VERNON, N.Y. – In a joint statement Race of Champions steward Joe Skotnicki and Utica-Rome Speedway owners Bill and Kim Shea announced Monday they have partnered to present the speedway’s annual fall event to be known as the New Yorker Race of Champions 200 to be held on Sept. 9-10, 2016.
“One of the first goals with acquiring the Race of Champions was to create a marquee signature event within the dirt modified program that recognized, rewarded and was built to become a long standing tradition for our racers and race fans,” stated Race of Champions steward, Joe Skotnicki. “When I approached Bill and Kim Shea with this, they were on board to create a marquee Modified racing event that would highlight their tracks and their season, as well as recognize their participants and continue to build on the history of great modified racing that is synonymous with Utica-Rome.”
Modified racing is steeped in tradition throughout the Northeast. New York’s famous Utica-Rome Speedway, whether it has been dirt or asphalt the track has played host to some of the greatest names and events in the history of the sport. The “New Yorker” event has been hosted at Utica-Rome dating back to 1963. Many famous drivers have won the event such as Eddie Flemke, Sr., Lou “The Monk” Lazzaro, Richie Evans, Billy Pauch, Stewart Friesen, Larry Wight, Bobby Varin and Matt Sheppard.
As part of the Race of Champions Dirt Modified Series schedule, the “New Yorker” established a great tradition at Utica-Rome each fall. In 2016 it will become even more significant as a new tradition will begin. The perpetual silver bowl trophy, coveted by the Modified asphalt world for more than 6 decades, will now also become a part of Race of Champions dirt history when it is awarded to the “New Yorker Race of Champions 200” winner.
“We are bringing back and enhancing the Race of Champions tradition at one of its’ first homes, the Utica-Rome Speedway,” stated Skotnicki. “The 200-lap Modified race with pit stops will be the highlight of a weekend long celebration that is intended to create a festive atmosphere for race fans, participants and party goers, with something for everyone. In addition, camping will be available on-site and as well as pre- and post-race parties to highlight the festive weekend.”
“We feel we have a great facility and want to give fans and racers the best experience possible,” offered Utica-Rome Speedway owner, Bill Shea. “Utica-Rome Speedway has an established history and we feel an event of this magnitude can be a great addition to our schedule for years to come. We are looking at this for not only the short term, but to build a destination event, that people mark on their calendars each year as a ‘must-see’ event. We feel that this is the first step in developing a formula for the event that we are looking to create.”