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All About Racing

Written By The Mountain Eagle on 4/25/24 | 4/25/24

Butchie Irwin celebrated his first win at Utica-Rome Speedway on Sunday in the Crate 602 Sportsman division.  track photo

By Ed & Betty Biittig

Albany-Saratoga had a night of racing along with some early rain but promoter, Lyle Devore and company had no plans to give up on his opening night.  There was a good crowd in the stands even with the threat of rain, and the pit was one car shy of 170 cars. We saw something that we hadn’t seen in a long time, fans were buying tickets while it was raining. 

One of our first stops was with long time competitor, Rob Pitcher.  He was preparing his No. 17 Modified for the night’s competition.  We saw him compete at the start of the season in Florida in a UMP Modified and his new Late Model.  We were impressed with his progress in the Late Model division which is new to him.  While he is at his northern home this season, he will be racing his Late Model at Glen Ridge weekly and twice at Albany-Saratoga.  We wish him well.

During opening ceremonies, the national anthem was sung by 21-year-old Sara Arnold who lives in Brunswick.  Next, we saw Sara standing next to a beautiful Limited Sportsman, No. 25.  This is her second full season of racing in the Limited Sportsman but says she has been around racing all her life because her family is heavily involved. She is not intimidated racing as one of a few females in local racing competing with all the men.  She was raised with three brothers, two of which also race.  She has always looked up to Kim Lavoy and loves what she does at Lebanon Valley.  Sara likes Albany-Saratoga for the car counts and level of competition.   

The Modified winner on Friday was Stewart Friesen, his 26 win at the Malta oval placing him tenth on the win list at the track. 

Other winners were, Joey Scarborough, 602 Sportsman; Brandon Emigh, Pro Stocks, Chase Zimmer, Limited Sportsman; Patrick Cram, Jr., Street Stocks and Kyle Lanfear, Single Cam, Four Cylinder and David Frame, Dual Cam.

Utica-Rome Speedway also held a successful opening day with 137 cars in the pit area to compete.  Modifieds raced for $6800 to win in the Alex Friesen Remembered special.  Alex Friesen was the area’s top promoter of special events prior to his death in 1996.

Matt Sheppard of Savannah, NY was the winner.  Canadian, Mat Williamson was the runner-up, Rocky Warner of Gloversville was third, Alex Yankowski of Covington Township, Pa., was fourth and Potsdam’s Mike Maresca finished fifth from his 19th starting spot. 

Heat winners were Michael Trautschold, Zach Payne, Pat Ward, Mat Williamson.  Consolations were won by Cody Clark in the Hoyenga owned No. 4 and Billy Decker of Unadilla.

First time wins are always special and Butchie Irwin of Climax, NY picked up his first win at Utica-Rome in the Crate 602 Sportsman division, taking home $1000.  Completing the top five were Matt Janczuk, Tyler Cocoran, Seth Martin of Schoharie and Connor Prokop of Middleburgh. 

Up Next in Racing:

Friday Albany-Saratoga will host the RUSH Late Models for the first of two events at the speedway this season.  A $1000 to win Sportsman and Pro Stock races on the card also plus all other divisions.

Saturday at Fonda opening night all divisions in competition plus the MVVDMS will be on the card.

Saturday at Lebanon Valley – opening night, Modifieds, Sportsman, Pro Stocks and Super Street Stocks. 

Sunday, Glen Ridge has an open practice schedule for all divisions.  Their season opener is May 5th.

Until next week please send all news and/or comments to

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