Ward and Sheppard race to modified wins at Speedway

Published Jul 17, 2017 at 4:00pm

VERNON — Pat Ward scored his first win of the season in the first of a double modifieds feature, while Matt Sheppard dominated the second modifieds feature at the Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday night

Also winning at the Speedway were Dave Marcuccilli in the sportsman division and Mike Welch in the pro stocks.

In the first of a doubleheader of modified features, Ward, starting from 11th place, charged through the field and pushed for the head of the pack on lap five. He slipped past Alan Johnson for third on the seventh circuit and then by Steve Way a lap later. By lap 29, Ward was well ahead of the pack and earned the checkered despite a challenge from Sheppard.

Rounding out the top five were Sheppard, Claude Hutchings Jr., Johnson and Bobby Varin.

In the modified nightcap, Sheppard started from the 14th spot and worked his way through the field to break into the top five on lap seven and by lap 13, he was in the second spot.

Sheppard chipped away at leader Tim Fuller and pulled alongside and ahead of him on lap 20. He cruised to his third win of the season while Fuller finished second. Rounding out the top five were Rob Bellinger, Ward and Marc Johnson.

In the sportsman, Marcuccilli slipped past Kevin Root on lap 11 and made his way to the $1,000 paycheck for his second win of the season at the Speedway. Also finishing were Kyle Inman, Root, Rocky Warner, AJ Filbeck and Chris Mackey.

Welch worked from the eighth spot to the first spot over Bill Knapp in the pro stock feature and commanded the lead on lap six for his third consecutive win. Shane Henderson, Knapp, Ernie Staelens and Aaron Page rounded out the top five.

Racing returns to the Speedway next Sunday with the biggest sportsman event of the year. The 50-lap $5,000 to win Ultimate Sportsman Showdown will headline the card.

Pit gates will open at 4 p.m., the grandstands at 4:30 and racing will begin at 7 o’clock.