OSWEGO, NY – Chris Perley brought Oswego Speedway to its feet last night when the ‘Rowley Rocket,’ the most successful winged Supermodified driver of all-time at the speedway, drove to his first ever non-wing victory in the second Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50.
Driving the Vic Miller owned No. 44 Hawk Chassis, which is the same car he won the Jack Murphy Memorial King of Wings ISMA event with on Memorial Day Weekend a year ago, Perley won his heat race to start off the evening and drove to a seventh place effort in the first Twin 50.
Perley’s finish in the first twin allowed an open draw to be held for his starting spot in twin number two which wound up being the third spot and that soon paid off for the Rowley, Mass., driver.
Polesitter Joe Gosek beat second place starting Aric Iosue for the lead heading into turn 1 with Gosek leading the first six circuits with relative ease.
Although Gosek had a fairly large lead, Perley soon took second from Iosue and was beginning to give chase to the leader when a parts failure in the right rear of the No. 00 sent ‘00 Joe’ around off of turn four.
Gosek, who was a favorite to win the second twin 50, just as soon found himself out of the action after lap five.
On the ensuing restart, ninth starting Shullick tried to go way to the outside and got caught in the marbles in turn three, sending the No. 2 car into the foam with heavy force. DJ was unharmed, but done for the night after winning the first Twin 50.
The race really got going on lap 7, and so did Perley, as the Shea Concrete No. 44 took off ahead of Iosue, Bellinger, Danzer, Sitterly, Barnes, and Shampine.
By the halfway point, Bellinger and Iosue began to fade backwards into seventh as Danzer took over second.
It appeared early on as if Barnes may have something for the top three after finishing second in the earlier twin, but instead Dave Gruel, in a great recovery effort after dropping out of the first 50 lapper, drove by the No. 68 after starting fifteenth to charge inside the top five.
Barnes remained in sixth while Bellinger dropped from fourth to seventh with Danzer still in second for the moment, but the car on the move at that point was Shampine.
Shampine got by Sitterly for third, Danzer for second, and then began to give chase to Perley in the closing stages.
By lap 40, Shampine was right there on the back bumper of the No. 44.
Perley was feeling the pressure, and on lap 43, he slipped up just enough to allow the No. 55 past, but Shampine’s lead was negated due to a spinning Iosue. He was not able to regain the top spot.
Shampine, last year’s race winner and third place finisher in the first twin, said, “There’s definitely a little disappointment in getting the lead and then having a yellow come out, so it’s mixed emotions, but we are very happy with the two podiums. I think we were the only driver to do that tonight, so it’s something I’m proud of.”
With seven laps to go, the restart made the difference for Perley as he sailed to a popular victory; the tenth of his career at Oswego and the first in non-wing competition.
“I’m overwhelmed to win without a wing. I just can’t believe it,” Perley said. “ I never dreamt that I would win this quick in this car. I seriously was hoping for a top five in one of the races and that’s it, I would’ve been happy. Shampine showed me a wheel underneath and I can’t believe he didn’t get me back. I just tried to not spin out, not do anything stupid and ran my ass off. I’m amazed. It was a lot of fun. This is a great place and a great club to be in to win with and without the wing. Just awesome.”
Sitterly, on the other hand, is still in search for his first checkered flag since September of 2015, but driving the former Moriarty No. 51 as opposed to his regular No. 7 ride, the seven time speedway champion showed he is certainly on the right track with two top four finishes to start off the season.
“It was a good start tonight,” Sitterly said. “We learned a little bit on the 51, but have some work to do on the (blue) 7 car, but we’re all good. It was coming at the end of the second twin, I think we had something for them. It really is just tough sledding out there.”
With Perley, Shampine and Sitterly making up the podium, Danzer and Gruel finished off the top five.
Barnes and Bellinger finished sixth and seventh while Bill Sharkey drove to a very solid eighth place effort in the No. 71.
Dan Bowes, an ISMA regular, finished ninth after a tenth place run earlier in the evening to score top tens in each of his first two non-wing starts at Oswego.
Iosue recovered for a tenth place finish.
Rookie Tyler Thompson and Lou LeVea Sr. were the last cars on the track in eleventh and twelfth while Hal LaTulip, Nate Schultzkie, Gosek, Shullick, Dan Connors Jr, Lou LeVea Jr, and Dave McKnight all did not finish or did not start due to issues from earlier in the evening or a crash in the second twin.
Sharkey was the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger and Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer after advancing eleven spots from nineteenth to eighth.
Heat wins for the night went to Perley, Shullick, and Sitterly.
A recap of the first Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50 is available at Oswego Speedway.com.
The speedway returns to action on June 9 when A&P Auto Parts will present a 50-lap Novelis Supermodified and 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS feature as part of the 2018 ‘Road to the Championship.’