Rt 5 Vernon, NY
Johnson to get the lead to hold him off to claim the $10,000 to win feature. Johnson started 21st ended up second with Bobby Varin who started 19th finishing a fast closing third, Pat Ward was fourth after starting 12th and current RoC Dirt Modified Tour point leader Billy Decker finished fifth after starting 22nd.
Ryan Phelps and Danny Varin brought the 27 car field to the green flag of Matt Burdick. With a very tacky surface the drivers went immediately to three and four wide racing with Varin leading Gary Tomkins, Phelps, Brett Hearn, and Matt Janczuk at the end of lap one.
The cars sponsored by Wentworth Construction were making the early race moves as Janczuk moved into third on lap two and into second one lap later. Hearn meanwhile moved into third on lap three and into second on lap six and once in second Hearn reeled Danny Varin in for the lead.
Looking like the car was shot out of a cannon Hearn using small block power motored under Varin in turn three and rocketed off turn four to claim the lead as the lap counter turned to eight.
With the first 19 laps going caution free Hearn was already in heavy lap traffic but still maintained a comfortable lead when the yellow came out.
On the restart Hearn once again jumped out to the lead by almost exclusively running the extreme outside groove. Behind him the racing was outstanding with multiples of three and four wide racing keeping the fans on the edge of their seats.
Pat Ward, Matt Sheppard, and Danny Johnson were three drivers that were drawing attention. Ward moved into fifth on the restart and quickly moved into third on lap 22 and into second on lap 27. Ward who was a full straightaway behind Hearn started slicing into his lead.
Sheppard who started 15th got the inside line working for him as he moved into fifth on lap 25 and into fourth one lap later. Right on the back bumper of Sheppard was Danny Johnson who moved into fifth on lap 26. Sheppard moved into third on lap 31 but it didnít last long as Johnson moved past him five laps later for third.
The final double file restart of the race took place on lap 46 and once again Hearn jumped out to a big lead, leaving Ward behind to battle with Johnson for second.
Now another driver was making his presence felt and that driver was Stewart Friesen. Friesen in the Tom Cullen owned car was running the track like he was in a Sprint Car after starting 22nd. Friesen moved into fifth on lap 47 and set his sights on Johnson and Ward.
Just past the halfway point the rear brakes on the Ward machine were cherry red. You would think that this lack of brake would hamper him but just past lap 65 Ward was closing rapidly on Hearn for the lead.
After a yellow on lap 73 closed the field up many expected quite a battle for the lead when the race resumed. But the caution is what Hearn needed as he opened up a big lead once again when the race went green.
Ward, Johnson, and Friesen started their own private race for positions two, three, and four at this point.
Bobby Varin who started 21st moved in the top five on lap 77 as it appeared that he was the fastest car on the track.
The fourth and final yellow of the race would come out on lap 79 setting up a 21 lap shootout for the ten grand.
With Hearn out in front by a straightaway Johnson moved into second on lap 82 and at the same time Varin moved into fourth, Varin moved into third with ten laps to go.
Current RoC point leader Billy Decker who seemed to be off the pace all race long suddenly found life and raced into fifth with five laps to go.
With the laps winding down and Hearn in heavy lap traffic Johnson suddenly raced his way into striking range with an opportunity to race for the win.
With one lap to go Johnson threw everything he had at Hearn with a slide job pass for the lead going into turn one. Johnson got about two feet ahead at the apex of turns one and two, at that point Hearn already had his car straight and rocketed off the cushion to grab the lead back. Hearn made sure that there would be no slide job pass by Johnson in turns three and four and he protected the bottom while having a three car length lead.
Hearn in for the ten grand win over Johnson, Varin, Ward, and Decker.
ď The key things in these events is qualifying good by drawing up front in the heat and then get into that feature redraw. Because with the level of competition that was here tonight it would have been really tough trying to pass all of those guys to win it ď said Hearn.
Brett spoke about the Teo Pro Car that has been on fire of late. ď This car has been sitting in the shop all year until we brought it out last week and it has been a killer on these types of tracks where it slicks up from top to bottom. Iíve struggled on those types of tracks recently but since we brought this car out it feels awesome on those types of tracks. ď
Brett spoke about the last lap slide job pass by arch rival Danny Johnson. ď I didnít think he was up quite far enough. I knew as soon as I could gas it up and get rolling I could get by. He was still going right when I was going in the preferred direction and got down the back straightaway and I must have put some distance between us because I never saw him after that. ď
ď Itís huge to get rolling with all of the big money races coming up ď said Hearn on his recent four wins in last five races streak.
Qualifying races for the 53 car field saw heat wins go to Alan Johnson, Mike Hulsizer, Hearn, Chad Brachmann, Ryan Phelps, and Ward while consiís were won by Bobby Varin, Friesen, and Danny Johnson.
GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY NOTES-A picture perfect weather day brought out a huge gathering of race fans for this special event. During the afternoon all track champions in the history of the track were treated to a winnerís luncheon at a local restaurant. Jimmy Horton, Jr. was driving the Dieter Schmidt owned car, they were done after the heat race with a broken rear end. Dale Planck was wheeling the second Jason Rood entry while Bobby Varin also competed in the companion Empire Super Sprint portion of the program. Phil Burkhart had his front end break in hot laps ending his night while motor woes ended the night of Todd Burley after the heat. Burley then jumped into the Jason Rood entry to run the feature as a Utica - Rome guaranteed starter. Larry Wight was the only pre - entered car not to show up for the show. Fred Woodward of American Racer Tires was on hand to present ten free tires that went to ten lucky drivers who made the $400 to start feature. Alan Johnson and Danny Creeden both won a set of DART Heads in a pre race draw of drivers who are in the American Racer Cup. Ryan Phelps had a power steering line break at the end of his heat race and it was repaired in time for the feature. It was announced at the drivers meeting that the RoC race at Penn - Can that was rained out last week will not be made up.
RACE REPORT 50TH ANNIVERSARY SHOW UTICA - ROME SPEEDWAY
FINISH; Brett Hearn, Danny Johnson, Bobby Varin, Pat Ward, Billy Decker, Stewart Friesen, Chad Brachmann, Matt Sheppard, Ronnie Johnson, Ryan Phelps, Jeff Strunk, Tim McCreadie, Todd Burley, Mike Mahaney, Gary Tomkins, Rob Bellinger, Matt DeLorenzo, Matt Janczuk, Elmo Reckner, Ryan Watt, Jimmy Phelps, Mike Hulsizer, Danny Varin, Alan Johnson, Kevin Bates, Steve Hulsizer, Willy Decker.
LAP LEADERS; D. Varin ( 1 - 7 ), Hearn ( 8- 100 ).
GUARANTEED STARTER ( U - R ); Burley.
RoC PROVISIONALS; Watt, Bates.
DNQíS; Phil Burkhart, Chris Busta, Mark Kislowski, Joe August, Jr., Alan Barker, Randy Chrysler, Pete Taylor, Michael Storms, Chris Hile, Ted Lamb, Jr., Mike Bowman, Kenny Tremont, Jr., Paul Kinney, Mark Flach, Jr., Bill Trexler, Jr., Todd Burley ( 89b car ), Casey Williams, Chad Phelps, Paul Jensen, Jason Rood, Dale Planck, Heath Carney, Jimmy Horton, Jr., Tim Fuller, Jimmy Davis, AJ Filbeck.
NEWS FROM THE RACE OF CHAMPIONS DIRT MODIFIED TOUR
VINTAGE PERFORMANCE BY HEARN TAKES HIM TO GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY CHECKERS AT UTICA - ROME
BY JR KENNERUP
Vernon, NY Ö On Wednesday evening the Utica - Rome Speedway celebrated their 50th Anniversary of racing with a special Race of Champions sanctioned 100 lap feature for the Modifieds. On this very special evening of racing one driver who just accomplished a milestone of winning 800 features in a storied racing career showed everyone that heís not ready to stop winning just yet.
Brett Hearn of Sussex, NJ debuted a new racecar last week out of the BH Racing / Teo Pro Car shops and has found immediate success with it. On this night it was a vintage Hearn performance as he had the fastest car all evening long. Brett who started 3rd took the lead with an inside turn three pass of Danny Varin on lap eight. Hearn survived a last lap slide job pass by Danny