OSWEGO, NY – Since 1962, Oswego Speedway has been the home of non-wing Supermodified racing in the United States. That tradition will continue Saturday, May 11 with the 52nd consecutive Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’ at the ‘Steel Palace.’
Mitchell’s Speedway Press and CJ Ferlito Aggregates will present the opening round of the Novelis Supermodified ‘Road to the Championship’ on May 11. The night’s racing action will be highlighted with a 75-lap main for Novelis Supermodifieds and a 30-lap feature event for the Pathfinder Bank SBS Series.
Grandstand gates will open at 3 p.m. on May 11 with Novelis Supermodified time trials taking place at 5 p.m. Racing will take the green at 6:30 p.m.
In the 51-year history of non-wing Supermodified racing at Oswego Speedway, a total of 28 different drivers have won the Supermodified ‘Kick-Off.’
Art Bennett was the first ‘Kick-Off’ winner back in 1962, and would go on to win Oswego’s track championship that season.
Bennett would be the first of 22 occasions that the ‘Kick-Off’ winner went on to claim the Speedway’s championship. The Michigan driving veteran and Oswego Speedway Hall of Famer would also claim opening glory in 1965.
The driver with the most wins on ‘Kick-Off’ weekend is the late great Jim Shampine, with seven all-time victories to open the season. Shampine would also be the first driver to win in consecutive seasons, as he would go on to claim the checkered flag from 1971-1976.
Bentley Warren earned a total of five victories in the Oswego Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’ during his illustrious Speedway career. With victories in 1980, 1986-1987, 1989, and 1994, Warren was no doubt the driver to beat during the decade of the 1980’s.
Behind Shampine and Warren are Joe Gosek, Mike Ordway, and Otto Sitterly with four wins a piece during Novelis Supermodified openers.
Gosek is the only driver in history to win a Novelis Supermodified lid lifter in three different decades. First visiting victory lane in 1988, the Oswego driver would also return in 1991, 2005, and 2007.
Sitterly has been the class of the field during opening mains in the past seven seasons with wins in 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2012. Most impressive is that Sitterly would go on to claim the Speedway’s track championship in each of those four seasons.
Sitterly’s Nicotra Racing teammate Davey Hamilton is also expected to be in competition on May 11 driving the Nicotra blue No. 6. Last year, Hamilton took second to Sitterly in the Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off.’
Chasing Sitterly in search of their first ‘Kick-Off’ wins this season will be Pat Lavery, Dan Connors Jr., Dave Gruel, Michael Barnes, Dave Danzer and Kody Graham.
With the exception of Lavery and Connors, each has been to victory lane in the past and hopes to get 2013 started the right way in their search for an Oswego Speedway championship.
Lavery, who chased Sitterly right down to the wire in the battle for the 2012 Oswego Speedway championship, will again be back behind the wheel of the potent Double Deuce Racing No. 22 Hawk chassis.
After hitting the Speedway for open practice on April 27, Connors will join Lavery in their quest for a first career Oswego Supermodified win at the ‘Steel Palace’. Connors came on strong in 2012, finishing 6th in the final driver’s standings, winning Best Car and Crew for the season.
Veterans Gosek, Ray Graham, and Tim Snyder are also chomping at the bit in anticipation of a strong upcoming season.
After destroying his No. 00 midway through 2012, Gosek rebounded, picking up an August feature victory a year ago and nearly picked up wins in both the Budweiser International Classic and Fall Championship. The Gosek team is prepared to make another run at the championship in ’13.
Competing with ISMA and Oswego Speedway in 2013, Graham will return behind the wheel of the team Xtreme No. 90 in non-wing competition. Graham, the 2009 winner of Oswego’s Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’, took two feature wins in 2012 and will again join son Kody as a 1-2 punch in Oswego’s stellar ring of competition.
After missing the majority of 2012 with a health issue, Snyder will return behind the wheel of his family owned No. 0 this season. A tremendous run in last year’s Budweiser International Classic has Snyder ready for another full season at Oswego.
A host of new or returning drivers are also making Oswego Speedway home in 2013.
New competitors include ISMA veteran Jeff Locke, former DIRT Modified driver Tony Steiner, Clayton Brewer III, and Lowell Zehr.
Drivers looking to make a return venture in Supermodified racing this season will be Bill Sharkey, Lou LeVea Jr., Todd Stowell, and Brian Sweeney.
Sweeney debuted his new Hark chassis during the April 27 open practice, and quickly made his way into the 17-second range after not being behind the wheel in almost a decade.
To purchase tickets for Oswego Speedway’s 52nd consecutive Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’, call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646. Once again in 2013, kids 16 and under will be admitted free of charge with a paid adult.
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com, follow on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway, or like on Facebook at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.
Novelis Supermodified ‘Kick-Off’ Winners: (1962-2012)
1962 – Art Bennett *
1963 – Dave Paul *
1964 – Nolan Johncock
1965 – Art Bennett
1966 – Bob Smith (OH)
1967 – Gordon Dukes
1968 – Red Barnhart
1969 – Ken Andrews *
1970 – Norm Mackereth
1971 – Jim Shampine
1972 – Jim Shampine *
1973 – Jim Shampine *
1974 – Jim Shampine *
1975 – Jim Shampine
1976 – Jim Shampine *
1977 – Kempton Dates *
1978 – Eddie Bellinger, Jr.
1979 – Jim Shampine *
1980 – Bentley Warren
1981 – Chuck Ciprich
1982 – Doug Heveron *
1983 – Steve Gioia, Jr.
1984 – Warren Coniam
1985 – Eddie Bellinger, Jr.
1986 – Bentley Warren *
1987 – Bentley Warren *
1988 – Joe Gosek
1989 – Bentley Warren *
1990 – Mike Ordway
1991 – Joe Gosek
1992 – Pat Abold *
1993 – Pat Abold
1994 – Bentley Warren
1995 – Doug Didero *
1996 – Cliff Graves
1997 – Mike Muldoon *
1998 – Randy Ritskes
1999 – Mike Muldoon *
2000 – Greg Furlong *
2001 – Bob Goutermout
2002 – Mike Ordway
2003 – Mike Ordway
2004 – Mike Ordway
2005 – Joe Gosek
2006 – Otto Sitterly *
2007 – Joe Gosek
2008 – Otto Sitterly *
2009 – Ray Graham
2010 – Otto Sitterly *
2011 – Randy Ritskes
2012 – Otto Sitterly *
* – Went on to become Track Champion