OSWEGO, NY – As the countdown officially begins toward the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway on Sunday, August 31, we look back at the Top30 moments in International Classic history, with the assistance of George Caruso’s ’50 Most Memorable Moments of the International Classic.’
With 13 days remaining until the International Classic, the countdown continues with No. 13, Nolan Swift’s most improbable International Classic win, coming in 1968.
The 1968 season was a most humbling experience for 1967 track champion, Swift.
After selling his seven year old Modified/converted to Supermodified, Swift and his partner Bill Wright unveiled a rear engine car, which proved to be a failure.
The duo scrapped the car and in six weeks built a front engine roadster, which turned out to be somewhat lackluster also.
In time trials for the ’68 Classic, Swift timed in as the second slowest competitor of the some 60 cars entered. Faced with the possibility that he may not even qualify for the Classic, Swift and Wright went back to their Syracuse based shop and performed a minor miracle.
Swift managed to qualify for the Classic by finishing an unimpressive sixth in the consi, starting 35th in the lineup.
The breaks started to go Swift’s way right from the start as favorite Todd Gibson was taken out early on and ’66 winner Johnny Benson ran into mechanical problems.
Swift set a manageable pace, but still kept his eye on the big prize by forcing himself to pass a car every lap or two, after about lap 60.
Before anyone knew it, Swift was knocking on the door of the top five.
The crowd was stunned when Swift passed Bentley Warren, in Howard Purdy’s Deuce, for the second spot around lap 160. Then, on lap 169, leader Red Barnhart began to run out of fuel and had to make a pit stop, handing the lead of the 200 over to Swift.
Warren tried relentlessly to get the lead back from Swift in the late stages, but he had virtually no tires left to make a move.
And so it was that Nolan Swift went from being nearly the slowest car in the Classic entry field on Saturday, to Classic victory lane on Sunday with his fourth Classic victory.
Warren held on for the Classic runner-up ahead of Johnny Logan, Jack Murphy, and Nolan Johncock in the top five.
Barnhart recovered for sixth with Paul Baumhauer, Mark Letcher, Nick Rowe, and Warren Coniam in the top ten.
To purchase tickets for Budweiser International Classic Weekend and the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200, call the Speedway’s box office today at (315) 342-0646.
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