Andrews Stands Tall on Classic Weekend

By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney

Veteran small block supermodified driver, Jay Andrews celebrated a life-long dream on Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. The Mexico, N.Y. native stood atop the winner’s podium victorious, after winning the 75-lap Bud Light SBS Classic at the famed lakeside oval. Winning the battle to the first turn after the drop of the green flag was the only pass the pilot of the No. 93 would need to make. The Jason Simmons-owned Hedger Racing Chassis would never relinquish the top spot en route to leading the race from start to finish.

Just one year removed from tangling with a lapped car while leading the Labor Day Weekend event, numerous caution flags would prevent him from having to navigate his way through the rear of the pack this time around. Andrews would have his challengers, most notably, Mike Bond. However, none could mount a serious challenge on the race leader and proud, first-time winner of the division’s most coveted annual event.

“The car was planted,” Andrews said of the way it handled throughout the race. “It was so much fun. I’ve wanted one of these for so long … . You can never do any better than to win the Classic. This is obviously my best win ever. It took me 50 years to get there. I’ll never forget this night, for sure.”

Listen to – JJ Andrews

Jack Patrick, Mike Bond, Russ Brown and Kreig Heroth chased Andrews across the stripe to complete the maiden lap for the 27-car field. Andrews was quick to put five lengths on his chasers, while Patrick, Bond and Brown diced for the runner-up spot.

By the 10th lap, Andrews had established a blistering pace. Some 15 lengths behind, Bond and Brown continued to fight for a lane around Patrick’s Mopar-powered No. 9. While Andrews was lapping his one and only car on the evening, Brown took advantage of Bond’s failed inside bid on Patrick, sailing past the No. 74 on the outside. After passing Bond he would then swing his No. 13 to the inside and move under Patrick down the back straightaway. However, before the lap could be completed, Chris Proud’s No. 3 spun on the frontstretch. That caution would come back to haunt Brown on the ensuing restart.

Having been put back behind Patrick’s No. 9, Brown would punch the throttle a little too hard on the restart, looping his No. 13 around and scattering the field behind him on the front straightaway. Cameron Rowe’s No. 77 would take the hardest lick in the incident, also involving Andrew Schartner, Anthony Losurdo, Barry Kingsley and Camden Proud. Rowe and Losurdo were sidelined for the night.

With 17 laps in the books, Andrews led Patrick, Bond, Camden Proud and Simmons. Alex Hoag, Heroth, Josh Kerr, Mike Bruce and Matt Magner filled out the top 10.

Bond would find a lane under Patrick on the restart, taking over the runner-up spot. Just a few trips later, fourth-place running Proud and fifth-place running Simmons tangled in turn No. 3. Simmons would return at the tail-end of the field, while Proud’s SBS Classic debut came to an end.

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Hoag would slip under Patrick on the ensuing restart, taking away third. Bond would stay with Andrews and the lead duo began the first of many sail-aways from the field. Rob Pullen would spin his No. 21 on the 26th lap, erasing the 10-car advantage the two had on Hoag.

Andrews would run another solid restart as he and Bond were quick to begin their exit from the rest of the field. Back in the pack, Brown had been putting on a show after having pitted for repairs from his early incident. Now up to 11th, he continued moving forward, maneuvering his No .13 high and then low to snake around the Abt brothers (Dan and Steve) to move into ninth place.

Having started 20th, Bruce would break into the top five on the 35th lap with an outside pass on Heroth. Five laps later, after moving around the outside of Magner, Brown’s No. 13 was promptly clocked in the side by the rookie pilot of the No. 2, eliminating both from contention.

Again, Andrews would hold strong on the restart. And again, Andrews and Bond would walk away. Having been pressing Patrick for nearly 15 rounds, Bruce would finally work his way under the No. 9 on the 50th lap, bringing Heroth with him.

By lap No. 55, Andrews and Bond commanded a full straightaway advantage over Hoag and new fourth-place man, Bruce. The caution flag would fly for Dalton Doyle’s looped No. 6 on the 57th lap, tightening up the field.

With 19 trips to go, Andrew led Bond, Hoag, Bruce and Heroth. Patrick, Kerr, Dan Abt, Bryan Haynes and Jesse Bearup rounded out the top 10. Before Andrews and Bond could start to pull away from Hoag on the restart, Abt and Haynes would tangled in turn No. 3, ending top-10 bids.

A stutter by Bond on the following restart was triggered a peek by Hoag underneath the No. 74 for second place. However, Bond quickly recovered and he and Andrews were off and running.

Bruce was fast and could only watch with frustration as the two leaders danced away. Searching high and low for a way around Hoag, Bruce left the inside open for too long in the midst of an outside bid on the third-place runner. Heroth was quick to fill the gap, retaking fourth place.

As the white flag flew, Andrews could see that he was going to catch teammate, Barry Kingsley, to put a lap on him before reaching the checkered flag. With Bond on his heels, Andrews took to the outside of Kingsley’s No. 91.

Seeing a would-be final opportunity to steal the lead away, Bond pulled and aimed his No. 74 hard to the inside of the lapped Kingsley machine. However, Bond would run out of room as Kingsley hung low. Catching a wheel from the Kingsley No. 91, Bond would land on all-fours, sliding to a stop against the inside wall. Bond’s bid for SBS Classic win No. 4 would fall short.

This would set up a green, white, checkered finish. Hoag’s best shot would be to beat Andrews to the punch and hope for the No. 93 to miss a mark. However, that wouldn’t happen. Like he had so many other times, Andrews nailed the restart and hit every mark around Oswego’s fast five-eighths to seize the win.

The victory would be Andrews’ first top-10 finish in the SBS Classic since 2010 and his best since a runner-up showing in 2001.

Hoag would cross the line in second.

“I was just really, really patient,” Hoag said. “I was used to running real long races with the modified and biding my time. I think the only one I set up and passed was Jack (Patrick). I had a good start and road there. Everybody kept falling out and making my life a little bit easier. The car wasn’t bad. It was just a little stuck in the center. I was happy back in third. Mike and those guys ran me clean for as much as I was having to stop in the center. We’re pretty happy. My wife, my dad, my in-laws, my kids, everybody just worked really, really hard for me this weekend. It really means a lot to come out here and put the thing home in second.”

Listen to – Alex Hoag

With a third-place finish, Heroth landed the his No. 04 on the podium for the second year in a row.

“The 93 got a pretty good start,” Heroth said, “But, he was up a lane or two, so we were in the marbles and we were tight as it was because of our fuel load. That didn’t help us much and that’s what pushed us back to ninth. It was a tough deal, but I stayed confident and I stayed calm and I worked back up and we end up third, once again. It was the same as last year. Once the tires got warm, the car was good. I feel if we had longer runs, we would’ve been better off. I like long races. If I could run hundred lappers every week, I would. I feel like I get my rhythm more so than in a 30-lap event. We had fun. I‘m really happy with everybody I ran with tonight.”

Listen to – Kreig Heroth

Bruce settled for fourth.

Listen to – Mike Bruce

Patrick earned his second best SBS Classic finish, landing his No. 9 in fifth.

Listen to – Jack Patrick

Staying clean all race, Kerr crossed the checkered stripe in sixth.

Listen to – Josh Kerr

Having driven back up through the field after getting collected in Brown’s spin, Schartner landed the Crow Motorsports No. 18 in seventh.

Listen to – Andrew Schartner

Capping off the night with an eighth-place finish, was rookie standout and B-Main winner, Jesse Bearup.

Listen to – Jesse Bearup

Finding light at the end of an otherwise dark tunnel this weekend, David LaTulip was able to race his No. 27 from the 27th starting spot to finish ninth.

Listen to – David LaTulip

Rounding out the top 10, Simmons was just as happy as if he’d won. The car owner of the Andrews No. 93 was more than pleased with the three-car team effort.

Listen to – Jason Simmons

Each looking for SBS Classic win No. 4, Brown and Bond finished the night in the pits.

Listen to – Russ Brown

Listen to – Mike Bond

23rd Annual Bud Light SBS Classic 75:  1. JJ Andrews (93), 2. Alex Hoag (73), 3. Kreig Heroth (04), 4. Mike Bruce (22), 5. Jack Patrick (9), 6. Josh Kerr (8), 7. Andrew Schartner (18), 8. Jesse Bearup (02), 9. David LaTulip (27), 10. Jason Simmons (98), 11. Scott Shafer (76), 12. Dan Abt (57), 13. Bryan Haynes (86), 14. Chris Proud (3), 15. Mike Bond (74), 16. Barry Kingsley (91), 17. Dennis Rupert (99), 18. Jon Tesoriero (47), 19. Rob Pullen (21), 20. Dalton Doyle (6), 21. Matt Magner (2), 22. Russ Brown (13), 23. Steve Abt (67), 24. Camden Proud (54), 25. Anthony Losurdo (1), 26. Cameron Rowe (77), 27. Mark Castiglia (69)

SBS B-Main (12 laps):  1. Jesse Bearup (02), 2. Mike Bruce (22), 3. Mark Castiglia (69), 4. Bryan Haynes (86), 5. Dennis Rupert (99), 6. Jon Tesoriero (47), 7. Scott Shafter (76), 8. Dalton Doyle (6) 9. Greg O’Connor (90), 10. Dave LaTulip (27), 11. Tim Barbeau (87), 12. Justin Connell (07)