The 2012 season at Oswego Speedway has been one of change for Mark Castiglia. The Oswego driver came into the year with a brand new race car, new number, and a new outlook.
In doing so, he managed to pull into Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane on Saturday night for the second time in 2012 at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.
Castiglia muscled the point away from long-time leader Andrew Schartner on lap 26 of the 35-lap battle and would then have to hold off garage mate Rob Pullen in the closing stages for the big win.
Kreig Heroth, Mike Bond, and Schartner completed the Top 5 order at the conclusion of the SBS main event.
“Andrew (Schartner) and I had quite the battle,” said Castiglia. “I got into him a little bit, I apologize for that, but we were slugging it out there for a couple laps and I finally got by him.
“I knew Robby (Pullen) was behind me, I felt him a couples times, and saw him high there and I was just trying to make laps. The car was pretty loose tonight, but I held on.”
Mike Bruce, who was involved in a nasty heat racing accident just one week ago, which required nearly a total rebuild of the No. 22, led the first two laps of the Burke’s Home Centers/CNY Central main event until Schartner slipped by to the point on lap 3 in the No. 18.
Schartner, the defending Bud Light SBS Classic Weekend winner, began to distance himself from the pack once out front. Further back, Castiglia and Pullen began to hook up and work their way through the field and by lap 7 worked into the Top 5 with low sides passes of Dalton Doyle in No. 01.
The duo would not stop there.
On lap 11 Castiglia would again make a hole, this time under Bruce in turn two leaving room for Pullen to again follow through. The No. 69 and No. 2 would then set their sights on leaders Schartner and Cameron Rowe in No. 77.
Caution lights would come on at lap 13 for the No. 88 of Brad Haynes, who made contact with the third turn foam.
The order for the restart would show Schartner, Rowe, Castiglia, Pullen, and Bruce in the Top 5 followed by Doyle, Heroth, Tim Barbeau, Mike Bond, and AJ Bernys.
As the field picked up the pace in turn three, the No. 77 of Rowe suddenly locked up and slid towards the outside wall making contact with the foam while running second. Upon further review, a stuck throttle was the culprit.
“I dropped the hammer and it wouldn’t come back,” said Rowe. “Once I got it slowed down some and hit the kill switch I turned it to the right to try and hit as square as possible.”
With Rowe out of the action, that would move Castiglia up into the runner-up slot with Pullen, Bruce, and Doyle in tow.
On the restart, Schartner pulled away, appearing well in command as both Heroth and Bond began to mount a charge near halfway.
Bond followed Heroth through the pack and on lap 15 each made their way into the Top 5, sliding passed Doyle in No. 01.
The cross flags for halfway showed Schartner, Castiglia, Pullen, Heroth and Bond up front with Schartner still holding a decent distance on Castiglia for the lead.
That would change however on lap 21.
A caution for Jack Patrick’s No. 9 in turn two gave Castiglia the opportunity he was looking for to draw back behind Schartner, and when the green lights came back on it was clear that Castiglia had something for the leader.
The two waged a spirited battle for the next five laps, trading paint and scuff marks, with Castiglia finally making the pass for the top spot on lap 27.
With Pullen having the best seat in the house running third, he eventually did what he had done all night, follow through in the tire tracks of the No. 69.
One lap later, Pullen moved passed Schartner into 2nd and now tried to move high on the leader Castiglia.
With Castiglia and Pullen battling, Schartner began to back slide as both Heroth and Bond would in time make moves by Schartner dropping him to fifth after leading much of the event.
As the closing laps wore on Pullen threw everything he had at Castiglia in search of his third win of the season, but instead it was Castiglia joining Pullen as the only two drivers to pick up multiple wins so far in the Oswego SBS season.
Heroth, who has battled in the Top 5 all season long, finally pulled through for a Top 3 finish in 2012.
Doyle, Bruce, Barbeau, Nate Sitterly, and Jon Tesoriero finished the Top 10 rundown in the Burke’s Home Centers/CNY Central SBS main event.