By – Chris Porter
Charging from the last row – 24th on the starting grid, Otto Sitterly stormed his way through Oswego Speedway’s Novelis Supermodified field on Saturday night, en route to capturing the Jim Shampine Memorial 75-lap event. It was the 32nd checkered flag earned by the Canajoharie native and seven-time track champion – his second in as many weeks in 2015.
After sailing around the outside of Bob Bond and Brian Sobus following a mid-race restart, the pilot of the John Nicotra-owned No. 7 would set course for race leader, Ray Graham, Jr.. The duo would dance away from their nearest chasers and begin tip-toeing their way through the tail of the field. In lapped traffic, Sitterly would eventually power his way around the outside of the Iowa resident and never look back.
Listen to – Otto Sitterly
The race night didn’t start out as nicely as it ended for Sitterly. After running into mechanical problems and missing his qualifying heat, Sitterly’s two teammates – Joe Gosek and Dave Shullick, Jr., were each taken out of contention after being caught up in a multi-car accident on the opening lap of the feature.
The complete restart saw Graham take command. Tim Devendorf, Tim Snyder, Sobus and Keith Shampine filled out the top five after the field’s first completed lap. Just six laps into racing the caution flag flew again after Dave Gruel’s No. 50 stopped on the backstretch. With five laps in the books, the top five remained the same. Pat Lavery, Shaun Gosselin, Dave Danzer, Bond and Brandon Bellinger filled out the top 10.
Graham would continue to race unchallenged in the early go, as much of the action took place far behind him. Having made quick work of the rear of the field, Sitterly was up to eighth place by the 16th lap. The eventual race winner would soon slip under Lavery and Danzer and move into sixth.
Trailing Graham by a full straightaway, second-place running Devendorf was feeling increased pressure from the Sobus No. 79. Sobus would find an open lane and take the runner-up position away on the 21st lap. Two laps later Bond, Sitterly and Danzer would bounce Devendorf back to fifth.
The green flag run was put to rest on the 25th lap, after Aric Iosue’s No. 11 tangled with Michael Muldoon’s No. 51 in the first turn. Both cars would exit the racing surface via the hook. Refueling was allowed for the rest of the field while cleanup for the accident took place.
With 24 rounds completed, Graham led Sobus, Bond, Sitterly and Danzer. Devendorf, Snyder, Shampine, Kody Graham and Bellinger filled out the top 10.
Sobus would have nothing for Graham on the restart, but would continue to hold off Bond for third. Just five trips around Oswego’s five-eighths later, the yellow flag would fly for Snyder’s spun No. 0.
On the ensuing restart, fourth-place running Sitterly took to the outside of both, Bond and Sobus. In one fell swoop, Sitterly was in second place. Soon, Graham and Sitterly would have 20 lengths on their nearest chasers.
On the 37th lap, Graham would lead the duo into lapped traffic with a five-car advantage. He would emerge from the first group of cars with Sitterly on his tail. They would dive into more traffic on the 43rd lap.
Sitterly’s No. 7 would take multiple looks on the high side of Graham’s No. 91. Already on the outside, the challenger would see the race leader’s machine jog up the track just a bit on the 46th lap. That sent Sitterly back-peddling, up and out of the racing groove.
However, three laps later and still in the midst of lapped traffic, Sitterly would mirror the earlier move between turns three and four. Making the outside maneuver stick, he would come out of the fourth turn the new race leader. Moments later, Graham would make contact with the lapped Howard Page No. 18, sending both racers into the outside wall.
Sitterly had no issues on the ensuing restart, while Danzer hassled Sobus for second. With 20 to go, Sitterly held a 20-car length lead. Sobus, Danzer and Bond raced tightly for second, while Kody Graham commanded the fifth position.
The race leader would enter lapped traffic on the 59th lap with out missing a beat. All was well until Gosselin spun alone in turn No. 4 with just 10 laps remaining.
Seeking win No. 1 in his supermodified career, Sobus would find himself more concerned with holding onto the runner-up spot in the closing laps. His No. 79 slipped just a bit high heading out of turn No. 2 with just a few to go, allowing room for Danzer to take a gamble. Danzer would try to stick the nose of his No. 52 under him, but ended up spinning his machine a full revolution. He was able to keep his momentum going, but the caution flag had already been thrown.
Danzer’s spin promoted Bond to third, Kody Graham to fourth and Bellinger to fifth. Sitterly would take the final green unchallenged. The top five would remain unchanged as they took the checkered flag.
Tying a career best, second-place finish, Sobus was thrilled with racing his No. 79 super to a podium finish.
Listen to – Brian Sobus
Backing up opening night’s second-place run, the Bond-driven, Denise Merrill-owned No. 47 came home in third.
Listen to – Bob Bond
Rebounding from a disappointing opening night showing, Kody Graham raced his No. 21 Xtreme Chassis to a fourth-place finish.
Listen to – Kody Graham
Also improving on his opening night run, Bellinger earned himself a fifth-place finish.
Listen to – Brandon Bellinger
Finishing behind Danzer, Devendorf bounced back from last week’s blown motor for a seventh-place finish.
Listen to – Tim Devendorf
Piloting the Chris Osetek-owned No. 55 to an eighth-place showing, Shampine notched his second top-10 run in as many tries this season.
Listen to – Keith Shampine
In the Pathfinder Bank small block supermodified division, it was native Oswegonian, Anthony Losurdo, taking the checkered flag in the Tony White Memorial 35-lapper. Fulton’s Jeremy Pitcher would lead the first 25 laps until Losurdo took command after making an inside move on the front straightaway. Last week’s runner-up, Andrew Schartner, would move in behind Losurdo and press the youngster to the checkered flag. Kreig Heroth, Pitcher and Dennis Rupert rounded out the top five.
Long-time International Super Modified Association (ISMA) veteran, Mark Sammut, pocketed his first Oswego win with a last-lap pass on fellow Canadian, Mike Lichty, to earn ISMA’s Jack Murphy Memorial 50. It was Sammut’s fifth career win and the second last-lap pass for a win on the ISMA tour in as many races in 2015. Dave Shullick, Jr., Eddie Witkum, Jr. and Jeff Locke filled out the leader board.
Novelis Supermodified Jim Shampine Memorial 75: 1. Otto Sitterly (7), 2. Brian Sobus (79), 3. Bob Bond (47), 4. Kody Graham (21), 5. Brandon Bellinger (02), 6. Dave Danzer (52), 7. Tim Devendorf (5), 8. Keith Shampine (55), 9. Jeff Abold (05), 10. Shaun Gosselin (26), 11. Stephen Gioia, III (9), 12. Tim Snyder (0), 13. Lou LeVea, Sr. (96), 14. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 15. Dan Connors (01), 16. Ray Graham, Jr. (91), 17. Howard Page (18), 18. Pat Lavery (22), 19. Michael Muldoon (51), 20. Aric Iosue (11), 21. Hal LaTulip (56), 22, Dave Gruel (50), 23. Joe Gosek (00), 24. Dave Shullick, Jr. (6)
Pathfinder Bank SBS Tony White Memorial 35: 1. Anthony Losurdo (1), 2. Andrew Schartner (18), 3. Kreig Heroth (04), 4. Jeremy Pitcher (97), 5. Dennis Rupert (99), 6. Camden Proud (54), 7. Jason Simmons (98), 8. Matt Magner (87), 9. Jack Patrick (9), 10. Josh Kerr (8), 11. Scott Shafer (76), 12. Dalton Doyle (01), 13. Greg O’Connor (90). 14. Mike Bruce (22), 15. Russ Brown (13), 16. Barry Kingsley (91), 17. Dave Cliff (50). 18. Mark Castiglia (69), 19. Zach Amo (44), 20. JJ Andrews (93), 21. Alex Hoag (7), 22. Mike Bond (74), 23. Alex McRae (14)
ISMA Jack Murphy Memorial 50: 1. Mark Sammut (78), 2. Mike Lichty (84), 3. Dave Shullick, Jr. (95), 4. Ed Witkum, Jr. (21), 5. Jeff Locke (37), 6. Jon McKinney (61), 7. Kyle Edwards (1), 8. Alison Cumens (39), 9. Danny Shirey (49), 10. Chris Perley (11), 11. Tim Ice (65), 12. Justin Belfiore (98), 13. Jamie Timmons (27), 14. Jim Paller (64), 15. Dave McKnight (70), 16. Rob Summers (74), 17. Dan Bowes (25), 18. Mike McVetta (22), 19. Howard Page (18), 20. Ben Seitz (17), 21. Keith Gilliam (87), 22. Kevin Jaycox, Jr. (5), 23. Lou Cicconi (97), 24. Trent Stephens (19), 25. Ryan Coniam (46)