Rt 5 Vernon, NY
January. The Carbone Auto Group played a huge role in presenting the event which included a chance at a car giveaway and a huge fireworks display at the end of the night. Read more....
At the start of the 100 lap Modified main event, outside pole sitter Jimmy Phelps beat pole sitter Ronnie Johnson to the lead and immediately began to pull away. Johnson fell back into the clutches of Matt Sheppard and Mike Mahaney with Sheppard slipping by on lap three and Mahaney pushing Johnson to fourth on lap four. Phelps was strong early on as he seemed in command he caught lapped traffic with a dozen laps complete.
A lap 17 caution reset the field and the restart saw Sheppard grab the top spot with Phelps slipping to the runner up spot just ahead of Mahaney. With 25 laps complete, it was Sheppard comfortably out with Mahaney now in second over Phelps, Johnson, and Todd Burley. With the leaders seemingly settling in, the action was really heated as several drivers were racing hard to get into the top ten. Billy Decker, Larry Wight, Dale Planck, Ryan Phelps, and Danny Johnson were using every inch of the spacious Vernon oval as the battled for position. Danny Johnson was the driver who was making the most headway as he ran the extreme outside to crack into the top 10 on lap 30 and planning to move up some more. As the field came to lap 31, contact between Wight and Danny Johnson in turn four brought out the caution again as they both came to halt.
The restart again saw Sheppard remain in command of the field, but now Ronnie Johnsonís mount seemed to come to life as first got by Mahaney to gain the third spot on lap 32 and then he was able to get by Phelps a circuit to move into second. At halfway, Sheppard was still at the point over Johnson, Phelps, Pat Ward, and Burley. A lap 51 caution slowed the pace and allowed Johnson to get on to Sheppardís bumper, and on the restart, Johnson went to work on Sheppard for the lead. Sheppard was up to the task however as he fended off any of Johnsonís advances and after a few laps after regaining his rhythm, he began to pull away again. Lapped traffic again came into play with Sheppard having no issues negotiating through it but it allowed Phelps to catch Johnson, and on lap 75 he was again in second behind Sheppard. Johnson was back to third over Ward and Burley.
For the last 25 laps, even though Sheppard seemed to have complete control of the field, the rest of the top five positions were in doubts as the positions seemed to change lap after lap. The fans were treated to an incredible battle for the third spot as Ward, Johnson and now Billy Decker entering the fray as there were side by side for the position every lap. When the checkered flag flew giving Sheppard the $10,000 win, was Jimmy Phelps, Ward, Decker, and Ronnie Johnson chasing him to the line. Rounding out the top ten was Burley, Mahaney, Danny Johnson, Ryan Phelps, and Planck.
On the strength of his second place finish, Jimmy Phelps was able to clinch the Race of Champions Modified North Region title.
By virtue of the feature redraw, Matt Janczuk and Brian White started on the front row of the 28 car Race of Champions Sportsman Series with Janczuk able to grab the lead at the start. Fifth place starter Jeremy Vunk was on the move early as he quickly moved into the second spot on lap two and went charging after Janczuk. As lap four was being scored, Vunk went by on the outside of Janczuk to become the new leader. On lap five, the caution flag flew and regrouped the field and on the restart, Janczuk regained the lead with Janczuk in tow. With Janczuk and Vunk pulling away, it was AJ Filbeck now moving through the field from his ninth starting spot, cracking the top five by lap six into the third spot by lap 13. With 15 laps complete of the 30 lap feature it was Janczuk, Vunk, Filbeck, Chris Mackey, and 20th place starter Steve Way filling out the top five spots.
On lap 18, the race almost was disastrous for Janczuk as he was taken up over the banking by a lapped car which allowed Vunk to slip back by to regain the lead. Janczuk was able to settle back into second to try and regain the lead. The final caution came on lap 25 which set up a five lap dash to the checkered and the $1,000 payday which Janczuk took full advantage of. Janczuk swept by the outside of Vunk as the duo raced out of turn four as lap 26 was being completed and that was all he needed as he raced off with the big win. Vunk had to settle for second ahead of Filbeck, Way, Rocky Warner, Mackey, Claude Hutchings Jr., Rusty Smith, Danny Tyler, and Anthony Perrego.
CARBONE AUTO GROUP RACE SUMMARY
RACE OF CHAMPIONS DIRT MODIFIED SERIES FEATURE FINISH (100 LAPS)- MATT SHEPPARD, Jimmy Phelps, Pat Ward, Billy Decker, Ronnie Johnson, Todd Burley, Mike Mahaney, Danny Johnson, Ryan Phelps, Dale Planck, Tim Fuller, Stewart Friesen, Bobby Varin, Larry Wight, Alan Johnson, Ryan Godown, Willy Decker, Casey Williams, Jason Rood, Kevin Bates, Mike Bowman, Joey Colsten, Brett Hearn, Tim McCreadie, Gary Tomkins, Jimmy Davis, and Alan Barker.
DNQ-Steve Hulsizer, Elmo Reckner, Dave Rauscher, Shane Donath, Rob Bellinger, Jamike Sowle, Chris Busta, Ted Lamb, and Dave Moyer.
Lap Leaders-Phelps(1-17), Sheppard(18-100)
RACE OF CHAMPIONS DIRT SPORTSMAN SERIES FEATURE FINISH (30 LAPS)-MATT JANCZUK, Jeremy Vunk, AJ Filbeck, Steve Way, Rocky Warner, Chris Mackey, Claude Hutchings, Jr., Rusty Smith, Danny Tyler, Anthony Perrego, Randy Shantel, Jeff Crambo, Jack Miller, Craig Pope, Stephen Denton, Brian White, Eddie White, Randy Green, Jerry Tonti, Bobby Heintz, Chris McCoy, Toby Klish, Brian Thomas, Ryan Jordan, Jim Rothwell, Mike Stiles, Heath Carney, and Tyler Dippel.
Lap Leaders-Janczuk(1-3), Vunk(4-5), Janczuk(6-18), Vunk(19-23), Janczuk(24-30)
August 22nd MATT SHEPPARD TAKES HUGE PAYDAY WITH $10,000 WIN THIS PAST WEDNESDAY
VERNON, NY- Another huge crowd filled the grandstands this past Wednesday evening, August 22, at the Utica-Rome Speedway to watch an exciting Race of Champions Series double header. Matt Sheppard took home the huge $10,000 payday in the Dirt Modified Series 100 lap main while Matt Janczuk the checkered flag in the $1,000 to win Sportsman Series event. The nightís events were a celebration of Richie Evansí induction into the NASCAR Hall of Fame this past