Redemption Is Sweet For Pat Ward At The Fulton Speedway

FULTON, NY – (By Dave Medler) – By Pat Ward’s standards 2013 hasn’t gotten off to the start he wanted. On top of that, on Friday night at the Brewerton Speedway, Ward had the fastest car and in the lead on the final lap when second place Ryan Bartlett who lost his brakes, got into Ward taking both out of contention for the win.

On Saturday night at the Fulton Speedway, Ward put it altogether and got the monkey off his back, as he outran teammates Billy Decker and Larry Wight for hugely popular win in the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds.

Other winners on Syracuse haulers night were, Jason Occhino, SUNY Canton Sportsman (First Career Win) Alan Fink, NAPA Late Models, Jeremy Dygert, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman and Skip DeGroff, Four Cylinder Stocks.

At the start of the 35 lap Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modified feature, Dale Planck got the jump on Tim Schneider and the rest of the field to lead the opening lap. Planck’s lead was short lived as one lap later Adam Roberts was able to shoot by Planck on lap 2.

On lap 4 disaster was avoided when Robbie Bellinger and another car made contact on the front straight, sending Bellinger into the wall. After the contact, Bellinger shot across the track and into the infield, and somehow was missed by the cars behind him, namely Dan Vauter at speed missed Bellinger by inches.

When the green came back out, Planck went back into the lead while behind him the field scrambled for position.

With 10 laps complete, Planck was still running the top and held a narrow lead over Jim Witko and Larry Wight. Behind the top-two, Roberts and Pat Ward ran in the top-five.

On lap 13, the battle was tight up front  with Planck, Witko and Wight, as they used every inch of the speedway looking for an advantage. Just one lap later, Witko was able to get by Planck to be scored the new leader. Even Witko’s lead was short lived as Wight dug on the extreme bottom to shoot into the lead on lap 15.

At the halfway point, Wight was still locked on the bottom as he led by about five-car lengths over Witko with Ward closing quick as the laps clicked off.

On lap 20, Ward grabbed second using the top of the speedway as he now took off after teammate Wight. Just two laps later Wight and Ward exited turn four as they closed quickly on Katelyn Kane. Ward was able to trap Wight behind the Kane car to get by Wight and be scored the new leader just before a caution.

With 10 laps to go it looked like Ward was shot out of a cannon as he bolted out to a half a straightaway lead, leaving Billy Decker, Wight, Chad Phelps and Ryan Phelps to fight it out for top-five finishing spots.

Over the remaining laps and no yellows to tighten the field up, Ward ran away and hid to be the first under the checkers. Decker, Wight, Ryan Phelps and Chad Phelps finished second through fifth.

After getting out of his Gypsum Express/Gypsum Wholesalers/ Stadium International Trucks /L J L Kevlar Racing Engines/ No.42p/Bicknell a relieved and excited Pat Ward talked about his win.

“We’ve been getting closer and closer, working our tails off,It’s obvious how bad we’ve been running, fifteenth, sixteenth, seventeenth. We’re up against a real tough field of cars everywhere we go. There is no excuse to run like that with the equipment John, Laura and Larry (Wight) give me. There has been a lot on my mind and I want to dedicate this win to my dad and mom that are not here tonight. I miss them a lot at the track, this is a good way to get going.”

Ward looked back on the heartbreak the night before at Brewerton. “Ryan (Bartlett) had the car to beat till he lost his brakes. Unfortunately he used my car as his brakes going into one on the last lap, we had that race won. Stuff like that happens unfortunately. Some days your the bug, some days you’re the windshield. We’ve been the bug a lot lately”

Ward finished up what a fun race it was to run and win. “It’s a lot of fun when your racing your teammates, Larry (Wight) and Billy (Decker) you know they are going to give you their best shot. Larry gave me the top one time. We were good in three and four, he was probably better up at this end. We kept our momentum up and it’s just good fun racing. The competition here is second to none. When you win here you know you’ve done something.”

In the 20 lap SUNY Canton Sportsman, another driver got a huge weight lifted off his back. Jason Occhino took the lead on lap 5 and never looked back. Even with a late yellow, Occhino didn’t flinch out distancing the tough field for his first ever win. Chris Hulsizer, Beth Schneider who came from deep in the field, early leader Greg Mrzywka and Joe Kline rounded out the top-five.

Occhino related that he wanted to give up so many times with the bad luck he has had the last couple years fixing the car. He said he has great help but came in every week with their heads hung low and figured he wasn’t getting done as a driver. This year he and his team decided even if they had to bring it back on wrecker they were going to be more aggressive and it paid off.

The NAPA Late Models once again put on an highly competitive feature where the top-runners all had a shot at the win. Alan Fink took the lead from Rick Miller late in the going to score his second win in a row. Miller, Sean Beardsley, AJ Kingsley and Dale Caswell rounded out the top-five.

An emotional Alan Fink dedicated the win to one of the all-time great racers, his grandfather “Irish Jack Murphy” who passed away recently.

In the 15 lap E&V Energy Novice Sportsman feature, Jeremy Dygert took the lead on lap 2 and never looked back. Shannon Pitcher in his first competitive race was impressive finishing second. Gary Hoppins, Jacob Davis and Nick Rupert finished third through fifth.

Eric M Zirbel led the first few laps of the 15 lap Four Cylinder Stock feature before Skip DeGroff took over the lead and the win. DeGroff is undefeated in features in 2013. Zirbel, John West, Sam Carissta and Donald Rowe completed the top-five.

This coming Saturday, May 25th,SUNY Canton presents another exciting night of racing on the “High Banks”. On the race card will be the Tracey Road Equipment Big Block Modifieds, SUNY Canton Sportsman, NAPA Late Models, E&V Energy Novice Sportsman, Four Cylinder Stocks and the always unpredictable One-On-One Spectator Races.

If you have always wanted to run on the “High Banks” now is your chance in the One-On-One Spectator Races. All you need is your registered/insured street vehicle, a D.O.T approved helmet and you’re ready to race.

Adult grandstand admission will be $12 with everyone 18 yrs old and younger admitted FREE to the grandstands. Pit admission is $25 members/ $30 non-members. Gates will open at 5 with racing at 7.

Any questions you might have about the season please contact Cory Reed at (315) 668-6906 or [email protected] . Keep up with track updates throughout the season at and, on each speedway’s Facebook accounts and on Twitter at and

(TRACEY ROAD EQUIPMENT BIG BLOCK MODIFIEDS 35 LAPS) –  PAT WARD, Billy Decker, Larry Wight, Ryan Phelps, Chad Phelps, Adam Roberts, Tom Sears Jr., Jim Witko, Dan Vauter, Rob Bellinger, Tim Sears Jr., Chris Hile, Matt Hulsizer, Dale Planck, Chuck Bower, Katelyn Kane, Jim Walsh, Tim Schneider Jr., Tommy Kinsella, Joe August Jr..

(SUNY CANTON SPORTSMAN 20 LAPS) – JASON OCCHINO, Chris Hulsizer, Beth Schneider, Greg Mrzywka, Joe Kline, Jeremy Pitcher, Matt Emmons, Jim Spano, Rocco Leone, Jordan Bennett, Tony Finch II, Dave Emmons, Kyle Fink, Earl Rudy, Gregg Kimball, Nick Krause, Tom Juhl, Corey Barker, Brandon Walters, Tom Cook, Derek Warren, Scott Ford, Ronnie Davis III, Brandon Ford, Justin Crisafulli, Michael Stanton, George Dyer.

(NAPA LATEMODELS 20 LAPS) – ALAN FINK, Rick Miller, Sean Beardsley, AJ Kingsley, Dale Caswell, Alan Chapman, Dustin Hanlon, Dave Talbot, Shayne Tenace, Brandon Ford, Steve Coit, Richie Riggs.

(E&V ENERGY NOVICE SPORTSMAN 15 LAPS) – JEREMY DYGERT, Shannon Pitcher, Gary Hoppins, Jacob Davis, Nick Rupert, Taylor Lamb, Kyle Kiehn, Carl Warren, Hilary Ward, Ricky Yelle, Wade Chrisman.

(FOUR CYLINDER STOCKS 15 LAPS) –  SKIP DEGROFF, Eric M Zirbel, John West, Sam Carista, Donald Rowe, Mark Johnston, Ken Pitsley