Lavery, Andrews and Hirschman Earn Top Spots in Classic Weekend Opener

By – Chris Porter

Double-Deuce Racing’s Pat Lavery won the pole for Sunday’s 57th running of the International Classic 200 at the Oswego Speedway. Piloting his No. 22 supermodified around the lakeside oval’s fast five-eighths paved mile at an average speed of 138mph, his lap time of 16.223 seconds was just .011 seconds off of Doug Didero’s 2009 track record. It was Lavery’s third Classic pole win.

“I kind of surprised myself to tell you the truth,” Lavery said after the run. “We worked hard all practice and the best we were getting was a 16.8.”

Listen to – Pat Lavery

Earning the pole landed the Oswego native a $1,000 payday from Corr/Pak Merchandising.

Lavery took the pole position away from Ankeny, IA’s Ray Graham, Jr., who’s lap of 16.294 seconds ended up earning him the third spot on the starting grid. Boise, ID’s Davey Hamilton came closest to besting Lavery’s time, with his outside, front-row time of 16.254 seconds. The outside pole earned Hamilton $500.

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By virtue of Enfield, CT’s Shaun Gosselin earning the fourth fastest time, the front two rows were made up of drivers hailing from four different states.

Bob Bond, Otto Sitterly, Ryan Litt, Joe Gosek, Dan Connors, Jr. and Jessica Zemken filled out the top 10. As long as her No. 11 supermodified can take the green flag to start Sunday’s event, Zemken will be the first woman to race in Oswego’s Classic.

Dave Danzer, Dave Shullick, Jr. and Dave Gruel earned starting positions 11 through 13.

With only the top 14 times being locked into Sunday’s starting field, Lavery had said he was just hoping the 16.8’s he was running in practice would be good enough to get him into the top 10. As it turned out, the cut-off time to make it into the top 14 was 16.659 seconds – run by Cornelius, NC’s, Keith Shampine.

For Shampine, finishing 14th in the field was nearly as good as a win. Fighting new car bugs most of the season, Shampine and his No. 55 team are excited to have earned a guaranteed starting spot for Sunday’s 200-lapper.

“14 is a great number, Shampine said.” I didn’t even think we even had a shot to even get into the top 14 with the way our weekend has been going.”

Listen to – Keith Shampine

A combined seven small block supermodified track championships, six SBS Classic wins and 48 feature wins failed to intimidate Mexico’s JJ Andrews on Friday night. As Andrews began his time-trial run, already sitting atop the starting grid were the two most decorated veterans of the division – Mike Bond and Russ Brown.

Fastest in practice doesn’t always equal being the fastest when it actually counts, but Andrews backed up his top practice speed with the fastest small block supermodified time-trial run of the night. His “excuse me” lap of 19.290 seconds nudged Bond off of the pole and bumped Brown behind him.

“Holy mackerel, I can’t believe it,” Andrews said of his run. “The car was so good. I was really shocked. I always choke. It’s about putting four corners together. You’ve got to hit four corners right and usually I can get two, but not always four in a row. But I got four corners in a row this time and everything was great.”

Listen to – JJ Andrews

Only the top six drivers were locked into the starting field for Saturday’s SBS Classic. Not only would landing a top six time trial automatically put you in the starting field, it allowed you to skip having to run a qualifying heat race.

Jason Simmons and Andrew Schartner timed fourth and fifth fastest. The sixth and final qualifying spot was earned by Brian Sobus.

“Being in the heats, it sucks,” Sobus said. “You don’t want to get stuck in a heat. It’s always been my goal to time in and fortunately, I’ve always been pretty much able to … We missed the set up, but we still luckily got in the top six, so we’re happy.”

Listen to – Brian Sobus

Kreig Heroth, Jeremy Pitcher and Rob Pullen earned qualifying heat race wins.

Matt Hirschman won the 100-lap Sunoco Modified event. Chuck Hossfeld, Austin Kochenash, Andy Jankowiak and Billy Putney rounded out the top five.