OSWEGO, NY – Not long after leading 29-laps of the first Novelis Supermodified feature on Saturday night, Kody Graham had another shot at a front row starting spot in the Century 21 Galloway Realty night cap and this time he made good on the opportunity.
Graham started to the outside of Tim Snyder in the front row of the 50-lap main event, stole the lead from the drop of the green and led all 50-laps on the way to his second career win at the ‘Steel Palace.’
Graham out raced Shaun Gosselin, Michael Barnes, Joe Gosek, and Otto Sitterly on his way to Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane becoming the fourth different Supermodified winner in as many races at Oswego this season.
“Since the opener we have been fighting gremlins left and right,” said Graham. “Today the toe got knocked out in the first feature so I decided to pull it in instead of wrecking me and the rest of the field, but we’ve just been battling week after week. Tonight though, we finally got it. You know, with the field like this you have to be on you’re a-game. Obviously starting up front helps as always, you don’t want to have to pass all those guys and clear track is the best thing.”
Tim Snyder, Dan Connors Jr., Randy Ritskes, Jeff Holbrook, and Michael Muldoon were the top ten in the 50-lap Century 21 Galloway Realty main event.
Snyder and Graham brought a full 24-car Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag on Saturday night, with Graham jumping out in front pulling Snyder, Connors, Jerry Curran, and Tim Devendorf behind.
A quick caution for a spun Keith Shampine on the front straight would slow the field at lap 2 and on the restart Gosek and Gosselin began their climb through the field.
Gosek drove under Dave Danzer out of turn two for ninth on lap 4 while Gosselin put yet another pass on Brandon Bellinger’s No. 02 for seventh on lap 5 heading into turn one.
In just a handful of laps Graham built a full straightaway lead in the No. 21 over Snyder and Connors, but that would be erased on lap 7 for the night’s second yellow flag.
After driving to his first career win earlier in the day, the thrill of victory quickly turned to the agony of defeat for Pat Lavery. Lavery looked low on the Curran No. 24 into turn one in the early going with the two coming together, forcing the Lavery machine into the inside hub rail and shooting the car across the Speedway setting up a head on shot into the outside turn one foam.
Lavery’s ride took on considerable damage requiring a tow back to the infield, dropping him out of the main event. Curran would continue on for a period, but wound up retiring at lap 15.
Also involved in the Lavery-Curran incident was Sitterly in the No. 7, as he spun around between corners one and two, taking on tail damage. Sitterly would have to head to the pit area, but did return to the tail of the field.
The lap 7 restart would show Graham ahead of Snyder, Connors, Devendorf, Curran, Gosselin, Bellinger, Gosek, Danzer, and Holbrook.
Unfortunately for the Lighthouse Lanes Racing team just one lap later, nearly the same incident would occur with Dave Gruel in the No. 50. This time Gruel tried a low side pass on Holbrook into turn one, with Gruel spinning and clipping the inside hub rail. The damage to the No. 50 was far less severe, but was enough to eliminate Gruel from the remainder of the feature.
When the green lights came back on the race began to work into a bit of a rhythm with Gosselin showing his muscle in the No. 26. After winning the Speedway’s Most Improved Driver award in 2012, Gosselin has continued to show vast improvement in 2013. On lap 8 Gosselin stormed to the outside of Devendorf into turn three to take fifth, then made the same move on Curran four laps later to take fourth.
Vetern Gosek would follow the lead of up and comer Gosselin, breezing through the field trying to keep pace with the young Oswego native now living in Connecticut. By lap 16 Gosselin was now third after moving underneath the Connors No. 01, with Gosek making the same exact move on lap 20 to ride in fourth.
Appearing to be the fastest car on the Speedway, Gosselin needed some assistance to try and reel in leaders Graham and Snyder, and he would get it on lap 21 as Muldoon spun the No. 51 in turn four to fly the yellow.
Gosselin would now restart on the back bumper of both Graham and Snyder with Gosek filing in behind ahead of Connors, Devendorf, Bellinger, Danzer, Holbrook, and Barnes in the top ten.
With Sitterly now mired to the back of the field Barnes, who started back there himself in 18th, saw a perfect opportunity to try and increase his stake as the Novelis Supermodified championship leader, pulling around Holbrook, Danzer, and Bellinger in consecutive laps to pull to seventh in the order after the restart.
While Barnes took advantage of the restart, so too did Gosselin and Gosek as each worked by the Snyder No. 0 to now run second and third with only Graham left ahead.
Graham had again built a sizeable lead with the No. 21, alone out in front driving in clean air. However, Gosselin appeared as though he may have the speed to reel Graham in during the late stages. Eventually the duo would hit lapped traffic, allowing Gosselin to draw right on the back bumper of Graham as they worked by Clayton Brewer III past halfway.
Once Graham was able to clear Brewer though, he quickly spaced back out in front, leaving Gosselin in his wake.
As the front four runners pulled away from the rest of the field, Sitterly continued his charge back through the field in the No. 7 and on lap 36 dove to the inside of Danzer into turn three. Danzer washed high on the race track finding the outside gray area of the Speedway and slid into the outside steel exiting turn four to end his day.
The caution period allowed Gosselin and Gosek another shot at Graham with Barnes now running fourth ahead of Snyder, Connors, Devendorf, Sitterly, Holbrook and Ritkses in the Locke Racing No. 37.
On the restart Sitterly made a tremendous move, the likes of which wins championships at the end of the year, by slinging to the outside of Devendorf, Connors, and Snyder to rocket from eighth up to fifth in one jaunt.
As if Barnes felt the pressure, he would also make a nice restart move, driving around the Gosek No. 00 to head to third in search of yet another podium finish.
With battles throughout the field and a tremendous run by Gosselin in the No. 26, none of them would be able to stack up against Graham on Saturday night, as the No. 21 machine motored on to the victory.
The win would be Graham’s second of his career and it would be the third overall victory for the latest Xtreme chassis, which was campaigned last year by Kody’s father Ray as the No. 90.
A career best day for Gosselin would see him have the opportunity to chat with Danny Johnson on the Speedway’s main straight.
“Kody was just a little bit too fast in the open track,” said Gosselin. “I needed a lot of traffic to have a chance at him, but congratulations to those guys, they ran a great race. It was a lot of fun to come from father in the back; we got to play with some traffic.”
With two third place finishes on the evening, Barnes continued his stellar campaign Saturday night after starting 18th in the field.
“We weren’t really all that good,” said Barnes. “We weren’t good in the heat, so to start 18th and get back up to third is pretty good. I knocked the right front part of the front wing out there I think when I got into the back of Holbrook, and it just started to pick up a push from the center out and that is why I couldn’t catch the guys at the end. I think if the wing would have stayed in once piece, we might have had a shot at them two at the end.”
Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race wins would go to Connors, Graham, and Curran.
The Lighthouse Lanes ‘Hard Charger’ was Barnes, while the Lighthouse Lanes ‘Up & Comer’ was Gosselin.
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