Tag Archives: Oswego Speedway

Speedway inducts six into hall of fame

Oswego’s new Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center was the site of the Nov. 10 Oswego Speedway Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Inductions for 2012.

The Speedway and Eagles Fan Club presented monies and awards to the top point getters and achievers in each division while Mitchell’s Speedway Press inducted six into the Oswego Hall of Fame.

The 2012 hall of fame inductees are Doug Didero, George Kent, Ed Thompson, Jim McGiff, Jack Jermyn and the late Don Beauchene.

Videos highlighted the racing careers of Didero, Kent and Thompson, who since almost the beginning of the speedway, has served as a driver, car owner, sponsor and employee.

Each spoke briefly presenting their thoughts on being nominated for the prestigious honor.

Jermyn and McGiff were each recognized for their over 40 years-plus as ushers at the track while the late Beauchene was remembered for his many contributions to the famed Oswego Safety Crew.

The Torrese family was heralded by all for their attempts at bringing Oswego Speedway back to its past glory and for their many hopes and aspirations for the future. Three of most revered annual awards – the Ed Clark Safety Crew Spirit Award, the Recognition Award, and Lois Matczak Woman of the Year Award – began the night’s ceremonies.

Paul Conzone of the track Safety Crew presented the Clark Memorial award to crew member Ed Maxon. John and Eric Torrese presented the 2012 Recognition award to Dan Harrington and Mike Schremp for their contributions to the speedway, especially for their electrical expertise.

And, Terry Strong, co-owner of Strong Racing, was awarded the Lois Matczak Woman of the Year honors by longtime Oswego car owner Skip Matczak. The award is in honor of Skip’s late wife Lois.

Joey Hawksby’s Hawk Performance sponsored four major race division awards. Rob Pullen earned the Hawk Performance SBS Car Owner of the Year Award while Mike Murphy was named the Supermodified Car Owner of the Year for his achievements in his first year as a car owner after many-year association with various race teams.

The Hawk Performance Crew of the Year awards went to Jason Simmons’ Team Tapout in the SBS division and Dan Connors Racing in the Supermodified division.

Novelis and PathFinder Bank were thanked once again for their continued major sponsorships of the supermodified and SBS divisions.

All of the over 100 sponsor/contributors to another successful year were mentioned and listed in the banquet booklet. Eric and John Torrese also acknowledged and thanked the staff behind the scenes at the speedway, which was greeted by an approving round of applause.

The Oswego Speedway Eagles Fan Club, which works hard all year to raise money to be presented back to its driver-owner members, also presented their two prestigious awards.

The Tony White Memorial award went to SBS veteran Jack Patrick while the Jim Shampine Memorial award was presented to motor builder Doug Holmes of Finger Lakes Machine.

The top ten in the PathFinder Bank SBS division included first-time champion Kreig Heroth, who won by just six points in a season-long battle, followed by Mike Bond, Andrew Schartner, Jason Simmons, Rob Pullen, Jack Patrick, Tim Barbeau, Mark Castiglia, J.J. Andrews and A.J. Bernys.

The Butler Disposal Rookie of the Year honor went to Jon Tesoriero while Mark Castiglia was presented the Most Improved award in that division.

The Novelis Supermodified awards began with the Cleaning of the Year Rookie of the Year award, which went to a member of the famed Andretti family, Jarett. Andretti drove to a 22nd spot in the competitive 2012 season, which saw seven different feature winners. Danny Kapuscinski accepted for Andretti. Shaun Gosselin, who finished tenth in the final point standings, was named Most Improved supermodified driver.

The Novelis supermodified point race was another tight one eked out by Otto Sitterly by only five points over runner-up Pat Lavery. It was a fifth title for Sitterly.

Lavery was followed by Joey Payne, Randy Ritskes, Joe Gosek, Danny Connors, Dave Gruel, Brian Sobus, Michael Barnes and Shaun Gosselin.

Roy Sova was assisted by Dan Kapuscinski as emcee while Ron Gray’s Millennium Music provided the music.

Ray Graham Jr. passed Joe Gosek on lap 42 and then breezed on to lead the final 20-laps to garner the Novelis Supermodified portion of the 62nd annual SUNOCO Race of Champions at Oswego Speedway Saturday. Graham won the race last year as well.

Ray Graham Jr. crowned Race of Champions winner at Oswego Speedway

Ray Graham Jr. passed Joe Gosek on lap 42 and then breezed on to lead the final 20-laps to garner the Novelis Supermodified portion of the 62nd annual SUNOCO Race of Champions at Oswego Speedway Saturday. Graham won the race last year as well.

For the second year in a row, Ray Graham Jr. is a Race of Champions winner.

Graham passed Joe Gosek on lap 42 and then breezed on to lead the final 20-laps to garner the Novelis Supermodified portion of the 62nd annual SUNOCO Race of Champions at Oswego Speedway Saturday.

Not only is Graham’s victory his second in a row in Race of Champions competition, it is his second consecutive win in 2012 at Oswego Speedway and his eighth career Oswego Supermodified victory.

Gosek held on for second ahead of Pat Lavery, Randy Ritskes, and Mike Barnes in the Top 5 positions. Otto Sitterly, Brian Sobus, Dan Connors Jr., Stephen Gioia III, and Kody Graham completed the Top 10 finishers.

Graham started eighth on the grid in the 62-lap main event and methodically worked his way through the pack before making the lap 42 pass on pole sitter Gosek.

Gosek would then have to battle Lavery for the runner-up position in the closing stages, but was able to hang on.

A total of 24 Supermodifieds were in the pit area, all taking the green, with 13 finishing on the lead lap. There were no major accidents in the event.

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Mark Castiglia celebrates his second win of the year at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

Mark Castiglia finishes first for the second time in 2012

Mark Castiglia celebrates his second win of the year at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

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.”

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Driving the Darratt Farms No. 88 Supermodified, Randy Ritskes inherited the lead from a fuel-starved Ray Graham on lap 72 and then managed to nurse his own mount across the line on his final drop of methanol to claim the ninth win of his career at the Steel Palace.

Randy Ritkses crosses the finish line on fumes for ninth career win

Driving the Darratt Farms No. 88 Supermodified, Randy Ritskes inherited the lead from a fuel-starved Ray Graham on lap 72 and then managed to nurse his own mount across the line on his final drop of methanol to claim the ninth win of his career at the Steel Palace.

After a bout of poor luck to start the 2012 Novelis Supermodified season at Oswego Speedway, luck finally turned to the side of Randy Ritkses during the Davis Bros. Inc. Grand Prix 75 Saturday night.

Driving the Darratt Farms No. 88 Supermodified, Ritskes inherited the lead from a fuel-starved Ray Graham on lap 72 and then managed to nurse his own mount across the line on his final drop of methanol to claim the ninth win of his career at the Steel Palace.

As Ritskes weaved his car back and forth trying to savor every last drop of fuel on the race’s final circuit, Brian Sobus closed in driving the No. 60 but came up just short, possibly finishing just one lap shy of his first career Supermodified feature win.

Joey Payne, Shaun Gosselin, and Mike Barnes completed the Top 5 order in the 75-lap feature event.

“Just before the last caution we were out of fuel,” said Ritske. “It was really dying coming out of three and four so I started shaking it and running half throttle to try and save as much fuel as possible — and it lasted.”

Ritskes was elated to be able to turn the tide after a very rough start to the season.

“We’ve had such a terrible year, this is so nice to have,” said Ritskes. “This all proves how great of an owner I have in Randy Darratt. I got really down, not on the team, I just got down on the situation and he (Randy Darratt) is the one that turned it around. He said, ‘We’re not quitters. We aren’t going to quit on you’ and we did it. He is a great leader.”

Gosselin and Graham started the 75-lap Davis Bros. Inc. Grand Prix from the front row, bringing the field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag and it was Graham immediately shooting out to the early race lead in the No. 90. Behind the wheel of the new Xtreme Chassis design, Graham showed his might in heat race competition with a time of 16.488 seconds at 136.463 mph and no doubt intended to continue that streak in the main event.

By lap 15, Graham had built a full straight away lead on the remainder of the field and looked to be in a class of his own leaving the battles behind him.

With Graham well out in front, Ritskes and Otto Sitterly began moving their way through the field to try and put themselves in striking position. By the race’s 20th circuit, Ritskes managed to move past Gosselin for second while Sitterly picked his way to fourth in the order ahead of Jerry Curran.

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Mike Barnes waves to the crowd following his fourth career Supermodified win at Oswego Speedway.

Mike Barnes wins first Supermodified since 2007

Mike Barnes waves to the crowd following his fourth career Supermodified win at Oswego Speedway.

Mike Barnes played all of his cards right at Oswego Speedway Saturday night, driving into victory lane for the fourth time in his career in the 50-lap Novelis Supermodified main event.

Driving the Strong Racing No. 99, Barnes dove under Michael Muldoon on a lap 10 restart to grab the race lead and never looked back on his way to a dominating full straight victory as a part of Universal Metal Works Autograph Night at the speedway.

The win marked Barnes first Oswego Supermodified win since June 30, 2007, driving the Double Deuce Racing No. 22 Novelis Supermodified.

Muldoon had a career night, hanging on for the runner-up finish ahead of Pat Lavery, Tim Snyder, and Dave Gruel in the Top five. Brian Sobus, Stephen Gioia III, Joey Payne, Bobby Haynes Jr., and Dan Connors Jr. filled the Top 10 rundown.

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Mark Castiglia led every lap Saturday night at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division for his first career main event win.  –Valle

Mark Castiglia wins first race at Oswego Speedway

Mark Castiglia led every lap Saturday night at Oswego Speedway in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division for his first career main event win.

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.”

Around The Asphalt: May 19, 2012

by Dan Johnson

Kenny Rogers may have put it best when he sang, “You’ve got to know when to hold them, and know when to fold them”.

In the thousands of columns I have written, this will be undoubtedly be one of the toughest. Within the last week or so, I sent my “retirement” letter to Oswego Speedway.

I am one of the lucky ones. Growing up in Oswego, all I ever wanted to do was write about Oswego Speedway. Yeah, I know that’s pretty boring by today’s standards, but that’s 100 percent true.

As a kid, I couldn’t wait until Thursday, so I could spend my allowance and go to Garafalo’s and get the Eagle program, read it cover to cover, especially the Iver the Driver column.

From the Buccaneer Bulletin to the Oswego County Messenger to Auto Rac’r Magazine, those outlets gave me the opportunity to get my feet wet and see if that’s what I really wanted to do. Bill Foley took me under his wing and showed me the do’s and don’ts of race reporting. I always wanted to be like Bill and hoped he approved of how I put to use what he taught me.

My break came in 1990 when Carol Haynes suggested to the Caravan family to take a chance on this unproven guy to write about Oswego Speedway for The Valley News. My first night as a writer was the night we lost AJ Michaels. Talk about baptism by fire. It was game on from there, and the rest, they say, is history.

For over 20 years, twice a week, it was off to the computer to write about the people, machines, and stories from Oswego Speedway.

Even though it started with a typewriter and twice a week trips to Fulton to drop off copy before the days of computers, fax machines and e-mails, I was living the dream, never missing a deadline.

I cant thank the Caravan family nearly enough for the chance they took and the belief they had in a guy that grew up blocks from the racetrack.

Still writing for the Valley News, the next step came about in 1997 when Carol again took a chance and hired me to write for the Eagle program. How cool was that? To receive the chance to write the same column that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on as a kid was unbelievable.

Carol, George, John, and everyone at Speedway Press, and Mitchell’s Speedway Press, thank you so much for letting me live out my dream. Honestly, I couldn’t believe I’ve written for the Eagle for 15 years. That time has flown by.

The next step in the progression came days into the Pat Furlong-Steve Gioia ownership of the speedway, when again, the administration in control took a wild chance.

I still may have the e-mail I received from Steve Pryor asking me to be the infield announcer.  Really? Never thought of doing that, but, like I told my kids, take a chance and try things, you never know what may happen.

It was a great ride and had the time of my life with the best seat in the house. Doing the walk through Classic Weekend was both terrifying and satisfying. I can’t tell you how cool it is when the drivers, buckled up in their cars minutes before the start of their biggest race of the year, either give me a smile and the thumbs up or try to mess me up and get me to laugh. That journey every year was priceless.

Everyone knows the drivers at Oswego and all the fans have their favorites. All the drivers there are my favorites. They are an incredible bunch to work with, and to a man, they went out of their way to help me.

To read the rest of the column, subscribe to The Valley News by calling 315-598-6397 

Top three – Otto Sitterly (right), Davey Hamilton (center) and Brian Sobus (left) finished in first, second, and third place, respectively. It was Sitterly’s 21st career win and fourth opening night win. –Valley News photo by John Ferlito

Veteran drivers claim wins at Oswego Speedway

Top three – Otto Sitterly (right), Davey Hamilton (center) and Brian Sobus (left) finished in first, second, and third place, respectively. It was Sitterly’s 21st career win and fourth opening night win. –Valley News photo by John Ferlito

by Dan Johnson

Veteran drivers Otto Sitterly and Jay Andrews took checkered flags on opening night at Oswego Speedway Saturday.

Sitterly snuck the lead away from David Gruel with four laps to go in the 50-lap supermodified race and drove away for the win while Andrews led from lap 2 and went on for career win number two in the SBS division.

Brian Sobus and David Gruel led the 25 supermodifieds to the green flag with Gruel getting the bite on the outside taking the lead. The outside line got the better start.

While Gruel led, outside row 2 starter Davey Hamilton followed him through and ran in Gruel’s tire tracks early on.

Joe Gosek and Randy Ritskes went to the high side to get through early race traffic while Jeffrey Abold and Michael Barnes went low to move forward. A pair of early cautions slowed the race early on with pit stops abundant during the slowdown. The most significant pit stop saw defending champ Joe Gosek pull the 00 pitside as the steering went away on the 00.

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