VERNON, NY — official speedway release — www.hammerdownphotos.com Photo — The second day of the Sunoco Race Fuels and Gates-Cole Insurance Victoria 200 Weekend saw 80 cars fill the pit area this past Monday, and when the checkered flag flew at the end of the night, it was a familiar face that was in victory lane.
Stewart Friesen, who pulled double duty the night before, made it three wins on the weekend with two Modified wins and an Empire Super Sprint victory that put his win total at nearly $14,000 mark. In the Dig Safely GRIT Sportsman Series event, Rocky Warner survived a late race charge by Nick Guererri to take the $1,000 win.
Matt Sheppard and Danny Johnson led the 28 car Victoria 200 starting field to starter Matt Burdick’s green flag, with Sheppard grabbing the early advantage. Third place starter Stewart Friesen immediately grabbed the second which dropped Johnson to third. Friesen stalked Sheppard during the first quarter of the 100 lap event, never letting him get away.
On lap 15, the duo got into lapped traffic which allowed Friesen to draw even on several occasions but Sheppard was able to fend him off to continue to pace the field. On lap 25, the leader board showed Sheppard leading with Friesen, Johnson, Dale Planck, and Pat Ward chasing as they worked their way through lapped traffic.
With 30 laps complete, Friesen was again showing Sheppard his nose as they negotiated slower traffic but Sheppard was still able to maintain his advantage. Once again, the pair hit heavy lapped traffic and this time Friesen was able to capitalize as he grabbed the lead on lap 36. From that point, Friesen put on a clinic as he steadily pulled away and at the halfway point it was Friesen over Sheppard, Johnson, Planck, and Ward.
With Friesen setting a blistering pace out front, a heated battle for the third spot was going on between Johnson, Planck, and Ward as they ran side by side for several laps as they tried to get through the traffic. Johnson was able to keep his third spot over Planck with Ward close behind. With 75 laps in the books, Friesen was still way out front despite the fact the sail panel on the right side had collapsed and was laying against the side of his mount. Sheppard, Johnson, Planck, and Ward still filled out the top five spots.
The yellow lights clicked on lap 91 for the disabled mount of Danny Varin in turn three which brought the field back together and on to the back bumper of Friesen. With lapped traffic pulled out of the way and the lead lap cars now nose to tail, the question was could Friesen hold off Sheppard with a disable sail panel. Friesen ended any possible late race drama as he pulled away and raced off to the big $10,000 payday. Sheppard, Johnson, Planck, Tim McCreadie rounded out the top five with Ward, Mike Mahaney, Tim Fuller, Vic Coffey, and Jimmy Phelps filling out top 10. Johnson was later disqualified for not making weight and put last in the finish.
The win capped off a weekend of perfection for Friesen as he won his Modified and Empire Super Sprint heats, ESS dash, Modified feature and ESS A Main on Sunday then capped it off with a heat win and Victoria 200 win on Monday.
The Dig Safely GRIT 602 Sportsman Series 30 lap main event saw pole sitter Connor Cleveland set the early pace as he led the first five circuits. On lap six, third place starter Rocky Warner took over the lead as he used the top side of the track to perfection as he began to open a huge lead on the rest of the 27 car field. The long green flag run during the middle portion of the event allowed Warner to pull away to a huge lead and at the half way point it was Warner over, Nick Guererri, Cleveland, Alan Fink, and Kevin Ward.
During the second half the event, Guererri slowly began to cut into Warner’s lead and when Warner got into some heavy lapped traffic that allowed him to catch him. As the duo passed under the flag stand to take the two to go signal, Guererri was now on Warner’s bumper and going turn one on the white flag lap, they were side by side. The yellow flag then flew for a stopped car in turn three which set up some late race drama.
The green and white flag flew together to set up a last lap dash to the finish as Warner attempted to hold off Guererri for the $1,000 payday. Guererri was glued to the rear deck lid of Warner for three quarters of the final lap, and as the pair race off turn four to come to the checkered flag Guererri was able to pull alongside the leader. Warner was too strong as he took the win over Guererri, Ward, Cleveland, Corey Barker, Cody Barker, Fink, Todd Root, Dave Marcuccilli, and Kyle Inman.
The month of June for the Utica-Rome Speedway kicks off with a regular show of NASCAR Whelen All-American Series racing with a full show of Modified, Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks. The June 1 program will be sponsored by Rasmussen Rents and HR Refuse with gates opening at 3:30 p.m. and racing at 6 p.m. For more information, please log on to www.uticaromespeedway.com or call the speedway office at (315)829-4557.
SUNOCO RACE FUELS AND GATES-COLE INSURANCE RACE SUMMARY
RACE OF CHAMPIONS DIRT MODIFIED SERIES VICTORIA 200 FINISH (100 LAPS)-STEWART FRIESEN, Matt Sheppard, Dale Planck, Tim McCreadie, Pat Ward, Mike Mahaney, Tim Fuller, Vic Coffey, Jimmy Phelps, Bobby Varin, Rick Laubach, Billy VanInwegan, Robby Bellinger, Tyler Dippel, Tyler Siri, Bob McGannon, Jimmy Davis, Ryan Phelps, Danny Varin, Anthony Perrego, Larry Wight, Billy Decker, Mike Bowman, Brett Hearn, Brad Alger, Jerry Higbie Jr., Willy Decker, and Danny Johnson.
DIG SAFELY GRIT 602 SPORTSMAN SERIES FINISH (30 LAPS)-ROCKY WARNER, Nick Guererri, Kevin Ward, Connor Cleveland, Corey Barker, Cody Clark, Alan Fink, Todd Root, Dave Marcuccilli, Kyle Inman, Rocco Leone, Robert Bublak, Nick Krause, Rob Humphreys, Matt Guererri, Chris Stevens, John Illanovsky, Kyle Kiehn, Brian Pesselano, Brian Krummell, Ken Boniface, Mike Button, Ivan Joslin, Jeff Hunter, Chris Hulsizer, Anthony Alger, and Tony Finch II.