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September 23, 2018

‘Classic Moments’ Countdown: #5 Warren Coniam’s Classic Ride in Shampine’s Rear Engine “6-Ball” – 1979 International Classic

OSWEGO, NY – As the countdown officially begins toward the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway on August 31, we look back at the Top 30 moments in International Classic history, with the assistance of George Caruso’s 50 Most Memorable Moments of the International Classic.’

From the pit area, Jim Shampine cheers on his car and driver Warren Coniam as they attempt to win the 1979 International Classic.

From the pit area, Jim Shampine cheers on his car and driver Warren Coniam as they attempt to win the 1979 International Classic.

With 5 days remaining until the International Classic, the countdown continues with No. 5, featuring the iconic last ride of Jim Shampine’s rear engine 8-ball at Oswego Speedway with Warren Coniam at the controls in the 1979 International Classic.

Going into the ’79 Classic, Shampine had a decision to make as to whether he would drive the rear engine 8-ball, or his winning front engine radical offset machine in the 200.

Shampine chose to drive the front engine roadster, tabbing Canadian Classic champion Coniam to drive the pusher.

As the race pushed by lap 50 it was an all Shampine leaderboard, with Jim leading in the front engine and Coniam riding second in the rear engine.

However, on lap 74 John Spencer spun his machine directly in front of the leaders with Shampine moving low to avoid.  Unfortunately, Shampine clipped Spencer and had to head to the pits with front end damage.

Coniam missed the incident, but also headed to pit lane for a scheduled fuel stop, and lost a lap to the leaders in the process.

When Coniam came back onto the Speedway one lap down, he fully unleashed the speed and amazing capabilities of the ‘Green Machine.’

Within 40 laps, Coniam flew passed everyone on the race track to get his lap back, and then started coming back through the field one more time.

Coniam was passing two and three cars at a time with the Shampine rear engine, as Supermodified fans were watching another new Supermodified evolution in front of their very own eyes.

Just by lap 160 Coniam flew by Dave Shullick for second and then chased down leader Chuck Ciprich, screaming by at lap 169 to take the lead.

All the while, Coniam’s teammate and car owner Shampine could be seen from the first corner, cheering his driver to the lead.  However, a Cinderella finish was not in the making, as when Coniam pitted for fuel he also cracked the oil tank on his racer.

Oil began to leak from the “6-Ball” rear engine, and on lap 185 Coniam was black flagged from the lead, ending his amazing come from behind run.

Instead it was Ciprich driving to Classic victory lane in Ron Buckner’s No. 36 for the second consecutive year, as ’79 marked the final year of rear engine competition at the Speedway.

Shullick held on for the runner-up finish ahead of Doug Heveron, Joe Paeno, and Jim Cheney in the top five.

Dick Batchelder, Gary Allbritain, Mike Rizzo, Denny Wheeler, and Bobby Stelter finished the top ten in ’79.

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.

For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or LIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. Those interested in Speedway video programming online can subscribe to the Speedway’s YouTube Channel, ‘OswegoSpeedwayOnline’

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