By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney
Fulton’s Jeremy Pitcher captured career win No. 1 in the small block supermodified feature division at the Oswego Speedway on Saturday night, leading all 35 laps of the main event. Starting on the pole certainly made things a little easier, but the win would not come unchallenged. Pitcher fended off many bids from 2012 Rookie of the Year, Jon Tesoriero and multi-time track champ Mike Bond to secure the win.
Listen to – Jeremy Pitcher
Entering the 2013 season as one of Oswego’s top contenders for Rookie of the Year honors, Pitcher had actually tasted Oswego’s victory lane 10 months earlier, winning a special 602 crate dirt sportsman event held during Classic Weekend. A long-time fan of Oswego’s fast five-eighths mile, the dirt racing regular would land a ride in a Jason Simmons-owned small block supermodified later that month and race his way to a top-five finish. His early successes at the lakeside oval late last year would help draw him into competing there weekly in 2013.
Pitcher and AJ Bernys paced the 25-car field to the green. Pitcher would nab the lead as the due raced into the first turn, but as they raced out of turn No. 2, the yellow would fly for a multi-car jingle in their immediate shadows. Chris Proud and Dan Abt made contact battling for the No. 4 spot. Numerous cars would catch a piece of the action, but all would return, minus Scott Black’s No. 32.
A complete side-by-side restart was made, with Pitcher taking command, once again. However, before the field could begin to shake things out, Anthony Losurdo would spin his No. 1 racer between the first two turns. Scott Shafer’s No. 76 would later tag him, but both would be able to continue.
With three laps written into the books, Pitcher led Tesoriero, Bernys, Simmons and Bond. Kreig Heroth, Dalton Doyle, Russ Brown, Tim Gareau and Rob Pullen held the top 10 positions.
On the ensuing restart, Bond took to the high side of the Simmons No. 98. Simmons wouldn’t give. First, fighting back under Bond, before diving to the left side of Bernys for third. However, just a half-lap later, Bernys would fight his way back around Simmons, bringing Bond with him.
Still on the charge, Bond would take an outside look at Bernys, but would find Simmons pressing him down low. On the ninth lap, Bond would scoot past Bernys and into third place, leaving Simmons to fight with Bernys.
Up front, Pitcher had been getting little pressure from Tesoriero. However, once Bond had fully cleared Bernys, he quickly drew in the lead duo. The front three would separate themselves from their chasers for the remainder of the race.
On the 12th lap, teammates, Tesoriero and Bond began seeking for a way around Pitcher’s TNT Motorsports No. 14. Just one year removed from his rookie status and seeking his first career win as well, Tesoriero began taking looks both high and low on the rookie leader. With Bond on his heels, Tesoriero’s battle became two-fronted.
The yellow flag would fly on the 15th lap, after Pullen, Rob Humphries and Mike Bruce came together in turn No. 3.
Pitcher was solid on the restart, though Tesoriero’s front bumper let the leader know he was literally on his tail. The battle behind the front trio continued to stay hot as Simmons would use a sling-shot move off of the fourth turn to retake fourth place from Bernys on the 16th lap. Bernys would soon fall from contention after getting caught on the outside lane, as Heroth, Brown and Doyle flew by underneath.
On the 22nd lap, Tesoriero clocked Pitcher’s rear-end as the leaders raced into the first turn. Pitcher’s dirt rack experience would come into play as he successfully fought his wheel and skate his way into the second turn.
That would end up being the last true pressure Pitcher would feel. Slowly, the No. 14 began to gain breathing room between his machine and Tesoriero’s No. 47, hitting his marks each time around. His lead would grow to three lengths as the lap board ticked its way into the early 30s.
10 lengths behind, the now ill-handling Simmons No.98 continued to hold off Heroth and Brown. Brown would nearly move his way around defending track champ Heroth on the 29th lap, but the feisty No. 04 would hold. Brown would come close again on the 31st lap, but it wouldn’t be until the final corner of the final circuit that he would inch his way past Heroth and into fifth place.
Pitcher would take the checkered flag with a solid three-car length advantage. Tesoriero’s attention had already turned more towards holding off Bond in the final laps. He would do so and settle for second.
Listen to – Jon Tesoriero
Bond’s bid for a second straight win would fall just short, finishing in third with his second consecutive podium finish.
Listen to – Mike Bond
Simmons ran among the top five all race, driving his No. 98 to a fourth-place finish.
Listen to – Jason Simmons
Busting into the top five for the first time on the final lap, Brown landed the Ray Hedger-owned No. 13 in fifth.
Listen to – Russ Brown
Pathfinder Bank SBS Series 35: 1. Jeremy Pitcher (14), 2. Jon Tesoriero (47), 3. Mike Bond (74), 4. Jason Simmons (98), 5. Russ Brown (13), 6. Kreig Heroth (04), 7. Dalton Doyle (01), 8. Andrew Schartner (18), 9. AJ Bernys (24), 10. Jack Patrick (9), 11. Tim Gareau (17), 12. JJ Andrews (93), 13. Rob Pullen (2), 14. Chris Proud (3), 15. Anthony Losurdo (1), 16. Dennis Rupert (99), 17. Josh Kerr (8), 18. Zach Amo (44), 19. Greg O’Connor (90), 20. Dan Abt (57), 21. Scott Shafer (76), 22. Rob Humphries (07), 23. Mike Bruce (79), 24. Cameron Rowe (67), 25. Scott Black (32)
Heat race wins went to Pitcher, Proud and Abt. Josh Kerr won the consolation race.