Coming off his third feature win of the season last weekend, small block supermodified (SBS) driver Mike Bond reclaimed the championship points lead at the Oswego Speedway. Dominating his qualifying heat race earlier Saturday evening, Bond was once again the odds-on favorite heading into the SBS main event. Starting deep in the field, Bond would have a long journey ahead of him, but at the drop of the checkered flag, both he and the Solazzo-owned No. 26 FFB Racing Chassis had lived up to the billing.
Bond and the No. 26 crew pose in victory lane Saturday at Oswego
With the win, Bond and crew ended a week-to-week streak that had them winning one week and finishing out of the zip code the following night out. The victory also helped cushion their slim lead in the points chase.
Listen to – Mike Bond
From the pole position, rookie, Nathan Sitterly took the lead away fellow front-row starter Jason Simmons to start the 30-lap feature event. Rounding turn No. 4, Sitterly led Simmons, Cameron Rowe, Rob Pullen and Tim Barbeau to complete lap No. 1. A spin by Dennis Rupert’s No. 99, single-filed the field with one lap in the books.
On the restart, all was quiet up front, but back in the pack, Bond was soon taking to the outside lane. A crucial early pass on fellow title-contender Andrew Schartner put Bond into eighth. One lap later, Bond bested sophomore phenom Mike Bruce for seventh.
Sitterly was sitting pretty at the top of the field until a miscue off of turn No. 4 allowed his No. 79 small block super to dance up into the marbles. Simmons pounced at the opportunity, taking the lead away on lap No. 6. While Sitterly fought to gain back his momentum, Rowe, Pullen, Barbeau and Bond (who had just passed Barry Kingsley for sixth) all flew by.
Action on the track was promptly brought to a halt after Will Hadcock pounded the foam barrier in turn No. 4. While under caution, second-place running Rowe suddenly pulled pit-side with apparent motor woes. With seven laps complete, Simmons led Pullen, Barbeau, Bond and Sitterly. Kingsley, Bruce, Schartner, Jack Patrick and Mark Castiglia rounded out the top 10.
On the restart, Bond went to the outside again, attacking Barbeau for third. However, Barbeau’s No. 50 proved to be a tougher challenge as they raced behind the second-place Pullen. Pullen was taking an outside look on Simmons for the lead when he suddenly saw Barbeau slipping past him on the inside. Bond followed suit, sending Pullen back to fourth.
In a bid to both, escape from Bond and take the lead, Barbeau slipped underneath Simmons in turn No. 1 on the 13th lap. Trying to avoid a freight train, Simmons attempted to tuck his No. 98 back down behind Barbeau. However, Bond had again stuck his nose in behind the No. 50 to follow him through on the Simmons pass. Simmons came down on the No. 26, spinning in turn No. 2. Bond escaped, unharmed.
Near the halfway point, Barbeau led Bond, Pullen, Sitterly and Kingsley to the green. Schartner, Bruce, Patrick, Castiglia and David LaTulip rounded out the top 10.
Barbeau held his ground on the restart, but Bond was just inches off his rear bumper. The lead duo began to separate themselves from the field, leaving Pullen to race alone in third. Sitterly valiantly fended off the rest of the field further back in fourth.
Barbeau continued to fight off challenges from Bond, but on the 19th lap, Bond found room on the inside as the duo raced into the third turn. The No. 26 took command and never looked back.
Behind the leaders, Sitterly would eventually lose his hold on fourth to Kingsley, dropping the No. 79 back to an eventual eighth-place finish. Kingsley, in turn, would lose fourth to Patrick on a late-race restart. Bruce would knock Kingsley out of the top five with a pass with just three laps to go.
SBS top three (left to right) Barbeau (2nd), Bond (1st) & Pullen (3rd)
Barbeau wanted the win, but for this week, was willing to settle for second.
Listen to – Tim Barbeau
Pullen was pleased with his third-place run. Unofficially, the finish put him back into the top five in the points chase.
Listen to – Rob Pullen
Believing he had a better car than his fourth-place finish reflected, Patrick was still satisfied with the top-five run.
Listen to – Jack Patrick
Still searching for his first win at Oswego, Bruce says there’s still much to be learned. He crossed the line in fifth.
Listen to – Mike Bruce
*Note* – In the third heat race, Patrick thrilled race fans with a spirited win. After a hard-fought battle with Barbeau for third, Patrick maneuvered his No. 9 past Simmons with two laps to go. He then out-muscled Pullen to the line on the final lap to the checkered flag. It was by far, the most crowd-pleasing race of the night.
SBS Feature 30: 1. Mike Bond (26), 2. Tim Barbeau (50), 3. Rob Pullen (2), 4. Jack Patrick (9), 5. Mike Bruce (22), 6. Barry Kingsley (23), 7. Andrew Schartner (18), 8. Nate Sitterly (79), 9. Mark Castiglia (90), 10. Brian Osetek (00), 11. A.J. Bernys (24), 12. Guard Nearbin (78), 13. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 14. Dalton Doyle (1), 15. Dave LaTulip (27), 16. Dennis Rupert (99), 17. Kreig Heroth (44), 18. Jason Simmons (98), 19. Cameron Rowe (77), 20. Will Hadcock (43)
SBS wins went to Rowe, Bond and Patrick.