By – Chris Porter
Classic Weekend kicked off with a bang on Friday night at the Oswego Speedway with the shattering of track records in both supermodified divisions during time-trials. Twenty-five years after Bentley Warren’s lap of 16.961 seconds brought the supermodified division under the 17-second bracket for the very first time, a trio of Novelis supermodified drivers entered the uncharted 15-second territory.
Driving the Syrell Racing No. 68, Michael Barnes was the first to record an official sub-16 second lap with a time 15.979 seconds around the Port City’s fast five-eighth’s mile. However, before Barnes even had time to exit his car, Joey Payne’s No. 99 laid down a record lap of 15.802 seconds. Kody Graham would then become the third driver to time-trial under the 16-second mark with a lap of 15.918 seconds. Teammates, Payne and Graham earned front row starting positions for Sunday’s 58th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200.
In comparison to the 25-year journey that was made through the 16-second bracket, supers danced in the 17-second range for 12 years after Jim Shampine was the first to dip under the 18-second mark with a lap of 17.928 seconds in 1977. Shampine and his fellow competitors had needed only seven years to march their way through the 18-second bracket. He was the first to break into it, with a lap of 18.73 seconds in 1970.
Behind Xtreme Chassis pilots Payne and Kody Graham, Barnes, Dave Danzer, Davey Hamilton and Ray Graham will fill out the front three rows. Only the top 14 drivers were locked in to the Classic starting field. A second round of time-trials followed by final qualifiers will be run Sunday.
Listen to – Joey Payne
In the Pathfinder Bank small block supermodified division, it was Russ Brown continuing his nearly picture perfect miniaturized season. Piloting the Ray Hedger-owned No. 13, Brown took top time – in record time – posting a lap of 18.554 seconds. It was only Brown’s third trip to the lakeside oval in 2014. His first two trips each resulted in a feature win and Friday night’s time-trial showing solidified him as the odds-on favorite in Saturday night’s Bud Lite SBS Classic.
Listen to – Russ Brown
JJ Andrews landed the second best time, with a lap of 18.601 seconds. Kreig Heroth, Jack Patrick, Mike Bond and Andrew Schartner filled out the top six lap times. The balance of the field had to go through qualifying heats to make tomorrow night’s 75-lapper. Chris Proud, Camden Proud and Anthony Losurdo pocketed wins in their respective heats.
Novelis Supermodified Time-Trials (Top 14): 1. Joey Payne (99) 15.802, 2. Kody Graham (90) 15.918, 3. Michael Barnes (68) 15.979, 4. Dave Danzer (52) 16.012 5. Davey Hamilton (6) 16.135, 6. Ray Graham, Jr. (21) 16.148, 7. Bob Bond (47) 16.153, 8. Bobby Santos (11) 16.169, 9. Randy Ritskes (37) 16.212, 10. Otto Sitterly (7) 16.229, 11. Pat Lavery (22) 16.241, 12. Dave Gruel (50) 16.308, 13. Joe Gosek (00) 16.441, 14. Brian Sobus (79) 16.467.
Pathfinder Bank SBS Time-Trials (Top 6): 1. Russ Brown (13) 18.554, 2. JJ Andrews (93) 18.601, 3. Kreig Heroth (04) 18.764, 4. Jack Patrick (9) 18.785, 5. Mike Bond (74) 18.809, 6. Andrew Schartner (18) 18.895.