By – Chris Porter
Photo – Oswego Speedway PR
Fair Lawn, N.J.’s Joey Payne brought home his first feature victory of the 2014 season Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. After taking the lead away from eventual runner-up finisher, Keith Shampine, on their 15th trip around Oswego Speedway’s fast five-eighths mile, Payne would lead every lap thereafter en route to the win.
It was a much welcomed win for the Graham/Strong Racing team, following a frustrating week that saw damage to three of its team cars. The win was also the first for the potent, brand new Xtreme Chassis No. 99.
Listen to – Joey Payne
After a mechanical woe scratched Kody Graham from his outside pole starting position, Shampine was bumped up one row to help Brandon Bellinger lead the field to the green to begin the 50-lap main. Shampine would then outrun Bellinger to the first turn to take the early lead.
Payne would bounce Bellinger back to third on lap No. 2, tucking in behind the race leader. Michael Muldoon, Joe Gosek and Michael Barnes filled out the top five.
Payne would press Shampine through the first 10 laps, but lose a bit of ground after the duo’s first encounter with lapped traffic. However, Payne’s No. 99 was back on the tail-end of Shampine’s No. 55 by their 13th round.
Ready to pounce at a moment’s notice, Payne shot under Shampine in the first turn of the 15th lap. The No. 55 tried to counter the move with an inside look heading into turn No. 2, but Payne beat him to the corner and was off and running. Just two laps later, Payne’s No. 99 was enjoying a 10-car advantage over the Chris Osetek-owned No. 55.
Behind Shampine, Gosek and Barnes had maneuvered their way around Muldoon’s No. 51. By the 22nd lap, Shampine, Gosek and Barnes were running nose to tail for second place. Otto Sitterly and Randy Ritskes would join the trio by the halfway mark. Dave Danzer, shortly thereafter.
Up front, Payne was holding a full straightaway lead at the lap No. 30 mark. Shampine had built himself a bit of breathing room from Gosek, while the third-place running No. 00 machine led a five-car train of supers.
After a long stretch of green-flag racing, the caution flag flew on the 40th lap after Barnes ran into trouble on the back straightaway. It resulted in the Syrell Racing No. 68 finishing the night in the pits.
With just 11 trips to go, Payne led Shampine, Gosek, Sitterly and Danzer back to racing. Payne would sail away, while Shampine worked to build back up a comfortable margin between he and Gosek, Sitterly and Danzer. He would be okay, but Gosek would have his hands full fending off challenges from Sitterly’s Nicotra-owned No. 7.
The top five would run in order the rest of the way. Payne would construct a nearly a full straightaway lead before taking the checkered flag.
With a strong showing, Shampine crossed under the checkers in second place.
Listen to – Keith Shampine
Gosek, Sitterly and Danzer rounded out the top five. Pat Lavery, Dave Gruel, Muldoon and Ritskes were the only other cars left on the lead lap.
With just two race nights remaining in the hunt for the Novelis supermodified points chase, Sitterly reclaimed the lead by finishing just three positions ahead of Dave Gruel. He had come into the night just two points behind, but left seven markers on top.
Novelis Supermodified 50: 1. Joey Payne (99), 2. Keith Shampine (55), 3. Joe Gosek (00), 4. Otto Sitterly (7), 5. Dave Danzer (52), 6. Pat Lavery (22), 7. Dave Gruel (50), 8. Michael Muldoon (51), 9. Randy Ritskes (37), 10. Tim Devendorf (5), 11. Stephen Gioia, III (9), 12. Lou LeVea, Sr. (66), 13. Michael Barnes (68), 14. Tim Snyder (0), 15. Brandon Bellinger (02), 16. Howard Page (18), 17. Mike Barbera (45), 18. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 19. Hal LaTulip (56), 20. Kody Graham (90), 21. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 22. Gene Lee Gibson (75)
Qualifying heats were pocketed by Dave Danzer, Joey Payne and Kody Graham.