Photos – Jim Feeney
The evening may have had a rough start to it for Oswego’s Dave Danzer, but when the checkered flag fell after the 50th lap of Saturday night’s “Mr. Supermodified” $10,000 dollar to-win race at the Oswego Speedway, he was all smiles. It was the second “Mr. Supermodified” title for the pilot of the No. 52, his first coming in 2014. On the 23rd lap, Danzer would slip underneath Joe Gosek’s No. 00 between turns three and four. The two would race side-by-side down the frontstretch and into the first turn where Danzer would take command. He would lead the field from the 24th lap onward, earning the win.
By virtue of the track’s handicap system used in formulating the feature lineup, Danzer was fortunate to have started on the front row. Every Novelis supermodified feature winner has come from first row in 2016. However, the opportunity to take advantage of coveted starting position was nearly missed after Danzer ran into issues early in the evening. To earn his feature-starting handicap, he needed to finish in the top four in his 12-lap qualifying heat. His No. 52 started on the front row, but after two consecutive “bad” starts, race officials penalized the front row by sending them to the rear of the field. Danzer would race 10 laps before finally moving into fourth with just two to go.
Listen to – Dave Danzer
Gosek and Danzer led the 24-car field to the green to begin the 30th running of the “Mr. Supermodified” event. Gosek would hold his inside starting spot and move to the head of the field to lead the race’s maiden lap. Danzer, Dave Gruel, Otto Sitterly and Keith Shampine would round out the top five behind the race leader.
Coming quickly from the sixth starting spot, Sitterly would take third away from Gruel on the second lap and begin to work on Danzer’s second-place running No. 52. On the fourth lap, Michael Muldoon would begin move under Shampine’s No. 55 in turn No. 3. With nowhere to go but up, Shampine would pull to the outside of Gruel’s No. 50 for fourth place. Before the trio could sort their battle, the caution lights would flash after Sitterly’s third-place running No. 7 bounced off the outside wall just ahead of them, in turn No. 4.
Sittelry had brushed wheels with the No. 52 during an outside bid for the runner-up spot. Though not extensive, damage to the John Nicotra-owned machine was enough to knock him out of the race.
With just three laps in the books, Gosek led Danzer, Gruel, Shampine and Muldoon. Michael Barnes, Tim Jedrzejek, Dave Shullick, Jr., Bob Bond and Tim Snyder filled out the top 10.
Danzer issued no challenge for Gosek’s No. 00 on the ensuing restart. By the 10th lap, Gosek was holding a slim two-car length lead over Danzer. Shampine continued to press Gruel for third, with Muldoon running a solid fifth behind them.
On the 15th lap, Muldoon’s No. 15 would suddenly break loose and spin in turn No. 1. Just ahead, Shampine’s No. 55 would spin in its own oil after a power plant failure. Shampine would finish the night in the pits, while Muldoon would make a quick stop in the infield before rejoining the tail-end of the pack.
After the ensuing restart, Gosek and Danzer would begin to creep away from Gruel. However, a spin by Ray Graham’s No. 90 bunched the field up again just a half-dozen laps into the run.
A developing push on the No. 00 was starting to look more and more appealing to the patient No. 52. Gosek would hold his lead on the restart, but on the 23rd lap, the race leader would roll a little too high between turns three and four, allowing Danzer to pounce at the opportunity. The lead duo would race into the first turn where Danzer would take full command. Quickly, Danzer would begin to pull away.
At the halfway mark (25th lap), Danzer had already put a seven lengths on the Gosek. Five laps later the lead had doubled and by the 35th lap, the No. 52 raced nearly a full straightaway ahead of his nearest challenger. Only a caution flag for debris would end up slowing Danzer’s departure from the rest of the field.
Gosek, Gruel, Barnes and Shullick would chase Danzer on the restart. While the No. 52 took flight, Gosek was able to maintain a comfortable, pressure-free advantage over Gruel’s third-place running No. 50 through the remainder of the race. Gruel would hold the final podium spot the rest of the way.
With Barnes and Shullick in a seemingly race-long battle for position, it was Jeff Abold, charging from his 18th starting spot, who provided for much of the entertainment in the second half of the race. Restarting ninth on the final green flag run, he would pass Snyder, Pat Lavery and Bond before running out of laps.
Taking over fourth, Shullick would again put Barnes behind him on the 41st lap. Barnes would repay the “favor” five laps later. However, it would be Shullick having the final laugh, passing the No. 68 on the outside during the final lap to secure a fourth-place finish.
Danzer would run his lead to a full straightaway again, before the checkered flag would fall.
With the Mr. Supermodified event being the only jewel the former Classic and Track Champion hasn’t been able to take hold of, Gosek crossed the line in second – the eighth time finishing in the runner-up spot.
Listen to – Joe Gosek
Taking over the championship points lead by a mere 1.5 points, Gruel claimed third.
Listen to – Dave Gruel
Being the third different “Dave” to finish in the top five, Shullick raced the Nicotra Racing No. 2 to a fourth-place finish.
Listen to – Dave Shullick, Jr.
One week after taking over the points lead, Barnes slipped to second with his fifth-place feature run in the Syrell Racing No. 68.
Listen to – Michael Barnes
Wheeling a sixth-place run as excitingly as one can, Abold brought the family-owned No. 05 home in sixth.
Listen to – Jeff Abold
Recovering from an early spin and chasing Abold much of the way, Baldwinsville’s Muldoon landed his No. 15 in seventh.
Listen to – Michael Muldoon
Bond masters “Mr. SBS,” Scores 35th SBS Feature Win
Starting fifth, it only took Mexico’s Mike Bond four laps to take command and begin to completely dominate the “Mr. Small Block Supermodified” race on Saturday night. Running four tenths faster than the rest of the field, the all-time leader in SBS feature wins would take over the lead from Jack Patrick on the fourth lap. He would then speed away unchallenged en route to earning his 35th checkered flag – a half lap ahead of the rest of the field. It was the second “Mr. SBS” title for Bond – the first coming in 2004.
Racing from the fourth row, Oswego’s Michael Bruce would work his way up to the runner-up spot, winning the race among Bond’s chasers. Championship points leader, Dave Cliff, would catch Bruce late, but settle for third. Alex Hoag and last week’s feature winner, Dalton Doyle, rounded out the top five.
Listen to – Mike Bond
Novelis Mr. Supermodified 50: 1. Dave Danzer (52), 2. Joe Gosek (00), 3. Dave Gruel (50), 4. Dave Shullick, Jr. (2), 5. Michael Barnes (68), 6. Jeff Abold (05), 7. Michael Muldoon (15), 8. Bob Bond (47), 9. Tim Jedrzejek (91), 10. Tim Snyder (0), 11. Pat Lavery (12), 12. Joe Moriarity (51), 13. Dave Cliff (99), 14. Brandon Bellinger (02), 15. Jerry Curran (24), 16. Hal LaTulip (56), 17. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 18. Ray Graham, Jr. (90), 19. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 20. Keith Shampine (55), 21. Otto Sitterly (7), 22. Kody Graham (21), 23. Kreig Heroth (14), 24. Aric Iosue (11)
Pathfinder Bank Mr. SBS 35: 1. Mike Bond (74), 2. Mike Bruce (22), 3. Dave Cliff (50), 4. Alex Hoag (7), 5. Dalton Doyle (01), 6. Russ Brown (13), 7. Anthony Losurdo (1), 8. Kreig Heroth (04), 9. Jack Patrick (9), 10. Jason Simmons (98), 11. Cameron Rowe (77), 12. Camden Proud (54), 13. Cameron Black (23), 14. Greg O’Connor (90), 15. Tyler Thompson (93), 16. Alex McRae (14), 17. Barry Kingsley (91), 18. Andrew Schartner (18), 19. Jesse Bearup (37), 20. James Babcock (15), 21. Scott Shafer (76), 22. Mark Castiglia (69) DNS – Dennis Rupert (99)
Sitterly, Bond and Jedrzejek earned the three big block heats, while the small block heats were pocketed by Doyle, Cliff and Bruce.