OSWEGO, NY– The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego provided an elegant backdrop on Saturday night as a large crowd gathered to honor some of the top 2013 Oswego Speedway achievers from the Novelis Supermodified and PathFinder Bank race divisions.
A group of six worthy inductees also entered the Oswego Speedway Mitchell’s Speedway Press Hall of Fame.
The official fan club of Oswego Speedway, the Eagles Fan Club, were also on hand to pass out monies they raised during the season and to hand out several of its own coveted awards.
Presentation of some of the individual awards began the program. The Ed Clark Safety Crew Spirit Award, which went to John Byrnes, a long time safety crewmember. The Oswego Speedway Recognition Award was presented to Butch and Lorraine Kisselstein who work tirelessly each race night; Butch on the safety jeep and Lorraine as the pace truck driver. The annual Lois Matczak Woman of the Year award, sponsored by Skip Matczak, went quite deservedly to Debbie Bond who not only works in the speedway office doing many jobs, but also helps coordinate her husband Mike’s race efforts in the SBS class.
Something new was added this year in the Turning Stone Casino sponsored Favorite Driver Award, which was voted on by the fans throughout the season. Oswego’s Joe Gosek took home this popular award.
The Eagles Fan Club who work unceasingly each season to raise extra money for the drivers’ point funds, also presented two coveted awards in the Jim Shampine and Tony White memorial awards. Gosek Racing, which recently lost one of their founders in Tony Osetek, was presented the Jim Shampine Memorial award. Joe Gosek, in the bittersweet moment, dedicated the award to Tony whom he attributes as the man who helped start Gosek on his illustrious career.
The Eagles Fan Club Tony White award went for the first time to a father and son team, Dennis Rupert Sr. and Jr. who not only find time to work on their own SBS mount but are always willing to go the extra mile for someone else in the pits who needs help.
Chris Smith, General Manager of Novelis was on hand to assist with the Novelis Supermodified awards and spoke briefly on how the annual can donations and the money it garners at the track have helped Novelis fund a traveling math and science project which visits area schools. Smith indicated that over 1000 students have benefited by the can collection at the Oswego Speedway, which since inception has totaled over 800,000 cans. Several nights each season fans may bring cans to the track and those bringing the highest numbers are rewarded with various items.
The top ten Novelis Supermodified teams were honored with 2013 champion Otto Sitterly taking a moment to thank his car owner John Nicotra, his family and crew for another successful year. Sitterly’s sixth championship ranks him with an elite group who has achieved similar title numbers including Nolan Swift, Jim Shampine and Bentley Warren. The remainder of the top ten, in descending order were Joe Gosek, Shaun Gosselin, David Gruel, Pat Lavery, Dave Danzer, Michael Barnes, Michael Muldoon, Dan Connors and Brandon Bellinger.
Jamesville’s Tony Steiner became the Oswego Speedway Rookie of the Year by virtue of his fifteenth place finish in the competitive point standings, just beating out Fultonian Clayt Brewer III by 29 points for the title. Third generation supermodified driver Michael Muldoon, who finished eighth in the Novels super points, received the Most Improved Driver honors.
The Jake’s Automotive Supermodified Crew of the Year honors went to Gosselin Racing, which picked up two feature wins in 2013 and the Jake’s Automotive Supermodified Car Owner of the Year went to John Nicotra.
Ron Tascarella of PathFinder Bank, title sponsor of the Small Block Supermodified division at Oswego also spoke briefly about the division, which continues to grow each season, and the affiliation the bank has with the class.
Russ Brown, 2013 PathFinder Bank SBS champion spoke briefly of his fifth title, and more than likely his last as he indicated he has promised his family that this would be the last full season of any racing. Besides his competition at Oswego, which dates back to his first title in 1992, Russ has participated in many other race divisions including a stint in the supermodifieds.
Mexico’s Mike Bond was a close runner-up to Brown in the spirited title chase, trailed by Jason Simmons, Jay Andrews, Kreig Heroth, Jon Tesoriero (also Most Improved Driver), Andrew Schartner, Dalton Doyle, Rob Pullen and Jack Patrick in the SBS top ten.
The PathFinder Bank Butler Disposal Rookie of the Year Honors went to former dirt pilot Jeremy Pitcher who picked up his a feature win in his first year at Oswego on his way to that title.
The Jake’s Automotive SBS Car Owner of the Year award was presented to Jason Simmons, who finished third in the standings. The Jake’s SBS Crew of the Year award sent to the Four 7777 Motorsports team which fielded four cars during the season, two of which finished in the top ten (Mike Bond and Jon Tesoriero).
The Mitchell’s Speedway Press 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees included legendary drivers Mike Ordway Sr. (supermodifieds) and Dean Hoag (SBS and supers). Clay’s Soule Racing was honored as car owners whose participation in Oswego racing began with the track’s inception in the late 50s when Jim Soule began and into the present with son Dan Soule at the helm of the team. Robert “Bud” Young who resides in Fulton, NY, was honored with induction for his long and capable service on the Oswego Speedway ambulance crew. Mexico, NY photographer Bill Hartwell, whose photography over the years have and will preserve the long and storied history of the speedway, was among the class of 2013 and Berrien Springs, Michigan’s Dave Paul, who was a member of the early “Michigander” days of supermodifieds, was inducted under the Special Achievement category for his short and successful career at Oswego before moving on to USAC competition.
Romey Caruso gave the invocation to begin the night while, MC’s Roy Sova and Joe Marotta closed out the ceremonies and Millennium Music’s Ron Gray took over to provide the music to end a very memorable evening for all those in attendance.