OSWEGO, NY – As Oswego Speedway’s 65th anniversary season inches ever closer, more than 40 teams have so far committed to the 2015 season at the Steel Palace, set to take the green flag on May 9 presented by Planet Fitness of Oswego and Mitchell’s Speedway Press.
By signing on to the Oswego Speedway commitment program teams are agreeing to enter each and every week of the regular racing season at the Speedway. In doing so, the Speedway agrees to pay an increased and guaranteed purse to start the feature every Saturday night to those teams. However, if for any reason a team misses more than one night of racing the commitment goes away, and the team is no longer in the program.
At that point teams also have to forfeit any commitment dollars gained on top of a normal Saturday night purse.
A total of 25 Novelis Supermodified teams have committed to the weekly field in 2015, including 2014 championship combatants Otto Sitterly, Dave Gruel, David Danzer, Pat Lavery and Joey Payne.
Sitterly’s feats have been well chronicled in recent months after claiming his historic seventh Novelis Supermodified Oswego Speedway track title in 2014 over Gruel.
With a total of 30 career Supermodified main event wins now at Oswego, including his fourth Budweiser International Classic crown, Sitterly no doubt reigns as the man to beat heading into 2015.
Hawk chassis companions Gruel, Danzer, and Lavery will all return with their same mounts in 2015, nipping at Sitterly’s heels. However, odds makers may believe that Danzer and his family owned No. 52 machine, may have the best chance of the three to knock off Sitterly.
Danzer rattled off three main events wins in 2014, with two coming in his brand new Hawk chassis later in the year. A victory in the $10,000 to win Mr. Novelis Supermodified and a triumph during the Race of Champions Fall Championship finale in a direct battle with Sitterly, points to the No. 52 as a direct opponent to Sittery’s run at a record breaking eighth Supermodified championship.
Former teammates Gruel and Lavery each fell short of victory lane in 2014, but no doubt share the same team effort and driving pedigree to threaten the Nicotra team for the title.
Arguably the hottest driver, other than Danzer, at the end of 2014 was the driver of the Graham Racing, Xtreme Chassis No. 99 – the ‘Jersey Jet’ Joey Payne.
Payne will return full-time in 2015 behind the wheel of his track record shattering machine, which sat on the pole for the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200, and with feature winning teammate Kody Graham the duo looks to end the recent championship stranglehold held by Sitterly and Hawk chassis.
After debuting the Graham machine later in the season last year, Payne wasted little time in finding the machine comfortable, driving to a main event win in August before dominating the early portions of the International Classic and finishing the championship schedule with three consecutive top five finishes on his way to sixth in the final standings.
Payne fell just 124 points shy of the title, even though he missed one event during the year rehabbing a non-racing related injury.
Like Payne, Kody Graham also picked up one main event win in 2014 and shared the front row with Payne for the International Classic.
Other drivers finishing in the top ten of last year’s drivers’ championship that will return as commitment members in 2015 are Joe Gosek, Michael Barnes, Tim Devendorf and Michael Muldoon.
While no official word has come out from Gosek as to which option he will select for 2015, most reports seem to indicate that the Gosek team will make the front end adjustments necessary to their championship winning No. 00 from 2011 in order to better compete this coming season.
Gosek won the 75-lap Grand Prix event at the Speedway in 2014, his 43rd career main event win at Oswego.
Despite missing one event in 2014, Barnes drove the new Syrell Racing Hawk chassis to two main event wins last season and eighth in the drivers’ championship. Barnes adds his name to a stellar list of championship hopefuls during the 2015 campaign.
Devendorf will debut a brand new Hawk chassis into action in 2015.
The machine was completed very late in 2014, and never hit the track for competition. Finishing ninth in points in 2014, Devendorf was declared the Speedway’s most improved driver one year ago and looks to continue to climb in 2015.
Finishing the top ten in points one year ago was Muldoon, who will again return to the Speedway with a re-worked No. 51 roadster. Still eyeing his first career main event win, the young Muldoon will surely be a threat for victory in 2015.
Others entering the program from one year ago include Brandon Bellinger, Keith Shampine, Stephen Gioia III, Dan Connors Jr., Lou LeVea Sr., Lou LeVea Jr., Tim Snyder, Hal LaTulip, Shaun Gosselin, Jeff Abold and Ray Graham.
New drivers in the program this season include 2014 Rookie of the Year Mike Barbera, 2015 Rookie of the Year candidate Logan Rayvals and returning Supermodified veteran Brian Sobus.
While the teams listed above are those displaying the early commitment to be at the track each week in 2015, a host of other drivers and teams are hoping to make the Steel Palace home in 2015.
Dave Cliff, Bob Bogwicz, Dave Shullick Jr., Brian Sweeney, Davey Hamilton, Jerry Curran, Jeff Locke, Bob Bond, Joey Moriarty, and Tim Jedrzejek have also all registered for action at the Home of Supermodifieds this season.
On the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super side of the pit area, 17 teams have so far entered into the commitment program including last year’s championship contestants Andrew Schartner, Kreig Heroth, Anthony Losurdo, and Jack Patrick.
Schartner dominated the 2014 campaign at Oswego, driving the Crow Motorsports No. 18 Hedger chassis with three main events wins. Commuting weekly from Charlotte, NC, to compete makes each new season a bit uncertain for Schartner and team, but it is doubtful they will miss on a chance to defend their title in 2015.
Former SBS champion Heroth is re-tooling for another shot at the title this season, as Kreig Heroth Motorsports has teamed with Dick Myers to build a brand new Hedger chassis for 2015. Heroth and Myers will bring two Hedger small blocks to the Speedway weekly this season with their eyes solely set on regaining their championship status from 2012.
Like Heroth, young Losurdo will be behind the wheel of a new machine this season, except it will be of the FFB chassis variety. Announced at the end of last year, Losurdo will join forces with Denise Merrill and Mike Bond of Four Sevens Motorsports in the new year with the hope of bringing Losurdo his first championship in the No. 1.
Losurdo’s teammate Bond, who missed the majority of 2014 with a back injury, will also wheel a new FFB chassis in search of his first Speedway title since 2011.
Patrick, arguably one of the fastest machines at the Speedway each week in 2014, will return in 2015 looking to return to victory lane and take another crack at the championship in the Mopar No. 9. Patrick, Heroth and Losurdo had a tremendous battle late in the year last season for the runner-up position in the Speedway’s SBS championship.
Others in the top ten of last year’s championship battle returning in 2015 include Bud Light SBS Classic champion JJ Andrews, Barry Kingsley, Mike Bruce and Josh Kerr.
Andrews came on strong late in 2014 with the No. 93, showing superior speed and eventually driving to his first career victory in the SBS Classic. After initially planning a part-time campaign in 2015, Andrews and team have decided to again race for his elusive first Speedway track title.
Kingsley returns full-time as a teammate to Andrews in the Team Tapout No. 91 Hedger. Despite missing out on victory lane in 2014, Kingsley was a weekly top five threat, and battled for a podium championship position at various points of the season.
Bruce won the first three main events of his career in 2014 driving the FFB No. 22 on his way to eighth in the standings. An up and down year from a results perspective kept Bruce from a chase at the title, but the Oswego driver hopes to change that this coming season.
Kerr edged his way into the top ten of last year’s drivers’ championship in the No. 8 and hopes to capitalize on that in 2015 to move up even higher.
Others returning to the program this season from one year ago include 2014 feature winner Alex Hoag, Dalton Doyle, 2014 Rookie of the Year Camden Proud, David LaTulip, Greg O’Connor and Dennis Rupert.
New to the program this season will be Bruce Racing teammate Matt Magner as well as 2015 Rookie of the Year candidate and Oswego Kartway graduate Alex McRae.
McRae is the grandson of longtime Speedway Supermodified veteran Joe Hawksby Sr. and the nephew to Hawk chassis creator Joe Hawksby Jr. A many time feature winner at the Friday night Oswego Kartway facility, McRae will drive No. 14 in 2015.
One notable name missing from the commitment list is the third member of Team Tapout, Jason Simmons, who finished fifth in last year’s championship order.
Reports indicate that although the car is not signed up for the commitment program, it is near completion for 2015, and may likely be a weekly fixture for the year despite being left off the commitment list currently.
Reports have also indicated that the SBS ranks may see the weekly return of former series champion Russ Brown, although the driver or car has not yet registered for 2015. Brown won two main events, on a very limited schedule in 2014, winning the $1,500 to win Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS title before setting a new SBS track record during Bud Light SBS Classic time trials in the Hedger No. 13.
Other drivers registered that are not currently in the commitment program include Jesse Bearup, Rob Pullen, James Babcock, Cameron Black, AJ Bernys, Dennis Richmond and Ray Sand Jr.
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or call (315) 342-0646. Visit the Speedway on social media @OswegoSpeedway or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.
2015 Novelis Supermodified Commitment Roster
00 – Joe Gosek
01 – Dan Connors Jr.
02 – Brandon Bellinger
05 – Jeff Abold
0 – Tim Snyder
5 – Tim Devendorf
7 – Otto Sitterly
9 – Stephen Gioia III
11 – Graham Racing
21 – Kody Graham
22 – Pat Lavery
26 – Shaun Gosselin
45 – Mike Barbera
50 – Dave Gruel
51 – Michael Muldoon
52 – David Danzer
55 – Keith Shampine
56 – Hal LaTulip
66 – Lou LeVea Sr.
68 – Michael Barnes
79 – Brian Sobus
83 – Lou LeVea Jr.
90 – Ray Graham
94 – Logan Rayvals ®
99 – Joey Payne
2015 Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super Commitment Roster
01 – Dalton Doyle
04 – Kreig Heroth
1 – Anthony Losurdo
7 – Alex Hoag
8 – Josh Kerr
9 – Jack Patrick
14 – Alex McRae ®
18 – Andrew Schartner
20 – Matt Magner
22 – Mike Bruce
27 – David LaTulip
54 – Camden Proud
74 – Mike Bond
90 – Greg O’Connor
91 – Barry Kingsley
93 – JJ Andrews
99 – Dennis Rupert