OSWEGO, NY – First round qualifications on Friday evening for the Budweiser International Classic at Oswego Speedway were unlike any other in the history of the event.
Of the 37 Novelis Supermodifieds to take time, 24 clocked in under the 17-second bracket, the most in history. When it was all said and done Oswego native Pat Lavery, in the Double Deuce Racing No. 22, stood above the rest with a lap of 16.242 seconds, and will lead the field to green on Sunday.
Lavery, who last sat on the Classic pole position in 2010, narrowly missed the non-wing Supermodified record at the Speedway of 16.212 seconds set by Doug Didero in 2009.
“We had a really quick car all day long,” said Lavery in the pit area after qualifications. “After I watched Mike Lichty run a 16.2 I thought ‘I think the pole is kind of out of question,’ but I thought we could get ahead of that big group of guys that ran 16.5’s and 16.6’s. Somehow we put a pretty good lap together and got the pole.”
Lavery continued, as his Double Deuce crew celebrated.
“It felt like a pretty good lap, but I didn’t think it was a 16.2,” said Lavery. “We had run a 16.5 in practice, so I knew what we were up for, and it felt a little bit better than that but I still didn’t think it was a 16.2.”
With his second career International Classic pole position, Lavery plans to savor the accomplishment.
“It’s a very cool feeling,” said Lavery. “Last time we qualified on the pole it was a time trial in the morning, race in the afternoon thing. It was one of the rain delays. So, I was only on the pole for a couple hours, but this one we have two days to enjoy it so it is pretty cool.”
With the pole position, Lavery and team earned a check for $1,000 from Davis Bros. Inc. of Oswego.
Once again, on the outside front row for the second consecutive year is Canadian runner Mike Lichty. Lichty, driving the Nicotra Racing No. 2, not only earned a $500 check from Davis Bros. Inc., but he will also be awarded the Carl Rutledge Memorial Fastest Canadian Qualifier award on Sunday.
After turning a lap of 16.285 seconds in Nicotra’s brand new Hawk chassis, Lichty temporarily sat on the pole until Lavery knocked him one rung lower in the order.
While the fight for the pole position was intriguing, the battle to be locked into the Top 14 spots after round one was just as dramatic. As Otto Sitterly took to the Speedway as the final car in the time trial order, Mike Barnes was on the bubble with a lap of 16.681 seconds in the Strong Racing No. 99. Sitterly, who had turned the fastest lap in the afternoon warm-ups, seemed a shoe in to knock Barnes out of the Top 14.
Sitterly’s first lap only clocked in the 16.7 second range giving Barnes hope. However, Sitterly managed a 16.612 second lap on the next circuit, just barely edging out Barnes, handing Sitterly the 14th and final qualifying position on Friday night.
Ray Graham, Joe Gosek, Jeff Holbrook, and Davey Hamilton completed the Top 6 qualifiers on Friday and will fill the front three rows on Sunday afternoon.
The fastest field in International Classic history saw 24 cars time in under the 17-second bracket, with Bobby Haynes Jr. qualifying 24th with a lap of 16.921 seconds. The same lap one year ago would have put Haynes 10th in the field come Sunday.
For the first time in Classic history, every car to take time was also under the 18-second bracket.
Second round time trials for the International Classic 200 which will set positions 15-28 in the Classic order, will start at noon on Sunday. Drivers currently in positions 15-20 do have the option of standing on their time, should they feel as though their speeds are quick enough to hold in those positions. Once a car is pushed onto the track on Sunday for second round time trials, they surrender their first round time.
Barnes, Bob Bond, Joey Payne, Jeff Abold, Kelly Miller, and Jeff Locke currently stand in positions 15-20. Those drivers who qualified 21st on back must time again on Sunday.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS Series also had time trials on Friday for the SBS Bud Light Classic coming up on Saturday night. The Top 18 qualifiers were inverted into heat races last night, meaning the drivers 16-18 in the order would start on the pole in their qualifying heat races.
Dave Cliff, driving the Tedneck Racing No. 77 machine, set quick time on the afternoon with a lap of 19.107 seconds. Kreig Heroth, Russ Brown, Mike Bond, and Cameron Rowe were the Top 5 in speeds on Friday afternoon.
With the quick time Cliff earned $200 from Davis Bros. Inc., while Heroth took home a check for $100 with his second fastest time.
As it turned out Jack Patrick, Chris Proud, and Mike Bruce would earn pole positions for the heat races on Friday and each would lead all 10-laps on their way to victories.
Rob Pullen, Brown, Barry Kingsley, Rowe, Tim Barbeau, Jason Simmons, David LaTulip, Bond, and Cliff will join the heat races winners in the Top 12 positions of tonight’s 60-lap SBS Classic. The front 12 positions will be lined up based on year-long handicap.
A total of 21 drivers earned starting positions in the SBS Classic last night. A final consi event will be run this evening to determine the final five starters in the 21st annual Classic event.
Heroth, the 2012 Oswego Speedway SBS track champion, will have to run the consi this evening after spinning and tagging the foam on the final lap of the second heat race. The driver of the No. 04 tried to make a last ditch move on Simmons to earn a Top 12 starting spot, but instead lost the handle and finished 9th in the qualifier.
Tonight’s Bud Light Classic Saturday action kicks-off at 3:30 p.m. with hot laps for the Pathfinder Bank SBS Series, the ISMA Supermodifieds, and the ATQMRA TQ Midgets. Grandstands will open at 3:30 p.m. with ISMA time trials going off at 5 p.m. Racing will follow immediately after.
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