Photos – Jim Feeney
28 cars may have started Sunday afternoon’s 75-lap small block supermodified Classic at the Oswego Speedway, but it would end up being just a two-man race from start to end. In a battle of the division’s all-time greats, Mexico’s Mike Bond would defeat Mansville’s Russ Brown to capture his fourth Classic crown.
Mike Bond and crew pose in victory lane at Oswego
The two multi-time track and Classic champs separated themselves from the rest of the field, dicing in and out of traffic nearly the entire race. Bond would chase Brown for 27 laps before taking the lead on a restart. The faster car throughout the second half of the race, Bond would still find Brown challenging him as they slipped in and out of heavier lapped traffic, but end up pulling away in the end.
Listen to – Mike Bond
Brown and recently-crowned 2016 SBS Track Champion, David Cliff, led the field to the green to begin their season finale. The duo would brush wheels between turns one and two, with Brown getting the early advantage.
Bond would slip under Cliff as well, moving into second. Cliff, Dalton Doyle and Andrew Schartner filled out the top five after the field completed its maiden lap. Bond wasted no time in pressing the race leader to see what he was up against. Multiple looks to Brown’s left side fell short, but let the point man know he was right with him.
10 rounds in, the two small block vets had separated themselves from the field. Cliff, Doyle and Alex Hoag ran third through fifth, with Schartner, Camden Proud, Michael Bruce, Jack Patrick and Anthony Losurdo completing the top 10.
The lead duo would dive into lapped traffic on the 13th lap. Weaving high and low through the field’s back five, they continued to distance themselves and make it known it was a two-man race.
On the 17th lap, Cliff’s day would come to an end after apparently expiring the power plant on the Tim Barbeau-owned No. 50, sending a few cars scattering behind him. Schartner and Patrick would each fall victim to the melee.
The ensuing restart found Brown and Bond checking out, once again. Bond would increase the pressure on the race leader as they reached the tail-end of the field, once again. Battling in traffic some 20 lengths ahead of third-place running Doyle, they would see the caution lights flash again after defending race winner, Bryan Haynes, spun and was promptly clocked by Mark Castiglia’s No. 69.
About one-third of the way into the race, Brown led Bond, Doyle, Hoag and Bruce. Proud, Losurdo, Jason Simmons, Jesse Bearup and Barry Kingsley completed the top 10.
On the restart, Brown and Bond would pick up where they left off. The challenger wasted no time in reapplying pressure as the twosome left their chasers behind. On the 28th lap, Brown would leave a door open racing out of turn No. 2. Bond was ready to pounce. Racing his No. 74 to the inside of Brown’s No. 13, Bond would pull alongside and inch his way in front. The two would race side-by-side down the backstretch and around turns three and four. After contact down the frontstretch, Bond would earn the upper-hand and take command.
Scott Schafer’s spun No. 76 would reset the field one lap later. Setting the pace for the first time, Bond would race away unchallenged on the restart. Holding 20 lengths on the field, they would find themselves in lapped traffic on the 43rd lap. Bond wouldn’t miss a beat, creating a bit of separation from Brown after traffic thinned out.
With 25 to go, Bond held a comfortable half-dozen lengths over Brown. In turn, Brown held a full straightaway advantage over Doyle. Locked in a race-long battle, Bruce and Hoag continued to tussle for fourth.
Brown would find hope as the two leaders soon approached a gaggle of lapped cars. Closing in quickly, Brown would look for alternate routes as Bond weaved his way high and low through the back markers.
On the 58th lap, the two would again touch in turn No.1, battling for the same real estate. The intense battle at the front was put to rest when the caution lights began to flash for Alex McRae’s No. 14 after it slid into the water barrels on the back straightaway.
Top 3 finishers, Mike Bond (center), Russ Brown (left) and Alex Hoag (right)
The caution flag was warmly welcomed by Bond, who’d had his hands full navigating traffic while trying to keep Brown at bay. Following a quick caution for a spin on the ensuing restart, Bond would hold off Brown, but Hoag would find room under Doyle to take over third. Bruce would send Doyle to fifth after maneuvering his way around the No. 01 the next time around.
Bond would find himself back in lapped traffic with just 10 to go, but end up building his lead by the time he was through it. A larger pack of cars came into view with five laps left, but he would be spared the venture.
Bond’s FFB Racing Chassis would cruise the final few trips to secure his fourth SBS Classic win. Brown would settle for second.
Listen to – Russ Brown
Hoag would win the battle of the rest of the field, taking the last podium spot with a third-place finish.
Listen to – Alex Hoag
Completing arguably his best season to date, Bruce avoided Classic trouble this time around, landing his No. 22 in fourth.
Listen to – Mike Bruce
Finishing seventh, Cameron Proud would snap his bad luck in the SBS Classic, finally landing his first top-10 finish in the event.
Listen to – Camden Proud
25th Annual SBS Classic 75: 1. Mike Bond (74), 2. Russ Brown (13), 3. Alex Hoag (7), 4. Mike Bruce (22), 5. Dalton Doyle (01), 6. Anthony Losurdo (1), 7. Cameron Proud (54), 8. Jason Simmons (98), 9. Barry Kingsley (91). 10. Brad Haynes (88), 11. Matt Magner (87), 12. Kreig Heroth (04), 13. Cameron Rowe (77), 14. Greg O’Connor (90), 15. John Tesoriero (47), 16. Alex McRae (14), 17. Josh Kerr (8), 18. Tyler Thompson (93), 19. Jack Patrick (9), 20. Bryan Haynes (86), 21. Cameron Black (23), 22. Dennis Rupert (99), 23. Jesse Bearup (37), 24. Andrew Schartner (18), 25. Scott Schafer (76), 26. Mark Castiglia (69), 27. James Babcock (15) 28. David Cliff (50)
Bryan Haynes won the 12-lap SBS B-Main.