Cliff Conquers Small Block Field at Oswego

By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney

Oswego’s David Cliff pocketed his second Pathfinder Bank Mr. Small Block Supermodified title on Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. Having started 10th on the grid, Cliff would end up maneuvering his Tim Barbeau-owned FFB Racing Chassis No. 50 underneath Barry Kingsley’s No. 91 on a late race restart and pull away for the win. It was career win No. 11 for the small block super veteran who’s been fast throughout the 2015 season, but had yet to reach victory lane.

Listen to – Dave Cliff

 

 

Dennis Rupert and Josh Kerr may have led the field to the green flag to start the 35-lap main event, but it was Kingsley’s No. 91 leading the pack as the field completed its maiden lap. Rupert, Matt Magner, Kerr and Mark Castiglia filled out the top five behind Kingsley.

Magner would move around Rupert before the action was slowed for the first yellow flag of the race. Ron Pratt’s No. 88 had bounced off of the turn-two wall. With just three laps in the books, Kingsley led Magner, Rupert, Castiglia and Kerr.

Looking for his first career win, Magner took looks on Kingsley’s right and left sides as the field went back to racing. Kingsley would hold his own, but Rupert would fall to fourth behind Castiglia. Soon after, a multi-car spin in turn No. 3 involving Jay Andrews, Jack Patrick, Kreig Heroth and defending race winner, Russ Brown, brought out the caution flag.

With Kingsley solid on the ensuing restart, championship points chase leader, Dalton Doyle would draw attention by breaking into the top five. After picking off Greg O’Connor, Doyle would take fourth place away from Kerr.

Following another short caution, Doyle would continue his surge, passing Castiglia on the outside to move into third place. Cliff would soon enter the fray, picking off Kerr before passing Castiglia on the high side for fourth.

Still searching for a way around the race leader, Magner began feeling pressure from Doyle and Cliff. The foursome would begin to break away from the pack.

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On the 22nd lap, Doyle’s No. 01 suddenly went up in smoke. The caution would fly for the Doyle’s oil as his night had come to an end. His exit promoted Cliff to third, ahead of Castiglia and Kerr. Andrew Schartner, Camden Proud, Heroth, Mike Bond and Alex Hoag rounded out the top 10.

On the restart, Magner had his best run yet on Kingsley, but couldn’t make the pass stick. The outside bid left the door open for Cliff, who quickly filled the void. However, before the lap could be completed, the caution flag would wave again. This time, it was for a flat tire on the parked Alex McRae No. 14.

Kingsley had no challenge on the restart, as Magner found himself having to play more defense than offense. Two laps into the run, Schartner would slip under Kerr just before Kerr and Bond came together behind him. The yellow lights would flash for the sixth and seventh-place drivers.

Another caution prevented the field from having completed more than one lap over the span of four cautions. With 23 laps in, Kingsley would lead Magner, Cliff, Castiglia and Schartner to another restart.

Hoping to put an end to a string of recent bad luck, Schartner put the Crow Motorsports No. 18 to the outside of Castiglia. Two laps later, he earned the spot. A few lengths ahead, Cliff would pass Magner for second. Just as he was taking his first look at where to attack Kingsley for the lead, McRae and his No. 14 would pop turn No.1’s outside wall on the 30th lap.

Kingsley would lead Cliff, Magner, Schartner and Castiglia to the green. With out hesitation, Cliff immediately dipped his No. 50 to the inside of the race leader as they dove into turn No. 1. He would drive out of turn No. 2 as the new race leader. Just behind them, Schartner would use the outside lane again, this time to best Magner for third.

With Cliff off and running, the caution flag would rear its ugly head for the final time with just three laps to go. Having hoped to have capitalized on Doyle’s demise, points chase runner-up Heroth saw his night end in the first-turn fence after suffering a suspension failure on his No. 04.

Cliff would run away on the restart, leaving Kingsley and Schartner to do battle for his nearest chaser. Schartner would switch things up, using an inside move to slip underneath Kingsley’s No. 91 on 34th lap. However, Cliff’s ship had sailed. He used his 10-car length advantage to cruise to his first victory of the season and second Mr. SBS title.

Schartner would cross the checkered stripe in second.

Listen to – Andrew Schartner

 

 

Having led the majority of the race, Kingsley salvaged a podium finish.

Listen to – Barry Kingsley

 

 

Still searching for that first taste of victory lane, Magner and his No. 87 would finish in fourth.

Listen to – Matt Magner

 

Crossing the line behind fifth-place finishing Castiglia, Proud racked up yet another top-10 finish, landing his No. 54 in sixth.

Listen to – Camden Proud

 

 

Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS 35: 1. Dave Cliff (50), 2. Andrew Schartner (18), 3. Barry Kingsley (91), 4. Matt Magner (87), 5. Mark Castiglia (69), 6. Camden Proud (54), 7. Alex Hoag (7), 8. AJ Bernys (24), 9. Russ Brown (13), 10. Mike Bruce (22), 11. Jack Patrick (9), 12. Dennis Rupert (99), 13. Josh Kerr (8), 14. Scott Shafer (76), 15. JJ Andrews (93), 16. Kreig Heroth (04), 17. Alex McRae (14), 18. Mike Bond (74), 19. James Babcock (15), 20. Anthony Losurdo (1), 21. Dalton Doyle (01), 22. Greg O’Connor (90), 23. Jason Simmons (98), 24. Ron Pratt (88), 25. Jeremy Pitcher (97)

Qualifying heat wins were earned by Castiglia, Doyle and Magner.