OSWEGO, NY – Mexico’s Mike Barnes literally showed the fast way around Oswego Speedway on C’s Beverage-Days Inn/Travelodge night on Saturday, August 11. Barnes started 16th in the 25-car Novelis Supermodified field behind the wheel of the Strong Racing No. 99 and methodically worked his way through the pack, eventually taking the lead from Dave Gruel on lap 41 of 50 to race on to his second win of 2012 worth $2,000.
The victory, which Barnes said is the biggest of his career, will go down as his 5th Supermodified win at Oswego tying him with All-Time greats Dave Shullick Sr., Jim Winks, Russ Wood, and Sam Sessions.
Gruel held on for second ahead of Randy Ritskes, Otto Sitterly, Pat Lavery, Dan Connors Jr., Shaun Gosselin, Joey Payne, Brian Sobus, and Jarett Andretti in the Top 10 rundown.
“We just kept digging, it is really hard starting that far back,” said Barnes in Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane. “This is definitely the biggest win I have ever had up here. If you can start that far back and win now, it’s big. Five years ago when I won a bunch of races up here it was easier, but now anyone can win.”
Barnes, who was ride less halfway through the 2011 Novelis Supermodified season at Oswego, was quick to thank Strong Racing for the opportunity to hop behind the wheel of their hard working roadster.
“These guys just don’t give up and Pat and Terry put a good piece underneath me,” said Barnes. “I’ll tell you what, everyone may want to start worrying about $150 shocks because there is nothing fancy on this car. This is a pretty basic car and it doesn’t have a lot of the technology that a lot of the other guys have. We show that a lot of hard work and you know you keep digging and racing hard, and you can get your way to the front.”
Prior to racing action, there were quite a few changes going on in the Supermodified pit area.
With Ray Graham serving a one week suspension his son Kody Graham, the usual driver of the No. 21, would initially hop behind the wheel of the Xtreme No. 90 with former Oswego Super winner Jeff Holbrook set to pilot the 2012 Mr. Supermodified winning car No. 21. By race time however Kody would jump back behind the wheel of his usual mount, with Holbrook driving the No. 90 for the evening.
Brandon Bellinger had a new ride for Saturday night behind the wheel of the Daratt Farms Racing back-up car, driven last season by Andy Noto as No. 48. The car was re-numbered No. 02 for Bellinger, and he promptly went out and won the second qualifying heat race of the night, the first checkered flag for Brandon at Oswego in 2012.
Prior to the start of the second Supermodified qualifying heat race an electrical short in one of the front straight concession stands caused a temporary loss of power at the Speedway. As a result the racing action would be put on hold for about 45 minutes, however Speedway officials and maintenance staff worked diligently to get the issue resolved and racing action would continue.
With Brandon Bellinger in the Daratt Farms machine on Saturday night, that left the seat open in the family owned Bellinger mount, and younger brother Jared was tabbed to do the driving on Saturday night. Jared Bellinger would start his first career Supermodified feature on August 11 behind the wheel of the No. 02b joining Ed Bellinger Sr., Ed Bellinger Jr., and Brandon as the 4th member of their immediate family to start a main event at Oswego Speedway.
When the green flag fell for Saturday night’s Novelis Supermodified main event it was Dave Danzer in No. 52 jumping out to the point looking for his second win of 2012. The No. 52 won a qualifying heat race earlier in the night and looked to bounce back from a string of bad luck in recent weeks. By the 10th circuit Danzer had built a comfortable lead, leaving the battle on the Speedway for the runner-up spot.
Brandon Bellinger joined Danzer on the front row for the 50-lap main and would initially tuck into the runner-up spot in the No. 02. On lap 12 however, Gruel started to heat up in the No. 50 working underneath Bellinger for the 2nd spot into turn one, now setting his eyes on race leader Danzer.
Further back in the field the battle also continued for the Oswego Speedway track championship between Otto Sitterly and Pat Lavery. Sitterly was on the charge early on passing Joe Gosek on lap 10, then out gunning Lavery for 10th on lap 13. Sitterly entered Saturday night with just a 10 point lead over Lavery, and now Lavery would give chase to Sitterly through the remainder of the feature.
Not long after Danzer shot out to his commanding lead, smoke began to show from the engine compartment on the No. 52. As the laps wore on, Danzer’s pace slowed, and on lap 18 he would pull high in turn four coming to a stop. Danzer made a quick exit of his vehicle as the leaking fluids made for a very hot cockpit area, but Danzer would be ok. The string of back luck continued for the No. 52 on Saturday, as Danzer would be forced out of the race while leading, winding up with a 21st place finish.
With Danzer out Gruel would now move to the point with Bellinger, Jerry Curran, Andretti, Connors, Ritskes, Sitterly, Michael Muldoon, Gosselin, and Lavery riding as the Top 10.
After another restart at lap 20 for a stopped Stephen Gioia III on the back stretch, Barnes started to plot his attack on the field.
Riding outside of the Top 10 at lap 20, Barnes pulled low on Lavery to break the Top 10 at lap 21, then would slide immediately on past Muldoon and Gosselin to race his way to eighth. At lap 25 Barnes would find his way past Connors and the following circuit chased Ritskes on by Andretti to move into the Top 5.
On the 29th circuit Ritskes and Barnes continued their tandem efforts through the field, this time making their way past Curran on the low side to move to third and fourth on the grid.
Sitterly, who was looking to distance himself from Lavery, would also find his way on by Curran at lap 30 to move himself into the Top 5.
By this time Gruel and Bellinger had built comfortable leads on the rest of the field, until another caution hit the Speedway at lap 31 for Muldoon, Payne, Gosek, and Holbrook.
All four cars would wind up together between turns three and four ending the night for Muldoon, Gosek, and Holbrook. Payne would be able to continue on in the No. 20 and rejoin the field.
With 19-laps remaining at the restart it was hard to key on just one thing through the field. Gruel would lead Bellinger out front, which was intriguing enough looking back at the season that Bellinger has had to this point in the year. Ritskes restarted third ahead of Barnes who was again on the charge through the field as he has often done in the No. 99. Sitterly would restart fifth ahead of Connors, Curran, Andretti, Gosselin, and Lavery, as Sitterly looked to hold onto his slim lead in the Supermodified championship.
As the green lights came back on one thing began to come in clear, and that was the No. 22 of Lavery again working the high side trying to chase down Sitterly. On lap 32 Lavery took to the top side passing both Gosselin and Andretti for position and just three laps later took the low side on Curran to move to seventh.
With Lavery working hard through the field in the race for the Championship, the race for the event win continued up front.
With Gruel leading, the team cars of Bellinger and Ritskes battled for second with Barnes stalking each of them. On lap 40 the Bellinger/Ritskes runner-up race forced each of them up on the Speedway allowing Barnes to make his way past both cars in one turn to move into second.
Just one lap later Bellinger’s outstanding night, with a chance at a solid Top 5 run would come to an end with a spin on the back straight. The No. 02 would rejoin the field, ending with a 14th place finish, not nearly indicative of how the eldest Bellinger son performed on this night.
Bellinger’s spin would jumble up the Top 10 slightly with Gruel remaining out front ahead of Barnes, Ritskes, Sitterly, Connors, Lavery, Gosselin, Payne, and now Brian Sobus.
As yellow turned green one final time on Saturday night Barnes began to peak, just as Gruel seemed to lose the touch slightly.
As the field charged out of turn four Barnes found the inside lane on Gruel for the top spot going into turn one, taking the lead in the No. 99. Just as Barnes moved to the point, Lavery would also gain a spot in the No. 22, moving around Connors on the front straight to slide into sixth just one position behind Sitterly.
As the final laps counted down the field settled into line with Barnes charging home with his second win of the season underneath the Cam’s NY Pizzeria checkered flag.
Gruel, who led 23 laps of the race in the No. 50, spoke with infield announcer Danny Johnson after the event.
“Our car just went away a little bit at the end and the 99 got a little bit quicker at the end,” said Gruel. “Tonight we had to settle for second, can’t complain though. We’ll get a little bit quicker for next week and give them hell.”
Gruel, who has had several hard wrecks this season but was also the King of Wings winner at Oswego, has had an up and down 2012.
“We have definitely had our ups and downs this season,” said Gruel. “Between Billy (Samuels), Bob (Hoefer), and Linda (Samuels) they are giving me a great racecar and we are definitely getting it going again. It is coming right at the right time, at the end of the year just before Classic, so I think we will be good come Classic time.”
The third place finish for Ritskes was welcome after their issues during the Mr. Novelis Supermodified event on August 4.
“This was a big improvement over last week, last week we were a back marker,” said Ritskes. “Joey Hawksby helped us out a lot this week, setting up the car and making some small changes, and it showed tonight it was a good car. We’re going to have to go a little bit faster though if we are going to get the 99, he was very impressive.”
Heroth Returns to SBS Victory Lane, First Win in Soucy 04
Kreig Heroth returned to Oswego Speedway victory lane on Saturday, August 11 as a part of C’s Beverage-Days Inn/Travelodge Night behind the wheel of the Doug Soucy No. 04 Pathfinder Bank SBS series machine. The victory was Heroth’s first of 2012 and fourth career win at Oswego, as he took the lead from Mark Castiglia with an inside pass in turn three on lap 8 to gain the win.
Castiglia brought the No. 69 home in second ahead of Jack Patrick, Tim Gareau, Jason Simmons, AJ Bernys, Andrew Schartner, Mike Bond, Russ Brown, and Bryan Haynes in the Top 10.
“It’s nice to be back here,” said Heroth in Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane. “We’ve been pretty consistent all year long and I have been trying so hard to get these guys in victory lane. It’s really tough coming from the back, but starting fifth helped us tonight with the blown motor a couple weeks ago, that is what gave us the handicap. I just can’t thank my guys enough.”
Castiglia would gain the early advantage in the 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS series main event in the No. 69 with JJ Andrews, Dalton Doyle, Heroth, Patrick, and Gareau in tow early on.
On lap 6 Heroth managed to find his way on by Andrews for second going into turn one, now eyeing race leader Castiglia who had already visited Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane two other times this season. The following lap a spin in turn three for Russ Brown would slow the field, tightening the pack up one more time.
The restart would show Castiglia, Heroth, Andrews, Patrick, Gareau, Simmons, Bernys, Bond, Schartner, and Tim Barbeau in the Top 10.
As in the Supermodified divison, a tight championship battle was taking place in the SBS series. Bond and Schartner were separated by just 22-points coming into the evening’s racing action, and they now ride eighth and ninth respectively.
One lap after the restart Heroth found the bite on the low side out of turn two, pulling up alongside and past Castiglia for the lead low into turn three. Heroth would quickly draw out a lead in the No. 04 over Castiglia and Andrews.
In the battle for the championship, lap 12 saw Schartner slip past Bond to gain a position in the No. 18. Just two laps later another caution would hit the Speedway this time for fellow championship contender Rob Pullen, Doyle, Brad Haynes, and Barry Kingsley.
Doyle and Haynes would rejoin the field, while Pullen and Kingsley were each done for the day.
When the race got back underway Castiglia drew Heroth back in and began to challenge for the top spot. Heroth was doing all he could to protect the low line, and Castiglia tried his best to somehow make his way underneath. In a terrific battle, Castiglia was nearly alongside on a few different occasions, but another caution at lap 25 impeded his progress.
Barbeau and Cameron Rowe came together on the front straight bringing out the race’s final caution. They would end the night 17th and 18th in the final rundown.
With only five laps to go the restart shaped up in this fashion with Heroth out front ahead of Castiglia, Patrick, Gareau, and Simmons in the Top 5. Bernys, Schartner, Bond, Brown, and Haynes would line up sixth through tenth.
As the green lights came back on Heroth would manage to hold onto victory over Castiglia for his fourth career win All-Time tying him with the Jodway brothers, Otto Sitterly, Josh LaRochelle, Kevin Knopp, and Barbeau.
Castiglia, who is having a banner year in 2012, was happy with his second place effort.
“He was running a good race you know, protecting his line,” said Castiglia. “I didn’t dare go to the outside, I knew Jack was back there so I just tried following him and we had some motor issues tonight putting us down on power but I can’t complain with second. It has been a great year, hopefully even better at Classic.”
Patrick, in the Mopar No. 9, ran a great race in third.
“We had a good run tonight, we had a good car,” said Patrick. “I’ve been trying to get the car right all year long, but we’ve been getting into jingles all year which makes it tough. Finally tonight we got the car running good again, and I thought tonight was going to be my night, but the fastest car didn’t win tonight. Maybe next time.”
Tim Gareau came home with his 23rd career Pathfinder Bank SBS Top 5 finish on Saturday night behind the wheel of the familiar No. 5. Gareau’s 4th place effort was his first Top 5 since his last win in the division which came on August 6, 1994.
The next event on Oswego Speedway’s schedule is Bosco&Geers/Oswego County Federal Credit Union Track Championship night coming on Saturday, August 18.
Racing will begin at 6:30pm with general admission pricing set a $15. Tickets are also available for this Saturday at any Price Chopper Supermarkets location for just $14. Kids 16 and under are FREE with paid adult, as well as any active Military with ID.
For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com. Fans can also like the Speedway on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or follow on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway.
For tickets or merchandise call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
C’s Beverage-Days Inn/Travelodge Night
Saturday, August 18th – Bosco & Geers/Oswego County Federal Credit Union Track Championship Night
Feature (50-laps): 1. 99 – Mike Barnes, 2. 50 – Dave Gruel, 3. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 4. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 5. 22 – Pat Lavery, 6. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 7. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 8. 20 – Joey Payne, 9. 60 – Brian Sobus, 10. 0 – Jarett Andretti, 11. 05 – Jeff Abold, 12. 24 – Jerry Curran, 13. 81 – Kelly Miller, 14. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 15. 06 – Dave Cliff, 16. 50m – Michael Muldoon, 17. 00 – Joe Gosek, 18. 21 – Kody Graham, 19. 90 – Jeff Holbrook, 20. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 21. 52 – Dave Danzer, 22. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 23. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 24. 14 – Joe Chillemi, 25. 02b – Jared Bellinger
1st Heat (12laps): 1. 24 – Jerry Curran, 2. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 3. 22 – Pat Lavery, 4. 50m – Michael Muldoon, 5. 00 – Joe Gosek, 6. 05 – Jeff Abold, 7. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 8. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 9. 02 – Jared Bellinger
2nd Heat (12laps): 1. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 2. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 3. 50 – Dave Gruel, 4. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 5. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 6. 99 – Mike Barnes, 7. 21 – Kody Graham, 8. 14 – Joe Chillemi
3rd Heat (12laps): 1. 52 – Dave Danzer, 2. 60 – Brian Sobus, 3. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 4. 0 – Jarett Andretti, 5. 20 – Joey Payne, 6. 90 – Jeff Holbrook, 7. 81 – Kelly Miller, 8. 06 – Dave Cliff
PATHFINDER BANK SBS SERIES
Feature (30-laps): 1. 04 – Kreig Heroth, 2. 69 – Mark Castiglia, 3. 9 – Jack Patrick, 4. 5 – Tim Gareau, 5. 98 – Jason Simmons, 6. 24 – AJ Bernys, 7. 18 – Andrew Schartner, 8. 26 – Mike Bond, 9. 13 – Russ Brown, 10. 87 – Bryan Haynes, 11. 01 – Dalton Doyle, 12. 88 – Brad Haynes, 13. 93 – JJ Andrews, 14. 47 – Jon Tesoriero, 15. 8 – Josh Kerr, 16. 44 – Justin Connell, 17. 79 – Tim Barbeau, 18. 77 – Cameron Rowe, 19. 91 – Barry Kingsley, 20. 2 – Rob Pullen, 21. 99 – Dennis Rupert, 22. 11 – John Ketcham, 23. 17 – David LaTulip, 24. 1 – Anthony Losurdo
1st Heat (10laps): 1. 9 – Jack Patrick, 2. 26 – Mike Bond, 3. 69 – Mark Castiglia, 4. 5 – Tim Gareau, 5. 47 – Jon Tesoriero, 6. 1 – Anthony Losurdo, 7. 91 – Barry Kingsley, 8. 99 – Dennis Rupert
2ndHeat (10laps): 1. 04 – Kreig Heroth, 2. 93 – JJ Andrews, 3. 17 – David LaTulip, 4. 18 – Andrew Schartner, 5. 77 – Cameron Rowe, 6. 87 – Bryan Haynes, 7. 8 – Josh Kerr, 8. 11 – John Ketcham
3rd Heat (10laps): 1. 01 – Dalton Doyle, 2. 79 – Tim Barbeau, 3. 98 – Jason Simmons, 4. 24 – AJ Bernys, 5. 13 – Russ Brown, 6. 2 – Rob Pullen, 7. 88 – Brad Haynes, 8. 44 – Justin Cornell
TOBIAS Speed STR Series
Feature (20laps): 1. 71 – Chase Owens, 2. 97 – Josianne Plante, 3. 59 – Mathlew, 4. 9 – Rich Tobias Jr., 5. 3 – Matt Janisch, 6. 14 – Scott Munroe, 7. 15 – Brittany Wixon, 8. 79 – Maxime Plante, 9. 4 – Paul Lotier Jr., 10. 2 – Mitch Lacrombe
Heat (8laps): 1. 79 – Maxime Plante, 2. 71 – Chase Owens, 3. 3 – Matt Janisch, 4. 97 – Josianne Plante, 5. 2 – Mitch Lacrombe, 6. 59 – Mathlew, 7. 15 – Brittany Wixon, 8. 4 – Paul Lotier Jr., 9. 14 – Scott Munroe, 10. 9 – Rich Tobias