Countdown to Classic: 27 … Eddie Bellinger Back in Victory Lane in ‘85

OSWEGO, NY – With the countdown to Budweiser International Classic Weekend continuing, today we look back on the 1985 edition of the greatest Supermodified race in the world.  In 1983, chants of “Eddie B in ‘83” echoed through the ‘Steel Palace’, and just two years later Bellinger was right back at it.

Eddie Bellinger Jr. picked up his second International Classic 200 win in three years back in 1985 (Peter Montano Photo)
Eddie Bellinger Jr. picked up his second International Classic 200 win in three years back in 1985 (Peter Montano Photo)

The 1985 regular season for Bellinger was only one rung short of a complete success.  After winning five main events during the regular season, Bellinger fell just 67 points shy of his first Oswego track championship, losing to rival Steve Gioia Jr.  The stage would now be set for the 1985 International Classic.

In time trials Joe Gosek and Gioia would be among the first to hit the Speedway and it was Gosek heading to the point first setting a brand new Speedway track record of 17.474 seconds.  Gioia would nearly eclipse that mark just two cars later at 17.476 putting him on the front row early on, establishing himself as a heavy favorite looking to join Bentley Warren from 1984 as a track champion and Classic winner in the same season.

However, late in the time trial session Bellinger would hit the Speedway in the No. 02 and shatter Gosek’s record by almost a full tenth of a second at 17.395.  Now, three of the top four in the ’85 Speedway championship sat in the front three spots for the International Classic line-up.  That was until a driver from Ohio needed one more additional lap at the conclusion of qualifications.

Dave Shullick Sr., driving the Mucci No. 98, had attempted time earlier in the day but the car began to smoke with a faulty water pump belt.  Shullick, who had crashed the No. 98 a few weeks prior and was driving with a broken foot and cracked ribs, would get one additional lap at the Speedway to take time.  He made the most of it.

Shullick charged onto the Speedway and broke Bellinger’s record with a quick lap of 17.336, pushing Bellinger to the outside of row one.

A total of nine drivers broke the existing track record of 17.607 in 1985, and for the first time all 24 cars qualifying through time trials came in under the 18-second bracket.

Classic Sunday would rise as it always does, very early in the morning, and trouble would strike Bellinger right from the start.  The No. 02 spun early on between turns one and two, tagging the outside wall.  Bellinger’s crew would make repairs, only to see him spin yet again later on, this time between turns three and four.

Bellinger though would bounce back come race time, looking nothing like he did in his 1983 Classic triumph.  This time Bellinger would take the lead prior to the halfway point from then leader Mike Ordway, and easily outpaced his competitors through the stretch run.

Bentley Warren would take the runner up spot on lap 152 from Ordway and would try and chase down Bellinger with no success.  With Bellinger and Warren out front, Mike Muldoon was the man on the move.  Muldoon though would lose the handle on the No. 80 trying to make his way past Doug Saunier with four laps to go bringing out a caution.

The event would never restart, handing Bellinger his second International Classic crown in three years, this time under the yellow lights.  Warren, who was starved of fuel, crawled across the line in second ahead of Saunier in third who was also out of fuel.  Shullick Sr. and Warren Coniam completed the Top 5 in ’85.

(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.