of his incredible journey from a New York dairy farm near the Canadian border to the short tracks and superspeedways along the East Coast, to his honored career as an entrepreneur in New York and Florida.

I’LL NEVER BE LAST AGAIN is an American success story, full of poignant messages for all of us.

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