Gosek Steals MSA-Oswego Non Wing Thunder at Sandusky

By – Chris Meyers
Photo – Pinner Johnson

Sandusky, Ohio – No one knew what to expect heading into the first non-wing supermodified race at Sandusky Speedway in twenty-six years.  Many thought passing was going to be at a premium.  Two drivers proved that theory wrong.  By the end of the race, Oswego, New York native Joe Gosek proved them all wrong by winning from his tenth starting position.  MSA rookie hot shoe Trent Stephens started twelfth and finished right behind Gosek.

Randy Burch and Timmy Jedrzejek paced the field of twenty-three PPG Vibrance Collection non wing supers to the green flag.  A caution quickly flew for a tangle on the front stretch between Lou Levea Sr. and Jimmy Paller.  Paller was done for the night with front end damage and Levea Sr. would restart later, several laps down.  As the race got underway, the top five was Jedrzejek, Burch, Gene Lee Gibson, Jack Smith, and Tim Ice. Jon Henes would go pit-side for the night on lap three.  Smith would fall out of the top five when Schultz motored by on the same lap.  The yellow flew on lap seven for Tim Ice, who spun in turn three.  He would rejoin the field at the tail end.  The top five on the restart was Jedrzejek, Burch, Gibson, Charlie Schultz, and Joe Gosek.  The yellow flew on lap eight for Danny Shirey who came to a halt on the backstretch.  He also rejoined the field at the tail end.  At the completion of lap ten Burch had fallen from second to fifth.  The yellow flew again on lap ten for Jason Spaulding flying off turn three.  He rejoined tail. Levea Sr. would rejoin the field from his first lap crash. On the restart, the red flag flew in turn two for Johnny Torresee and Tim Ice who both hit the turn two wall.  Both drivers were okay, but their machines were done for the night.

On lap eleven, Gibson slingshotted around Jedrzejek for the lead in turn one.  Jedrzejek began to fade as Schultz would pass him on lap fourteen and Gosek would do the same a lap later.  Yellow flew on lap 16 for Danny Shirey spinning in turn three. The top five at this point was Gibson, Schultz, Gosek, Jedrzejek, and Burch.  In just his second non wing supermodified race ever, Trent Stephens was a man on a mission getting by Jedrzejek and Burch by lap seventeen.  Schultz would get around Gibson for the lead on lap eighteen. At the halfway point, Gibson was passed by both Gosek and Stephens.  The top five ran Schultz, Gosek, Stephens, Gibson, and Jedrzejek.  Burch would work his way into the top five once again by passing Jedrzejek on lap twenty-one.  At this point, Keith Shampine and Michael Barnes started working their way up through the top ten. Gosek would steal the lead from Schultz on lap twenty-six.  Stephens would follow suit a lap later.  The top five remained the same the rest of the way, Gosek, Stephens, Schultz, Gibson, and Burch, while Barnes and Shampine were now the two drivers to keep your eye on.  Barnes and Shampine made their way into sixth and seventh, respectively, on lap 32, as Smith started fading towards the race end.  As the checkers fell, Shampine was able to make his way to a top-six finish with a last-lap pass over Barnes.

After working in the garage till 5:15 this morning putting the car back together from a tough wreck during Classic weekend, Gosek almost didn’t make the show at Sandusky because the hauler suffered mechanical issues in Buffalo this morning. When everything was settled, Gosek won at Sandusky Speedway for the first time since the 2002 Hy-Miler. With or without the wing, Gosek has been a threat to win at any track he goes to. The Oswego, NY resident was all smiles after the race. “What a great show! We were hooked up tonight. The car was great when we unloaded it. We made some changes during the day and didn’t like them so we went back to how we unloaded. I was going to change it for the feature but then decided to leave it alone and if I got beat by a faster car, that’s the way it is. I’d like to thank all the fans for coming out tonight and PPG Vibrance. A lot of my sponsors were here tonight as well as my car owner Al Archer. Since 1983, Burke’s has been sponsoring me and they have been with me ever since. I’m happy for the whole gang, it’s nice to come through with a win.”

In just his second non-wing race ever Trent Stephens looked like a veteran and showed no signs of being a rookie in the supermodified division. Trent explained how his feature race went. “Joe definitely hit the setup for the feature and we just missed it a little bit. The race started off and I was back there. I wasn’t going too good but then all of a sudden it seemed around ten laps into it, either I figured it out or people started slow up. That’s when I really started moving forward. When I got out by myself that’s when I realized we missed the setup just a little bit. That tenth of a second slower then Joe is probably what cost us. All in all it was a good night. The crew worked awesome tonight. I have to thank Steve, Rich, Chris, Sam, Sawyer, and Steve C as well as PPG and our sponsors.”

“Chargin” Charlie Schultz was pleased with his third place finish in the Matczak car. “I’m real pleased with finishing third tonight. We just got the chassis out of the garage last week and put a motor in it. We dusted it off and came here. We struggled a little bit in practice with older tires. We kept tuning on it all day and everything we did to the car made it better and better. We were a little too tight for the feature. I can’t thank all the fans enough for coming out, PPG for putting this thing together, Kevin Jaycox, Sandusky Speedway, but most importantly all the fans in the stands tonight.”

The PPG Vibrance Midwest Supermodifieds find themselves with two races remaining on their schedule.  Next up is a two-day affair Sandusky Speedway next weekend, in Sandusky’s Open Wheel Special joining the Buckeye 305 Sprints and the Modifieds.  The season draws to a close on October 3rd at South Amherst’s Lorain County Speedway.  Tim Jedrzejek currently holds the points lead by 18 over Charlie Schultz.

Top Qualifiers: Trent Stephens (16.237), Otto Sitterly (16.432), Joe Gosek (16.552), Keith Shampine (16.642), Jason Spaulding (16.677), Charlie Schultz and Ray Graham (16.770)

Heat One: Joe Gosek, Charlie Schultz, Randy Burch, Timmy Jedrzejek, Greg Furlong, Lou Levea Sr., Dan Connors Jr., Matt Palmer

Heat Two: Gene Lee Gibson, Tim Ice, Otto Sitterly, Jason Spaulding, Danny Shirey, Johnny Torresee, Rich Reid, Bobby Dawson

Heat Three: Trent Stephens, Ray Graham Jr., Keith Shampine, Jack Smith, Jim Paller, Michael Barnes, Jon Henes

Feature (40 laps, 12 car inversion): 1. Gosek, 2. Stephens, 3. Schultz, 4. Gibson, 5. Burch, 6. Shampine, 7. Barnes, 8. Sitterly, 9. Smith, 10. Furlong, 11. Jedrzejek, 12. Spaulding, 13. Reid, 14. Connors Jr., 15. Shirey, 16. Graham Jr., 17. Palmer, 18. Torrese, 19. Ice, 20. LeVea Sr., 21. Henes, 22. Paller, 23. Dawson

Lap Leaders: Jedrzejek (1-10) Gibson (11-17) Schultz (18-25) Gosek (26-40)