Utica-Rome report 2001-08-23

VERNON, NY - Billy Decker of Unadilla won the Advance Auto Parts Big Block Modfied Super DIRT Series / Tracey Road Equipment 100 last Thursday at Utica-Rome Speedway. Decker, the polesitter and fast timer, led the entire distance of the race en ...

Utica-Rome report 2001-08-23

VERNON, NY - Billy Decker of Unadilla won the Advance Auto Parts Big Block Modfied Super DIRT Series / Tracey Road Equipment 100 last Thursday at Utica-Rome Speedway. Decker, the polesitter and fast timer, led the entire distance of the race en route to his first career Utica-Rome victory and second of the season on the Super DIRT Series. The win for the driver of the Adam Ross Cut Stone / PMC Fabrications DIRT Modified team was worth $6,000.

Decker and Alan Johnson led the 34-car Tracey Road Equipment 100 starting field down to the flags of veteran starter Dick Sweet and Decker immediately opened up a huge lead. Tim Fuller settled into second, with Johnson in third, Paine in fourth, and Tim McCreadie in fifth in the early laps of the 100-lap event. Fuller got under Decker on several occasions, but each time Decker fended off the challenges, as Paine ran the highside and mounted serious pressure on Fuller for second, taking over the spot on lap 12.

Hearn took over the third position from Fuller on lap 14, and started to close in on Paine for second. Hearn caught him on lap 25, and after a thrilling side by side battle, Hearn took over second, dropping Paine to third. It was an important pass because it made Hearn the series points leader. Heading into the event, Paine was just one point ahead of Hearn in the season long standings. At this point in time, Decker had caught lapped traffic, and it helped Hearn close in somewhat to Decker. Tim McCreadie was absolutely flying on the highside as he was catching Paine. Just as a brotherly battle for fifth began between Danny and Alan Johnson, McCreadie raced into third by using lapped traffic to get around Paine on lap 41. Alan held off his brother and he was reeling in Paine due to lapped traffic.

At the halfway point of the Tracey Road Equipment 100-lap grind, Decker collected the Holley Performance Halfway Bonus, with Hearn, McCreadie, Paine, and Alan Johnson racing behind him in the top five. Just after the crossed flags, the real battle was between Hearn and McCreadie who put the Utica-Rome race fans on their feet, as they raced side by side for second. McCreadie seemed to find something on the topside of the speedway, and rocketed into the second position on lap 57. McCreadie was closing in on Decker and he seemed quicker, but Decker moved to the outside groove and started pulling away once again. On a lap 72 restart, McCreadie was able to peek underneath Decker but Decker proved to be too strong and held his lead.

On lap 76 a scary moment happened for defending race winner Danny Johnson who was running fifth at the time as he nearly spun completely around in turn two. Johnson regained control and lost several positions as started racing forward once again. Possibly the biggest story of the race developed on lap 84 as Bobby Varin pulled a slidejob on Gary Tomkins as they raced out of turn four. Tomkins slid into the wall, and when Alan Johnson caused a yellow for a flat right rear tire on lap 86, Tomkins bumped Varin in turn three to let him know his displeasure. Then, on lap 90, Varin pulled the same slidejob move on Paine in turn four, although Paine never hit the wall, he lost several spots.

Add Danny Johnson into the mix, and you have a real war going as Johnson, Paine, and Varin raced three wide for fifth. With Paine racing for series points, he had to be careful as every point counts this time of the year, and he was racing with drivers who are known not to give an inch. The three drivers raced three wide, and even made contact several times as they raced around the speedway. When a yellow came out on lap 94, Paine uncharacteristically showed his displeasure with Varin as the two came together in turn two, spinning Varin around. Varin was obviously upset, and raced around the speedway, banging the rear bumper of Paine. However, both drivers were allowed to continue on in their spots for the remaining laps.

On the restart, Johnson gave Varin some of his own medicine as he slid around Varin for the fifth position, as Paine tried to take over third from Hearn. However, gone was Billy Decker and he held on to win his first career Utica-Rome victory in the Tracey Road Equipment 100, the second of the season for Decker on the Super DIRT Series. McCreadie was second, followed by Hearn who held on to third, with Paine of Waterloo in fourth, and Danny Johnson of Rochester in fifth. Varin, Pat Ward, Doug Hoffman, Vic Coffey, and Alan Johnson completed the top ten.

"This has been a great night for the Adam Ross Cut Stone / Quality Hardwoods team," said a very happy, but quiet Decker. "We were fortunate enough to time trial well and start on the pole, and hold onto the lead for the entire race. It's a really big win for us. I moved up and I think that took Timmy's groove away. We made some changes for the feature, and everything worked out well."

Second place finisher Tim McCreadie of Watertown was pleased with his performance coming from seventh to second in the Tracey Road Equipment 100. "I think in the long runs we were better, but the 91 drove a better race," said McCreadie. "He moved up top, and I think he was as good as we were up there."

Third place finisher Brett Hearn of Sussex, New Jersey, took over the Super DIRT Series points lead by virtue of his third place finish from his ninth place starting spot. It wasn't much of a change however, as Paine, the leader heading into the event finished fourth. The battle tightens up even more than ever as Hearn now leads Paine by four points and McCreadie in third, just nine points away from Hearn.

Nine cautions slowed the Tracey Road Equipment 100 for seventeen laps, with the most serious incident on lap 2 when Kenny Tremont and Darryl Ruggles were collected by Mitch Gibbs in turn four. Tremont and Ruggles suffered heavy damage, and were done for the evening. Gibbs continued for twelve more laps until he pulled pitside. Jason Barney suffered heavy damage in a pileup just a lap later, and was done for the night, but everyone else involved including Bob McCreadie, Tom Sears, Wayne Reutimann, and Chuck Bower continued in the event.

In time trials, Decker set the JE Pistons fast time with a 19.584, which is 91.912mph on the Utica-Rome half-mile. Tim McCreadie was second fastest timer, with a 19.587, which is 91.898mph. Hearn, Bower, and Varin completed the top five following time trials. Decker drew the pole in the redraw for the top two heat race finishers, with Alan Johnson starting on the outside pole position. In the Exiss Trailers Dash for Cash, Hearn won over Decker, Tim McCreadie, Chuck Bower, Doug Hoffman and Bobby Varin. Paine, Bob McCreadie, and Tomkins won the heats while Pat Ward was victorious in the consi. Bobby Varin, the sixth place finisher, won a guaranteed starting position for the Eckerd 200 during Super DIRT Week on October 7 in Syracuse. Pat Ward was the BERT Hard Charger, who advanced from twenty-second to finish seventh.

Mark Hoffman of Holland Patent used the pole starting position to his advantage and led the entire 15-lap distance of the DIRT Pro Stock feature. Jerry Holmes of West Winfield was second, followed by Bret Belden of West Edmeston in third, invader Jip Ortiz of Ransomville in fourth, and Dave Moyer of Oneida in fifth. Completing the top ten were Wayne Archer, Mark Effner, Eric Vanderhoof, Steve Devos, and Doug Grimaldi. Ortiz, Gerry Newman, and Holmes were the Pro Stock heat race winners.

Notes - 34 Modifieds and 23 Pro Stocks were on hand for the evening, with racing completed at 10:10pm. Butch Tittle started Kenny Tremont's backup No. 115 due to motor problems in the consi. Former track champion Jack Johnson suffered two flat right rear tires during the event, and pulled in after the second flag on lap 52. Early second place runner Tim Fuller dropped out of the event on lap 18 with an undisclosed problem. Ryan Baye won the Fulton Speedway Victoria 200 qualifying spot for being the first 358-Modified track regular to cross the finish line. Coming up this Sunday August 26 is the final night of points for the DIRT 358-Modifieds. Also racing will be the DIRT Sportsman, DIRT Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks, and Slingshots, but points for those divisions will end on September 2. Race time is set for 6pm. For more information, contact the speedway office at (315) 829-4557 or visit www.newuticaromespeedway.com.


DIRT Modifieds

Heat 1 (8 Laps, 5 Qualify) - Paine, D. Johnson, Tremont, Caprara, Trombley, Ward, Schmidt, Ramsey, Trexler, Romano.

Heat 2 - B. McCreadie, A. Johnson, Barney, Bachetti, DeLorenzo, Baye, Ruggles, Reutimann, Tittle.

Heat 3 - Tomkins, Fuller, J. Johnson, Sears, Coffey, R. Johnson, Gibbs, Hulsizer, Michaels.

Exiss Trailers Dash for Cash (6 Laps) - Hearn, Decker, T. McCreadie, Bower, Hoffman, Varin.

Consi (8 Laps) - Ward, Gibbs, R. Johnson, Baye, Reutimann, Hulsizer, Ruggles, Michaels, Schmidt, Trexler, Ramsey, Tittle, Romano.

Advance Auto Parts Modified Super DIRT Series 100 - BILLY DECKER, Tim McCreadie, Brett Hearn, Steve Paine, Danny Johnson, Bobby Varin, Pat Ward, Doug Hoffman, Vic Coffey, Alan Johnson, Ryan Baye, Gary Tomkins, John Ramsey, Matt DeLorenzo, Gus Schmidt Jr., Bill Trexler Jr., Chuck Bower, Wayne Reutimann Jr., Andy Bachetti, Jack Johnson, Tom Sears Jr., Jeff Trombley, Steve Hulsizer, Ronnie Johnson, A.J. Romano, Bob McCreadie, Tim Fuller, Frankie Caprara, J.J. Michaels, Mitch Gibbs, Jason Barney, Darryl Ruggles, Kenny Tremont Jr., Butch Tittle.

Current Super DIRT Series Point Standings - Hearn 1429, Paine 1425, T. McCreadie 1420, D. Johnson 1315, A. Johnson 1304.

DIRT Pro Stocks - MARK HOFFMAN, Jerry Holmes, Bret Belden, Jip Ortiz, Dave Moyer, Wayne Archer, Mark Effner, Eric Vanderhoof, Steve Devos, Doug Grimaldi, Jason Rood, Art Newman Jr., Gus Gould, Gerry Newman, John Roese, Bill Knapp, Dave Meeks, Heath Carney, Brian Belden, Chad Ray, Warren Williams, Bob Gloska. DNS - Chuck Jones.

Current Point Standings - Belden 736, Holmes 722, Archer 644, Rood 584, Moyer 573.


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