Williamson and Forward Take Utica Rome Speedway
Story By: Colby Gornewicz/DIRTcar
Photos By: Matt Noles/RacersGuide.com
Glenn Forward led all 25 laps on his way to his first victory of the season at Utica-Rome Speedway Tuesday night. As easy it that sounds, it was far from it for Forward, who was making just his third start of the season at Utica-Rome. Forward actually relinquished the lead to Rocky Warner on the backstretch during lap 17 but a caution for Cedric Gauvreau reverted competition back a lap, giving Forward the lead once again.
Warner pounded the back bumper of Forward looking desperately for a way by on the restart, to no avail. Forward was able to extend his lead after Warner hiccupped on the cushion off of turn two. Forward took the white flag with a sizeable advantage only to see a caution flag set up a one-lap dash to the finish, giving second and third place running Warner and Matt Janczuk one last chance to steal the victory.
“You never want to see a caution while leading. Especially with the 1J and 33x behind you,” Forward said.
On the restart, Warner slowed significantly and appeared to have a problem on the right side of his 1J machine. The slowing Warner also held up Janczuk as the duo both limped to the finish in a lackluster fashion. Warner was officially scored 12th, while Janczuk managed to hang on for sixth.
Subsequently, Brent Joy and Kyle Inman moved forward on the final lap and completed the podium.
When asked about the last lap restart Forward said, “I figured if it was meant to be, it’s meant to be. I love racing with Rocky.”
Forward, who also won his Heat Race from 7th, was quick to applaud the Utica-Rome track crew, “The track was awesome. It held the moisture all night and the surface was extremely racey all night.”
10th starting Rocco Leone and AJ Filbeck completed the top five.
Forward, Joy, Mark Effner and Warner won the Heat Races over the 36 Sportsman signed in. Kyle Kiehn and Daryl Nutting won the two Consolation events.
The DIRTcar 358-Modifieds hit the track at Utica-Rome for a pregame shootout leading into NAPA Super DIRT Week XLVI festivities. Mat Williamson meticulously wove his way through the field from his 13th starting position to claim an impressive win at Utica- Rome Speedway after 100 laps.
“20 laps into this I was ready to pull into the pits and call ‘er a night,” said Williamson. “We were running with 15th, 16th, 17th place cars. We were terrible the first 50 laps and then it was almost like we had a jet button in this thing and turned it on.”
On lap 60 of the 100-lap event, Williamson was not even a contender for the lead as he hadn’t yet appeared in the top-10. He began working through the traffic on the low side of the dirt oval quickly making up time and passing cars along the way. He passed Stewart Friesen to claim the lead on lap 89.
Friesen is the record holder of Utica- Rome’s All-Time Modified Wins, All-Time Dirt Modified Wins, and Big Block Dirt Modified Wins. Williamson also passed by the 2017 Utica-Rome track champion, Matt Sheppard who was running second at the time before he was sidelined to mechanical failures on lap 87.
“Hats off to Mat and his whole crew,” said Friesen. “They are just a bunch of great racers and I got to watch him grow up. That race was pretty neat. I was cruising along there and I knew we were in trouble when we couldn’t get the lappers out of the way quick enough. We were really, really good at the start but after that we were searching around and then it was lights out but still a good way to start the week.”
Erick Rudolph joined Friesen and Williamson to complete the podium at Utica- Rome Speedway on Tuesday evening.
Next up for NAPA Super DIRT Week is the City of Oswego Parade on Wednesday beginning at noon. The parade will feature cars from every division on a five-mile course through the city before returning to Oswego Speedway for Super DIRTcar Series Big-Block Modified, DIRTcar 358 Mods and DIRTcar Sportsman Practice beginning at 3 p.m.
358-MODIFIED SUPER DIRTCAR SERIES FEATURE FINISH (100 LAPS)-MAT WILLIAMSON, Stewart Friesen, Erick Rudolph, Steve Bernard, Chad Brachmann, Marc Johnson, Billy Dunn, Pat Ward, Ryan Susice, Mike Maresca, Ryan Arbuthnot, Ron Davis III, Alan Johnson, Mike Bowman, Alex Therrien, Lance Willix, Tim Sears, Jr., Mario Clair, Bobby Herrington, Brett Hearn, Jordan McCreadie, Chris Raabe, Michael Parent, Matt Sheppard, Simon Harvey-Perrault, Rick Richner, Ryan Godown, Carey Terrance, Larry Wight, and Gary Lindberg. DNQ-Tommy Flanagan, Taylor Caprara, Rob Bellinger, Dave Allen, Louie Jackson Jr., Nick Webb, Billy Whittaker, Demetois Drellos, JF Corriveau, Allan Therrien, Kevin Poitras, Aaron Jacobs, Brandon Sweet, Corey Wheeler, Shaun Pangman, Randy Green, and Skylar Sheriff.