One week after seemingly nothing could go right at Oswego Speedway, nearly everything did during the Toys for Tots ‘Christmas in July’ event Saturday.
Starting from the sixth position, Fulton driver Dave Gruel sped through the field to take the lead from Jerry Curran through lapped traffic on the 18th of 75 circuits to claim his third career Novelis Supermodified victory.
At one point, Gruel built a dominating half-track lead in the Lighthouse Lanes No. 50 before lapped traffic allowed runner-up and championship point leader Joe Gosek to slightly close the victory margin. In the race’s final laps, Gosek appeared to be the fastest car on the speedway, needing a caution to close further ground on Gruel. Championship contenders Otto Sitterly and Shaun Gosselin would trail both Gruel and Gosek to the line with Curran completing the top five in the No. 24.
With the victory, coming just one week before he looks to defend his ISMA Supermodified King of Wings title behind the wheel of the Steve Miller Sweet 16, Gruel has visited Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane in each of his first four seasons behind the wheel of a Supermodified dating back to 2010.
“I think the car was taking me for a ride,” said Gruel. “The car was set-up awesome. I was just trying to do everything I could once I knew I was out there in the lead. Bill Samuels gave me an awesome car; he is the set-up guy. “I have to thank Bob Hoefer, Bill and Linda Samuels,” he added. “This is just awesome for both sides of this team. I was starting to conserve a little bit later, but I am really glad there were no cautions, because I did not have much left the last couple laps.”
Lapped traffic played a key role in the event, helping Gruel to snag the race lead, and later on caused some tense moments in the closing laps. Just one week ago, Gruel spun in the 50-lap Supermodified feature attempting to lap a slower car.
“I usually like to use that (lapped traffic) as an opportunity to try and get ahead of the guy I am racing with,” said Gruel. “Luckily, it paid off this week, last week it didn’t work out too well.”
With another consistent finish in the No. 00, Gosek will head to Race of Champions Weekend at the Speedway in two weeks still on top of the Novelis Supermodified standings. “I think a lot of guys slowed down a bit, but our car was pretty consistent throughout,” said Gosek. “We gained big from warm-ups, to the heat, to the feature and that is a plus.”
With a long green flag stretch run, Gosek said his philosophy is rather simple in those situations. “Basically you just keep picking them off and go as fast as you can”, said Gosek. “I couldn’t see the leader but I figured it was the 50, he was the only one I didn’t pass. I didn’t really look at the board, I saw I was second, but didn’t look at the lead.” Sitterly wrestled the No. 7 home with a third place finish. “The track changed a lot and the car has been really tight,” said Sitterly. “I talked with a lot of guys; Pat Lavery, Joe Gosek and everyone has been really tight the last few weeks. I imagine it has something to do with the heat, track change, or what? Joe was going awful good tonight, and Pat was good early, but we just sort of stayed mediocre the whole race but we’ll take it.”
A fourth place finish for Shaun Gosselin continues his banner season as well as keeping him in the championship battle with Gosek and Sitterly. Gosselin would end the night as both the Lightouse Lanes Hard Charger and Up & Comer. Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race challenge victories would go to Devendorf, Connors, and Bellinger.
Pat Lavery, Dan Connors Jr., Brandon Bellinger, Kody Graham, and Tim Snyder completed the top ten order. Toys for Tots “Christmas in July” at Oswego Speedway kicked off with a visit from Santa Claus to the “Steel Palace” along with a very successful toy drive in both the grandstand and pit areas. A total of 12 Toys for Tots toy boxes were filled for donation to Toys for Tots of Oswego County. Oswego Speedway took on a winter’s touch throughout the evening with a plethora of Christmas decorations and activities for the young ones, headed up by Christmas in July coordinator Lisa Sova and her helpful volunteers.
Toys for Tots “Christmas in July” presented by Days Inn/Knights Inn of Oswego provided a sixth different winner — and a third first timer — in Oswego Speedway’s Pathfinder Bank SBS division this season.
Fulton driver Jeremy Pitcher, a DIRT Sportsman standout and Butler Disposal Services SBS Rookie of the Year candidate, realized a lifelong dream on Saturday as he picked up his first career Pathfinder Bank SBS main event win behind the wheel of the TNT Motorsports No. 14, joining Jason Simmons and Dalton Doyle as a first time winner in 2013.
Pitcher started on pole position Saturday night, leading all 35 laps of the Grand Prix main event besting Jon Tesoriero, Mike Bond, Simmons, and Russ Brown to the line.
While Pitcher etches his name into Pathfinder Bank SBS history at Oswego, he is no stranger to victory lane at the “Steel Palace” as he cruised to the 602 crate dirt Sportsman main event win at the Speedway last Classic Weekend. After driving a Team Tapout SBS last fall for Jason Simmons, a full-time ride for TNT Motorsports became available this season, and the goal quickly turned to returning to Oswego’s hallowed victory lane.
“I really don’t know what to think right now,” said Pitcher. “The way we have been running this season, it has been a blur. Jonny (Tesoriero) raced me hard, got a little loose a couple of times when we made contact, but it was fun. I’m just grateful to run at such a great track. I’ve been coming here since I was a kid; it is just the best race track around. I want to thank Terry and Tracey Solazzo for giving me this opportunity.”
Ironically, the car in which Pitcher took to victory lane is the same machine that carried Bond to the Grand Prix night win at the Speedway one year ago. Kreig Heroth, Dalton Doyle, Andrew Schartner, AJ Bernys, and Jack Patrick filled the front ten positions in the SBS main on Saturday night.
One race after a dismal 24th place finish at Oswego Speedway, Mike Bond bounced back for his first win of the season behind the wheel of the Four Sevens Motorsports No. 74 as a part of RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting/C’s Farm Market & Beverage Center Night at the Races Saturday evening.
Bond started the event from the fifth position, quickly slicing his way through the field to the race lead on lap six holding off his Four Sevens Motorsports teammates Cameron Rowe and Dan Abt on his way to victory, the 28th of his career in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.
Rowe, Abt, Russ Brown, and Jason Simmons would complete the top five order for the night’s main event.
“The car has been good all year, we’ve just been getting caught up in some other stuff,” said Bond. “It is tough coming from the back, there are a lot of guys that are quick this year, starting spot is a lot of it. The car was actually jumping out of gear on me so I was holding it in gear with one hand and trying to drive it with the other hand.”
Chris Proud, AJ Bernys, Tim Gareau, JJ Andrews, and Jack Patrick completed the top ten in Saturday night’s 30-lap main event.
Josh Kerr and Abt started the Pathfinder Bank SBS main from the front row with Abt stealing the lead at the drop of the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag.
Bond, who started to the inside of row three, quickly jumped to the runner-up spot passing several cars in consecutive laps.
Driving out of turn two on lap four, Bond stole fourth from Rowe before next diving under Bernys to third into turn three. Just one lap later, the No. 74 made quick work of Kerr heading into the third corner to take the second position.
With Bond now running second, the rookie Abt had built a comfortable lead at the head of the pack in the No. 57 until Brian Sobus found himself pointing the wrong direction in the No. 6 exiting turn two to bring out the caution.
The yellow would allow Bond, Kerr, Bernys, Rowe, Brown, Simmons, Proud, Mike Bruce, and Gareau to all close in for the restart.
On the restart, Bond would waste little time, slipping to the low side of Abt into turn three to take the lead putting a good bit of distance on his chasers out in front.
With Bond running away from the field, Rowe began to pick up the pace in the No. 77 as he moved by Kerr for third on lap 10 heading into turn three.
From there, Kerr would back slide some allowing both Brown and Simmons to slide on by as well.
The race’s next caution would wave at lap 11 for a spun Mark Castiglia on the back stretch, which would allow Kerr to regain his fourth position on the speedway.
But, when the lights went back to green Brown and Simmons reassumed their positions ahead of Kerr trying to give chase to front runners Bond, Abt, and Rowe.
Abt continued to run a great race in the runner up position near the halfway point, but would relinquish the second position to his teammate Rowe on lap 13 heading into turn three.
From there second through sixth including Rowe, Abt, Brown, Simmons, and Proud would be locked in a great battle as Bond had built an insurmountable full straight lead in the No. 74.
After several laps ticked away with drivers in that order, Bond’s pursuers would have another shot at him as Dalton Doyle found the third turn foam on lap 26 with the No. 01. Doyle was able to pull away and the caution tightened the field one last time.
With green lights on one more time Bond picked up where he left off, running away with his 28th career win leaving his teammates Rowe and Abt in second and third holding off Brown and Simmons for front five positions.
Brown, Bond, and Rowe would collect Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race challenge victories on the evening.
Bond would go on to collect the Sherwood Racing Wheel Lap Leader Award as well.
After starting deep in the field Kreig Heroth was the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger in the No. 04, while Abt took home the Nice Price Auto Sales Up & Comer prize.
Brown would be the White’s Car Care 4th place Award recipient.
For the second consecutive event, the Pathfinder Bank SBS series at Oswego Speedway enshrined a first time feature winner.
Saturday night, as a part of Crop Production Services Night at the Races, third-year competitor Dalton Doyle became the latest Oswego Kartway graduate to pull into victory lane.
Doyle’s win comes just two weeks after Jason Simmons earned his first career main event win at Oswego.
Doyle started in the fourth position, quickly moved his way to the runner-up spot, and then stole the lead from Jeremy Pitcher on a lap 1 restart to cruise away with the 35-lap victory behind the wheel of his No. 01 machine.
Rob Pullen, JJ Andrews, Jon Tesoriero, and Russ Brown filled the top five positions at race’s end.
“This is great,” said Doyle after the race. “Let me tell you, it is not east leading all of those laps. It’s a mental game. I am glad I had people telling me I was doing good. We over-drove it a couple times (lap 19 restart). It got real loose coming off of four and (Rob) Pullen had the wood laid to it, but we kept it straight luckily.”
After leading a total of 34 laps on his way to victory Saturday night, Doyle will inherit the lead in the June 1 postponed feature coming up at the Speedway June 15, putting him in prime position to potentially become the first repeat SBS winner in 2013.
Rookies Anthony Losurdo and Pitcher brought the 25-car Pathfinder Bank SBS field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag on Saturday with Pitcher diving into the race lead off the start from the outside of row one.
Doyle, who started directly on Pitcher’s back bumper, followed the No. 14 through on the high side to the runner-up spot leaving Mark Castiglia, Losurdo, and Andrew Schartner in the top five very early.
Just as the first lap was completed, trouble hit corner number one, with Losurdo and Schartner coming together causing several cars to scatter.
With Losurdo and Schartner spinning across the Speedway in front of the field, Simmons, Chris Proud, and Nathan Noto all spun to avoid, but were able to continue on. Both Losurdo and Schartner took to pit lane, but did rejoin the field.
The lap 1 restart saw Pitcher out front over Doyle, Castiglia, Pullen, AJ Bernys, Cameron Rowe, Andrews, Simmons, Mike Bond, and Tesoriero.
As the green lights came back on Doyle found good bite on the bottom of the Speedway and powered underneath Pitcher coming to the stripe to take the race lead. Pitcher would tuck back into line in second ahead of Castiglia, Pullen, and Bernys.
Doyle, who won his heat race convincingly the last two weeks showing good speed, immediately drew out to a comfortable lead over the rest of the field, running smooth and consistent. Pitcher and Castiglia would check out on their own as well for second and third leaving a tight battle between Pullen, Bernys, Rowe, Andrews, Simmons, and Bond.
Championship leader Brown had to start the main event from 19th on the grid after failing to finish his qualifying heat race and winning the 8-lap consi. In no time at all, Brown was into the top 15, quickly pressuring Tesoriero, Mike Bruce, and Jack Patrick for top ten positions.
Running in a tight bunch behind Rowe in the No. 77, Simmons and Bond were applying heavy pressure to Andrews in the No. 93 for seventh. Eventually, Andrews’ teammate Simmons was able to drive underneath for the spot into turn three on lap 7 bringing Bond with him to the low side.
Bond was looking to take advantage of Brown’s poor starting position to try and cut into the championship lead, and early on it looked as though that would be the case, as in less than ten laps he had worked his way up to the eighth position.
With battles everywhere on the Speedway, except for the lead, the most intriguing became the race for the second position between Pitcher and Castiglia. Castiglia, a feature winner at the Speedway back May 11, tried Pitcher low several times in turn three but was unable to make the move stick in the No. 67.
Finally on lap 14, Castiglia felt as though he had the room he needed moving down the back stretch, but he and Pitcher came together sending both racecars into the outside foam in turn three to bring out the race’s second caution.
Pitcher was able to pull away from the accident scene but completed only one more lap to finish 24th. Castiglia was hooked to the pit area, done for the night, in 25th.
The restart order on lap 14 continued to show Doyle out front with Pullen now riding second over Bernys, Rowe, Simmons, Bond, Andrews, Tesoriero, Bruce, and Brown.
When the green flag waved, Doyle again checked away from the field with the battle on the Speedway being between Rowe, Simmons, and Bond for.
Simmons tried every trick in the book to try and work his way by the No. 77 of Rowe, but was unable to do so.
In working Rowe, Simmons would leave the door open for Bond to move low into turn three on lap 18, taking the fifth spot away. As Bond drove underneath Simmons, the Team Tapout driver tried to quickly move back into line and in doing so made contact with the No. 74 of Bond causing damage to the left front tire of the No.98, which would become significant later on.
Just one circuit later as both Rowe and Bond began to close in on runner-ups Pullen and Bernys, the field raced out of turn two to find a stopped Nathan Noto alongside the hubrail.
The front seven to eight drivers all jammed on the brakes taking evasive action, however, both Rowe and Bond would be collected tagging the outside wall as the yellow lights came on.
Bond was able to drive to the pit area, while Rowe’s racecar took on significant damage, dropping him out of the event in 23rd position.
Doyle would bring the field back to green at lap 19 ahead of Pullen, Bernys, Simmons, Andrews, Tesoriero, Brown, Bruce, Patrick, and rookie Scott Shafer.
However, as the green lights came on another top five runner would head to the pits. This time it was opening night feature winner Bernys in the No. 24, who pulled low and into the pit area right at the drop of the green flag with apparent fuel pump issues.
With Bernys in the pits, Doyle and Pullen hooked up to pull away from the rest of the field including Simmons, Andrews, Tesoriero and now Brown just outside of the top five.
After starting 19th on the grid, Brown was able to pass a number of cars and also take advantage of several others misfortune to ride sixth.
After being involved in a lap one incident, Schartner was also working his way through the field in the No. 18. After restarting 24th early on, Schartner had charged back to eighth by lap 23, moving by Bruce in the No. 22.
As the field settled in past lap 25 Simmons’ left front tire, which had visible issues, finally let go in the second turn sending the No. 98 up into the wall for the night’s final caution. The No. 98 would head pit side done for the night in 20th.
The race’s final restart saw Doyle pull away from the field yet again, charging into his first career SBS main event win over Pullen, Andrews, Teosriero, Brown, Schartner, Patrick, Bruce, Heroth, and Shafer in the top ten.
Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race wins went to Pullen, Castiglia, and Doyle.
The night’s Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader was Doyle leading all but one lap of the main event. With his first career win Doyle also took home the Nice Price Auto Sales “Up & Comer” award for the evening.
Driving No. 13, Brown would be the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger driving from 19th to 5th on the grid with Tesoriero earning the White’s Car Care 4th Place Award.
Oswego Speedway will next be in action Saturday, June 15. Grandstand gates open at 3:30 p.m. with the Entergy Driver Autograph Session taking place at 5:15 p.m. The night’s first big race, which will be the make-up SBS feature from June 1 followed by the Supermodified make-up, will take the green at 6:30 p.m.
For the second race in a row, Otto Sitterly parked his Nicotra Racing Supermodified on the front stretch at Oswego Speedway.
This time, however, Sitterly climbed out of the No. 7 as a five-time champion of the 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial event.
With a 12th place feature finish May 11, Sitterly’s handicap placed him fifth in the starting order Saturday night. Methodically working his way to the runner-up position, Sitterly grabbed the point from early leader Kody Graham on lap 45 and steamed on untouched to victory lane to claim his second consecutive Jim Shampine Memorial.
Sitterly’s victory Saturday was his fifth Shampine Memorial title, joining wins in 2006, 2009, 2010, and 2012. No other driver has scored more than three victories in the event which has been run at the Speedway since 1991.
Joe Gosek, Dave Gruel, Michael Barnes, Dave Danzer, Michael Muldoon, Tim Jedrzejek, Brandon Bellinger, Jeff Holbrook, and Tim Devendorf completed the top ten finishers.
At race’s end, Sitterly, who had an altercation two weeks ago in the Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’ with Gruel, still seemed visibly torn about the May 11 events, which saw him leave his racecar on the front straightaway on lap 66, retiring for the evening.
Barely cracking a smile for cameras in victory lane, Sitterly had little to say to infield announcer Keith Zehr after his victory.
“We just took it one lap at a time,” said Sitterly. “The car is good.”
When asked about his victory pulling him back into a battle for his sixth career Oswego Championship, Sitterly said, “We’re just going to take it one week at a time.”
With the victory, Sitterly now has 25 career Novelis Supermodified wins at Oswego Speedway — only one behind 1985 track champion Steve Gioia Jr.
A total of 26 Novelis Supermodifieds were in the pit area Saturday night with 25 taking the green flag in the Jim Shampine Memorial main event.
Last year’s championship runner-up, Pat Lavery in the No. 22, was once again one of the fastest racecars in warm-ups, but his night would come to an end as the engine expired under the hood of his machine dropping him out of the night’s action after the qualifying heats.
Graham and Bellinger would lead the strong Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria feature green flag on Saturday night with Graham quickly shooting to the race lead in the No. 21 Xtreme chassis.
Sitterly, who started inside the third row, immediately dove to the inside of Jeff Locke’s No. 37 to pull to fourth on the Speedway and not long after the race’s first caution would wave for a spinning Jerry Curran down the back stretch.
Curran made his Oswego debut on Saturday night in the No. 24, looking very good in early warm-ups, running in the 16-second bracket. After spinning backwards on the race’s first lap, Curran would continue on.
Another caution would wave on the race’s restart, this time for a spinning Jeff Holbrook down the front chute.
Holbrook, who won his qualifying heat race earlier in the evening, was running seventh at the time he spun. The No. 35 would head to the pits, but did return to action before the lights went green.
The next restart would stay green for a handful of laps and it would see the Gruel No. 50 hit the fast lane.
After starting seventh on the grid, Gruel shot to the topside of the Speedway powering around Locke to fifth, and just one lap later drove around Sitterly into the first turn to take fourth.
Just like two weeks ago, Gruel and Sitterly would now be bumper to bumper and together they worked through the field, next making quick work of the Bellinger No. 02 to charge to third and fourth with both Dan Connors Jr. and race leader Graham in their sights.
After five circuits, yet another caution would hit the Speedway and it was again for Curran entering turn three, but this time he would be joined by Dave Cliff in a much more serious incident.
Heading down the back stretch Keith Shampine, who debuted the brand new Chris Osetek No. 55 roadster Saturday, appeared to slow out of turn two moving to the bottom of the speedway.
As Shampine slowed down the back stretch, Cliff’s No. 06 caught the right rear tire of the No. 55 causing the front end of the Gnomey Racing machine to go air born and lose control. Cliff flew across the Speedway directly for the outside steel and caught Curran with him as he tried to roll by on the high side.
Each car would slam the outside steel, sliding passed the third turn pit gate, and eventually scattering a great deal of foam. Unfortunately, the damage had already been done to both the No. 06 and No. 24, who ironically park next to each other in the pit area, as both cars took on massive right front damage.
Both drivers exited their machines under their own power and were in good condition.
The race’s restart would see Graham out in front ahead of Connors, Gruel, Sitterly, Bellinger, Gosek, Locke, Muldoon, Shaun Gosselin, and Michael Barnes in the front ten.
As the lights went green, Gruel again found the outside lane, this time sliding passed Connors to take over the runner-up spot, now beginning to give chase to Graham for the race lead.
At this point, Gruel appeared as though he would be the car to beat, but Sitterly would soon also get around Connors to move to third in turn four, and the Gosek No. 00 was also lingering.
By lap 15, Graham and Gruel had settled into a bit of a lead over Sitterly, who himself had built a nice cushion over Connors, Gosek, and Gosselin running fourth through sixth. Gosselin, driving the family owned No. 26, looked very good early on but at lap 17 would bring out another caution as he broke out of turn four, stopping on the front straight.
The No. 26 would be pushed to the infield, parking nose first in his pit stall, done for the evening.
The previous restart belonged to Gruel, but the lap 17 restart belonged to the Gosek No. 00 as he pushed to the outside of Connors to move to fourth, now joining a tight four car battle for the race lead with Graham, Gruel, and Sitterly.
It was at this point of the race that dejavu began to set in with Gruel and Sitterly riding second and third, just as they did two weeks ago.
Each driver ran clean, leaving plenty of room between each other as Graham continued to power away out front.
A long green flag period would now set in, providing a clear indication of the drivers that had racecars to potentially battle for the win.
At one point, Graham built a sizeable lead over the dueling duo of Gruel and Sitterly as Gosek began to fade in the No. 00 running fourth. During this stretch Barnes and Muldoon would emerge as top runners after starting 8th and 12th on the grid, as they now rode 5th and 6th respectively.
As the cross flags went in the air showing half-way, Graham’s lead began to shrink, and on lap 40 both Gruel and Sitterly had tightened the gap.
On lap 44, Sitterly’s persistence would pay off as he pulled low on Gruel heading into turn one yet again, just like two weeks ago. But this time their cars would not touch and Sitterly would drive on by to the runner-up position.
One lap later as leader Graham and Sitterly hit lapped traffic, Graham would leave the door open for Sitterly on the low side out of turn two, which was all the No. 7 needed.
Sitterly would now be the race’s second, and final, leader at lap 45 quickly building a large gap over the field.
As Sitterly mounted as much as a full straightaway lead on the field, the trio of Graham, Gruel, and Gosek battled for second. By this time the Speedway had seen a green flag spell of almost 50 consecutive laps, which forced the handling on several cars to go away.
One car however seemed to improve as the race went on and that was the No. 51 of Muldoon. After a top five finish on May 11, Muldoon seemed poised to chase down Barnes for fifth in the late going, but just as that thought crept into the minds of some the No. 51 would spin out of turn four bringing out the yellow flag at lap 68.
With the long stretch of green flag racing, and an attrition filled night, only seven cars remained on the lead lap with seven laps to go, meaning Muldoon would restart seventh only losing one spot on the Speedway.
With just a handful of laps to go Sitterly led Graham, Gruel, Gosek, Barnes, Danzer, Muldoon, Jefrzejek, Bellinger, and Holbrook in the top ten with Jeedrzejek being the first car a lap down to the field.
It looked as though this order would hold, but that was until the field charged out of turn two on the restart.
The Graham No. 21, which had led 44 laps of the main event, suddenly faltered out of turn two jamming up Gruel on the low side of the Speedway.
With Graham and Gruel jammed on the bottom of the track, Gosek powered to the high side taking advantage and passing his way to second in the field behind Sitterly.
Graham immediately pulled the No. 21 pit side.
Initially it was believed that Graham may have run out of fuel, but that was not the case at all. Graham says it was an engine issue, which actually first appeared earlier in the race.
“At about lap 30 or so I lost oil pressure, it dropped to about 40,” said Graham. “It felt like I had a parachute behind the car heading down the straightaways and that’s when I think they starting to catch back up to me. While we were up to speed during that long run it was ok, but when we had that last yellow and everything cooled down, I pinned it on the restart (out of turn two) and nothing happened.”
Despite Gosek now moving into the runner-up position, Sitterly had already built an insurmountable lead, dominating the field for his fifth Shampine title and 25th career Oswego win.
Oswego Speedway will next be in action Saturday, June 1 with a 50-lap Novelis Supermodified main event and a 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS feature.
Grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Jason Simmons has been racing around Oswego Speedway for seven years and Saturday night he finally took his D&S Landscaping No. 98 machine to victory lane.
Simmons and early race leader Mike Bruce swapped the lead on a couple different occasions with Simmons eventually locking down the race lead at lap 22 to go onto the Tony White Memorial win over Bruce, Dalton Doyle, Russ Brown, JJ Andrews, Mike Bond, Jon Tesoriero, Tim Gareau, Kreig Heroth, and Jack Patrick.
“It feels great, finally,” said Simmons. “Seven years it has taken, and it’s too long. My guys have been busting their butts for years with me: Brian Dana, Mikey O’Connor. You know, these guys have never left my side, they believed in me, and we finally put it together.”
Simmons went on to explain how the night unfolded, including his tremendous battle with Mike Bruce for the race win in lapped traffic.
“We were fast in the first warm-up, but we struggled in the second warm-up and in the heat,” said Simmons. “The guys hit it on the money in the feature. I didn’t want to tear my car up in lapped traffic; I was trying to be cautious.
“I saw him (Bruce) out there and I was racing him hard, but I knew I was faster,” he added. “I was a little discouraged when he got by, but I knew we would get back by him, and we did it and that’s all that mattered.”
The evening’s Nice Price Auto Sales “Up & Comer” award recipient and the winner of the Sherwood Racing Wheels “Lap Leader” award was Jason Simmons.
The D&S Landscaping “Hard Chager” award went to Jeremy Pitcher, in the TNT Motorsports No. 14, for the second week in a row.
The White’s Car Care “4th place” award, given in honor of Tony White each week at the Speedway, was won by Russ Brown.
Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race wins were awarded to Kreig Heroth, Mike Bond, and Tim Gareau.
Bond will be credited as the first driver to unofficially clock a lap of under 19 seconds in an SBS machine with a lap of 18.939 seconds on the way to his heat race win.
No driver in the history of the division has ever scored a lap under 19 seconds on the AMB transponder scoring system at Oswego Speedway.
Oswego Speedway will next be in action Saturday, June 1.
Grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. with racing beginning at 6:30 p.m.
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.
AJ Bernys made his opening night at Oswego Speedway count on Saturday, out dueling Rob Pullen in lapped traffic on lap 29 to take the race lead and go on to claim his second career Pathfinder Bank SBS victory.
Bernys started from position three on the grid and played the patience game before slipping under Pullen as he struggled to maneuver lap car Zach Amo in turn one.
From there, Bernys would cruise away from the field over the final seven circuits to hit pay dirt.
Pullen, Russ Brown, Jon Tesoriero, and Andrew Schartner would fill the top five feature positions.
The night began with a new twist on Pathfinder Bank SBS time trials as points were awarded for the first time to the eight fastest qualifiers.
Mike Bond would top the speed charts during the single car runs with a lap of 19.158 seconds in his new Four Sevens Motorsports FFB chassis, edging out defending SBS track champion Kreig Heroth by just over a tenth of a second on the watches.
Brown, Jason Simmons, JJ Andrews, Cameron Rowe, Tesoriero, and Schartner would complete the fast eight, all earning valuable championship points in the SBS “Road to the Championship.”
A total of 25 Pathfinder Bank SBS racers would file down to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag on Saturday with Pullen and Dalton Doyle starting from the first row.
The race’s initial green flag would see SBS rookie Scott Shafer in No. 76 spin off into the foam in turn one. Shafer would be hooked off the Speedway forcing a complete restart.
On the second go around, Doyle would surge into the lead behind the wheel of his Menter’s Ambulance Service No. 01, leaving Pullen, Bernys, Tesoriero, and Schartner in his tow early on.
While the top five racers tried to check away from the field Brown, who started 9th in the FX Caprara Car Companies No. 13, began to find the high side driving around the Andrews No. 93 to pick his way into 7th.
Another quick caution would fly on lap 2 for debris in the first turn, slowing the field. However, when the green came back out, the racing field worked into a nice groove with Doyle continuing to lead the way over Pullen, Bernys, Tesoriero, Schartner, Rowe, and Brown.
As the laps ticked away Doyle, Pullen, and Bernys would emerge as the early favorites building a cushion over the remainder of the field.
Nose to tail the three leaders checked out, jockeying for position, and eventually Pullen would find the daylight he needed to claim the race lead.
On the 10th circuit, Pullen blasted to the lead on the low side of Doyle into turn one, opening the door for not only Bernys and Tesoriero to slip passed, but an entire freight train of SBS racers would fly by dropping the No. 01 from the race lead all the way back to 10th by lap 14.
The race’s third caution would wave on lap 15 for a slowing Simmons in the D&S Landscaping No. 98.
Simmons would manage to crawl into the pit area, but his night would be done.
The restart would show Pullen ahead of Bernys, Tesoriero, Brown, Schartner, Rowe, Bond, Andrews, and Mike Bruce.
When the field came back to green the Byrne Dairy No. 24 of Bernys came to life, quickly looking to the low side of Pullen on the restart into turn three.
Pullen, however, was able to fend off the advances, and continue to lead the speeding field around the fast 5/8 mile.
Further back Brown and Bond were battling their way through the pack, as Bond wheeled his way around teammate Rowe to the high side in turn three on lap 17.
The two most decorated drivers in the SBS division started 9th and 11th on the grid with Brown now running fourth and Bond in sixth.
By lap 24, Bernys, Tesoriero, and Brown were in a tight line applying heavy pressure to the Pullen’s Plumbing No. 2 and it became clear that lapped traffic may play a key role in the event.
Just four laps later, Pullen would drive up behind rookie Amo in the No. 44 down the front straight, and in trying to make his way by chose the wrong lane, leaving the inside groove wide open for Bernys to take advantage.
Bernys would go on to lead the 29th circuit ahead of Pullen and now Brown, who was also able to use traffic to make his way passed Tesoriero for 3rd in the line-up.
The No. 24 shined once in the lead, pulling out to a healthy margin over the field.
Three more cautions would slow the pace, all of which came on the 32nd lap. The first would be for Tim Gareau in the TNT Motorsports No. 17 as he tagged the foam in turn one.
The next caution flew for the No. 77 of Rowe as he spun down the back stretch while running 7th, and the final for early leader Doyle who cracked the foam in the first turn running ninth.
The event’s final restart showed Bernys out front leading Pullen, Brown, Tesoriero, Schartner, Bond, Andrews, Heroth, Jack Patrick, and Jeremy Pitcher.
As the green waved with only three laps remaining, Bernys proved to be unmatched leading the restart order to the finish, driving the No. 24 into Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane for the second time in his young career.
Patrick, driving the Longley Dodge No. 9, would be the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger for the evening driving from the back of the field to 9th in the final order.
Patrick was leading his heat race when contact between he and Bond on the final lap of the third qualifying heat sent both cars spinning. Each would rebound for top ten finishes in the main event.
The Nice Price Auto Sales ‘Up & Comer’ and the recipient of the White’s Car Care 4th place Award was Tesoriero in No. 47.
The stellar run for Tesoriero, the defending Butler Disposal SBS Rookie of the Year, was his first career top five finish in the division.
Pullen would go on to claim the Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader Award as he paced the field for a total of 19 circuits in the No. 2.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS Series will next be in action on Saturday, May 11 as a part of the Mitchell’s Speedway Press/CJ Ferlito Aggregates Novelis Supermodified “Kick-Off” at Oswego Speedway.
Pit gates will open at 1 p.m. with hot laps and grandstand gates opening at 3 p.m.
Novelis Supermodified time trials will take the green at approximately 5 p.m. with racing action hitting the Speedwway at 6:30 p.m.