By Rev Don Rivers

Do you have a tire specialist? I hope so. A tire specialist’s job is to focus on where the rubber hits the road. They give us the information to make the proper adjustments to finish in victory. How about our life? Do we have a “tire specialist” to guide our walk? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

One of the most common sights in the garage area is the constant attention to the tires. This is done because that is where the horsepower, through torque, is transferred to the track. The tires reveal to us what is happening when we are out on the track. They reveal how we can improve the car’s performance on the track.

At times, when we see blisters or wear, we blame the tire; the compound is too soft or too hard. Maybe the tires are from a bad batch or they weren’t cured right. It isn’t always the tire. The problem may be deeper than just where the rubber hits the road.

Tire problems indicate deeper issues. What we see on the surface isn’t a problem with the tire; it is an indication that what the tire is attached to needs to be adjusted. Maybe the stagger is wrong, perhaps it is the shock setup or maybe the spring rate. The driver could just be driving too hard. Tire problems usually indicate the race car they are connected to is not stable. If the tire isn’t connected to the right setup it will show in the way the tire heats up and wears. How we respond to those indications determines how well we will run the race.

Let’s look at the closing passage of Jesus’ “Sermon on the Mount” found in Matthew’s Gospel.

Matthew 7:24-27, NIV; “Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

Therefore is an interesting word, it means; because of what was said make these adjustments to your life. Think of our tires again, when we see certain indications, we make certain adjustments to our car. Jesus says, “Therefore make the following adjustments.”

Let’s take a look at the similarities of each man mentioned in this passage. First thing we notice is that they both sought to attain the same goal, build a house. This is not unlike our desire when we come to the track. We all want to win. As each of us know, having a goal and getting there can be two different things.  How do we go about accomplishing our goal? Is there one way that is best? Where do we find the answer?

That leads us to the second thing these men had in common, they both went to the same seminar. We need information to accomplish our goals. Rarely does someone accomplish something by accident. The usual method is threefold; establish a goal, learn what you need to know to accomplish it and then do it.

Each one set out to build a home, a legacy, if you will. Each one heard the words of Jesus. They had the right information to use. Each one had an equal opportunity to succeed. Like using the setup notes we have for a certain track. If we use that information we have a head start on getting our car setup in a way that will enable us to win.

Thirdly we find that they both experienced the same challenge. There was a storm. It was the same storm for both of them. There was no difference between what took place in each of their lives. When we come to the track, we all are faced with the same challenge, set up the car so that you are able to win. The track conditions are the same for everyone. The distance is the same for everyone. The practice time is the same for everyone. The rules that dictate what equipment can be used are the same.

All things being equal, what separates the winner from everyone else? The team who makes the right adjustments based on the information they have. We all have choices to make in life. Each choice comes with its own set of consequences. How we choose and how we respond reveals who is in control of our lives. Do we make the proper choices based on what we have learned? Jesus contrasted the two men for us, the wise one applied what he heard and the foolish one didn’t. We can all have victory if we follow Christ.

It is very rare that the winner of the race had the wrong setup. Having the wrong setup usually plays itself out during the race. Most times we see it all too clear; Tire fails and you are introduced to the wall. Other times it shows up in lack of performance; we just can’t get up to speed. How our car is set up determines how we run the race. It determines if we are running in such a way as to win. Our set up decides whether we succeed or fail.

We had an incident at work one day that helps illustrate the choices we make and their consequences. We had just poured some fresh concrete and there was a little pile on the ground. A salesman was visiting and instead of bypassing it he decided to see if it was wet. He stepped in it with all he had. It was wet and now his dress shoe was covered with wet cement. Was it worth a ruined pair of shoes to see if the concrete was wet? We need to stop and examine the consequences of the decisions we make before we follow through on them. We need to take time to fully understand the choices we make in life. It is not necessary to learn everything the hard way.

One man applied what he had heard and when the storm came he was able to withstand it. The other ignored what he had heard, the storm came and his life came crashing down with a great fall. Where and how we finish is dependent on the decisions we make. It matters whose advice we follow. In life, much like in a race, if we have the right setup we will be able to finish in victory.

Look at the starting lineup, can you tell who has the best race car? They are all nice and polished. They all have four wheels and a motor. They all have a talented driver. Can we tell which one will win? No, we can’t, we have to run the race. Then and only then will we see who made the right decisions. We not only need to run the race; we need to finish. No one ever won a race that they didn’t finish. As Yogi would say, 90% of the cars that don’t finish don’t win.

What can we take with us from this passage? Jesus said listen to my words and follow them. If you do this you will be able to withstand even the fiercest storm. If you listen to my words and do not make changes to your life, when difficult times come you will not have the foundation you need to withstand the storm and your life will come crashing down.

Jesus asked the question of His disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” Our answer to that question will indicate whose directions we are following. I encourage us to listen and apply the teachings of Jesus. He will enable us to have a strong foundation that is able to withstand any storm.

Until next time, remember God loves you and Jesus is Lord over Auto Racing! God Bless. Remember, that your prayerful support and donations helps us continue this ministry. Thank You.

More Laps, More Cash on Tap for Epic Thompson Speedway Mid-Week Doubleheader

Photo: Tom Morris Racing Photography

Barre, VT and Naples, ME ­— Officials from the American-Canadian Tour (ACT) and Pro All Stars Series (PASS) have announced the full schedule of events for the epic Thompson Speedway mid-week Doubleheader on Tuesday, August 16th and Wednesday August 17th. Twisted Tea Tuesday will feature twin-50 lap special events for the Sunoco Modifieds and a Street Stock/Limited Sportsman Open along with Night #1 of the new SK Lite Modified Double Down Showdown, a $300-to-Win Mini Stock feature and Fireworks to cap the night! Wednesday brings the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour for the Phoenix Communications 150 along with Night #2 of the SK Lite Double Down Showdown with ACT-type Late Models and Limited Sportsman.

The Twisted Tea Tuesday Night Special is headlined by the $3,000-to-Win Sunoco Modified 50 Lap barnburner with Sunoco Modified Masters Keith Rocco, Todd Owen and Stephen Kopcik expected to bring down the house in the extra distance, extra money extravaganza. The Sunoco Modified 50-lap purse also features a $1,500 prize for the second-place finisher, $1,200 to third and $400 to start. Also on the docket will be a $1,500-to-Win, 50-lap Street Stock Open Competition event as the local Limited Sportsman defend their home turf from New England Street Stock invaders for the long-distance cash prize.

As if two specials weren’t enough, the SK Lites are on schedule with an all-new Double Down Showdown – 30-Lap feature events on both Tuesday and Wednesday of the Midweek Doubleheader, each paying $750-to-Win, double the normal weekly purse for the SK Lites! The fast and furious Thompson Mini Stocks will also be featured on the Twisted Tea Tuesday schedule with a $300-to-Win, 25-lap feature as Kevin Moore leads the war over defending champion Jared Roy. An epic Fireworks presentation will round out Night #1! Pit Gates will open at 3:00pm with Grandstands Open and Practice Starting at 5:00pm Tuesday. Post Time is set for 7:00pm with General Admission set at $25 for adults, $10 for kids 6-12 and kids 5 and under are free.

Wednesday, August 17th brings the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour back to Northeast Connecticut for the Phoenix Communications 150! Alongside the Touring Modified stars will be the Championship event for the SK Lite Modified Double Down Showdown with another $750 at stake for the winner. There is also a $1,000 Point Fund for the top three SK Lites who total the most points in the two 30-Lap events with $500 going to the Double Down Showdown Champion, $300 to the runner up and $200 to the third-place finisher in final points.

Wednesday will also feature the ACT-type Late Models and Thompson Limited Sportsman as they continue their 2022 Track Championship battles for the large crowd expected to witness the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour! Full race day schedule will be released upon confirmation from NASCAR. General Admission is set at $40 for adults, $15 for kids 6-12 and kids 5 and under are free!

Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park returns in a big way on Tuesday, August 16th and Wednesday, August 17th for an epic midweek doubleheader. Twisted Tea Tuesday sees four special events with a $3,000-to-Win 50-lap event for the Sunoco Modifieds, $1,500-to-Win 50-lap Street Stock Open, Night #1 of the $750-to-Win SK Lite Double Down Showdown, $300-to-Win 25-lapper for the Thompson Mini Stocks and Fireworks! Wednesday brings the return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Phoenix Communications 150 along with Championship Night for the SK Lite Double Down Showdown, with $500 going to the champion, ACT-type Late Models and Limited Sportsman.

Pit Gates open on Tuesday at 3:00pm with Pit Passes set at $45 for adults and $20 for kids 12 and under. Practice begins at 5:00pm with Post Time set for 7:00pm. Tuesday General Admission is $25 for adults, $10 for kids 6-12 with kids 5 and under free! Grandstands will open at 5:00pm. While Wednesday’s schedule will be announced after confirmation from NASCAR, Pit Passes will be $50 for adults and $25 for kids 12 and under. Wednesday General Admission is set at $40 for adults, $15 for kids 6-12 with kids 5 and under free!

For more information about the American-Canadian Tour, contact the ACT offices at (802) 244-6963,, or visit  You can also get updates on Facebook and Twitter at @ACTTour.

For technical information concerning all PASS divisions, and for media or marketing questions, please contact or visit Don’t forget to “Like” the Pro All Stars Series on Facebook or follow on Twitter @PASSSLM14 to keep up with breaking news as it happens.

For general Thompson Speedway inquiries, call (860) 923-2280, email, or visit You can follow Thompson Speedway on Facebook and Instagram at @ThompsonSpeedway or on Twitter at @ThompsonSpdwy.

9 for the 9s: Matt Sheppard Romps from 12th to Win Ninth Utica-Rome Feature

Written by Chris Moore

VERNON, NY – 9 for the 9s.

For the ninth time this season, Matt Sheppard invaded Victory Lane at Utica-Rome Speedway with the Sunoco Modifieds.

Sheppard raced from his 12th starting spot to take the lead away on the fourth circuit of the 30-lap main, leading the remaining 26 laps for a dominant victory and the $2,400 top prize.

“The seas don’t always part like that but when they do, we’ll definitely take it,” proclaimed Sheppard of his rapid charge to the lead.

“We were able to get out front and I don’t think there were any more cautions, things definitely went our way tonight,” Sheppard said of his dominant performance.

York, N.Y.’s Justin Wright and Nick Heywood, of Plattsburgh, N.Y., led the field to the green flag for the 30-lap main event. Wright quickly raced out to the top spot, while Heywood was under fire from Genoa, N.Y.’s Pat Ward for the runner-up spot.

Ward slid by Heywood just prior to the completion of lap two before a yellow flag fell for Richie Price, who had spun in the first and second corner.

Sheppard used the opening two laps to dice through the field, working his way into the fifth position before the caution came out. Sheppard used the inside line race by the likes of Billy Decker, Alex Yankowski, and Alan Barker to crack the top five just prior to the caution.

The ensuing restart, Sheppard found the bottom lane again forcing a three-wide fight for second down the backstretch with Ward and Binghamton, N.Y.’s Darren Smith.

Sheppard would muscle the spot away going into the third corner and set his sights on the leader Justin Wright.

Wright led the third lap, but that was the only challenge he could muster up. Sheppard raced to the bottom of the first turn and darted underneath Wright, taking the lead away when the field exited the second turn.

A yellow flew again on the sixth lap, as Brian Murphy was spun in the wrong direction over the third turn banking.

Sheppard, however, was too strong, quickly pulling out in front and driving away from the rest of the field.

Sheppard dominated the remainder of the feature, claiming the win by over seven-and-a-half seconds.

Unadilla, N.Y.’s Billy Decker raced into the runner-up spot aboard the Jeremy Smith Racing No. 91 machine. At one point it appeared as though Decker might have something to offer Sheppard for the win, but Decker was never able to get close enough to challenge the eventual victor.

Gloversville, N.Y.’s Rocky Warner continued his recent hot streak with a third-place finish in his Jason Simmons Racing No. 98. The podium run was Warner’s third consecutive finish inside the top three at Utica-Rome Speedway.

Sprakers, N.Y.’s Stewart Friesen battled in the back half of the top-10 for much of the 30-lap feature before a late race charge rewarded him with a fourth-place finish.

Darren Smith, Decker’s teammate, rounded out the top five piloting his Jeremy Smith-owned No. 12 machine.

Finishing sixth through 10th, respectively were: Pat Ward, who lost multiple positions on the lap-six restart before charging back forward to finish sixth; Middlesex, N.Y.’s Alan Johnson aboard his Mark Spoor-owned No. 14j; Justin Wright, who also lost multiple positions on the lap-six restart before climbing his way forward again; Covington Township, Pa.’s Alex Yankowski, who was as high as fourth at one point; and Canandaigua, N.Y.’s Kyle Coffey in his Carl Myers Enterprises No. 23c.

Fonda, N.Y.’s Danny Varin remained perfect in 360 Sprint Car competition at Utica-Rome Speedway in 2022, claiming the 25-lap Lucas Oil Empire Sprint Series (ESS) A-Main.

After the yellow flag at the completion of lap two, Varin would restart fourth with Kelly Hebing and Jordan Poirier occupying the front row.

With a great restart however, Varin split the front row, and slid up in front of Hebing and charged off the second corner with the lead.

Despite Poirier beginning to close in on Varin during two longer green-flag runs, he was never able to seriously challenge for the lead.

Varin led the final 23-laps relatively uncontested to claim his third 360 Sprint Car win of the season at the ‘Home of Heroes,’ and his second ESS win at the speedway.

Quebec’s Jordan Poirier, the ESS point leader entering the night, came home with a runner-up finish and Shawn Donath, of Syracuse, N.Y., rounded out the podium finishers after starting in the sixth row.

Cicero, N.Y.’s Paulie Colagiovanni claimed the fourth position and Wantage, N.J.’s Davie Franek rounded out the top five.

Matt Janczuk continues his domination of the Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman, claiming his seventh consecutive victory worth $1,000.

Durhamville, N.Y. native used multiple restarts, taking advantage of each one to pick off more cars. Janczuk climbed from his 17th starting position to get to second. It appeared Janczuk would settle for second, as Willy Decker Jr. was setting the pace by a healthy advantage.

A lap-21 restart gave Janczuk the opening he needed, racing to the outside of Decker Jr. to take the lead and the win.

Rome, N.Y.’s Chris Mackey would claim the runner-up position and 

South New Berlin, N.Y.’s Payton Talbot used a late race charge to round out the podium.

Vernon, N.Y.’s Willy Decker Jr. faded to fourth in the late stages and Morrisville, N.Y.’s Matt Richardson rounded out the top five.

Fort Johnson, N.Y.’s Josh Coonradt claimed his second consecutive Next Generation Graphix Pro Stocks victory, the second time this season Coonradt has gone back-to-back.

Coonradt raced by Bret Belden and Bill Knapp just shy of the halfway mark and went on to win by over seven seconds over the rest of the field.

Newport, N.Y.’s A.J. Walters had his best run of the season, coming home second, and Bret Belden rounded out the top three.

E.J. Gallup joined Coonradt in the back-to-back department, claiming his second consecutive Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman 15-lap victory. Gallup used a last-lap pass to get Eric Jensen for the win.

Jensen held on for the runner-up position and point leader Seth Martin rounded out the top three.

The Fonda Fair Four Cylinders saw two first-time winners in 2022 on Friday night. David DeNova (DOHC) started on the front row and led all 12-laps to claim the victory.

T.J. Marlitt outdueled Wayne Russell Jr. for the Single Cam win.

Racing resumes Friday, August 12 at Utica-Rome Speedway with the ‘Dog Days of Summer’ program. The Sunoco Modifieds will race for a boosted $3,500 winners share. A full program is on tap plus the slingshots on the inner oval.

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


Sunoco Modified Feature Finish (30 laps): MATT SHEPPARD, Billy Decker, Rocky Warner, Stewart Friesen, Darren Smith, Pat Ward, Alan Johnson, Justin Wright, Alex Yankowski, Kyle Coffey, Willy Decker, Shaun Walker, Jessica Friesen, JaMike Sowle, Alan Barker, Will Shields, Randy Shantel, Brian Murphy, Loren Lincoln, Tim Mayne, Nick Heywood, Rich Price, Aaron Jacobs, Ronnie Johnson, Brad Poppleton.

Lucas Oil Empire Super Sprints 360 Sprint Car Feature Finish (25 laps): DANNY VARIN, Jordan Poirier, Shawn Donath, Paulie Colagiovanni, Davie Franek, Chuck Hebing, Dylan Swiernik, Matt Billings, Jason Barney, Dalton Rombough, Sammy Reakes IV, Jonathan Preston, Scott Holcomb, Scott Kruetter, Chris Jones, Lacey Hanson, Tyler Cartier, Kelly Hebing, Matt Tanner, Billy Van Inwegen, Steve Glover, Blake Warner, Josh Pieniazek, Chad Miller.

Did Not Start: Jeff Cook, Joe Trenca

Worthington Industries Crate 602 Sportsman Feature Finish (25 laps): MATT JANCZUK, Chris Mackey, Payton Talbot, Willy Decker Jr., Matt Richardson, Rocco Leone, Allan Hodge, Ed Lukas, Jeremy Slosek, Kyle DeMetro, Mike Richmond, David Hackett Jr., Stephen Denton, A.J. Miller, Addison Bowman, Gordon Smith, Josh Fellows, Brent Cross, Steve Kotary, Dave Richer, Brad Alger, Josh Amodio, Ed Downing, David Dickey, Jim Nagle, Brent Joy.

Next Generation Graphix Pro Stock Feature Finish (20 laps): JOSH COONRADT, A.J. Walters, Bret Belden, Beau Ballard, Bill Knapp, Jay Corbin, Jason Morrison, Tim Wood, John Holmes, Ed Kotary, Jim Normoyle, Ken Griffen.

Fastline Performance Limited Sportsman Feature Finish (20 laps): E.J. GALLUP, Eric Jensen, Seth Martin, Zack Welch, Connor Prokop, Alex Hughes, Dylan Piersall, Bobby Newman, Mike Haman, Ernie Staelens.

Did Not Start: Jason Lopes

Fonda Fair Four Cylinder Cruiser Feature Finish (12 laps): DAVID DENOVA (DOHC), Rudy King Jr., Matt Bukovan, Sophia DeNova, Heather King, T.J. Marlitt (SOHC), Wayne Russell Jr., Hunter Tarbania, Donald Kimball, Hank Wedgren, Jacob Kimball, Kyle Coley.

Covering the Entire Northeast