Once again, Cameron Rowe failed to finish the full 30 laps of the small block feature at the Oswego Speedway on Saturday night. However, his 19 and 3/4 laps atop the leader board were enough to earn the win as racing conditions finally gave way to a pestering drizzle that had haunted the race since its beginning.
The call from the tower couldn’t have come at a better time for Rowe, though, not at a worse time for chasers Jack Patrick and Mike Bond. Both challengers had just begun to surround the race leader when the final yellow flag flew. Multiple caution laps were run to try and keep ahead of the falling drops, but when the racing surface began to darken, the field was shown the checkered flag.
A wet, but very happy Cameron Rowe poses in victory lane at Oswego
After multiple early race exits due to motor, rear-end and transmission mechanical miscues, Rowe was thrilled with finally being able to cash in on one of his many feature race leads. Rowe said he was doing a rain dance inside the cockpit of his No. 77 racer, encouraging the corner men, fans in the stands and his crew to do the same.
“We wanted it to rain,” Rowe said. “We started getting real loose coming out. Jack showed me a wheel on the outside. His car’s been pretty fierce. Bond’s car’s been fierce. That new scoreboard kind of lets you know what’s going on. I was cringing when I started seeing those numbers coming closer to my car. Then, when Jack poked the car on the outside of me, I really had to race hard to come out. Luckily, I held onto the position and the rain came and here we are.”
The rain perhaps helped clean out the dark cloud that has seemed to hang over the No. 77 team this season.
“We needed a break of some sorts anyway,” he said. “These guys needed their spirits lifted. I needed my spirits lifted. Day in and day out we work on that car. We bring it here and then, failure. It’s hard to maintain that. The guys needed it. I didn’t care (that it was rain-shortened). For 20 laps we led. We led them all. That’s all that mattered.”
Listen to more from – Cameron Rowe
Rowe and Mark Castiglia led the field to the green to start the 30-lap scheduled event. Rowe took the point early, leading Jason Simmons, Castiglia, Tim Barbeau, Patrick and Bond through lap No. 1.
Patrick took his N0. 9 to the outside of Barbeau and Castiglia on the third lap, gobbling up both positions by lap No. 4. With the No. 9 poised to attack Simmons for second, the caution flag flew as the constant light drizzle turned a bit heavier. Multiple laps were run under caution to keep the track warm.
The drizzle turned into a light mist, allowing an open window for racing to resume. Rowe led the field back to the green flag, unchallenged.
While the leaders raced single-file, Bond began an assault from the sixth-place running spot. After first dipping under Barbeau on the 10th lap for fifth, Bond would then use the outside to better Castiglia for fourth on the 12th lap. A caution for the spun No. 37 of Bryan Haynes slowed the field on the 14th lap.
Near the halfway mark, Rowe led Simmons, Patrick, Bond and Castiglia. Barbeau, David LaTulip, Andrew Schartner, Kreig Heroth and A.J. Bernys completed the top 10.
With the halfway mark signaling a completed show and not knowing when the skies would open up, Patrick took to the outside of Simmons for second on the restart. Simmons held his ground, but Patrick switched lanes and earned the position with an inside pass on the 16th lap. Bond followed Patrick’s footsteps into third.
Rowe led a three-car breakaway, as his point position soon came under attack. Patrick looked to the Rowe’s outside on the 18th lap, but Rowe pushed back ahead. Taking advantage of Patrick’s No. 9 racing up top, Bond stuck the nose of his N0. 26 under the No. 9. The two raced side-by-side, inches off the tail of Rowe’s 77.
Again, forced to run up top, Patrick was making another pass attempt on the right side of Rowe when the caution lights began to flash for Mother Nature’s increased presence. The waiting game began again, as this time, enough laps were in to call the race official. While Rowe began his rain dance inside his No. 77, Patrick and Bond prayed for the showers to subside.
However, with the racing surface receiving its heaviest dose of precipitation yet, the caution laps began losing the battle to keep the track dry. The checkered was flown and Rowe was awarded his first small block supermodified win.
Patrick was happy with second, but was confident he had Rowe’s number.
Listen to – Jack Patrick
Bond, Simmons and Castiglia rounded out the top five. Barbeau, LaTulip, Schartner, Heroth and Bernys completed the top 10.
SBS Feature (19 of 30 Laps) Finish: 1. Cameron Rowe (77), 2. Jack Patrick (9), 3. Mike Bond (26), 4. Jason Simmons (98), 5. Mark Castiglia (90), 6. Tim Barbeau (50), 7. David LaTulip (27), 8. Andrew Schartner (18), 9. Kreig Heroth (44), 10. A.J. Bernys (24), 11. Rob Pullen (2), 12. Dalton Doyle (1), 13. Mike Bruce (22), 14. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 15. Bryan Haynes (37), 16. Barry Kingsley (23), DNS – 17. Bryan Osetek (00)
Heat #1: 1. Castiglia, 2. Barbeau, 3. Bond, 4. Schartner, 5. Bernys, 6. Haynes, 7. LeVea, 8. Osetek
Heat #2: 1. Patrick, 2. Rowe, 3. LaTulip, 4. Heroth, 5. Simmons, 6. Bruce, 7. Pullen, 8. Doyle, 9. Kinsgley