1. (-) Mark Sammut. #78 Mark Sammut-owned Sammut Chassis. Mark continues to build on his already career-best season. Sammut drove a superb race on Friday at Lee, pacing himself early and then charging to the front as the leaders faded. Saturday lacked the result of the win at Lee, yet showed the perseverance of the team, as they changed the motor in the 78 in time for the feature, and Mark brought it home in thirteenth.
2. (-) Chris Perley. #11 Vic Miller-owned Vic Miller Chassis. Chris looked to be in contention for the win on Friday, only to have Sammut pass him and the leader late in the race. Perley had to settle for third. At Waterford on Saturday, Chris finished eighth. It is pretty rare these days to see a race that the 11 doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make its presence felt. Take note of Saturday because it could light a fire under the Miller-Perley team and spark them to be back to their winning ways.
3. (+3) Russ Wood. #29 Jeff Holbrook-owned Allegresso Chassis. Ã¢â‚¬Å“WoodyÃ¢â‚¬Â probably had the best overall weekend, almost winning at Lee and bringing home a top five from Waterford. Russ looked to be well on his way to a win when Mark Sammut powered past with two laps to go. Saturday, Wood was the one charging at the finish, but a caution stalled his progress and locked him in fifth as the checkered fell for curfew.
4. (-) Mike Lichty. #84 Brad Lichty-owned Brave Chassis. Mike scored a pair of top tens at Lee and Waterford. Saturday produced a seventh for Lichty, who had to start in the last row. The finish is pretty impressive considering how many cars he passed in such a short time. Friday was less spectacular for Mike. He battled mid-pack all race and never made much progress, crossing the line in tenth.
5. (+4) Ben Seitz. #88 Bruce Budnick-owned Budnick Chassis. Ben drove a smart race Friday, letting the race come to him. Many competitors were sliding around at race end, and Seitz took advantage, advancing to fifth. Saturday almost produced another top five, as Seitz charged his way to sixth before the last caution flew. Bruce Budnick and crew have to be happy with the overall weekend results.
6. (New) Lou Cicconi. #10 Rick Wentworth-owned Vic Miller Chassis. Lou looked to be a winner on Friday night, but had to wait until Saturday. Cicconi led from the start at Lee, but by mid-race had used up the tires. Lou hung on for seventh. Saturday at Waterford, Cicconi hounded race leader Mike Ordway Jr. the entire distance before making the winning pass two laps before the last caution flew. Lou now has three wins with ISMA at Waterford.
7. (+1) Jeff Holbrook. #35 Holbrook-owned Allegresso Chassis. Friday at Lee, Jeff was another driver who capitalized on others fading late in the going. Holbrook rallied to finish sixth. Saturday saw Jeff start and finish mid-pack. While passing a few, Holbrook saw others pass him on their charge to the front, ultimately landing the 35 in eleventh when the race was called.
8. (-2) Rob Summers. #97 Howie Lane-owned Petro/Bodnar Chassis. Rob had a decent run on Friday night, coming home eighth. The Lane team is still learning their newest addition and knows it has the potential to get them in victory lane. They came a little closer on Saturday, as Summers was running in the top five. The 97 didnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t make it to the finish, however, ending a good run. Rob and team should look forward to Oswego, as Joe Petro wheeled this car to a third the last time the car saw OswegoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s surface.
9. (New) Danny Lane. #9 Howie Lane-owned L&L Chassis. The other member of the Lane team, Danny Lane, made his presence felt on a couple of tracks that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s familiar with. Friday at his Ã¢â‚¬Å“home track,Ã¢â‚¬Â Lane ran up front early before fading and settling for ninth. Saturday was better, as the 9 stayed strong and Danny brought his uncleÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s car home in third. Lane felt he may have had a car capable of winning but ran out of laps at the end.
10. New) Mike Ordway Jr. #41 Jeff Holbrook-owned Colloca Chassis. After a disappointing early exit at Lee, Mike Jr. was looking for a good showing Saturday. He got one and almost a win at that. Ordway led the whole way at Waterford, until blistering a right-front tire and seeing the 10 slip by for the win. Mike held on for second, and wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t too disappointed despite losing the lead so close to the end. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s good to see Mike back in the car, and hopefully sponsorship has or can be found to keep Ordway Jr. behind the wheel.
Oswego Speedway’s Top 10 Race-to-Race Power Rankings
1. (+2) Joey Payne. #99 Pat & Terry Strong-owned West Chassis. Ã¢â‚¬Å“The Jersey JetÃ¢â‚¬Â finally grabbed his first non-winged supermodified feature win Saturday. Payne made his charge early on, making passes high and low; some moves more controversial than others. Once Joey took the lead, he opened up as large of a lead as weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen all season. The Strong team sure had the 99 hooked-up and itÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s going to be tough for Payne to choose whether to drive the new car or proven car come Classic Weekend.
2. (-1) Otto Sitterly. #7 John Nicotra-owned Hawk Jr. Chassis. Otto had his first real setback of the season, ending up the night in the pits rather than in the top five. The Nicotra and Sitterly crew effected repairs from an early multicar wreck only to have Otto take the 7 hard into the wall while charging up to the top five. Sitterly said the car is not as bad as the wreck looked, and he also has the 6 Ã¢â‚¬Å“just in caseÃ¢â‚¬Â he needs it this Saturday.
3. (-1) Doug Didero. #3 Doug Didero-owned Xtreme Chassis. Doug was battling with Sitterly early on when they brushed and the 3 went around. Didero was charging back through the field when the largest multicar wreck occurred, leaving nowhere for Doug to go. He climbed a wheel and pounded the steel wall, ending his night. The real concern, although the car sustained significant damage, is DougÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s wrist. Hopefully Didero will be good to go Saturday and battle it out with Sitterly and Payne for the track title.
4. (-) Pat Lavery. #2 Double Deuce Racing-owned Hawk Jr. Chassis. Pat had more of an uneventful night than most of his competition, finishing fifth. Lavery battled much of the middle stages of the race with Tim Snyder until finally the Deuce prevailed. Pat sits fourth in points; not close enough to challenge the top three for a title unless something major happens, yet comfortably ahead of everyone else. Many people, including some of his competition, are picking Lavery to pick up win number one this Saturday.
5. (+1) Joe Gosek. #00 Archer & Gunther-owned Xtreme Chassis. Ã¢â‚¬Å“Double O JoeÃ¢â‚¬Â was in the midst of the action most of the night, and came home with a decent fourth-place finish. Gosek moved into the top five early on only to be involved in the start of Ã¢â‚¬Å“big oneÃ¢â‚¬Â between turns one and two. JoeÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s crew got the 00 back out and he wheeled it back up into the top five, following the Curran-Shampine battle for second across the line. A little more fine-tuning should have the 00 contending for a win.
6. (+1) Keith Gilliam. #87 Keith Gilliam-owned Target Chassis. Keith looked to be in for a long night, as motor issues plagued the 87. With the car down on power, Gilliam was nowhere near most of the carnage, allowing him to cross the line in eighth. Look for Keith and crew to have the car running full song this week and contending for a top five in one of the features.
7. (New) Keith Shampine. #88 Randy Daratt-owned Graves Chassis. Keith and crew had their best night at the Speedway, winning a heat and coming home third in the feature. The 88 unloaded fast and stayed fast all night. Shampine dogged Jerry Curran for second for the last half of the feature, hoping the 24 would slip up. Curran held his line and Keith had to settle for third. Shampine has really made his trips up from North Carolina worth it, and now his and the teamÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s efforts are starting to bear fruit.
8. (+1) Tim Snyder. #0 Snyder Enterprises-owned Hawk Jr./Xtreme Chassis. Tim had one of his better runs this year, which normally means contending for a podium finish. This year, however, has been hard for the Snyder team. Tim battled for the lead early but then faded to sixth at the finish. Snyder felt he abused the tires battling so hard on the outside. The 0 appears to be handling much better, just in time for season end. As weÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ve seen before, that could bode well as the Classic is TimÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s kind of race.
9. (-4) Steve Gioia III. #9 Steve Gioia Jr.-owned Gioia Chassis. Steve was one of the many strong competitors who ended up in the pits at race end. Actually, Gioia went to the hospital to get checked out after his hard shot into the wall. Steve hit in a spot with no foam to soften the blow, and the car wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t the only one feeling the effects. Hopefully Steve is feeling better and the team can piece the car back together and compete for some good finishes Saturday.
10. (New) Jerry Curran. #24 Jerry Curran-owned Hawk Jr. Chassis. Jerry had his best run of the season, coming home second. Although it was a distant second, it was still a good finish, as the 24 has been evil for much of the year. Curran got his first win a year ago this coming week and another good finish or two would help him in points. Jerry is in a tight battle; as only twenty three points separate him, in fifth, through ninth.
SMRA’s Top 5 Race-to-Race Power Rankings
1. (+1) Troy Regier. #98 Steve Shaw & Tom Silsby-owned Silsby Chassis. Troy had a long mid-race battle with A.J. Russell that finally saw the 98 take the lead for good with less than ten laps to go. Regier and crew had the car working as well as it has at Madera all season. Once in the lead, Troy took off and was never challenged.
2. (+1) A.J. Russell. #7 Ken Pike & Richard Russell-owned KPC Chassis. A.J. made a nice run to the front early on. Russell led the majority of the race before giving way to Regier and then having to hold off Bryan Warf for second. A.J. and Troy put on quite a battle, and IÃ¢â‚¬â„¢m sure Russell wants to be the one coming out on top next time.
3. (-2) Jim Birges. #89 Ron Burger & Jim Birges-owned X-Car Chassis. Jim was solidly in the top five when the gears broke on the 89. Birges lacked the speed that heÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s had much of the year at Madera. Still, Jim has rebounded well this season after misfortune strikes, so look for him to contend the next time out.
4. (+1) Bryan Warf. #91 Pat Russell-owned Moyne Chassis. Bryan had another good run at Madera, coming home third. Warf was behind most of his competition early on, but made some nice passes on Jeff Russell and Lonnie Adamson. Bryan gave A.J. Russell all he could handle at the end of the race, fighting for second. As the race wore on, Warf seemed to get stronger and stronger.
5. (-1) Jeff Russell. #85 Jeff Russell-owned Silsby Chassis. Once again, Jeff Russell was the fastest qualifier and had nothing to show for it. Jeff got into the top five, only to lose his brakes and have to pull pit side, ending his night. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s hard to believe that Jeff hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t won yet this year, especially considering the speed seems to be there. It goes to show, adjusting the car for fifty laps is just as important as being fast for one lap.
ERA’s Top-5 Race-to-Race Power Rankings
1. (-) Rich Castor Jr. #2 Rich Castor Sr.-owned Hyder Chassis. Rich had another strong charge to the front of the field Saturday. Castor found the competition to be as strong as it has been all year, and needed the entire distance just to make it up to second. Rich is still the odds on favorite at Colorado National, but the competition is getting closer.
2. (-) Nick Haygood. #11 Rick Lowery-owned Hyder Chassis. One of CastorÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s closest competitors has been Nick Haygood. Nick wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t able to keep pace with the frontrunners this Saturday, and had to settle for fifth. Haygood had the car to beat for a couple races, but now the team will have to get back to work and make the 11 faster.
3. (New) Johnny Pickard. #02 Mike Pickard-owned Pickard Chassis. Johnny turned around a rough season with a big win. At times Pickard had a quarter-lap lead, driving away almost at will. Restarts were only a minor concern, as once heat was in the tires, the 02 sped away. Johnny is a former ERA champ, and would love to get back to his winning ways more consistently
4. (-) H.J. Evans. #3 Rich Castor Jr.-owned Hyder Chassis. Harold scored another fourth-place finish Saturday, his second in a row. Evans is still searching for a win or two to match his teammate, but hasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t had the speed to take the checkered flag first yet. H.J. is right in the thick of some strong competition and breaking through traffic first could be the key to him winning.
5. (New) Joe Priselac. #51 Joe Priselac-owned Hyder Chassis. Joe has had a mediocre year with only one top five before Saturday. That changed, as Priselac charged from ninth to second. Joe had nothing for Pickard, and eventually lost second to Castor. Joe hopes being back in contention is just a step in getting back to victory lane.