OSWEGO, NY – For 17-year-old driving sensation Tyler Thompson, Saturday’s U-Pull U-Save ‘Family Night’ at the Oswego Speedway could not possibly have gone any better.
Thompson started his evening by breaking the Novelis Supermodified track record in group time trials; besting Joey Payne’s 15.802, which had stood since August of 2014, by a mere two one thousandths of a second.
For the 50-lap feature, Thompson started sixth and stormed around Dave Danzer, Tim Snyder, Aric Iosue, Camden Proud, and Jack Patrick before taking the lead on lap 11 and dominating to become the youngest Supermodified feature winner in Oswego Speedway history.
“This Hawk car is so good from start to finish,” said an emotional Thompson after the historic win. “I have to thank my sponsors and crew. Kelly’s Zen Den, Lindsey Aggregates, Slack Karts, Ashley Lynn Winery, and everyone that helps on the car. This feels amazing.”
Rookie of the Year contenders Patrick and Proud, who won his first Supermodified heat race earlier in the evening, lead the field to green with Patrick jumping out to the number one spot from the inside lane.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS graduates ran away early, with Patrick out front and Proud in second while Iosue, Snyder, Danzer, Thompson, Abold, Dave Gruel, and Brandon Bellinger all battled it out behind them.
Thompson wasted little time working towards the front. He first got under Danzer on the initial start before beginning to reel in third running Snyder and second place Proud.
On lap 6, Thompson drove around the outside of Snyder coming off of turn four and pulled the same exact trick on Proud one lap later. With forty three laps to go, only one car stood between Thompson and the race lead.
It took the Thompson No. 98T only three laps to reel in Patrick for the lead, and it was less than surprising when he once again used his lane of choice between turns three and four to take over the point on lap 11.
By lap 15, last week’s feature winner Bellinger had passed five cars to work his way into the top five, but his evening came to an unfortunate end with a hard shot into the turn three foam just a handful of laps later.
Out front, it was still Thompson leading Patrick and now Abold, who moved by both Snyder and Proud to take third just prior to the caution flag on lap 18.
Meanwhile, Proud and Snyder remained fourth and fifth while Iosue and Danzer continued to battle for sixth.
On the restart, Snyder was able to work to the outside of Proud and take over fourth, but that was the only pass made before the yellow flag came out in back to back laps, this time for Lou LeVea Jr. and Jerry Curran who were spun out in turn three.
When the green lights came back on, the field was again only able to make it a lap before yet another yellow flag for Iosue spun out of turn two. Now, the top five was Thompson, Patrick, Abold, Snyder, and Danzer, but before long, Dave Shullick Jr. made his presence felt up front.
Charging hard, the ‘Shoe 2’ had come from all the way back in fifteenth to crack the top five by lap 22 after working past Proud and Danzer on the ensuing restart.
One lap later, seventh running Proud and eighth running Alison Sload got together going into turn three, bringing Sload’s day to an end. The Proud crew was able to make repairs on the No. 54, but Camden returned to the track several laps down.
Finally, Abold was able to get around Patrick on the lap 23 restart, moving his No. 05 into the second position with Patrick now third, Snyder fourth, and Shullick fifth. Behind the top five at halfway were Danzer, Connors, Gruel, Sitterly, and Logan Rayvals.
By lap 26, Shullick had passed Patrick for third, but had a very long way to go if he wanted any chance at catching the No. 05 of Abold or race leader Thompson who continued to absolutely dismantle the field in the No. 98T.
With 15 to go, Thompson was a full straightaway ahead of Abold, but now Shullick was on the move as he began reeling in the No. 05 for second. It took Shullick 10 more laps, but he made his move by Abold for second while in lapped traffic with five to go.
Back out front, Thompson was long gone and he went on to pick up the very emotional victory over Abold, Shullick, Patrick, and Snyder in the top five. Rounding out the top ten were Danzer, Connors, Sitterly, Gruel, and Rayvals.
Thompson was the obvious recipient of the Lighthouse Lanes ‘Up & Comer’ Award while Shullick advanced 13 positions to take the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger prize.
Oswego Speedway’s regular season will conclude August 17 with $5 admission Track Championship Night for the Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS, and the 350 Supermodified division.
For more information on Oswego Speedway, visit OswegoSpeedway.com.