OSWEGO, NY – With the 25th annual Bud Light SBS Classic on the horizon at Oswego Speedway, we look back at one of the all-time greats first official victory in the crown jewel Small Block event in 1998.
The divisions first champion in 1992, Russ Brown had never won an SBS Classic heading into 1998 despite having moved on to become the Novelis Supermodified Rookie of the Year in 1994 as well as beginning to build a Busch Grand National North career.
In 1997 Brown was the first driver across the line in the Classic event, but a tech infraction handed the win to Jeremy Unruh. Brown came back with a vengeance in ’98.
Mike Gardner and Kevin Jackson led the 30-car Classic field to the green flag in ’98 with Gardner jumping to the point as Justin Shea and Brian Sweeney tucked into line behind the No. 6.
However, on lap 7 of the 50-lap affair, Gardner lost the handle out front and spun while leading. This would hand the lead over to the Shea No. 27 on lap 8 and as the field worked into its paces Jim Kite and Dean Hoag emerged as threats after Sweeney and Ray Graham tangled in turns three and four.
Before long a three-way battle ensued with Shea, Hoag and Brown as Kite began to fade in the No. 19.
Just past the halfway mark with the front three checking away, Brown made an incredible high side move on lap 27, driving around both the Hoag No. 41 and Shea to steal the race lead in the blink of an eye.
After another restart Brown began to put some distance between himself and his pursuers as Hoag and Otto Sitterly had managed to slide by Shea for second and third with Kite, Vern LaFave, and Jeff Holbrook in tow.
Brown, Hoag, and Sitterly would rise as the class of the field in the late going with yet another caution waving on lap 49, setting up a green-white-checkered finish for the $2,000 prize.
As the green flag waved for the final dash, Brown would not be denied driving away from Hoag, Sitterly, Shea, Gregg Davis, Bob Andrews, Gardner, Eddie Horne, Bob Bogwicz and Kite in the front ten spots.
“Everybody knows we won it last year,” said Brown in victory lane. “But, we got disqualified. So this is great, coming from the back to win. This championship means a lot. This is one of the better wins of my career.”
Hoag, Gardner, and Shea won qualifying heats for the ’98 Classic event with Tim Glidden driving to the consi victory.
This year, the 25th annual Bud Light SBS Classic will move to September 4 joining the Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds.
For more information on Oswego Speedway and Budweiser International Classic Weekend visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com, and to purchase tickets for the 2016 event call (315) 342-0646.