By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney
Fulton’s Dalton Doyle visited victory lane for the first time on Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway, capturing the small block supermodified 35-lap main event. After winning his qualifying heat race, Doyle’s No. 01 slipped past Jeremy Pitcher’s No. 14 on an early race restart to take over the lead. Once out in front, Doyle would never be challenged.
Listen to – Dalton Doyle
In front of the field, Anthony Losurdo accompanied Pitcher to the drop of the green flag to begin the feature event. Pitcher snagged the early lead, but shortly into the field’s second trip around the Port City’s five-eighth’s of a mile oval, Losurdo and North Carolina invader, Andrew Schartner, came together in turn No. 1. Both cars would be able to continue.
It was on this restart that Doyle would take command from fellow Fulton native Pitcher. By the fifth lap, Doyle had built himself a comfortable five-car advantage on his chasers. Pitcher and Mark Castiglia tussled for second, as Rob Pullen, AJ Bernys, Cameron Rowe, JJ Andrews, Jason Simmons and Mike Bond battled tightly, running fourth through ninth.
As Doyle slowly crept away, Castiglia increased his pressure on Pitcher’s No. 14. By the 10th lap, Doyle’s lead had doubled to 10 lengths as Pullen’s six-car train had now found the rear bumper of Castiglia’s third-place running No. 67.
With the race leader walking away and pressure building from behind, Castiglia was quick to pounce at an opportunity on the 15th lap. Diving under Pitcher as the two raced into turn No. 3, contact was made and both machines quickly found the outside retaining all. Pitcher’s No. 14 was able to limp away, but its race was over. Castiglia’s No. 67 exited the racing surface via the hook and was finished as well.
Castiglia thought he may have had something for the eventual race winner.
Listen to – Mark Castiglia
With 14 laps in the books, Doyle would lead Pullen, Bernys, Rowe and Simmons. Bond, Andrews, Jon Tesoriero, Mike Bruce and Russ Brown completed the top 10.
After a quick caution on the ensuing restart, Doyle led the field back to racing. However, all eyes were on the fierce battle behind him as Rowe, Simmons and Bond fought inches off the bumper of third-place running Bernys.
Suddenly, on the 20th lap, Nate Noto’s spun No. 19 had come to rest just ahead of the leaders in a very precarious position just out of turn No. 2. Doyle, Pullen and Bernys avoided the No. 19 on the high side, but Rowe had come out of the turn poised to pass Bernys on the inside. With nowhere to go, Rowe’s No. 77 suddenly found itself hard into the outside retaining wall.
Having just passed Simmons for fifth, Rowe’s teammate, Bond, made contact with the rear of No. 77. Bond would limp his No. 74 FFB Racing Chassis back to its pit with a broken spindle.
With Castiglia bowing out earlier in the main, three of the Four Sevens Motorsports team cars collected DNF’s on the night – all while running in the top five.
Miffed at both a lost opportunity as well as an incident he believe may have been avoided, Rowe offered up his take on his early race departure.
Listen to – Cameron Rowe
After the top-five shuffle, Doyle led Pullen, Bernys, Simmons and Andrews. Tesoriero, Brown, Bruce, Jack Patrick and Scott Shafer filled out the top 10.
On the restart, another top-five runner would fall by the wayside as the Bernys No. 24 suddenly slowed and pulled pit-side. However, Doyle would continue to set the pace.
The race’s final yellow flew after a slowly deflating front-left tire on Simmons’ No. 98 finally gave way between turns one and two, sending the recent feature winner hard into the outside wall.
With just 10 trips to go, Doyle put forth another solid restart. Though kicking his No. 01 a little loose off of turn No. 4, the second-year driver would maintain his line and continue to hit his marks.
Pullen would keep pace with the race leader this time around, but neither his deuce nor the rest of Doyle’s chasers would be able to mount a serious bid for the top spot.
Dalton would take the checkered flag and pocket career win No. 1. Pullen would cross the line in the runner-up spot for the second time in 2013.
Listen to – Rob Pullen
Andrews collected his second top-five finish of the season, diving the Team Tapout No. 93 to a third-place finish.
Listen to – JJ Andrews
2012 Rookie of the Year, Tesoriero, earned his second top-five finish of the season as well, crossing the checkered stripe in fourth.
Listen to – Jon Tesoriero
After encountering two separate race incidents in his qualifying heat, Brown righted the Ray Hedger-owned No. 13 and battled his way to a fifth-place run. The points chase leader is the only driver to have scored a top-five finish in each of the four races this season.
Listen to – Russ Brown
After his early run-in with Losurdo, Schartner battled back up through the field to score a sixth-place finish.
Listen to – Andrew Schartner
Taking a conservative approach this week, Patrick avoided the carnage, driving his Mopar-powered No. 9 to a seventh-place run.
Listen to – Jack Patrick
Doyle will try and capitalize on a head start he’ll be given in attempting to capture back-to-back wins. Next Saturday night’s action begins with the running of the final two-thirds of the small block supermodified feature that was cut short by rains courtesy of Mother Nature on June 1. The race will resume with Doyle leading the way.
Heat race wins were earned by Pullen, Castiglia and Doyle. Brown earned a victory in the consolation event.
Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supermodified Feature 35: 1. Dalton Doyle (01), 2. Rob Pullen (2), 3. JJ Andrews (93), 4. Jon Tesoriero (47), 5. Russ Brown (13), 6. Andrew Schartner (18), 7. Jack Patrick (9), 8. Mike Bruce (22), 9. Kreig Heroth (04), 10. Scott Shafer (76), 11. Tim Gareau (17), 12. Anthony Losurdo (1), 13. David LaTulip (27), 14. Josh Kerr (8), 15. Dennis Rupert (99), 16. Greg O’Conner (90), 17. Mike Bond (74), 18. Dan Abt (57, 19. Chris Proud (3), 20. Jason Simmons (98), 21. Nate Noto (19), 22. AJ Bernys (24), 23. Cameron Rowe (77), 24. Jeremy Pitcher (14), 25. Mark Castiglia (67)