OSWEGO, NY – With only one more race on the regular season schedule for the Novelis Supermodified and Pathfinder Bank SBS divisions, we come one day closer to the Budweiser International Classic 200 at Oswego Speedway on Sunday, September 2.
Today’s look back brings us to 1992 and a repeat performance for Oswego native Joe Gosek.
The 1992 season at Oswego Speedway was dominated by Pat Abold in the A&P No. 05. Abold won eight regular season main events during the ’92 campaign, including the $10,000 to win Mr. Supermodified. A total of five runner-up finishes as well allowed Abold to coast to the 1992 Oswego Speedway Track Championship.
Gosek finished the year fourth in the championship battle behind Abold, Mike Ordway, and Bentley Warren. ’00 Joe’ did manage two feature wins on the season, including the week before the International Classic 200, potentially peaking at just the right time heading into the Labor Day Weekend special.
International Classic time trials in ’92 saw a surprise pole sitter in Canadian runner Gary Morton. Many figured Abold would continue his speedy dominance, but instead it was Morton topping the charts with championship runner-up Ordway claiming the outside of row one.
One of the highlights of Classic Weekend ’92 would again be the Bud Light B-Main. Bill Sharkey, in the Danzer No. 52, and Howie Lane waged a great battle up until the late stages when Sharkey made a three wide move into turn three to take the top spot and the lone transfer into the Classic. Upon entering victory lane Sharkey would exit the No. 52 and kiss the Speedway start/finish stripe.
First time qualifiers for the 1992 Classic included Mike Fedorcek, Roger Clark, and west coast star Davey Hamilton. Hamilton would go on to become the Rookie of the Race driving the Paul Dunigan No. 26 to a fine third place finish.
The ’92 International would start unlike any other in history, with Ordway in the Graves No. 1 clearly indicating his plan from the start. At the drop of the green Ordway bolted to the point, planning to try and put a lap on the field and then pit for new tires. By lap 25 Ordway had already lapped an amazing 13 cars in the field. With Ordway running away, it was the three stars of the ’91 Classic – Cliff Graves, Gosek, and Abold running second through fourth.
As the lap counter turned to 50 there were only 10 cars remaining on the lead lap with 14 cars between leader Ordway and Gosek, who had taken second from Graves on lap 31. At this juncture Classic veterans Warren, Eddie Bellinger Jr., and Dave Shullick Sr. were already down one lap to the field.
As Ordway continued to dominate the field another driver began to show some might further back. Gary Albritain, driving the Bobby Witkum No. 35 (typically No. 85), was working his way through the pack and managed to slide into the fifth position by lap 76. As Albritain moved to fifth, there were now only six cars on the lead lap, 20-laps short of halfway.
Right when Ordway’s plan seemed to be flawless, everything changed on lap 95. Clark would spin the No. 55 bringing out the caution and as the pace car collected the field, Ordway’s massive lead would be erased, as there were zero lap cars between he and second place runner, now Pat Abold. At halfway, Ordway led Abold, Gosek, Albritain, Graves, Hamilton, and Steve Gioia Jr., all on the lead lap.
Just past halfway it became evident that Ordway needed a caution to make a pit stop, as his right front tire began to show considerable wear from the torrid pace he had set out front. Unfortunately for Ordway the next caution would be his own on lap 111. The No. 1 would see its right front tire blow out, sending Ordway into the outside retaining wall in turn one.
With Ordway out of the event, it left 1992 Speedway champion Abold on the point. Most in the stands figured it would now be a runaway win for Abold, who had dominated the competition all year long. However, just past the lap 125 mark Gosek began to close on the No. 05 and before long surprisingly blasted on by Abold for the lead on lap 128. Just five laps later Abold would head into the pit area with a broken power steering unit.
With Gosek leading approaching lap 150, Albritain had now moved into the runner-up position, continuing his outstanding performance in the Witkum machine. Gioia had now dropped to third as Graves went pit side on lap 139 for service and ultimately crashed on lap 152 trying to catch back up with the leaders.
As the laps wore on only Albritain, Gioia, and Hamilton appeared to have anything for Gosek as he continued to lead the International field. A great day for Albritain however, would end on lap 175 when the engine seized up on the Witkum roadster leaving only Gioia and Hamilton as contenders.
Gosek seemed well on his way to his second consecutive Classic win until his lap times began to drop dramatically with only five laps to go.
Many figured it was Gosek being conservative with such a lead, but when the two to go signal was given it became clear that “he’s running out of fuel” as track announcer Roy Sova conveyed to the crowd.
Before sputtering, Gosek had built a full straight lead on Gioia but now the No. 9 was closing in a hurry.
With the white flag in the air, the No. 00 somehow found enough fuel to power down the back straight before running dry again in turns three and four. As Gioia pressed hard, he would come up just short as Gosek coasted across the line for his second consecutive International Classic victory.
Gioia, who was the first Oswego native to win the Classic in 1976, needed just one more lap to claim his second 200 win, instead of coming home in second in the No. 9.
Hamilton held on for third ahead of Kenny Bell and Jamie Moore in the 1992 Top 5 order.
(Statistical references credited to 50 Years: Oswego Speedway International Classic; Caruso Jr. and Haynes)
Tickets are on sale now for Budweiser International Classic Weekend through the Oswego Speedway box office, located just outside of the main pit gate at the Speedway. To order tickets over the phone be sure to call (315) 342-0646. Box office hours are Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Three day adult general admission passes are $104, while reserved three day admissions are $115. Three day kids’ admission, ages 6-16, is $35, while children ages 5 and under are FREE for the weekend.
Individual day general admission prices are as follows: Friday – $25, Saturday – $42, and Sunday – $52.
Oswego Speedway events run May through September on most Saturday nights, culminating with the Fall Championship 75 on September 15.
For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com. You can also LIKE the (Official) Oswego Speedway page at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. To purchase tickets or order merchandise please call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.