By – Chris Porter
Dave Danzer earned his third Novelis supermodified feature win Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. Wrestling the lead away from early front-runner Tim Devendorf on the 39th lap, Danzer would race unchallenged the rest of the way. It was the third top-five finish of the year for the Oswego native and pilot of the Hawk Racing Chassis No. 52.
Crowding Danzer’s win among the evening’s headlines, were an unfortunate string of power outages that would plagued the race event, eventually forcing Danzer’s feature run 6 laps short of its scheduled 50-lap distance. Fortunately, none of the outages occurred while under green-flag conditions and none were wide-spread around the lakeside oval’s five-eighth’s mile circuit. Early speculation pointed to condensation build-up from recent heavy rains.
In addition to the lighting issues, a heat race crash involving Brian Sweeney and Michael Muldoon saw Muldoon’s supermodified catapult its way over Sweeney’s No. 3 machine and fly into the outside catch fence at the start-finish line. A large portion of the fence was torn away and Muldoon’s front bumper was left entangled in the twisted mess. However, the fence did its job as no debris made its way into the grandstand area. Both drivers were okay, though their badly damaged cars were sidelined for the evening. The fence was repaired just shy of half an hour’s time.
Danzer would survive his heat race, actually picking up the win – his first of the season. Poised to start on the outside of the front row in the main event, his No. 52 had a fuel leak issue just prior to the start of the race. The field was already out on the track lining up while the fuel cap was being adjusted in the pits. The minor problem was fixed and he was allowed to keep his original starting spot – a decision that some teams were unhappy with. Danzer was good to go, looking to back up his heat race win with his first feature win of the year.
Danzer’s co-front row start, Devendorf, had aspirations of his own. The sophomore pilot of the No. 5 was seeking his first career win. Devondorf was quick to stake claim to the lead early, as Danzer settled in behind the No. 5. Pat Lavery, Tim Snyder and Dan Connors, Jr. would fill out the top five behind the two.
Dave Gruel would draw attention early, slipping underneath Dave Cliff and Shaun Gosselin to move into sixth. As the front trio of Devendorf, Danzer and Lavery began to put distance on the field, Gruel powered around the outside of the Connors No. 01 for fifth. Wasting no time, Gruel moved in on fourth-place running Snyder.
With the leaders running laps in the 17.2 second range, Lavery began to fall behind the front duo as Danzer would begin to press Devendorf for the first time. Nearly getting underneath the No. 5 heading into the first turn on the 20th lap, Danzer had appeared to have earned the top spot almost a lap later as the two raced out of the fourth corner. However, before a full lap could be completed, the caution lights would flash for an incident involving their chasers.
Having been locked in a fierce battle for fourth place, Gruel had swung to the inside of Snyder’s No. 0 machine heading into the first turn, only to find the quickly approaching rear bumper of the lapped Lou LeVea, Sr. No. 66. Unable to slow in time, Gruel tagged the rear of the No. 66, sending both cars around. Snyder would escape on the outside, as Joe Gosek and Michael Barnes spun to avoid contact.
All four supermodifieds were able to be pushed away, and Gruel’s early charge to the front now saw him restarting in the back. He would return to finish sixth.
Listen to – Dave Gruel
On the ensuing restart, Otto Sitterly and Michael Barnes made apparent contact in the third turn, derailing Sitterly’s No. 7, Barnes’ No. 99 and Jerry Curran’s No. 24. Sitterly was able to avoid additional contact while Barnes and Curran’s machines both clobbered the outer confines. All three exited via the hook, though Sitterly would later return, but many laps down.
Listen to – Michael Barnes
Listen to – Otto Sitterly
While Devendorf held his own as the green flag flew again, Gosselin made quick work of Connors and Snyder to move into fourth. At the halfway mark, Devendorf, Danzer, Lavery, Gosselin and Snyder held the top five positions. Dave Cliff, Connors, Gosek, Clayton Brewer and Gruel filled out the top 10.
Danzer soon went back to pressing the race leader as the laps ticked their way through the 30s. With multiple looks on the inside coming off of the fourth turn, Danzer was able to shadow Devendorf both high and low. The race leader’s tires were losing their bite and Danzer was poised to pounce.
Finally, heading out of the fourth turn on the 39th lap, Devendorf drifted too high, allowing the No. 52 to dart to the inside and take away the lead. Putting 10 lengths on the former race leader in just three laps, Danzer was off and running.
The race was slowed on the 45th lap following a spin by Brewer in turn No. 2. It was while under this caution delay that the decision was made from the race tower to call it a night after turns three and four fell dark for the third time during the race.
Listen to – Dave Danzer
Wishing the lights would’ve given way a half-dozen laps earlier, a happy Devendorf finished in second place.
Listen to – Tim Devendorf
Landing his first top-five finish of the season, Snyder came home in third.
Listen to – Tim Snyder
Earning this third consecutive top-five finish, Gosselin raced his No. 26 supermodified to a fine fourth-place run.
Listen to – Shaun Gosselin
Bouncing back from a nasty wreck earlier in the month to earn a supermodified career-best, fifth place finish, was Dave Cliff.
Listen to – Dave Cliff
Novelis Supermodified Feature (44 Laps): 1. Dave Danzer (52), 2. Tim Devendorf (5), 3. Tim Snyder (0), 4. Shaun Gosselin (26), 5. Dave Cliff (06), 6. Dave Gruel (50), 7. Joe Gosek (00), 8. Kody Graham (21), 9. Michael Muldoon (20), 10. Clayton Brewer, III (23), 11. Pat Lavery (22), 12. Lou LeVea, Sr. (66), 13. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 14. Otto Sitterly (7), 15. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 16. Michael Barnes (99), 17. Jerry Curran (99), 18. Tony Steiner (07), 19. Hal LaTulip (56), 20. Stephen Gioia, III (98), 21. Jeff Abold (05), 22. Brandon Bellinger (02) – DNS: Brian Sweeney (3) – accident, Jeff Holbrook (35) – mechanical
Qualifying heat race wins went to Lavery, Brandon Bellinger and Danzer.