By Carol D. Haynes
Oswego, NY – Chris Perley had to track down Bud Select 55 Super Nationals race leader Tim Ice twice Friday night at Oswego Speedway, but he finally caught him, and got by for the win in the 18th annual running of the winged portion of Budweiser Classic Weekend. Perley, who had started tenth in the field, was making his way to the front when he got caught up in a lap 8 yellow involving Bob Dawson, which sent the 11 to the rear of the 18-car field. But a trip to the back didn’t deter Perley. It just gave him a bit of a boost. By lap 22 he was knocking on the Iceman’s back door. On lap 26, he was by and gone for good. It was Perley’s 5th Super Nationals win, his first coming in 1995, and his 7th career Oswego supermodified victory overall.
Chris related in victory lane. “The car is the best I’ve had here in a long time. We were fighting it all day… fighting it for us. It was fast, but it was off. We couldn’t figure out what was missing. Like the slower I went, the better the car felt. The faster I went, it felt horrible and wouldn’t really go any faster. We found a right rear shock right before the feature and put a different one on – the one other one we had. Something that Vic found in flea market. It just made the car do what I’d been complaining about all day and couldn’t figure out. It was just awesome after that. I just had to point it and make sure I didn’t hit anything. It was unbelievable. It was a great night at Oswego for us and hopefully for the fans. Thanks to everyone, especially by crew and sponsors.”
As to his stopping by the flag stand to check his being put to the rear on the lap 8 yellow, he replayed the incident. “I stopped because I didn’t know what there was going to be as to a spin to avoid scenario because they were running joint rules. Something looked like it happened to the 28 car there right in front of me. I had a run on the outside of him and he blew up or something. It looked like he went to get out of the way up top but I was already there. So I spiked the brakes and ended up spinning out to miss him. So they put me to the rear but I made sure there wasn’t a chance there was a spin to avoid rule. ISMA doesn’t have one, MSA and Oswego do. It upset me a little bit but sometimes you need just a little extra fuel for the fire.”
Seville, Ohio’s Tim Ice, who had held a strong lead from the ‘git go’ was all smiles after finishing second. “Man this is just good. We struggled during the day and we finally moved that wing back before the feature. We decided to go for it. We thought the motor was flat and we checked that out. Maybe we found something. The car was really consistent in the feature. I bet it was running the same laps for most of the race. It felt so good. Had a little trouble with lap cars toward the end. Got some of that dirty air I guess you call it, but it was all right. Chris is the class of the field. You always dream about getting beat by Chris because he’s such a good racer. He got up there and what are you going to do? You just do your best. It was a great run for us. The May Motorsports team worked hard. It was a great job.”
The most surprised driver in victory lane was Salem. NH’s Joey Scanlon whose Bruce Budnick-owned team had not even intended to run the winged show. “ It’s been one heck of a day. The last place I expected to be tonight is down here on the front stretch. We had our ups and downs today. We weren’t even going to run this race. At the last minute we said, why not this is Bruce’s last year. We threw the wing on and we had one hell of a run tonight. It’s definitely a surprise. But, we have a great crew. All those guys who have helped us out all weekend long. They are a bunch of hard chargers and I couldn’t have done it without them. I’d like to thank my sponsors, Shea Concrete, Ces Auto, Harrington Paving, John K.Young Landscaping, Olsen Truck Repair, Lake Norman Sewer and Septic, Andover Auto, the whole crew and all the fans here tonight. Thanks for coming out. Hopefully we’ll see you all Sunday. Be safe out there. And to the Torrese brothers, thank you very much for this awesome place to race. It’s a yearly tradition to come out here and hopefully this is the start of my best year ever.
The 18-car field, shortened during the day by the demise of Trent Stephens’ 19 and Jamie Timmons’ 27, was led down by Scanlon and Ice after a time trial inversion. Ice immediately took charge as Johnny Benson grabbed second.
Benson applied the pressure but Ice didn’t melt and was able to pull away from the 74 slightly as Scanlon, Paul White, Ted Christopher, Mark Sammut, Ray Graham, Shaun Gosselin and more were sorting things out behind.
Yellow flew on lap 8 when the 28 of Dawson had problems, causing Perley to spin. Brandon Bellinger pitted and was back out before green dropped again. Dawson was pushed to the pits and was done. Perley went to the rear.
On the green, Ray Graham gained the greatest advantage as the 90 moved from seventh to third behind Benson. Ice was still able to pull away slightly with four laps in the books before yellow for debris tightened the pack up once again. Graham had just moved into second by Benson when the flag flew, but the pass was negated, this time anyway.
On the restart of lap 13, Graham repeated his pass putting Benson in third, with Scanlon still holding a strong fourth. The man on the move, of course, had to be Perley, who was now fifth. On lap 17, the 11 had made quick work of Scanlon and Benson to sit in third.
Ice was steady out front as Perley looked for a way around Graham on the outside. On lap 22, he found the way and pulled into second, but at the same time Graham was slowing and the 90 pulled out of the race. Overheating was deemed the cause. At almost the same time, Johnny Benson also parked the 74 with a broken valve spring.
The race was on up front between Ice and Perley as they left Scanlon all alone in third. Paul White in the Miller 16 held off Ted Christopher, Timmy Jedrzejek, Mark Sammut, Mike Lichty, Shaun Gosselin and Charlie Schultz running their own race.
Perley finally got by Ice on lap 26 and with no further yellows to slow things down, Chris ran effortlessly around some tail end cars on to victory. Ice, Scanlon and White all were unchallenged for their top five spots but intense racing still existed between Christopher, Jedrzejek, Lichty, Sammut, Gosselin and Schultz. Lichty would gain the most advantage through the latter stages although slipping and sliding on weak tires, especially on lap 43 when he almost caught the fourth turn wall. He finally moved into fourth on lap 48, around White.
With one lap to go, Gosselin, having a strong run in his first Super Nationals, pitted out of the race. It was Perley Ice, Scanlon, Lichty and White, the top five under the checkered.
King of Wings winner Lichty was a little disappointed with the finish. “We definitely had high expectations coming into this race considering how we ran back in July. Our fast time was great and the car was great during practice..quick, quick quick. In the heat race we ran into some bad luck and two cars crashed in front of us. I had to spin it out and smoke the tires off the thing. I tried to do a 360 to get down to the hub rail because I didn’t want to slide toward them. Once I spun it around, I didn’t want to back into the hub rail so I had to keep my foot on the throttle to avoid that. Luckily we did, but we hurt the tires. We flat spotted them and burnt a lot of rubber off. We were just way to loose for the feature. We think we may have a bad torsion bar in it. I just have to thank everybody for working so hard today.”
Temple, Texas’ Paul White was all smiles after his run. “We had an all right run. It was pretty good for us. We’ve been struggling a little with the car but we hit it and did a lot better tonight. We got a heat win – we’ll take that and a top five makes it a pretty good night for us.”
Timmy Jedrzejek and Ted Christopher, in sixth and seventh were the last cars in the lead lap. Mark Sammut, Charlie Schultz and Jeff Abold finished up the top ten.
Race Notes… Trent Stephens had a wing strut break in practice sending his 19 into first turn wall…Three past Super Nationals winners were in the field, Perley, Timmy J and Dave Shullick Jr…Ben Seitz did not return to defend his title…ATQMRA winner Alison Cumens became one of small handful of women to grace Oswego Speedway victory lane and possibly the youngest…Chris Perley will join Mike Lichty and Otto Sitterly as Nicotra Racing teammates for the International Classic on Sunday…It was announced due to inclement weather possibly approaching Sunday, that the Classic 200 could be moved to run anytime after 1 pm…
Summary Bud Select 55 Super Nationals, Sept. 2, 2011
Heat 1 – Johnny Benson Jr., Ray Graham Jr., Shaun Gosselin, Timmy Jedrzejek Ted Christopher, Bob Dawson, Jeff Abold, Jamie Timmons, Brandon Bellinger
Heat 2: Paul White, Chris Perley, Mark Sammut, Tim Ice, Joey Scanlon, Mike Lichty, Bobby Haynes Jr., Charlie Schultz, Dave Shullick Jr. (Trent Stephens dns)
18th Annual Bud Select 55 Super Nationals – 1. Chris Perley (11), 2. Tim Ice (77), 3. Joey Scanlon (88), 4. Mike Lichty (84), 5. Paul White (16), 6. Timmy Jedrzejek (32), 7. Ted Christopher (61), 8. Mark Sammut (78), 9. Charlie Schultz (7), 10. Jeff Abold (04), 11. Shaun Gosselin (26), 12. Brandon Bellinger (02), 13. Ray Graham Jr. (90), 14. Johnny Benson Jr. (74), 15. Bob Dawson (28), 16. Bobby Haynes Jr. (44), 17. Dave Shullick Jr. (49), 18. Jamie Timmons (dns)