OSWEGO, NY – As the days continue to tick away toward the 60th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds on Sunday, September 4, we look back on one of the most improbable Classic wins of all-time, by a local ‘Zero Hero.’
Tim Snyder’s main concern going into the 2001 Budweiser International Classic was to simply make it by lap 17.
In 1999 Snyder was involved in the infamous third turn fire with Dave Shullick Sr. and Danny Soule at lap 17 and in 2000 Snyder tangled with Shannon Groves and Dave Shullick Jr. at lap 17, losing several laps in the process.
After eight years of Supermodified competition under his belt coming into the 2001 Classic, Snyder had seen his shares of ups and downs, and had yet to visit Oswego Speedway’s victory lane.
By the end of the afternoon on that fateful Classic Sunday, Snyder’s outlook on his career was dramatically altered.
Dave McKnight and Mike Ordway led the Classic field to green in ’01 with Ordway jumping to the point from the outside of row one to lead the first two laps in the Clyde Booth owned No. 61.
Ordway was quickly overtaken by Joe Gosek, driving the Jeff Holbrook owned No. 35, and Gosek quickly ran away from the pack, leading the first 100 laps of the event with Bob Bond, Ordway, McKnight, Snyder, and Greg Furlong making up the front runners.
Snyder would then gain the third position after lap 100 as McKnight did a 360-spin in the Brad Lichty No. 94, losing only the one position to Snyder.
Eventually Ordway came on to take the top spot from Gosek around lap 150 when the motor seemed to start acting up on the Gosek No. 35. Still looking for his first Classic win at the time, Ordway sped away with the fastest car on the circuit in the last 50 laps.
Over the course of the final 30 laps the top four drew together nose to tail with Ordway leading Gosek, Snyder, and Furlong.
With none of the leaders having made pit stops, tire wear was an issue, and the leaders were slipping and sliding all over the race track in the low 18-second range.
Gosek was the first to falter at lap 182 as he slid high in turn one allowing both Snyder and Furlong to make their way by.
Heavy lapped traffic would become a factor with 15 laps to go and at lap 188 Snyder managed to steal the lead from Ordway down the back stretch. But, before the field could make it back to turn one Snyder had lost the lead to Ordway and second position to Furlong.
Then two laps later, Furlong would slide out, handing second back to Snyder.
All of a sudden at lap 191 the whole complexion of the race changed as Ordway appeared out of fuel down the back straight with Snyder amazingly inheriting the lead in the No. 0.
Snyder’s glory was short lived however as he slipped in lapped traffic handing Furlong the lead of the race for the first time all day with only six laps remaining.
It looked as though Furlong would be destined for a record third consecutive Classic win.
Dramatically two laps later on lap 196 Furlong would slide high lapping a series of cars on the top side of the track, with Snyder storming back to the low side to muscle the lead away yet again with only four laps to go.
Could Furlong steal the lead back in the final four laps?
It was not meant to be, as Snyder ran flawlessly from laps 197-200 to shock Speedway onlookers, winning his first Oswego Speedway main event in the Budweiser International Classic 200 over Furlong, Gosek, Chris Perley, and Lou Cicconi.
“It’s been a dream of mine just to win a feature here,” said Snyder. “It’s unbelievable that it happened on Classic Weekend. I made a bet with the guys in the garage that if we didn’t win a race this year, we were going to retire and quit. I didn’t try to win this race today. I just tried to pace myself and save the car. Believe it or not, I was happy with fifth!”
Scott Martel, Tim Jedrzejek, McKnight, Bob Goutermout, and Tim Gareau filled the top ten positions in the ’01 Budweiser International Classic.
Jedrzejek was the Rookie of the Race.
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.