STSS Race Day: Utica-Rome New Yorker 50 Storylines, Stars & Sleepers

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – Empire State Race Day.

Tonight, the Bob Hilbert Sportswear Short Track Super Series (STSS) Fueled By Sunoco kicks off ‘big money season’ at the Utica-Rome Speedway.

The ‘Home of Heroes’ hosts the ‘New Yorker’ for a 50-lap, $12,000-to-win main event for the STSS big-block/small-block Modifieds.

New York’s finest racetrack hosts the biggest stars in Modified racing for Utica-Rome Speedway’s highest paying race of the year.


The Ollie’s ‘Elite’ Series fires back to life for the first time since April when the series kicked off at Orange County Fair Speedway in Middletown, N.Y.

Tonight’s race also serves as Round No. 9 of the River Valley Builders North Region, paying points for both regions.

Savannah, N.Y.’s Matt Sheppard leads both the North Region and the ‘Elite’ Series heading into his Friday night home track, where he just clinched his third consecutive track championship.


As always, the story begins with Matt Sheppard. Sheppard has won seven of the last eight races at Utica-Rome Speedway, with the single defeat coming after a blown engine in his heat race. ‘Super’ Matt has continued his historic run after the end of last season.

Phoenix, N.Y.’s Larry Wight has always run strong at Utica-Rome Speedway. ‘Lightning’ Larry upended Sheppard and the rest of the field in 2022 in the ‘Thunder on the Thruway’ Series finale at Utica-Rome Speedway.

Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker has shown an affinity for late race charges at Utica-Rome Speedway this season during normal 30-lap affairs. Given the extra 20 laps in tonight’s feature, the driver of the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91 might be right where he wants to be by the end of the main event.


Vernon, N.Y.’s Willy Decker has been red hot over the last two months, including a pair of runner-up finishes and a third place run this past Friday night. Decker will look to continue to ride the wave to give himself a chance at the $12,000 payday.

Canandaigua, N.Y.’s Alex Payne sits fourth in Utica-Rome Speedway points with just one points race remaining. The young gun continues to turn heads in Modified racing in just his second year in the sports highest level.

Ransomville, N.Y.’s Erick Rudolph has had a strong summer stretch, which included a top five in the ‘Richie Evans Memorial’ back in July. Now as the calendar turns to the Autumn months, Rudolph will look to continue his strong form.


The Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks, Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman, Senior Services Inc. All-Star Slingshots, and the Junior Slingshots are all on the racing card following Utica-Rome Speedway rules and procedures.


Thurs.-Sat., Sept. 14-16 – the biggest race of the 2023 season takes at Fonda (N.Y.) Speedway with the ‘Fonda 200.’ Round No. 3 of the Ollie’s Elite Series pays a whopping $53,000-to-win, the biggest winners share of the Northeast Modified season. The event also serves as Round No. 10 of the River Valley Builders North Region.


Don’t forget to set your Dirt Draft lineups before the night’s first heat race begins.

Visit or download the app to join Dirt Draft and compete against thousands of others for the entire 2023 STSS season. A subscription is just $5.99 a month with plenty of prizes up for grabs in the Dirt Draft Speed Shop.

Following along with the STSS on Dirt Draft throughout the ‘23 season will pay one lucky fan dividends at year-end.

The STSS Dirt Draft Champion receives two tickets to the STSS year-end banquet and will be honored with a custom trophy presented by Dirt Draft.


Gates open at 4 p.m., with hot laps at 6 p.m. and racing at 7 p.m.

Grandstand admission is $30 (Adults), $28 Seniors (ages 65 and up) and Kids 11 and under are FREE.

Pit admission is $50 (Non-Members), $45 (NASCAR or Utica-Rome Members), $10 Kids (ages 6-12) and $2 Children (ages 5 and under).


The entire night of racing, along with every STSS race in 2023, will be broadcast LIVE on FloRacing ( 

Utica-Rome Speedway is located at 5591 NY-5 (Seneca Turnpike) Vernon, NY 13476. The official website is and the speedway can be reached by phone at 315.953.4097.  Like Utica-Rome Speedway on Facebook or follow us on Twitter @UR_Speedway.

To learn more about the Short Track Super Series Fueled By Sunoco, visit, e-mail, check out ‘Short Track Super Series’ on Facebook or @ShortTrackSS on Twitter or Instagram.

The Short Track Super Series is presented by American Racer/Lias Tire, Sunoco Race Fuel, FloSports, Bob Hilbert Sportswear, Rent Equip/Party Central, BDR Speed, Bicknell Racing Products, Ollie’s, Penske Racing Shocks, Wegner Automotive, River Valley Builders, Behrent’s Performance Warehouse, DIG Race Products, Velocita-USA, Franklin Products, Design for Vision & Sunglass Central, Belmont’s Garage, Quality Drywall, Precision Hydraulic & Oil, Prime MAC Tools, F.X. Caprara Car Companies, Algonkin Motel, Beyea Custom Headers, Dirt Track Digest, EIBACH, Electric Neon Custom Signs, Fastline Performance, Flach Performance Products, Henry’s Exhaust, Hig Fab, Schultz Racing Fuel Cells, Spyder Filters, Superior Remodeling, Teo-Pro Car, VAHLCO & Wilwood.