Mark Castiglia led every lap Saturday night at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division for his first career main event win. Castiglia was able to fend off the charges of good friend Jason Simmons throughout the event.
Simmons took second position from AJ Bernys on lap 11 of 30 to begin his charge at the race lead. But Simmons, who was also looking for his first career win in the No. 98, was unable to out fox Castiglia.
Cameron Rowe, Kreig Heroth, and Tim Barbeau filled the top five ahead of JJ Andrews, Mike Bond, Rob Pullen, Andrew Schartner, and John Ketcham.
“It feels awesome,” said Castiglia of his first career win behind the wheel of the No. 69. “I owe it all to Dan Dennie; he is the best in the business. I was watching the leader board and I saw the No. 98 there and I knew it was my good old buddy Jason (Simmons) and I figured we would have a shootout.”
Bernys and Castiglia brought the SBS field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag with the No. 69 of Castiglia quickly pulling out front from the outside front row starting spot. Simmons, who started eighth on the grid, would find himself into the top five by just the third circuit, slicing under Rowe for position.
With Simmons charging hard, Castiglia began to pull away from the field in dominating fashion. Simmons could see Castiglia’s progress, forcing the No. 98 to push even harder to make its way to the front.
Simmons would next dive under Ketcham for the fourth spot on lap 4, settling in behind the No. 17 of David LaTulip. With Simmons all over the back bumper of LaTulip, the No. 17 decided it was time to make a move on the Bernys No. 24 for second.
LaTulip tried an inside move into turn three, but would wind up tagging the inside hub rail nearly losing control.
A pre-cautionary yellow would wave for the No. 17, slowing the field on lap 9. LaTulip clearly had issues, however, as when the field tried to come back to green the TNT Motorsports driver pulled high with issues and eventually headed pitside.
LaTulip’s exit would move Simmons to third behind Castiglia and Bernys. Rowe, Ketcham, Jon Tesoriero, Mike Bruce, Heroth, and Barbeau would fill the top 10 for the lap 9 restart.
Heroth, in the Won4 Racing No. 04, used the restart to his advantage pulling underneath Bruce and Tesoriero in consecutive laps to move his way to sixth on the grid. The return to green would also prove helpful to Simmons as he was able to pull on past Bernys for the runner-up spot on the race’s 11th lap, now setting his sights on his friend Castiglia at the point.
At the cross flags, Castiglia had mounted a five car lead on Simmons, who was quickly pulling away from Bernys, Rowe, and now Heroth in the top five. Tesoriero, Barbeau, Andrews, Ketcham, and Bond would complete the top 10 on lap 15.
With a run through the first 19 laps of the race, Bernys began to slip back slightly, falling into the clutches of both Rowe and Heroth to fall to fifth. Barbeau would next slip past the No. 24 to fifth on lap 26, and unfortunately for Bernys his night would only get worse.
On lap 27, contact between Bernys and Andrews would send the No. 24 head first into the outside wall at the start/finish line. Bernys was okay, but his machine was hooked off the Speedway.
With only three laps to go, the field would tighten one last time and Castiglia would now have his hands full with the Team Tapout No. 98. But as yellow turned green in the 30-lap event, Castiglia proved it was his night, pulling away from Simmons to grab the win.
Simmons, still looking for that first win himself, was pleased with the continued progress of the No. 98.
“The car was just on a rail tonight, it was the best it has been,” said Simmons. “I don’t know how much better it can get? We started eighth and I knew I would have to get up there as quick as I could, and we got there we just didn’t have enough for Mark. I tried everything I could; we want that win as much as him.”