Around The O

By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney

It has only taken Oswego High School teenager, Anthony Losurdo, two weeks to find success with his new race team at the Oswego Speedway in 2015. The small block supermodified division’s most recent feature winner joined Four Sevens Motorsports during the off-season and put the Denise Merrill-owned No. 1 in victory lane on Memorial Day Weekend. Piloting a brand new FFB Racing Chassis, Losurdo has firmly thrown his helmet into the ring as a track title contender.

The Four Sevens Racing No. 1, driven by Anthony Losurdo
The Four Sevens Racing No. 1, driven by Anthony Losurdo

The young shoe says he’s very grateful for the opportunity that Merrill, veteran driver, Mike Bond and chassis wizard, Dan Dennie have given him. With high school graduation arriving in a few weeks and college beginning in a few short months, Losurdo says he didn’t see how he would’ve been able to finance a full racing season if this opportunity had not come along.

Losurdo has handled the overall transition to driving for someone else well. He says he’s just working through the adjustments in his mindset – they’re an ongoing process. He says the pressure he feels behind the wheel of the Four Sevens No. 1 isn’t that he might wreck someone else’s car, but that he needs to prove to them that he has the talent to drive it and is deserving of the opportunity. Losurdo says he’s actually likely to take more chances in tense situations as his aggression sprouts with his confidence.

Listen to – Anthony Losurdo #1

Losurdo says the car isn’t where he’d like it to be, as the team has struggled with a “push.” However, it handled well enough a few weeks ago for him to grab his third-career feature win in the 35-lap Tony White Memorial.

Listen to – Anthony Losurdo #2

He hasn’t visited victory lane in 2015, but by virtue of his two runner-up feature finishes to kick off the season, Andrew Schartner, sits atop the Pathfinder Bank SBS title chase. The defending track champ and North Carolina resident is pleased with how this year has started, regardless of the fact that he had already pocketed two feature wins at this point last season.

Andrew Schartner (18), Anthony Losurdo (1) and Jack Patrick (9) race out of Oswego Speedway's fourth turn.
Andrew Schartner (18), Anthony Losurdo (1) and Jack Patrick (9) race out of Oswego Speedway’s fourth turn.

Consistency, Schartner says, is key to a having a successful season and he believes his team is on the right path. They’re the only ones with two top-five finishes and only three other drivers have managed to finish in the top 10 in each race.

The Weedsport native says his No. 18 team will initially take things week to week, but in all likelihood, the plan is to once again make the trek up from Charlotte to compete at the lakeside oval every Saturday night in search of a successful title defense.

Listen to – Andrew Schartner

Though, competing in his 20th year of small block supermodified racing, Fulton’s Jack Patrick says he feels like he’s back at square one. He says his Mopar-powered No. 9 was the target of a rule change made during the off-season that essentially banned the intake manifold he used in his Chrysler engine because it was believed to provide an unfair advantage. Patrick is the only driver competing at Oswego with a Chrysler engine.

Listen to – Jack Patrick #1

He had a decent, but not overwhelmingly successful 2014 campaign. He racked up four heat race wins and eight top-10 feature finishes. He would finish fourth in the final points standings – the only driver in the top five with out a feature win. So far in 2015, Patrick’s Hedger Racing Chassis has run to two, ninth place finishes.

Jack Patrick No. 9
Jack Patrick No. 9

It appears it will be a work in progress for the Fulton fire fighter, who says he has something brewing that should put him behind the wheel of a big block super part-time this year.

He says despite the setback, don’t expect to see him move to a Chevy or Ford. He’ll stick by his Mopar-powered No. 9 to the end.

Listen to – Jack Patrick #2

Admittedly struggling with a rule change as well, Jason Simmons and his Team Tapout Racing foursome have amassed just one, top-five finish this season. Simmons currently sits sixth in the points chase. Teammates Jeremy Pitcher, Jay Andrews and Barry Kingsley currently sit 12th, 13th and 17th respectively. All four drivers are former feature winners and sit behind proven equipment. It’s only a matter of time until they’re able to hit on a winning combination.

Listen to – Jason Simmons #1

Kingsley was involved in a vicious crash in the most recent race, after catching a wheel and slamming his No. 91 into the outside retaining wall. The driver was okay, but the car suffered extensive damage. The wreck took the team two steps back just after it had appeared to have taken a step forward earlier in the evening. Kingsley earned the team’s first checkered flag of the year with an impressive heat race win.

Jason Simmons' No. 98
Jason Simmons’ No. 98

After countless hours in the garage, the No. 91 was back and ready to go racing this past Saturday night, but Mother Nature decided to give them an extra week of preparation.

Listen to – Jason Simmons #2

Bringing four cars to the track is one thing, but bringing four competitive cars to the track is another. Simmons says it’s a real challenge fielding four small block supermodifieds, but the effort and teamwork are there to make it happen.

Listen to – Jason Simmons #3