Countdown to Classic: 26… Warren Gives Bowley Second Classic Victory in ‘86

OSWEGO, NY  – As the race for the 2012 Oswego Speedway track championship continues to heat up, the days continue to count down to Budweiser International Classic Weekend and the 200-lap Supermodified crown jewel.  With 26 days remaining, 26 years ago it was Bentley Warren picking up his second Classic win in three years, and the second Classic championship for car owner Ed Bowley.

Bentley Warren races with Joe Gosek during the 1986 season at Oswego Speedway. (Speedway Press/Oswego Eagle photo)
Bentley Warren races with Joe Gosek during the 1986 season at Oswego Speedway. (Speedway Press/Oswego Eagle photo)

As in 1984, Warren was once again Oswego Speedway track champion in 1986, with five regular season main event wins heading into the International Classic on August 31 of that year.  Warren defeated Joe Gosek, Steve Gioia Jr., Eddie Bellinger Jr., and Warren Coniam in convincing fashion that season in the battle for the championship and all indications pointed to Warren doing the same in the International.

With qualifying time trials moved back to Friday night, Warren started off right where he left off just one week prior to Classic, on the point.  Warren turned a time of 17.454 seconds besting Gosek’s lap of 17.471 to claim the pole position for the 200.  But when the green flag fell, it was Gosek jumping out to the early lead in the No. 00.

Gosek would go on to lead the first 29 laps of the event before giving way to Warren.

Canadian driver Doug Didero and former Classic winner, Gary Albritain, would take their turns in front of the field, but ultimately it would be Warren retaking the lead from Albritain on lap 136.

With Warren out front it looked as though he was a shoe in for his third Classic crown, but Gosek and Gioia had other ideas.  As the Oswego natives dueled for the runner-up position, it was Gosek beginning to draw a bead on Warren for the top spot.  Unfortunately for Gosek, he would run into fuel issues on lap 185 dropping him out of contention for the win, handing the reigns over to Gioia to try and chase down Warren in front.

In the last 15 laps of the race Gioia was closing in on Warren with amazing ease, looking as though he could possibly pick up his first Classic win since 1976.  As Gioia drew to the back bumper of the Flyin’ 5 of Warren on lap 198, the caution lights would come on for Mike Weeden in turn two.  With Gioia’s hopes of a second Classic win dashed, Warren would cross the line for Classic win number three, making it two years in a row that the International Classic 200 would end under caution.

Gioia held on for second ahead of Didero, Coniam, and Dave Shullick Sr. in the 200-lap Top 5.

(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.