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.