By Carol D. Haynes, Hall of Fame and Banquet Committe
OSWEGO, NY – The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego, was once again the site of the Oswego Speedway annual Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Inductions. A capacity crowd attended the ceremonies.
The Hall of Fame inductees or representatives provided many memories from their past associations with Oswego Speedway, accompanied by photos of their careers.
Graves, a Mexico, NY native, whose family played an integral part in the history of Oswego Speedway and continues to do so, indicated that his induction was a “dream come true” as he followed his father Fred, who was inducted in 2003.
Few have climbed higher on the racing ladder from Oswego Speedway than Andy Graves. After operating Graves Racing Products locally, Andy moved on to work in NASCAR and then being involved with Chip Ganassi with drivers Montoya and Vasser, winning the Indy 500. His career has led him to the highest echelons in racing and today is Technical Director over vehicle, engine and technology activities for Toyota Racing Development (TRD USA).
Andy says that he plans to stay with TRD USA until retirement, and explore exciting new challenges in the years ahead, possibly exploring consulting in the Formula 1 world at some point.
Graves also took a moment to acknowledge friend Clyde Booth, who could not be at the affair. Booth has been an important innovator in the supermodified and NASCAR racing world over 6 decades as a car owner-builder. The list of drivers that he has been associated with over the years includes many, many famous names such as Ollie Silva, Geoff Bodine, Warren Coniam, Jim Shampine, Dave Shullick Sr. and Jr., Mike Ordway Sr. and Jr. and more. His NASCAR affiliation included Robbie Moroso, Brett Bodine, Darrell Waltrip and Ward Burton. Booth also became known for his technical skills, and as a consultant.
The late driver Bob Stelter’s career was also an accomplished one. The popular Stelter was known for his hard-charging driving, which endeared him to the fans, but not always to his car owners. Stelter was known for his success in the Solvay Auto 04, and the Myles-Barker 93, which was purchased by his brother to create the Stelter Bros. Racing Team. After that enterprise was closed, he then drove for Jack Tobin. After 20 years of racing, Stelter ranks as one of Oswego Speedway’s all-time top competitors.
Joining the aforementioned as Hall of Fame inductees were Dawn and Clyde Rowlee, who were early members of the Speedway staff as scorer and flagman respectively in the inaugural years at the track. They retired in 1968 to spend time with grandchildren. Last but not least, Don Gioia of another famous racing family at Oswego Speedway, was honored for his long association as a mechanic, employee and even driver. Each member of the Gioia family, over the years has had some part in helping the Speedway thrive. Don joins his dad Sr. (1999) and brother Steve Jr. (2002) as past Hall of Fame inductees.
The Oswego Speedway 2019 awards were numerous, honoring many of the drivers, owners and others who put in exemplary efforts to make the season a success.
The list is below:
Ed Clark Safety Crew Spirit Award – Derek Noyes
Lois Matczak Woman of Year – Nancy Grathwohl, office staff
$1,000 Club Key First Time Feature Winners – Alison Sload, Tyler Thompson
The Eagles Fan Club sponsors three major awards each year as listed below:
Jim Shampine Memorial – Hal LaTulip, a long time supermodified competitor who still is active.
Tony White Memorial – Dave Cliff Sr.
Joe Paeno Memorial – Jason Simmons Racing Team
PathFinder Bank’s Dan Phillips VP of Accounting spoke about their association with the SBS division at Oswego and did the presentations to the PathFinder Bank SBS Top 10 drivers.
PathFinder Bank SBS Rookie of Year – Travis Bartlett, Mexico, NY
Novelis Supermodified Rookie of Year – Camden Proud, Oswego, NY
PathFinder Bank SBS Car Owner of Year – Tim Barbeau (Dave Cliff driven #50)
Novelis Supermodified Car Owner of Year – Pat Abold, Abold Racing
Novelis Supermodified Most Improved Driver – Logan Rayvals (Rayvals 94)
PathFinder Bank Most Improved Driver – Josh Sokolic, (Sokolic 26)
PathFinder Bank SBS Track Champion – Anthony Losurdo (Castiglia 1)
Losurdo was also the top finisher in the 350 Supermodifieds
Jake’s Automotive SBS Crew of the Year – RBI Racing – Tim Glidden and Cameron Rowe
Jake’s Automotive Supermodified Crew of the Year – 02 Bellinger Racing
Novelis Plant Manager Jeff Cruse was on hand to talk about the great progress that the local aluminum plant is making into the Ford truck lines. He also indicated that the aluminum can recycling nights at the track have provided another banner year of cans collected. Jeff also helped introduce the top ten in supermodified points.
Record-setting Novelis Supermodified Track Champion Otto Sitterly, who became the only 9-time supermodified champion in the history of speedway this year, along with car owner John Nicotra, ended the activities with his always-spirited speech.
Entertainment was presented by DJ Mike Howell in the banquet hall and Cam Caruso, who continued the festivities in Alex’s, the downstairs restaurant venue of the facility.
Many thanks go to the Torrese family, Oswego Speedway track owners, to the Hall of Fame Committee, the Banquet Committee, the numerous door prize donors, MC Steve Quonce and all those who helped make the night a success.