Bond Runs Down Simmons to Nab Third Win of 2011

Matt Kurzejewski Captures Oswego’s SST Sportsman Modified Open Invitational

By – Chris Porter
Photo – Jim Feeney

Mexico, N.Y.’s Mike Bond won his third small block supermodified feature of the season Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway,  while Mansfield, P.A.’s Matt Kurzejewski won the special 35-lap SST Modified feature event.

Chasing down Jason Simmons with a lap and a half to go in the 30-lap SBS main, Bond found himself racing against the clock just as much as he was against Simmons. Once again, the win was at the opposite end of swings of fate that have scene the all-time feature win leader either finish at the front or go off on the hook.

Mike Bond poses in victory lane after collecting win No. 3 on the season

After winning on opening night, Bond finished next to last the following week, wrecking in turn No. 2. However, he backed the DNF up with his second feature win the following week. The streak was nearly broken the following race night, finishing second to Jack Patrick in the first of two 20-lappers. However, a late-race wreck in the second 20-lap feature ended his night early, keeping the pendulum of luck swinging.

Listen toMike Bond

Simmons and A.J. Bernys led the small block super field to the green to begin their 30-lap venture. Simmons darted into the lead as Bernys saw second row starter Brian Osetek take second place away as well. Rob Pullen and Cameron Rowe completed the top five as the field finished its maiden lap.

However, before the second lap could be completed, a three-car tangle on the backstretch led to two SBS racers going off on the hook – Nathan Sitterly and Barry Kingsley.

On the restart, Simmons went back to work on building himself a lead. Behind him, the Bernys No. 24 hounded Osetek’s No. 00 until the yellow flag flew on lap No. 9 after Will Hadcock turned Lou LeVea, Jr.’s No. 95 around.

With the top five remaining the same Tim Barbeau, Bond, David LaTulip, Andrew Schartner and Kreig Heroth held positions six through 10 as the field returned to tracing.

Again, Simmons went back to trying to build himself a lead, while Bernys went back to his search for a way around Osetek. Bond took to the high side to get around Barbeau, moving himself into the top five. Two trips later, he conquered Pullen’s No. 2 for fourth.

Just shy of the halfway point, Simmons had constructed a 20-length advantage over the tussling Osetek-Bernys duo. That was as large as it would get as Bond would blow by both Bernys and Osetek on the 15th lap. Taking advantage of Bernys looking low on Osetek, Bond passed the No. 24 on the outside. Staying in the outer groove, Bond then carried his momentum around Osetek’s No. 00.

It was clear the No. 26 was the fastest car on the track. As to whether he would have time to run down Simmons was another story. Simmons had been running laps in the 19.7 second range, steadily building up a lead over Osetek and Bernys’ 20.0-second laps. However, Bond was closing in with lap times three tenths faster than the race leader.

Searching for his first career win, Simmons envisioned the checkered flag each time he rounded turn No. 4. However,  one corner shy of seeing the white flag, it would be the back of Bond’s No. 26 that he saw as he rounded turn No. 4. With out hesitation, Bond caught and promptly passed the Simmons No. 98 machine.

A multi-car tangle on the final lap gave Simmons a would-be shot at the new leader, but Bond would have nothing of it. He pulled away over the green-white-checkered sequence to secure the win.

For Simmons, the defeat was obviously hard to take, but with him having not finished a race all season, taking the checkered flag in any position was a victory in itself.

Listen toJason Simmons

Osetek lost third to Schartner in the closing laps, but was happy with his fourth-place run.

Listen toBrian Osetek

A.J. Bernys wasn’t able to find a way around Osetek, but he did find a way to land his first top-five finish of his young SBS career.

Listen toA.J. Bernys

SBS Feature finish:
1. Mike Bond (26), 2. Jason Simmons (98), 3. Andrew Schartner (18), 4. Brian Osetek (00), 5. A.J. Bernys (24), 6. Rob Pullen (2), 7. Tim Barbeau (50), 8. Kreig Heroth (44), 9. Mark Castiglia (90), 10. Jack Patrick (9), 11. Will Hadcock (43), 12. Dave LaTulip (27), 13. Dennis Rupert (99), 14. Cameron Rowe (77), 15. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 16. Mike Bruce (22), 17. Barry Kingsley (23), 18. Nathan Sitterly (79), 19. Bryan Haynes

Heat race wins went to Bond, Bernys and Osetek

Matt Kurzejewski Captures Oswego’s SST Sportsman Modified Open Invitational

Starting on the inside of row No. 2, Kurzejewski used an early race restart to maneuver his way under both, Lockport, N.Y.’s Bobby Holmes and Ontario, N.Y.’s Daryl Lewis, Jr. to take the lead. Kurzejewski then fended off challenges from Ontario’s Bill Hebing and Tonawanda, N.Y.’s Andy Jankowiak to seal the win. It was the first time the Mansfield, P.A. native had driven the car all season.

A very impressive field of 17 made the trek to Oswego Speedway for the first of three scheduled SST open invitational races this season. Russ Brown and Daryl Lewis, Jr. led the field to the green with Lewis nabbing the initial lead. Holmes, Brown, Kurzejewski and Hebing chased the leader across the checkered stripe to complete lap No. 1.

Just as Nick Cappelli was moving his No. 86 into fifth, Brown’s No. 13 spun in the third turn, collecting a few other fellow competitors. Lewis and Holmes paced the double-filed field back to the green. Lewis reclaimed the lead, but it was Kurzejewski soon showing the way after first muscling his way under Holmes before besting Lewis on the inside.

Matt Kurzejewski picked up his first feature win at the Oswego Speedway in a special SST 35-lap event

Stuck on the outside, Lewis faded quickly, as Holmes, Cappelli and Hebing all moved underneath his No. 10. Lewis was finally cast out of the top five on the fifth lap as Fulton, N.Y.’s Ryan Beeman took the position away.

All was well until something went amiss on Jerry Gradl, Jr.’s No. 2, sending it hard into the outside wall in turn No. 1. Gradl was OK, but his modified suffered extensive damage.

Holmes used the double-file restart to his advantage, battling alongside Kurzejewski for a full lap, before finally having to give way. Just as quickly as he was battling for the lead, Holmes found himself hung out to dry on the outside, as Cappelli and Hebing both slipped underneath his No. 22. Holmes would loose one more position as a hard-charging Jankowiak relegated the No. 22 to fourth.

Trying to keep pace with Kurzejewski, Cappelli suddenly lost the handle on his No. 86 machine after possible contact with Hebing’s No. 99 between turns one and two.

At the halfway mark, Kurzejewski continued to set the pace. Hebing, Jankowiak, Holmes and Beeman held the top five spots.

Hebing pressed the race leader hard, often with his front bumper, but the No. 21 refused to give. However, Hebing suddenly found himself the hunted as Jankowiak’s No. 73 slipped alongside him with 10 to go. However, Hebing held on.

Kurzejewski would eventually inch out a few lengths for some breathing room en route to earning the win. Hebing, Jankowiak, Holmes and Rusty Smith rounded out the top five. Beeman, Eddie Hawkins, Chris Finocchario, Fred Taylor and Lewis completed the top 10.