With a top time of 16.056 seconds, Cicero’s Michael Barnes earned the pole position for the 62nd annual Budweiser International Classic 200 on Sunday at the Oswego Speedway. The pilot of the No. 68 supermodified made fast time driving a race car that has yet to even compete in an actual race. Car owner, Gary Syrell and crew, are debuting the brand new car for the season finale.
It will be the second time Barnes will start supermodified racing’s most prestigious event from the inside of the first row. After claiming the pole in 2015, he went on to finish a career-best, second place. Last year, he started on the outside of the front row and ended up earning his second runner-up finish in the 200-lap event.
Listen to – Michael Barnes
Whether or not to use the passing flag in the Classic has been a buzz the last few weeks. Barnes says he would like to see it used for at least the race leader, though that could be considered an advantage being the rest of the field would need to navigate their way with out that luxury.
Listen to – Michael Barnes
Starting aside Barnes at the top of the field will be defending race winner, Dave Shullick, Jr. Shullick’s lap of 16.080 seconds was just 1/40 of a second off the pole. With the top lap times being a bit slow from what many expected, the driver of the John Nicotra-owned No. 2 believes it may have been the result of a combination of Oswego’s temperature dipping and rubber laid down by the winged 350 Supermodified Atlantic Charter (SMAC) that practiced on Friday.
Nonetheless, the defending race winner is ready for a second Classic ring.
Listen to – Dave Shullick, Jr.
Oswego Speedway’s recently crowned 2018 Track Champion, Otto Sitterly, stopped the clocks in John Nicotra’s No 7 third fastest. He’s okay with the starting spot and agreed with Shullick on why the times were a bit slower than originally anticipated. Sitterly will be gunning for Classic win No. 5 on Sunday. Ironically, despite having earned 41 feature wins, including four Classics and eight track titles, Sitterly has never sat on the pole for the 200. His victories have come from the 2nd, 3rd, 14th and 10th starting positions.
Listen to – Otto Sitterly
1997 race winner, Davey Hamilton, will start aside teammate Sitterly, in fourth with two-time Classic winner, Doug Didero, (1996 & 2008) starting sixth. Sandwiched between the two and seeking his first Classic win is last year’s pole-sitter, Keith Shampine.
Shampine’s looking to take the next step forward in finishing out excellent starts to his last two Classic runs. In 2016, Shampine darted to the front early and led over half of the race only to encounter fuel issues and finish 17th. Last year, he would start on the pole encounter a major fuel leak just 50 laps into the race, finishing 26th. Surrounded by Classic winners on the starting grid, Shampine will begin the race on the inside of the third row.
Listen to – Keith Shampine
One of four drivers doing double-duty on Sunday, Tyler Shullick, will be making his supermodified racing debut in the 200. After qualifying his No. 67 small block super into its 75-lap Classic event in sixth place, he locked the No. 25 big block supermodified into the field, 15th on the grid. Shullick impressed with a lap of 16.474 seconds. He says he’s never competed in a race with 33 other cars on the track at the same time, let alone a 200-lap feature event. He’ll take that challenge on for the first time an hour or so after having run the 75-lap SBS Classic.
Dave Danzer, Camden Proud and Jack Patrick will be joining Shullick in campaigning both, small and big blocks on Sunday. Danzer will attempt triple duty for the weekend, as they began prepping their No. 52 supermodified Friday evening for ISMA competition on Saturday.
Listen to – Tyler Shullick
Long-time “limited,” now small block supermodified competitor, Jack Patrick, was ready to hang up the helmet after running his final SBS Classic event this year. However, an opportunity to fulfill a lifetime dream of racing his own big block supermodified has arrived. Patrick recently purchased the Shawn Muldoon-owned No. 1. His primary intention is to compete weekly (sponsor-pending) in 2019. He’s renumbered the car No. 5 and took to the track on Friday in hopes of landing it in the field for Sunday.
Patrick says he just wants to keep it in one piece and if he’s able to make the big block show on Sunday, that’s a bonus. The Speedway’s rule change to move to Chevy crate motors in the SBS division in 2019 led the pilot of the Mopar-powered No. 9 to the decision to retire after this year. Patrick saw the rule change as either being a sign to stop racing or an opportunity to take a chance on a new adventure. A pending sale on a property he owns coupled with a car for sale at the right price and time have pushed him in the direction of going with the second option.
Listen to – Jack Patrick
News & Notes:
*With the former Ray Graham machine race ready and at the track, Steve Buske and Lou LeVea, Sr. have given Tony Pisa an opportunity to race the No. 66 in Sunday’s Classic. If Pisa can find a bit of speed and get comfortable in the car, there’s a good chance he makes the show.
*Pat Lavery says his No. 12 supermodified will not attempt to make this year’s race. Lavery says there are simply too many gremlins that need to be worked out and he doesn’t want to make the field only to end up being a hazard to it. Look for Lavery to campaign his super at Oswego full-time or near full-time in 2019.
*With three of the four John Nicotra-owned cars qualifying well into the front of the field, his focus has turned towards getting the No. 79 machine up to par for Mike Lichty. Lichty time-trialed in at 16.770 seconds. Nicotra says that if both, owner and driver aren’t optimistic that the car has a chance to at least contend, there’s a small chance the car could sit on Sunday.
*With a lap of 18.431 seconds, Russ Brown broke his own small block supermodified track record aboard the Ray Hedger-owned No, 13. The previous record was 18.504 seconds. 2018 SBS Track Champion, Anthony Losurdo, raced the Mark Castiglia-owned No. 1 to a second-best time of 18.679 seconds – nearly a quarter of a second behind the time of the No. 13.