Oswego’s Rob Pullen became the eighth different driver in 2011 to score a feature win in the small block supermodified division at the Oswego Speedway on Saturday night. Though leading all 30 laps of the event, his No. 2 was hounded the entire way.
“I knew it was going to be hard to hold them off,” Pullen said. “I didn’t know how close they were. The car was actually just really good. I just had to hit my marks and keep going. I knew they were right there towards the end. They gave me a few bumps but nothing to get me upset, just real hard racing. A lot of fun. … We wanted it real bad. It’s been since ’07 since I won my last race. It was my race to lose. I didn’t want to lose it for anything.”
Listen to – Rob Pullen
If not for a complete race restart due to Barry Kingsley’s No. 23 pummeling the water barrels on the front stretch on lap No. 1, things may have turned out differently for Pullen and his No. 2 racer. After winning his heat race earlier, David LaTulip had taken the initial lead at the start of the main event, but went pit-side with power steering problems during the Kingsley caution.
Rob Pullen poses in victory lane at the Oswego Speedway
Moving one spot over to the pole position on the complete race restart, Pullen grabbed the lead away from outside front-row starter, Bryan Haynes. Cameron Rowe, Andrew Schartner and Tim Barbeau rounded out the top five after one lap had been completed.
Jack Patrick broke into the top five on the sixth lap, ducking underneath Barbeau’s No. 50 in turn No. 3. The top eight began to separate from the field as green flag racing continued. At the lap No. 10 mark, Pullen led Haynes, Rowe, Schartner and Patrick. Barbeau, Mike Bond and Kreig Heroth filled out the breakaway eight.
With Pullen in easy reach, Haynes ducked low on the 11th lap in a bid for the lead. Pullen slammed the door, but hungry for his first win, Haynes attempted another peek low on the 12th lap in turn No. 4. However, this time, the back-end of this No. 37 broke loose. As he tried to gather it up, his chasers jammed-up behind him. Third-place running Rowe watched as Haynes hopped across over the front end of his No. 77, bringing both cars to the outside wall and the wave of the caution flag from the starter’s stand.
While Haynes was able to limp his No. 37 back into the pits, last week’s feature winner – Rowe – exited the track via the hook. With 11 laps in the books, Pullen led Schartner, Patrick, Barbeau and Bond. Heroth, Lou LeVea, Jr., Mike Bruce, LaTulip and Mark Castiglia rounded out the top 10.
Scharter was quick to pounce on Pullen as the green flag fell. With the challenger looking low on the No. 2, Pullen was able to hold his position. Two laps later, Schartner put the Crow Motorsports No. 18 underneath the No. 2 as the duo raced into the third turn. However, Pullen would again close the door – something Schartner would get used to seeing the final two-thirds of the race.
Bond worked his way around Barbeau on the15th lap, taking over fourth. As the lap counter turned “20,” Pullen could plainly see on the leader board that he was being hounded by three 2011 feature winners. He and his five nearest chasers eased away from seventh-place running LeVea.
Pullen (2) leads Schartner (18) and Patrick (9) near the halfway point of the feature. The trio would finish in this order.
Laps 22, 25 and 26 all saw bids for the lead by Schartner fall short. Behind him, Patrick would have his hands full holding off Bond. Perhaps not as fast as those dicing behind his No. 2, Pullen’s groove was nearly perfect – allowing little room underneath his small block supers, yet not quite enough to allow momentum to carry the No. 18 around his outside.
A sling-shot attempt off the fourth turn by Schartner on the final lap came up short. Pullen would take the checkered with a length to spare.
With no cards left to play, Schartner settled for second.
Listen to – Andrew Schartner
Patrick piloted his Dodge-powered No. 9 to another podium finish, earning third.
Listen to – Jack Patrick
Crossing the line in fourth, Bond inched closer to securing another track championship.
Listen to – Mike Bond
Barbeau drove the Heagerty Racing No. 50 to a fifth-place finish.
Listen to – Tim Barbeau
Heat race winners Schartner, LaTulip and Bond pocketed a $100 dollar bonus from Lakeside Racing News.
SBS Feature 30: 1. Rob Pullen (2), 2. Andrew Schartner (18), 3. Jack Patrick (9), 4. Mike Bond (26), 5. Tim Barbeau (50), 6. Kreig Heroth (44), 7. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 8. Mike Bruce (22), 9. David LaTulip (27), 10. Mark Castiglia (90), 11. A.J. Bernys (24), 12. Dalton Doyle (1), 13. Kevin Jackson (65), 14. George Knight (12), 15. Dennis Rupert (99), 16. Bryan Haynes (37), 17. Cameron Rowe (77), 18. J.J. Andrews (93), 19. Barry Kingsley (23) DNS – 20. Jason Simmons (98), 21. Will Hadcock (43)