Friesen first repeat winner of U-R season

THREE-WIDE — Justin Barger, top, goes three-wide into the corner with Vernon native Paul Kinney, center, and Mike Stelter, bottom, during the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Series A Main race at Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday. Barger went on to win the ESS feature, while Kinney finished fifth. (Sentinel photo by John Clifford)

VERNON — Stewart Friesen became the first repeat winner at Utica-Rome Speedway this season, while Justin Barger made a last lap pass to capture the Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints Series race on Sunday night.

Friesen was caught in a three-way battle with Alan Johnson and Ronnie Johnson since the halfway point of the 30-lap modified feature.

Friesen worked his way from the third spot into the runner-up position as he slipped by Alan Johnson on lap 24 and two circuits later took the lead over Ronnie Johnson. Ronnie Johnson made several attempts to regain the point, but the defending track champion Friesen managed to hold him off to the checkered flag for his 35th Speedway win and becoming the Speedway’s first repeat winner of the season.

Alan Johnson held on for third place over Pat Ward in fourth and Chris Hile rounded out the top five.

Point leader Jim Barger collected his second win of the season after passing Michael Parent in the final turn on the last lap of the ESS Series feature. Lance Yonge went on to finish in third place, Larry Wight came home in fourth, and Vernon’s Paul Kinney raced to fifth place.

Season point leader Matt Janczuk charged from his 16th starting spot to the victory in the 20-lap sportsman feature. Janczuk made the pass for the lead over Jeremy Vunk with four laps to go, as Vunk held on for second, AJ Filbeck was third and Rome native Chris Mackey finished in fourth.

Jim Normoyle rocketed from his front row starting spot and ran off to his first season win during the 20-lap pro stock feature. Tom Denton was the runner-up and Pete Stefanski raced to third.

Bill Mason surged from 16th to the victory in the 15-lap pure stock feature, as Rob Thieme crossed the line in second, and Ricky Breed was third.

Utica-Rome Speedway will host a regular show of modifieds, sportsman, pro stocks and pure stocks on Sunday.

Gates open at 3;30 p.m. with racing beginning at 6.