Hangover 2.0 at Utica-Rome Speedway is going to happen

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A few weeks ago I attended the Northeast Racing Products Auction and Trade Show at the Syracuse Fairgrounds.

Along with all brand new and used race cars that are drooled over there was racing components, tools and do-dads that make all the gearheads brain’s smoke. Not only that there are beautiful shiny new motors of every type available to purchase, touch and/or dream about.

All the hardware is great but the more important aspect of the show is getting to see all your racing friends again. When the season comes to an end the trips to the track end too. A whole part of your life stops for the year. I can’t speak for everyone but I have racing withdrawal and going to the Syracuse trade show gives us all another opportunity to see each other again.

Also you get tuned in to some cool upcoming stuff.

The first people I happened to come across were from Utica-Rome Speedway — Tana Robinson, Mike Mallett and Mike Welch — and as it turns out what they have brewing was the talk of the show.

Your New Year’s Eve hangover won’t be quite so bad if you jump in your car and start the year off right at Utica-Rome Speedway for a 100-lap race in the snow, ice and mud. Who knows what the track will be like.

No kidding — it’s the Hangover 2.0 on New Year’s Day 2020. Gates will open up at the Vernon track for the pits at 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. for the grandstands with racing starting at noon. Pre-registration for the event is $45 and includes car and driver pit pass entry. The day of it goes up $50 plus you must buy a pit pass for $20. Grandstands are $5 for children 12 years of age and older.

As of press time there are 60 cars registered to race the grueling 100-lap event.

This is for 4- and 6-cylinder every day kind of cars.

For Hangover 2.0 rules go to the uticaromespeedway.com. 

Recently I visited with wheelman Mike Richmond who pilots the No. 22x sportsman weekly at Utica-Rome Speedway. There are six cars entered from his shop on Route 5 in Vernon. The cars other than the No. 7 of Richmond who will be competing for the $500 top prize are Josh Knapp, No. 11; Mike Stiles, No. 14; Nick Inserra, No. 23, Josh Brodnicki, No. 15 and Dan Sancett, No. 56.

“We’re team Pontiac,” stated Richmond. All of the cars he found were Pontiac Grand Prix or Grand Ams — all are six cylinders.

According to Richmond he found most of the cars at the reasonable prices of between $300 and $400. Each car has to have all the interior taken out. Richmond said he won’t install racing seats but all the other safety equipment will be in place.

“We’re leaving the heaters in place and we’ll wait until the day of to remove the windshield,” laughed Richmond. 

The cars have to have a two-foot by two-foot section removed from the hood in case of fire. Also each car has to have a “shark fin” mounted on the roof with the number of their car on it.

“I really don’t know how this is going to be scored,” Richmond said with a smile. There won’t be any transponders on the cars.

This will be the first time any of “Team Pontiac” drivers have competed in an event like this.

“Survival is going to be huge,” said Richmond. “It’ll be just like a modified 100-lap race where you just want to get to the last 20 or 30 laps — I think plenty of guys will have a chance.”

Some other names on the lineup sheets so far are Claude Hutchings Jr., Travis Welch and his wife Ashley, Mike Grover, Isiah Forward and Chris Mackey (winner of the last Sportsman race at Utica-Rome, the Monster Mash). There is an unlimited number of cars that will start the race so the 60 that are entered now could easily swell to 100. 

What a great way to start the new year. See you at the races.

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