OSWEGO, NY – Oswego Speedway’s Road to the Championship continued on Saturday night with Liverpool driver Kody Graham snaring the lead from Joe Gosek on lap 14 to eventually pull away to his fifth career Novelis Supermodified victory at Oswego, and the first for an independent front end machine since 2007, on Best Western PLUS/Quality Inn and Suites Riverfront Fan Appreciation Night.
Graham, who blew the engine in his primary roadster one week ago and crashed his former No. 21 in the opener, was piloting his father Ray Graham’s No. 90 on Saturday, renumbered No. 21.
The machine debuted in 2016 with a fury helping Kody to outlast late pressure by Brandon Bellinger and Otto Sitterly to score a 3.3-second margin of victory.
Graham’s victory places him in a tie for 40th on the Speedway’s all-time Supermodified win list with Sam Sessions, Dave Shullick Sr., Jim Winks, Russ Wood, Dave Shullick Jr., and Dave Gruel.
Opening night winner Michael Barnes and Tim Devendorf closed the top five positions on Saturday.
Post-race, Graham spoke with infield announcer Keith Zehr in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane.
“We were struggling all day with being loose so we took a swing to see if we could fix it and for the most part I think it did,” said Graham. “It was pretty snug for most of the race until we hit lapped traffic then it freed up a ton. I was just kind of riding at that point just waiting for them to show me a wheel.”
Kody went on to talk about the process of being in this machine on Saturday.
“First and foremost I have to thank my dad,” said Graham. “I blew up one car and I wrecked the other car. This is his new one and he was supposed to race it but he let me have it this weekend and so far it’s 1 for 1, so that’s a good record. I have to thank all my guys. They have been slaving away on three different cars for me and this one is for them.”
Michael Muldoon, Dan Connors Jr., Gruel, Aric Iosue, and Keith Shampine secured top ten positions on Saturday.
Gosek and Graham led 19 Novelis Supermodifieds to the Cam’s Pizzeria green flag on Saturday with Gosek gaining the early advantage in the No. 00.
Gosek, who recently celebrated the 20th anniversary of his official qualifying entry in the Indianapolis 500 in 1996, once again struggled with fuel issues early in the day but rebounded after leaving the Speedway for a brief time to return to his shop.
Gosek arrived at the track in time for his heat race to earn a handicap position, and led the early portion of the 50-lap main.
Gosek and Graham pulled away from the field early on, but eventually Gosek got a bit out of shape in the first turn giving Graham the room he needed to steal the lead in the No. 21 on lap 14. Graham would use that opportunity to quickly build a lead.
However, just one lap later the engine in the Gosek No. 00 let loose on the front stretch just before the start finish line sending the Gosek machine into a spin toward the first turn foam.
Gosek managed to keep the racer off the wall but Dave Danzer was not so lucky.
Riding in the third position, Danzer had no choice but to hit the oil streak left by the Gosek machine, spinning wildly into the first turn foam inflicting damage once again to the rear of the No. 52.
Both Gosek and Danzer were OK after the mishap, but each were done for the night.
After a red flag to clean up the oil on the front stretch Graham led Bellinger, Devendorf, Dave McKnight, Sitterly, Barnes, Connors, Muldoon, Pat Lavery, and Iosue to the green.
Only one lap after the green lights came back on Jerry Curran would find the foam in turn one in the No. 24. Curran’s car would also be hooked off the Speedway, out for the night.
On the next restart Muldoon was able to jump past the Connors No. 01 to take seventh position as Graham was again able to pull a nice advantage out of the Pole Position Raceway Firing Point.
As Graham built as much as a 3.5 second lead by halfway, the Sitterly No. 7 decided it was time to make a charge, making a move on the McKnight No. 70 in turn four on lap 32 to steal fourth.
McKnight, who was making his first start of the season in the Gary Morton No. 70 impressed right away. Running in the 16-second bracket all day, McKnight took fourth in his qualifying heat race and was one of nine cars to dip into the 16-second bracket in the main event, running in the top five for 20 laps.
Unfortunately on lap 37 McKnight was forced to the pit area while running fifth for what appeared to be an overheating issue with the No. 70.
As McKnight pulled to the pits Graham was mired in lapped traffic after having built a seven-second advantage on Bellinger, running in second.
Before long Bellinger was closing in with the No. 02 as Graham patiently worked traffic in the No. 21.
The fans began to rise to their feet in the late going as it seemed certain that Bellinger, Devendorf, and Sitterly would close on Graham as the lapped traffic intensified.
They would in fact close on the leader, but as the result of a yellow flag for Graham’s teammate Lavery who spun the No. 12 in turn one.
While the caution helped Bellinger to draw to the rear bumper of Graham, most could tell that a clean track would again be an advantage for the No. 21.
On the restart Graham would lead Bellinger, Devendorf, Sitterly, Barnes, Muldoon, Connors, Shampine, Gruel, and Lavery.
With green lights back on Sitterly immediately jumped to the top side of the Speedway to steal third from Devendorf, and would now set his sights on Bellinger for second as Graham again jumped to a fine restart out front.
Graham would go on to prove that he had the car to beat on this night, quickly steaming to a 3.3-second lead, sailing under the checkered flag ahead of Bellinger and Sitterly for the win.
Runnerup Bellinger was hoping that he would have a shot at Graham in lapped traffic.
“We were a lot better than last week but I wish that last caution wouldn’t have come out,” said Bellinger, who like Graham was sporting an independent front end. “It looked like he was starting to slip around a little bit in lapped traffic, having a hard time, we caught up a big gap there and I would have liked to have had a chance there but the caution came out and once he got in clear track he was definitely a little faster than we were.”
Sitterly once again found a podium position with the IFS No. 7.
“Near the mid to late stages of the race it was coming along,” said Sitterly. “Overall it was just a good point night. Congratulations to Kody and the Bellingers. We’ll take it, just one week at a time.”
Kreig Heroth once again took the green flag in the Mike Muldoon Racing No. 14 Supermodified while Keith Shampine made his debut in the all-new Osetek Racing Technologies No. 55.
Shampine showed speed right out of the gate in the new racecar, which was built in North Carolina, turning laps of 16.5-seconds in his qualifying heat race.
Unfortunately a minor oil leak on the car kept Shampine from turning every lap of the night, but the team is certainly optimistic about their new machine.
Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race victories went to Muldoon, Sitterly, and Danzer.
The Radical Race Gear Lap Leader Award went to Graham with Devendorf scoring the Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer and Gruel earning the Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger.
Gruel would also score an extra $50 cash from the Xtreme Short Track Sim Racing Series for being the last car on the lead lap.
Racing at Oswego Speedway continues on May 28 with the second running of the Port City ‘Super Spectacle’ featuring the Novelis Supermodifieds, ISMA Supermodifieds, and the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers.
Kids 16 and under with paid adult and active military with ID are free.
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or call (315) 342-0646.
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