Bond Brothers Double-Dip on Independence Day at Oswego

By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney

In 2010, brothers Mike and Bob Bond of Mexico, N.Y. became the first pair of siblings in the 60-year history of the Oswego Speedway to win features on the same night. However, it took only five years for history to repeat itself, as again, the two brothers took top honors in their respective divisions at the lakeside oval on Saturday night. An added twist this time around was that both drivers were piloting for the same car owner, Denise Merrill.

In 2010, Bob’s victory came with the visiting winged International Super Modified Association touring series. It was his first career win in the big block ranks. The spin on Saturday night’s victory was that the win came in Oswego Speedway’s own Novelis supermodified division. It was his first of the season.

Listen to – Bob Bond

It was the 31st time Mike had pulled into victory lane in a Pathfinder Bank small block supermodified, his second of the year.

Listen to – Mike Bond

Starting 10th on the grid in the Novelis big block supermodified 75-lapper, Bob Bond would sit content until about midway through the event. Dave Gruel would take the initial lead at the green, but it would be Joe Gosek bringing the field across the stripe to lead the first lap. Gruel, Dan Connors, Jr., Tim Snyder and Keith Shampine filled out the top five.

The race’s first caution flag would fly on the third lap, after the Aric Iosue No. 11 and Lou LeVea, Sr. No. 66 tangled and popped the wall between turns three and four. With just a few rounds in, Gosek led Gruel, Connors, Snyder and Brian Sobus. Shampine, Michael Barnes, Pat Lavery, Bond and Brandon Bellinger completed the top 10. Otto Sitterly, Kody Graham, Jeff Abold, Stephen Gioia, III and Ray Graham, Jr. filled out the first 15.

While Gosek took off, Snyder flew around the outside of Connors on the restart. Gosek’s No. 00 would hold a 15-car length lead over Gruel at the lap No. 10 mark. A few trips later, Sobus would dive under Connors to take over fourth on the 14th lap. Behind him, a surging Sitterly bettered Barnes for sixth. Two laps later Sitterly would pass Connors and team up with Sobus to chase down Gruel and Snyder.

Gosek’s lead would begin to shrink in traffic. Sobus and Sitterly would join Gruel and Snyder by the 21st lap, five lengths behind the race leader. A caution on the 24th lap for Jerry Curran’s yellow No. 24 slowed the action.

With 23 laps completed, Gosek led Gruel, Snyder, Sobus and Sitterly. Bond had begun his jaunt towards the front and sat in sixth. Barnes, Connors, Shampine and Lavery ran seventh through 10th.

Half a lap into the restart, Sitterly sailed around the outside of Sobus and Snyder. Gosek wasn’t able to escape this time, as Gruel and Sitterly were glued to his rear bumper.

On the 31st lap, Sitterly would move under Gruel on the front straightaway and inch his way into second place. Looking for room under Gosek, Sitterly would see Gruel challenge him on the outside on the 34th lap. Sitterly would end up finding room under the race leader one lap later, leaving Gruel to find a way around Gosek.

As Gruel quickly searched for a way around the No. 00, Snyder, Bond, Barnes and Sobus began closing in. With a solid outside bid on Gosek, Gruel looked to have the advantage as the duo raced out of the fourth turn on the 38th lap, side-by-side. With little room to spare, Gosek tried staying on the gas hard coming out of the turn, but ended up looping his No. 00 around. The seasoned veteran was able to keep his spun super out of the racing groove and avoided contact.

With an ill-handling No 79, Sobus would pit under caution, dropping him out of the top five. With 37 laps in the books, Sitterly would bring a shaken-up leaderboard back to racing. Gruel, Snyder, Bond and Barnes filled out the top five.

The new race leader took off at the drop of the green. Bond continued to move forward, picking off Snyder with an inside move on the backstretch.

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10 laps later, Sitterly found himself heading into the back-end of the field. However, before traffic had a chance to become a factor, Sitterly’s teammate, Dave Shullick, Jr., brought his No. 2 to a stop just shy of the back straightaway.

After the short delay, Sitterly’s No. 7 would again take flight on the ensuing restart. However, Bond would continue his push forward, besting Gruel down low for second place. The duo would ease away from the field, with Sitterly holding a comfortable five-car advantage.

They would eventually dive into traffic, where Bond appeared to begin slowly closing the gap on the race leader. That gap would suddenly disappear on their 63rd trip around Oswego’s fast five-eighth’s mile when the race leader pulled pit-side with an apparent broken torque arm. Bond would inherit the lead and hold a commanding full straightaway advantage over Gruel.

Bond would encounter heavy lapped traffic, but wouldn’t be pressed to take any chances. He and his Denise Merrill-owned No. 47 would cruise the final few laps to victory.

After making an early exit due to a qualifying heat race accident his last time out, Gruel and his No. 50 team would bounce back to earn a solid second-place finish.

Listen to – Dave Gruel

Filling out the podium, Barnes would scoot by Snyder to claim third.

Listen to – Michael Barnes

Snyder and Connors could fill out the top five.

Small Block Super Main

Starting eighth on the gird, Mike Bond shot to the front early in the 35-lap SBS main. After just one lap, Bond sat fifth, behind Scott Shafer, Dalton Doyle, Dave Cliff and race leader, Barry Kingsley.

With an outside move on lap No. 3, Cliff would take the lead away from Kingsley. Cliff would then begin to pull away, while Doyle and Bond pressed Kingsley for second. Last week’s winner, Josh Kerr, would bring out the first caution of the race on the seventh lap with a spin in turn No. 3.

With seven rounds in the books, Cliff led Kingsley, Doyle, Bond and Shafer. Mike Bruce, Jeremy Pitcher, Alex Hoag, Tyler Shullick and Kreig Heroth rounded out the top 10.

Bond would press Doyle for third on the ensuing restart, but the series points leader would hold his ground. Behind them, Bruce would muscle his No. 22 under Shafer to break into the top five.

Just before a Jason Simmons spin, Bond would finally pass Doyle on the outside to take over third on the 13th lap. On the next restart, he would sail around the high side of Kingsley take over second place.

Bond would chase Cliff for three laps before taking a peek under the race leader on the 16th lap. Two laps later, Bond gave it a go, inching underneath Cliff‘s No. 50. Cliff would fight back, reclaiming the top spot. However, Bond would power past Cliff’s left-side one lap later and make the pass stick, taking over the lead.

Making his debut in the division, Shullick’s fine sixth-place run came to an early end after banging his No. 67 against the inside hub in turn No. 4. The caution flag tightened the field, but was to no concern of Bond. Cliff would initially keep pace with Bond’s No. 74, but eventually fall back.

The caution lights would flash for the final time in the race after Shafer’s fast-fading No. 76 found the third-turn, outside foam. The incident would collect the AJ Bernys No. 24, as well.

With six circuits to go, Bond would take the green on the final restart and pull away. Doyle would snooker Kingsley at the drop of the green and race on to finish third, behind runner-up Cliff. Finishing fifth, Bruce would collect his fourth top-five finish in five races.

Novelis Supermodified 75: 1. Bob Bond (47), 2. Dave Gruel (50), 3. Michael Barnes (68), 4. Tim Snyder (0), 5. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 6. Kody Graham (21), 7. Pat Lavery (22), 8. Dave Danzer (52), 9. Jeff Abold (05), 10. Tim Devendorf (5), 11. Shaun Gosselin (26), 12. Brandon Bellinger (02), 13. Stephen Gioia, III (9), 14. Joe Gosek (00), 15. Brian Sobus (79), 16. Otto Sitterly (7), 17. Howard Page (18), 18. DJ Shullick (2), 19. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 20. Jerry Curran (24), 21. Keith Shampine (55), 22. Ray Graham, Jr. (91), 23. Hal LaTulip (56), 24. Aric Iosue (11), 25. Lou LeVea, Sr. (96)

Qualifying heats wins were pocketed by Shampine, Connors and Lavery. Danzer took the checkered flag in the “last chance” consolation race.

Pathfinder Bank SBS 35: 1. Mike Bond (74), 2. Dave Cliff (50), 3. Dalton Doyle (01), 4. Barry Kingsley (91), 5. Mike Bruce (22), 6. Alex Hoag (7), 7. Kreig Heroth (04), 8. Camden Proud (54), 9. JJ Andrews (93), 10. Anthony Losurdo (1), 11. Matt Magner (87), 12. Jack Patrick (9), 13. Andrew Schartner (18), 14. Dennis Rupert (99). 15. Jason Simmons (98), 16. Tyler Shullick (67), 17. Ray Sand, Jr. (71), 18. Scott Shafer (76), 19. James Babcock (15), 20. AJ Bernys (24), 21. Justin Connell (07), 22. Jeremy Pitcher (97), 23. Josh Kerr, 24. Greg O’Connor (90)

Heat races were won by Heroth, Cliff and Pitcher. Magner earned picked up the consi.