Defending Champ Becomes First Repeat Super Winner at Oswego

By – Chris Porter

Oswego Speedway’s three-time defending track champion, Otto Sitterly, became the first supermodified driver to win a second feature this season on Saturday night at the lakeside oval. The Canajorharie, N.Y. native took the lead away from Tilton, N.H.’s Tim Snyder on the 19th lap and was never challenged again en route to the 18th supermodified win of his career.

With Oswego’s tight points system and the level of competition Sitterly and the Nicotra Racing No. 7 are up against weekly, coming back from fifth in points with just a month to go in the title hunt, winning his fourth consecutive track championship will not be an easy task. However, Sitterly seems content to let the chips fall as they may, as long as the team can finish races and remain a contender.

“We’re here for a championship, we’re here for fifth, we’re here for 10th,” Sitterly said in regards to what he and Nicotra Racing are looking for to finish out the season. “As long as we can roll them in the trailer, we’re truly happy. It’s a lot of money. It’s a lot of time.  We’ve won our share. If we can come and be a good competitor week in and week out and be a nice addition to the field, we’re happy.”

Listen to more fromOtto Sitterly

Oswego, N.Y.’s Shawn Muldoon and Liverpool, N.Y.’s Brian Sobus paced the 28-car starting field to the line to begin the 50-lap main. Muldoon led Ray Graham, Jr., Dave Danzer, Sobus and Snyder across the checkered stripe to complete Lap. No. 1. However, Graham wasted no time in perusing a quick jaunt to the font, taking the lead on lap No. 2. Danzer followed the No. 90 into second, sending Muldoon back to third.

While the pack continued it’s early race shuffle, Sobus put his No. 79 solidly underneath Muldoon’s No. 1 as the duo danced off of the fourth turn. However, Muldoon refused to give and the two made contact, resulting in a Sobus spin. The rookie driver was able to keep his supermodified down low and out of the groove, but it put the field behind him in check-up mode. With a little help from behind, the Connors No. 01 popped the inside hub rail on the front straightaway. Pat Lavery, D.J. Shullick, Michael Muldoon, Kody Graham and David Gruel all went pit-side. Lavery and Connors did not return.

With two rounds in the books, Iowa invader, Graham, led Danzer, S. Muldoon, Snyder and Bob Bond. On the restart Snyder took to the outside of Muldoon for third. As Graham led the field through lap No. 3, his No. 90 machine suddenly began to slow. As second-place running Danzer rounded the fourth turn he found himself the new leader as Graham exited the racing surface towards the pits with a broken torque arm.

However, before the reality of having the race lead could sink into the young driver, the caution flag flew again. This time, for contact between Gruel’s No. 50 and Andy Noto’s No. 48 in turn No. 1. Both cars were able to be pushed off, including Sobus’ No. 79, that had stopped to avoid the two.

With the field having only completed three laps in the span of time last week’s entire 50-lapper had been run off, Danzer would lead Snyder, S. Muldoon, Bond and Sitterly. Randy Ritskes, Michael Barnes, Joe Gosek, Davey Hamilton and Dave McKnight completed the top 10. Joey Payne, Keith Gilliam, Jerry Curran, Rod Sauder and Shaun Gosselin rounded out the first 15.

The ensuing restart saw Bond shooting underneath Muldoon’s No. 1 for third as Danzer fended off Snyder for the lead. The No. 1 soon dropped off the pace, pulling pit-side two laps later. It’s exit promoted Sitterly’s No. 7 to fourth and the Ritskes No. 88 into the top five.

Up front, Danzer had his hands full with Snyder, but held his own as the early laps ticked away. Sitterly bested Bond on the 13th lap and quickly began pressing Snyder for the runner-up spot as the leaders headed towards the tail-end of the field.

Experience seemed to be on Snyder’s side as the rookie ahead of him began to enter lapped traffic. However, before Danzer could venture into the thick of it, his No. 52 began to slow. Snyder went low on the No. 52 and took the lead away as the front trio headed into the first turn on the 15th lap. After giving up the lead, Danzer’s No. 52 continued to slow as the field swallowed the former race leader. Less than half a lap later, he pulled into the pits with motor woes.

Listen toDave Danzer

Up front, Snyder dove into lapped traffic with Sitterly hot on his trail. He would set the pace until the caution flew on the 19th lap for Sauder’s flaming No. 33. A small engine fire erupted as the Canadian rounded turns one and two. Intensifying, the now, rolling fireball pulled into the back pit gate where track safety crews quickly dowsed his No. 33 with extinguishers. Sauder was not injured, but his night was over.

With 18 laps in the books, Snyder led Sitterly, Bond, Ritskes and Gosek. Hamilton, Payne, McKnight, Barnes and Curran rounded out the top 10.

On the restart, Sitterly shot to the inside of Snyder as the duo dove into turn No. 1. He would round turn No. 2 as the new race leader, never to be challenged again.

Ritskes and Gosek conquered Bond and set their sights on Snyder as Sitterly began to walk away. Michael Muldoon tightened the field up on the 24th lap after bringing out the caution with a spin between turns three and four.

Sitterly took flight on the restart. Having started back in 15th, Payne entered the top five on the 25th lap after getting around Bond. Hamilton bumped Bond back one more spot the next time by.

By the 30th lap, Sitterly led by 10 lengths over Snyder. By lap No. 40, he’d stretched it to a full straightaway over the dicing trio of Snyder, Ritskes and Gosek.

The final caution flag of the race flew on the 41st lap after Hamilton’s No. 6 lost its grip in turn No. 4. The Boise, Idaho native returned to the pits, out of the action.

Listen toDavey Hamilton

The comfort level of Sitterly’s lead was taken away, but it was apparent that unless something went amiss on the Nicotra-owned No. 7, it was Sitterly’s race to lose. The defending champ took the green with 10 laps to go, pulling out to a 10-car advantage with five laps remaining. Cruising away, he took the checkered flag with a dozen ghost chasers between his No. 7 and second-place finishing Snyder.

Listen toTim Snyder

Ritskes and Gosek were both fast in their heats earlier in the evening, as well as early on in the race. However, once reaching Snyder, both seemed to lose momentum and settle in for third and fourth-place finishes.

Listen toRandy Ritskes

Listen toJoe Gosek

Having come from deep with in the pack, Payne was pleased with his top-five run in the Strong Racing No. 99.

Listen toJoey Payne

Oswego County Federal Credit Union/Subway Supermodified 50: 1. Otto Sitterly (7), 2. Tim Snyder (0), 3. Randy Ritskes (88), 4. Joe Gosek (00), 5. Joey Payne (99), 6. Dave McKnight, Jr. (08), 7. Bobby Bond (25), 8. David Gruel (50), 9. Jerry Curran (24), 10. D.J. Shullick (15), 11. Shaun Gosselin (26), 12. Brian Sobus (79), 13. Davey Hamilton (6), 14. Keith Gilliam (87), 15. Guard Nearbin (78), 16. Michael Barnes (98), 17. Michael Muldoon (20), 18. Kody Graham (21), 19. Rod Sauder (33), 20. Dave Danzer (52), 21. Steve Abt (85), 22. Andy Noto (48), 23. Shawn Muldoon (1), 24. Stephen Gioia, III (9), 25. Ray Graham, Jr. (90), 26. Dan Connors, Jr.  (01), 27. Pat Lavery (22), 28. Jeff Holbrook.  DNS = Hal LaTulip (56), Craig Rayvals (94), Bobby Haynes, Jr. (44)

Heat #1: 1. Gosek (00), 2. Sitterly (7), 3. S. Muldoon (1), 4. R. Graham (90), 5. Gilliam (87), 6. Payne (99), 7. Shullick (15), 8. Curran (24), 9. Rayvals  (94), 10. LaTulip (56), 11. Abt (85)

Heat #2: 1. Ritskes (88), 2. Danzer (52), 3. Bond  (25), 4. Hamilton (6), 5. McKnight (08), 6. Lavery (22), 7. Gosselin (26), 8. C. Graham (21), 9. Sauder (33), 10. Gioia (9)

Heat #3: 1. Connors (01), 2. Snyder (0), 3. Sobus (79), 4. Barnes (98), 5. Holbrook (35), 6. Gruel (50), 7. Nearbin (78), 8. Noto (48), 9. M. Muldoon (20), DNS – 10. Haynes (44)

Shullick won the 10-lap consolation race.