Tomkins Pockets $10,000 in Vic 200
“We sort of put this deal together late in the game,” stated Tomkins after the win. “Things all fell together for us at the last minute. Mike Payne bought this car recently and Steve Roberts put the motor in it. We thrashed and thrashed and thrashed to get this car together and I can't thank the crew enough for all their hard work.”
For Tomkins, it was his first ever win at the Vernon, N.Y., half-mile. It came aboard a Mastin-powered Bicknell car. It was a chassis that he had utilized at the end of last season for his other car owner Doug Dulen.
“This is the car that we ran at the end of last season on the series,” commented Tomkins. “It has been a great car and it has made us a lot of money.”
Tomkins started the feature from the 15th starting position. By lap 30 Tomkins had moved from the middle of the pack to inside the top five while Tim Fuller and Pat Ward battled for the race lead.
Tomkins broke into the top five for the first time halfway through the first part of the race and by the end of the first segment of the event he was in third. With the second 100 kicking off after a 20 minute pause, Tomkins immediately got the lead just ten laps after the restart.
He briefly gave up the race lead to Brett Hearn with less than 50 laps to go. In the end he proved to be too much for the rest of the competition as he picked up the win and the large winner’s share.
Fuller, who led a portion of the event, didn't have enough for Tomkins in the second half of the race earning the Edwards, N.Y., driver a second place finish. Hearn came back from a right rear flat tire late in the race to finish in third.
Former track champion Stewart Friesen, of Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont., moved from his starting position on the inside of the seventh row to finish in fourth. Pat Ward, of Genoa, N.Y., held on to finish in fifth after leading some of the early laps in the long-distance event.
STARTING OFF THE VIC: Brian Weaver and Fuller brought the 28-car starting field to the green flag. Fuller got the jump on Weaver and took the lead from20Weaver on the high side of the speedway in turns one and two.
BIG BATTLE IN TRAFFIC: Pat Ward moved into second at the green and he chased Fuller for the first 40 laps of the race. Fuller opened up a half-straightaway advantage until he got caught in slower traffic. As he attempted to move through the slower cars, he bobbled in turns three and four allowing Ward to take the lead on lap 45.
MOVING TO THE FRONT: Ward and Fuller battled for the lead while Tomkins patiently worked his way through traffic into the top five by lap 50 of the feature. He was able to get numerous spots because his car was mobile enough to move around the speedway.
“I tried not to be patient but it kind of got one lane down in three and four and you had to be careful,” commented Tomkins. “I had a couple of close cars there but I knew we had another 100 laps so all I wanted to do was get up into the top five before the end of first part.”
STRONGER AND STRONGER: Ward and Fuller battled continued to swap with lead with Fuller regaining the top spot on lap 59. While they raced for the lead, Tomkins moved by Matt Sheppard to get into fourth and then he took over the third spot from Hearn by lap 75.
HALFWAY POINT: At the midway point break, Fuller was the leader with Ward, Tomkins, Hearn and Sheppard rounding out the top five.
MAKING THE MOVE: The race restarted with Fuller and Ward on the front row. Ward got the lead and Tomkins moved into second. On lap 110, Tomkins made his move on Ward. He tucked to the inside in turns one and two to earn the race lead.
“I think the fact that I had a small-block made a big difference,” stated Tomkins. “I could bring the pace down a lot more than those guys and the fact that I could turn the car in the rubber better than they could was a big advantage. Everyone else seemed to be a little tight.”
LACK OF CONCENTRATION: Tomkins continued to lead and he pulled away from Ward and then Hearn. Once again traffic played a factor in the race as Hearn was able to catch and pass Tomkins for the lead in turns three and four on lap 152.
“I’m not making excuses in but for some reason we put new brake pads in and they didn’t work as well as the first set and I had to pump them a little bit,” said Tomkins. “I knew he (Hearn) was there because the photographers were taking pictures. I just messed up.”
NOT SETTLING: Hearn’s lead was short lived as Tomkins settled back down and got back to work. He drove back by Hearn for the top position in the race on lap 162.
ONE MORE CAUTION: The final caution of the race slowed the field on lap 195. Jamie Christian slowed and came to a stop in the fourth turn with a right rear flat tire. Tomkins was superb on the restart and he held on to win one of the biggest races of his career.
“I knew by that point as long as I stayed in the groove I was alright,” stated the Clifton Springs, N.Y., pilot. “When Brett (Hearn) got by me I could see what he was doing and I realized that he wasn’t any better than I was. Once I got back to the lead I wasn’t going to leave my line. If they wanted to pass me, they were going to have to go around me.”
THE WRONG CHOICE: Fuller dominated the first half of the race but chose the wrong tire for the second part of the event. With the track taking rubber he decided to go with a little bit harder of a compound.
“We picked the wrong tire and that happens in this business,” said Fuller. “With so many compounds to choose from that happens from time to time. You can’t take anything away from Gary Tomkins he did a great job.”
A LATE RACE CHALLENGE: The late race caution put Fuller on the defensive as it put Hearn right on his rear bumper. Over the final three laps, Fuller was forced to fight off Hearn. Fuller and Hearn were side-by-side with one lap to go in turn three. Fuller was able to hang on with Hearn forced back in line behind him.
“Brett Hearn did a helluva job tonight,” stated Fuller. “He (Hearn) could have wiped me out there at the end and he didn’t. I was just hanging on there at the end; I had nothing for Gary (Tomkins).”
SHOULD HAVE GOT TWO: Hearn, of Sussex, N.J., finished the race in third after getting a right rear flat tire on lap 173. Due to series rules, Hearn was able to get into the pit area and change his tire without a lap down. He charged his way back up through the field to challenge Fuller for second but he just ran out of time.
“I felt like a rocket out there once I got that fresh tire,” said Hearn. “It is too bad we didn’t two because I think we could have been even better than that. I didn’t really understand that we were wearing tires out like that. I tried to chase Gary (Tomkins) down a little bit and I used my right rear up.”
QUALIFYING: Seven heats were held with Jason Rood, Fuller, Jeff Trombley, Ward, Mitch Gibbs, Willy Decker and Todd Burley earning wins. The three consolation events were won by Christian, Ronnie Johnson and Dan Pompey. The $1,200 to win 20-lap B-Main went to Mike Ricci.
DART MACHINERY GATES-COLE ASSOCIATES VICTORIA 200 RACE SUMMARY
DART DIRT RACE OF CHAMPIONS MODIFIED FINISH (200 LAPS) - GARY TOMKINS, Tim Fuller, Brett Hearn, Stewart Friesen, Pat Ward, Michael Storms, Todd Burley, Mitch Gibbs, Matt Sheppard, Bobby Varin, Willy Decker, Brian Weaver, Ronnie Johnson, Ryan Phelps, Casey Williams, Larry Wight, Jamie Christian, Jack Johnson, Tom Sears, Billy Decker, Alan Johnson, Dave Camara, Paul Kinney, Jason Rood, Bobby Trapper, Danny Johnson, Dan Pompey, and Jeff Trombley.
B MAIN WINNER- Mike Ricci
TOP CREW CHIEF- Mike Payne (Gary Tomkins) and Joe Knoth (Tim Fuller)
By MIKE MALLETT
VERNON, NY - Gary Tomkins put together the deal at the last minute to run the
Victoria 200 at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night.
Tomkins made the most of what was given to him by car owner Mike Payne as he went out and dominated the final portions of the Race of Champions Dart Dirt Series 200-lap event to earn the $10,000 payday.
Bill Trexler Jr. and Tom Denton take wins to kick off Victoria 200 Weekend
VERNON, NY- A special Saturday program was added to this year’s edition of the Victoria 200 at the Utica-Rome Speedway, with Sportsman, Pro Stocks, and Pure Stocks competing in a normal weekly format with the CRSA Sprints added which made for an exciting night of racing action presented by the Turning Stone Casino and Resort. Standing in victory lane at the end of the night was Bill Trexler Jr. in the Sportsman and Tom Denton in the Pro Stocks. Jeremy Quick took the CRSA main while rain postponed the Pure Stocks until May 17.
Jim Rothwell vaulted from his outside front row starting spot in the 20 lap Sportsman main event, passing pole sitter Claude Hutchings Jr. on the extreme outside line. Following in Rothwell’s tracks was sixth place starter Bill Trexler Jr. as he took the second spot by the end of lap one, immediately setting sail after Rothwell.
By lap six, Trexler was able to sneak by Rothwell for the lead while Jeremy Vunk, from the eighth spot, also charged by the early leader to take the second spot. As the event reached the halfway point, Trexler was still showing the way with Matt Janczuk slipping into second followed by Vunk, Jason Rood, and Glenn Forward.
With the continuing on with green flag conditions and Trexler still out front, a heated battle for the second spot was being waged between Janczuk and Rood. At the checkered flag, it was Trexler taking the win with Janczuk holding Rood for the runner up spot while Vunk and Jeff Leslie rounded out the top five.
Dave Meeks was scored as the early leader of the Pro Stocks, taking the spot from fellow front row starter Ed Ostrander at the drop of the green. Meeks held on for the first three circuits, yielding the top spot to AJ Digsby on fourth lap. A couple of a couple quick cautions on the eighth lap allowed the field to close up on Digsby’s bumper.
Once the field got racing again, 13th place starter Tom Denton took the lead away from Digsby and immediately began to pull away. At halfway, it was Denton, Digsby, Ivan Joslin, Nick Stone, and Bill Knapp in the top five. With the second half of the race going green to the finish, Denton opened up a huge lead and raced away to his second straight win with Digsby, Joslin, Stone, and Knapp holding onto their positions until the end.
The Pure Stock main event was rained out as a storm hit the speedway while the field was on their pace laps. The 15 lap affair will be added on to the May 17 program.
TURNING STONE CASINO AND RESORT RACE SUMMARY
SPORTSMAN FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- BILL TREXLER JR., Matt Janczuk, Jason Rood, Jeremy Vunk, Jeff Leslie, Mike Button, Steve Way, Jim Rothwell, Craig Pope, Michael Teachout, John Scarborough, AJ Filbeck, John Deforest, Claude Hutchings Jr., Greg Doust, Aaron Jacobs, Kevin Fassett, and Glenn Forward. DNS-Jack Miller
PRO STOCK FEATURE FINISH (20 LAPS)- TOM DENTON, AJ Digsby, Ivan Joslin, Nick Stone, Bill Knapp, Rocky Warner, Chris Mackey, Eric Vanderhoof, Ed Ostrander, Jim Normoyle, Rob Seavy, Shawn Frost, Bret Belden, Ryan Lund, Dave Fox, Dan Peo, Rick Duanehauer, Dave Meeks, Jim Normoyle Jr., Jack Terrell, Luke Horning, and Mark Effner.
PURE STOCK FEATURE FINISH (15 LAPS)- Postponed until May 17.
Rt 5 Vernon, NY