After battling engine issues for several weeks, Four Sevens Motorsports driver Mark Castiglia returned to Oswego Speedway’s victory lane for the third time in his career Saturday night.
Castiglia started from the pole position, leading all 30 laps on his way to victory over Jason Simmons, Cameron Rowe, Mike Bond, and Russ Brown.
“We had a tough start to the year with some motor issues, but we got it solved tonight,” said Castiglia. “It is really tough competition out there this year, so you have to take what you can get. I really need to thank Denise Merrill for giving me the opportunity to drive her racecar, and I also need to thank Dan Dennie, I wouldn’t be here without him. My crew chief Steve Reynolds does a great job and Kevin Enders builds an awesome motor.”
Defending Speedway champion Kreig Heroth finished the night in the sixth position ahead of Andrew Schartner, Jack Patrick, Tim Gareau and Jon Tesoriero in the top ten positions.
Castiglia and Mike Bruce brought the 25-car Pathfinder Bank SBS Series field down to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag, with Castiglia out running Bruce to the head of the pack early on.
Simmons, still knocking on the door of his first career Oswego Speedway win, started fourth and before long found himself directly on the back bumper of Bruce in a battle for second.
As Castiglia, Bruce, and Simmons began to try and distance themselves from the rest of the field, the race’s first caution would wave at lap 4.
Rookies Zach Amo, Dan Abt, and Greg O’Connor would all tangle in the third turn, slowing the field. All three would continue on.
At the restart, Castiglia led Bruce, Simmons, Gareau, Rowe, Bond, Patrick, Heroth, Schartner, and Tesoriero.
As the green lights came back on the front three would again check away from the field with Simmons applying heavy pressure to Bruce for the runner-up spot.
Several times Simmons would look low in the D&S Landscaping No. 98 in turn three, but Bruce would hold his own in the Woodchuck Saloon No. 22.
While a great battle was being waged up front, another torrid battle was taking place from fourth on back between Gareau, Rowe, Bond, Heroth, Patrick, and Schartner.
Brown was also in the mix up until a near catastrophe in the third turn, which saw several cars scatter including JJ Andrews and AJ Bernys. Each car would continue on without slowing the field, dropping them a great distance behind the lead pack.
As the lap counter wound down Castiglia, Bruce, and Simmons had pulled to a full straightaway lead on the rest of the field by lap 20, but on lap 22 that lead would be erased.
Andrews and Dalton Doyle would touch going into turn one collecting Doyle and Josh Kerr to illuminate the yellow lights. Andrews and Kerr would continue in the event, while for the second week in a row, Doyle’s night would end in the first turn.
With only eight laps remaining, Castiglia still held the point over Bruce, Simmons, Rowe, Bond, Heroth, Schartner, Gareau, Brown, and Patrick.
When the green flag flew yet again, Simmons was finally able to make the third turn low side move stick on Bruce, driving the No. 98 into the runner-up spot with his sights now set on Castiglia for the race lead.
Further back Brown was also on the charge. After losing considerable ground in the third turn scrum early on, Brown slid past Heroth to move into the top five, now directly on the back bumper of championship rival Bond in the No. 74.
Brown, Bond, and Rowe would battle intensely over the final laps in search of a podium finish.
Bruce, who had a tremendous run through the majority of the event in the No. 22, would pull to the pits on lap 28 with rear suspension issues.
With Bruce out of the running that left Castiglia and Simmons to battle for the lead over the final circuits, but again it was Castiglia edging Simmons for the 30-lap victory.
With another runner-up finish under his belt, Simmons continues to search for win number one at Oswego after claiming the Nice Price Auto Sales ‘Up & Comer’ award.
“Yeah, this is tough,” said Simmons. “We blew a motor last week and had to put the Chevy in it, but the car was really pretty good, just a little off for the feature. We were really good on restarts, but after a few laps when the tires would get some heat, it started to get greasy on me.
“I could get into the corner good on Mark (Castiglia), but I just could not get off the corner as good as those guys.”
Oswego Speedway returns to racing Saturday, May 25 with the Helena Chemical Company Memorial Weekend “Triple-Header” featuring the Jim Shampine Memorial 75 for Supermodifieds, the Richie Evans Memorial 75 for the RoC Modifieds, and the Tony White Memorial Pathfinder Bank SBS 35.