Gosek Smokes On to No. 41, Ties Legendary Nolan Swift; Pullen Pulls Away for SBS Main Event Victory
OSWEGO, NY (June 3) – Joe Gosek continued his climb through the Oswego Speedway record books on Saturday night with a lap 24 pass of Dan Connors Jr., picking up his 41st career Novelis Supermodified main event win tying him for 4th on the All-Time Speedway win list with Syracuse Sports Hall of Famer Nolan Swift. Gosek, who won his first feature at Oswego on August 3, 1985, had not visited Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane since picking up a shortened Twin 30-lap checkered flag on the last night of the regular season in 2010.
“It is an honor to be in the presence of all those great drivers who have raced here in the past,” said Gosek, beneath the Cam’s NY Pizzeria starter stand. “I don’t know if we’ll catch those guys (Ed Bellinger Jr., Bentley Warren, Jim Shampine) those are some big numbers there, but we’re fortunate to get where we got and we’ll work from there.”
Pat Lavery, who is in search of his first career Novelis Supermodified win, made a brilliant drive in the Lighthouse Lanes No. 22 near race end to come on for a strong runner-up finish.
Connors, Dave Danzer, and Otto Sitterly completed the Top 5 order ahead of Randy Ritskes, Dave Gruel, Mike Barnes, Joey Payne, and Jeff Abold.
Before the Supermodified feature event took the green flag there was trouble on the front straight away as the racecars were being pushed off.
Jarett Andretti, who was looking to make his first Novelis Supermodified feature event start, suddenly locked up his brakes and took evasive action on the main straight to avoid a stopped push truck, making contact with the outside retaining wall. The Boomerang May Mixers Muldoon/Paternoster No. 1 machine sustained right front damage and would not be able to take the green flag.
Andretti was scheduled to start form the 15th position after looking very impressive in preliminary action. The Indianapolis, IN native was quickly turning times of 17.1 seconds in warm-ups and even turned in a 16.9 second lap during his heat race.
“We had a good night going,” said Andretti on his Twitter account. “We were Top 5 in practice and transferred through the heat, but warming up for the feature the throttle stuck and it was either hit a racecar or hit the wall. I chose the wall.”
Connors and Stephen Gioia III started the Best Western Plus/Quality Inn and Suites Riverfront 50-lap Supermodified main event from the front row, with Connors gaining the edge early on in the No. 01. Connors, who led much of the Jim Shampine Memorial event one week earlier, immediately put some distance between he and Gioia in the No. 9.
Gosek however was on a mission in the Burke’s Home Center No. 00, and after starting the race from the 4th position, made an inside move on Gioia into turn three to take the runner-up spot by just lap 2.
By the 5th circuit Connors and Gosek had checked away from the field, but at the same time smoke began to show from the back of the Gosek machine. As it turned out the smoke would show for the entire 50-lap distance, and did not seem to have any effect on the No. 00.
The race would slow for the first time on lap 12 as the Brian Sobus No. 60 got out of shape in turn two. Sitterly would stop on the track as well to avoid the incident and would get his position back just outside the Top 10. The tail of the Sobus machine was damaged resulting in a trip to pit lane. Bobby Haynes and Dave Gruel would also head pitside at this time, as Gosek was asked to stop on the front straight to check the smoking No. 00.
After an inspection at the start/finish line it was deemed that the Gosek machine was not a risk to the field and was allowed to continue. Sobus, Haynes, and Gruel would all also rejoin the pack.
When the field came back to green Connors led Gosek, Gioia, Kody Graham, Jerry Curran, Danzer, Lavery, Payne, Shaun Gosselin, and Ray Graham in the Top 10.
This time the top three would distance themselves from the field as Gioia, in a brand new home built No. 9, looked the best he has all season keeping pace with Connors and Gosek. As the front three made their paces out front, Danzer in No. 52, dived his way into the Top 5 with an inside pass of Curran in turn three.
Just one lap later the race would see its second caution flag as the No. 50m of Michael Muldoon slowed to a stop in turn four. At the same time Muldoon’s teammate, Payne, came pit side for an adjustment and would return to the tail side of the field.
When the field got back to racing speeds it was evident Gosek was ready to get out front and on lap 24, just before the halfway point, he pulled to the high side on Connors in turn one to take the top spot. Just two circuits after taking the race lead, Gosek pulled out to nearly a full straight advantage.
With Gosek pulling away and Gioia closing on Connors for the runner-up position, a four car tangle would ensue in turn four on lap 30. Gosselin, Sobus, Ray Graham, and Tim Devendorf would all be involved with Sobus getting the worst of it. As the Gosselin No. 26 lost it in turn three the field scattered, with Sobus pounding the 4th turn wall on the outside of the Speedway. Gosselin and Devendorf would get back to racing, but both Sobus and Graham were done for the night.
Graham competed Saturday night in the brand new, radically designed Xtreme Chassis No. 90 Supermodified. Arriving late, with little warm-ups, Graham immediately put the car in the 16.7 bracket in hot laps, making him one of the fastest cars in the field with a virtually untested machine.
Just past the halfway point the scoring pylon showed Gosek, Connors, Gioia, Kody Graham, and Danzer in the Top 5 ahead of Curran, Lavery, Sitterly, Ritskes, and Barnes.
The lap 30 restart would prove to be the most exciting circuit of the race as the Lavery No. 22 passed four cars in just one lap. Lavery, who has been as aggressive as anyone on restarts in 2012, jumped to the high side and drove around Graham, Danzer, and Curran off turn four before coming around and underneath Gioia in turn one to leap to the 3rd position. Danzer would also take advantage of the Gioia machine, pushing himself to the 4th spot.
Sitterly, who won the first two events of the season at Oswego, took note of Lavery’s charge, as the No. 7 moved from 8th to 5th in the two laps after the restart. With Lavery, Danzer, and Sitterly moving forward, the great drive by Gioia began to slip away as the No. 9 started to fade back through the field.
With just 15-laps remaining it appeared as though it was now or never for Lavery as Gosek again pulled away from the field. Lavery went to work on the high side of Connors for the runner-up spot to no avail, as the race’s final caution waved on lap 36.
With the Gosselin No. 26 facing backwards in turn two, the field was bunched up one more time for a 14-lap charge to the finish.
The Top 10 would read Gosek, Connors, Lavery, Danzer, Sitterly, Ritskes, Gruel, Barnes, Gioia, and Kody Graham.
With starter Don Forbes’ green flag back in the air it was no surprise to see Lavery swing to the outside yet again, this time making the pass stick around Connors in turn two to move to 2nd. Gosek, looking for win No. 41, now led Lavery in search of his first career win.
Further back in the field Ritskes and Payne were charging. Ritskes, who had considerable damage to the No. 88 after a heat racing incident, put on a great drive from the rear of the field to get up to the 6th spot. Payne, who pit early on in the 50-lap main, was able to race his way back into the Top 10 of the competitive field by lap 40.
Out in front though it was all Gosek and Lavery, and the No. 22 simply did not have enough to catch the smoking No. 00, as Gosek sped across the line for historic win No. 41.
Gosek talked about his early season woes with infield reporter Keith Zehr.
“We struggled the first two,” said Gosek. “We knew we had a decent car, but we lost the handle on it some last week, so we sat down and made some changes and came back and I knew it was really good all night. We’ve got the monkey off our back now, it feels good to win.”
Gosek knew he was showing smoke on his way to victory lane, and hoped his ride would hold out.
“The motor started breaking down at the end,” said Gosek. “They checked it out, but I don’t think it was leaving anything behind me or on me so they let me go. It just smoked the whole way, and then at the end the engine went away. We were fortunate tonight, anymore laps and we probably wouldn’t have made it.”
Lavery, who used a lap 30 restart to gain several positions, was not content to sit on the inside of the race track.
“I think I got a little lucky there on that restart,” said Lavery. “Everyone got boggled up trying to protect the inside, and our car hooked up on the outside.”
The driver of the No. 22 noticed the smoke from Gosek and hoped it may play to his advantage.
“I saw it the whole way,” smiled Lavery. “I never want to wish bad luck on anyone, he (Gosek) deserves this win, he is a great driver, but I kind of hoped his motor would go sour on him. He had a great car and he was fast, even if I could have got to him I probably could not have got around him.”
Ironically on the night of Gosek’s 40th win at Oswego Speedway, Lavery also finished 2nd.
Connors, who has been the hard luck driver of the past season at the Speedway, was more than pleased with his 3rd place effort.
“It was a lot of fun being out there tonight,” said Connors. “We got lucky with a good starting spot; there are a lot of competitive cars out there this year. I have to thank my team and sponsors, we have had such bad luck the last two weeks and even last year, I’m surprised they didn’t give up on us but we all pulled it together.”
Pullen Pulls Away for Career Win No. 4 in Pathfinder Bank SBS Series
Oswego’s Rob Pullen returned to Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane on Saturday night at Oswego Speedway after making an inside pass of Dalton Doyle on lap 6 of the Best Western Plus/Quality Inn and Suites Riverfront Pathfinder Bank SBS main. The win marked the 4th career feature victory for Pullen driving his familiar No. 2 machine.
“I was watching the board quite a bit and saw Mike Bond moving up,” said Pullen. “I figured we got down to the end, I was running a good line, and the car was working real good. Even if he caught up to me I don’t know if he was going to be able to get around me, so I quit worrying there those last five laps.”
Oswego Kartway graduate Doyle, in No. 01, looked like a season veteran at the front of the field coming home with a 2nd place finish after picking up a heat race win earlier in the night.
Mike Bond, Jason Simmons, and Jack Patrick would fill the Top 5 ahead of Andrew Scartner, Tim Barbeau, Kreig Heroth, Jon Tesoriero, and Mike Bruce in the Top 10.
Bryan Haynes and David LaTulip were the first two drivers to see the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag from the front of the field, with Haynes making his way out front for the second week in a row driving No. 87. LaTulip would slide back on the high side allowing Doyle and Pullen to slip past into the front three positions.
With Haynes, Doyle, and Pullen charging out front, the No. 98 of Jason Simmons began to pour it on from the 4th spot closing in on the front three.
Doyle, who was on a roll after grabbing his heat race win earlier, got a great bite off of turn two and made his way under Haynes for the race lead low in turn three to take the point on lap 3. As Doyle worked low, Pullen saw the opening and followed him through into 2nd.
One circuit later there was trouble in turn one involving the series point leader.
Patrick and LaTulip made contact going into turn one resulting in the No. 17 of LaTulip spinning out of control. With nowhere to go, series point leader JJ Andrews made contact with the foam covered outside retaining wall, resulting in the No. 93 being hooked off the Speedway.
All drivers would continue, even Andrews who returned to the Speedway to garner as many valuable championship points as possible. The No. 93 rebounded for a 17th place finish in the final rundown.
After another caution on lap 5 for a flat left front tire on the Mike Bruce No. 22, Pullen saw his chance at the lead.
Doyle would slip high out of turn two leaving the inside open for Pullen who took advantage and took the race lead into turn three on lap 6.
Pullen immediately began to pull away from both Doyle and Haynes leaving Simmons and Patrick in the Top 5.
As Pullen pulled out to a sizeable lead, Simmons saw his chances of his first career victory slipping away if he did not get by the No. 87 of Haynes. Just before lap 10 Simmons would make it stick, sliding his way into a podium spot. At the same time hard charging Bond managed to work his way past both Patrick and Haynes into the 4th position.
With Bond all over Simmons for 3rd, Brad Haynes and AJ Bernys came together on the front straight bringing out the caution flag on lap 11. The No. 24 of Bernys was hooked off the Speedway.
Once back under way Pullen and Doyle were clearly in control of the field and at the halfway point they led Simmons, Bond, Patrick, Schartner, Barbeau, Haynes, Heroth, and Tesoriero.
By lap 20 Simmons and Bond were able to close on the race leaders to make it a four car battle for the point. Just 2-laps later it would turn into a full field battle as the No. 34 of Will Hadcock spun in turn four, putting on the yellow lights for the final time.
As yellow turned to green one last time Pullen and Doyle pulled out uncontested as Bond moved to the outside and around Simmons for 3rd into turn one.
With Bond to 3rd, there was no catching Pullen out front as he drove under Don Forbes’ checkered flag for his 4th career win ahead of Doyle in 2nd.
Doyle was ecstatic with his 2nd place run as he talked to Keith Zehr on the front straightaway.
“The car started running a lot better towards the end,” said Doyle. “We got a little tight, but it seemed like as soon as we got going the car was coming in and I was starting to catch Pullen a little bit, but at least we know we can compete.”
Bond charged to a 3rd place finish, his second consecutive podium run.
“The car was starting to run hot there, so I had to back off for a couple laps, and I had a tough time getting around Jason (Simmons) there,” said Bond. “I have to thank my guys and all their hard work this week. Mike O’Connor got the new motor in it this week, thanks to him for giving it to us.”
Next on the Oswego Speedway schedule is RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting/Thunder Road Bar and Grill Night at the Races featuring the Novelis Supermodifieds, the Pathfinder Bank SBS Series, and the Tobias SpeedSTR Series.
The evening will also feature the first of two driver autograph nights on the front straight. The autograph session will go off after hot laps, before the first heat race of the night.
Grandstand gates will open at 4pm, with racing getting underway at 6:30pm. General admission tickets will be set at $17, with reserved seating priced at $22. Price Chopper Tickets to Go will be available for this event for just $14.
Kids 16 and under are admitted free, with paid adult, to all Speedway events excluding Race of Champions Weekend and Budweiser International Classic Weekend.
Oswego Speedway events run May through September on most Saturday nights, culminating with the Fall Championship 75 on September 15.
For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com. You can also LIKE the (Official) Oswego Speedway page at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. To purchase tickets or order merchandise please call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.
Oswego, NY – Best Western Plus/Quality Inn and Suites Night
Saturday, June 9th – RJ Caruso Tax and Accounting/Thunder Road Bar and Grill Night
Novelis Supermodified 50 – Pathfinder Bank SBS 30 – SpeedSTR 25
Feature (50-laps): 1. 00 – Joe Gosek, 2. 22 – Pat Lavery, 3. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 4. 52 – Dave Danzer, 5. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 6. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 7. 50 – Dave Gruel, 8. 99 – Mike Barnes, 9. 20 – Joey Payne, 10. 05 – Jeff Abold, 11. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 12. 24 – Jerry Curran, 13. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 14. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 15. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 16. 81 – Kelly Miller, 17. 21 – Kody Graham, 18. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 19. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 20. 90 – Ray Graham Jr., 21. 60 – Brian Sobus, 22. 87 – Keith Gilliam, 23. 50m – Michael Muldoon, 24. 1 – Jarett Andretti
1st Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 2. 21 – Kody Graham, 3. 22 – Pat Lavery, 4. 60 – Brian Sobus, 5. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 6. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 7. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 8. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 9. 56 – Hal LaTulip
2nd Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 24 – Jerry Curran, 2. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 3. 00 – Joe Gosek, 4. 50 – Dave Gruel, 5. 50m – Michael Muldoon, 6. 87 – Keith Gilliam, 7. 0 – Tim Snyder, 8. 88 – Randy Ritskes
3rd Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 52 – Dave Danzer, 2. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 3. 20 – Joey Payne, 4. 90 – Ray Graham Jr., 5. 1 – Jarett Andretti, 6. 05 – Jeff Abold, 7. 81 – Kelly Miller, 8. 99 – Mike Barnes
PATHFINDER BANK SBS SERIES
Feature (30-laps): 1. 2 – Rob Pullen, 2. 01 – Dalton Doyle, 3. 26 – Mike Bond, 4. 98 – Jason Simmons, 5. 9 – Jack Patrick, 6. 18 – Andrew Schartner, 7. 79 – Tim Barbeau, 8. 04 – Kreig Heroth, 9. 47 – Jon Tesoriero, 10. 22 – Mike Bruce, 11. 17 – David LaTulip, 12. 87 – Bryan Haynes, 13. 88 – Brad Haynes, 14. 8 – Josh Kerr, 15. 34 – Will Hadcock, 16. 11 – John Ketcham, 17. 93 – JJ Andrews, 18. 77 – Cameron Rowe, 19. 27 – Barry Kingsley, 20. 24 – AJ Bernys, 21. 99 – Dennis Rupert, 22. 69 – Mark Castiglia, 23. 3 – Chris Proud, 24. 28 – Stan Gates
1st Heat (10laps): 1. 26 – Mike Bond, 2. 93 – JJ Andrews, 3. 87 – Bryan Haynes, 4. 11 – John Ketcham, 5. 47 – Jon Tesoriero, 6. 24 – AJ Bernys, 7. 3 – Chris Proud, 8. 69 – Mark Castiglia
2ndHeat (10laps): 1. 2 – Rob Pullen, 2. 17 – Dave LaTulip, 3. 18 – Andrew Schartner, 4. 9 – Jack Patrick, 5. 77 – Cameron Rowe, 6. 88 – Brad Haynes, 7. 34 – Will Hadcock, 8. 28 – Stan Gates
3rd Heat (10laps): 1. 01 – Dalton Doyle, 2. 98 – Jason Simmons, 3. 79 – Tim Barbeau, 4. 04 – Kreig Heroth, 5. 22 – Mike Bruce, 6. 8 – Josh Kerr, 7. 99 – Dennis Rupert, 8. 27 – Barry Kingsley