OSWEGO, NY – On a cool overcast Saturday night at Oswego Speedway, Canajoharie, NY’s Otto Sitterly once again prevailed in the Novelis Supermodified division behind the wheel of the brand new Nicotra Racing No. 7. Based on the qualifying inversion draw Sitterly, the reigning champion of the Budweiser International Classic 200, started on the pole position and led all 75-laps to earn the top prize of $2,500 as the champion of The Post-Standard and Syracuse.com Fall Championship at the Steel Palace.
Sitterly had to hold of the late charge of Mexico, NY driver Mike Barnes on his way to the victory. Barnes passed several cars in the final circuits to close on Sitterly, but was unable to make the final pass off of the fourth corner to earn the win. The 2012 championship runner-up Pat Lavery finished in the third position ahead of Jeff Holbrook and Kody Graham in the Top 5 positions. Ray Graham, Brian Sobus, Stephen Gioia III, Dave Gruel, and Shaun Gosselin filled the Top 10 order.
“Starting position really means everything,” said Sitterly in Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane. “Mike Barnes was really coming on there at the end, so nice run for those guys. This is a great way to end the season it was just unfortunate that it was such a long race for everyone, but that is how it goes sometimes.”
Sitterly went on to comment on the newer Hawk chassis he piloted on Saturday night, which earned its first Oswego Speedway main event win.
“It will go around the outside, but it really is a handful to drive,” said Sitterly. “It sounds foolish, but it is really not that good right now. The car just isn’t that good in traffic and it changes dramatically from when you start to the end of the race. At points in time it is all over the track, it really is a handful.”
Sitterly and Randy Ritskes brought the field to green under the Cam’s NY Pizzeria starter stand with Sitterly gaining the early edge on the field. The field of 23 Supermodifieds quickly went to work, but before the first lap could be completed there was trouble on the main straightaway.
The Brian Sobus No. 60 lost the handle in front of the field causing a mad scramble for racing room on the front stretch. Several cars would tangle, blocking the race track, and forcing a red flag to be waved. Sobus, Gosselin, and Bob Bond were able to continue on however Jerry Curran, Shawn Muldoon, and Dan Connors Jr. were all forced out of the event with damage before one lap could be completed.
After the clean-up was completed the field would come back to green with Sitterly leading Ritskes, Jeff Locke, Gruel, Joe Gosek, Lavery, Barnes, Holbrook, Kody Graham, and Dave Danzer.
As the green lights flashed on, Sitterly quickly charged away from the field building a healthy lead, leaving the battle on the Speedway for the runner-up position between Ritskes and Gruel, who wasted little time in getting by the No. 37 of Locke.
As the lap counter crossed ten Sitterly was clearly in command of the field, however Gosek was beginning to make a charge in the No. 00. On lap 14 Gosek worked underneath Locke to move to fourth and began to draw in on the intense battle for second between Ritskes and Gruel. As Gosek began to look for room on the No. 88 and No. 50, those two would actually come together in turn one bringing out another caution at lap 20. Both Ritskes and Gruel would be able to continue on despite Ritskes having a small oil fire in the engine compartment of the Daratt Farms Racing machine.
With the field tightened up one more time the race for the lead would now come down to the two drivers who battled for the point during the International Classic just two weeks ago, Sitterly and Gosek.
Locke would restart third ahead of Lavery, Holbrook, Barnes, Kody Graham, Ray Graham, Danzer, and Sobus as they came back to green.
Another caution would wave on lap 20 for a spinning Hal LaTulip in turn one. LaTulip took on minor front end damage on the No. 56 and at this time race control brought on another red flag to allow teams to refuel.
After a few minute delay to fuel, the green flag would wave once again with Sitterly and Gosek taking their torrid battle away from the rest of the field. Passed lap 30 the two drivers had built a sizeable lead and looked to charge away until another caution hit the Speedway on lap 33.
Third running Locke came to a stop in turn two with a flat LF tire on the No. 37 ending another great run for the non-wing Supermodified rookie from New England. Locke’s issues would move Lavery into third for the restart.
The 33rd circuit would have a hard time being completed after the Locke caution as on two consecutive restarts cars would spin coming back to green. The first would be for the No. 50m of Bond, the second for the No. 52 of Danzer. Each driver would pull in and call it a night after their loops with finishes of 16th and 17th respectively.
The field did manage to come back to green and complete five more laps with Sitterly and Gosek pacing the field until Brandon Bellinger spun on lap 38 providing another caution on the Speedway. Bellinger would rejoin the field, but would end the night one lap down in 12th position.
After the Bellinger spin the race managed to gain some momentum with Sitterly and Gosek continuing their battle for the lead. On lap 41 Gosek looked as though he may have something for the leader, as Sitterly began to develop a major push condition in the No. 7. However, just two laps later Gosek suddenly developed problems with the No. 00 and pulled pit side, leaving Sitterly all alone in front of the field.
With 25-laps to go Sitterly held a straight away advantage on Lavery, Barnes, Holbrook on Kody Graham. But the car on the move was no doubt Barnes in the Strong Racing No. 99.
At lap 59 Barnes made a bold pass under Lavery for second in turn three and then began to turn up the wick as Sitterly hit lapped traffic. Barnes initially closed in on Sitterly, but as the defending Classic champ cleared traffic he would also clear Barnes. That all changed on lap 63 however as Keith Gilliam oiled the track with the No. 87 forcing yet another red flag.
After another quick clean-up, this time in turns one and two, Sitterly would bring the field back to green ahead of Barnes, Lavery, Holbrook, Kody Graham, Ray Graham, Sobus, Gioia, Gruel, and Gosselin.
Sitterly would get a tremendous restart on Barnes but it would all be for not as Ritskes took a wild spin down the front straight in the No. 88, but somehow managed to keep the car rolling and under power. A pre-cautionary yellow would hit the Speedway, and it would be the final caution of the grueling 75-lap event.
On the next restart Barnes would this time keep in touch with Sitterly and he stalked the No. 7 over the final ten laps of the event. Sitterly continued to tighten up in the final stages, giving Barnes one final look to the low side out of turn four on the final lap. The two cars barely touched wheels out of turn four, but it would be Sitterly powering on to his fourth win of the season with a Fall Championship triumph.
Barnes talked about his run with infield announcer Keith Zehr.
“This car doesn’t fall off as much as some of the other cars seem to,” said Barnes. “I knew we really weren’t that good, but I could tell the guys in front of me, they were going to be in trouble. Maybe if we had another twenty laps I would have had something for Otto? But you know, we’ll take second and start building for next year.”
Barnes continued to talk about his last ditch effort on the final circuit to try and steal the win.
“I was trying to be careful,” said Barnes. “The only thing I really could have done was drive over the top of him; he only gave me enough room to just get a wheel in there. There wasn’t really enough there to roll up next to him, so I just tried to keep it off the wall and roll it on the trailer.”
Lavery came home with yet another podium finish in the Lighthouse Lanes No. 22, which sustained heavy damage in the International Classic, but was repaired in time for the Fall Championship.
“This has been a great year,” said Lavery. “I obviously would have liked to have been a couple cars further up, but I really need to think my crew for getting this car back together, and maybe next year we can get a win here for everyone.”
Patrick Dominates Fall Championship SBS Finale
After an up and down 2012 season at Oswego Speedway, Fulton, NY’s Jack Patrick finally broke through into victory lane with a dominating performance in The Post-Standard and Syracuse.com Fall Championship Pathfinder Bank SBS main event. Patrick started on the pole position, passed Jeremy Pitcher for the lead on lap six, and then held off a hard charging Mike Bond to earn the right to pull into Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane on Saturday night.
Oswego Speedway Public Relations Specialist Dan Kapuscinski returned behind the wheel of a Small Block Super on Saturday night and drove to a third place finish in the Heagerty No. 79, normally driven by Tim Barbeau, ahead of Barry Kingsley and DIRT Sportsman driver Jeremy Pitcher in the Top 5. Pitcher was driving the Team Tapout No. 93, the regular ride of JJ Andrews, and drove to an outstanding fifth place finish in his first ever SBS start.
Mike Bruce, Jon Tesoriero, AJ Bernys, Jason Simmons, and Rob Pullen filled the Top 10 results.
Patrick, whose No. 9 machine sustained heavy damage in the SBS Classic just two weeks ago, spoke with Keith Zehr at the conclusion of the Fall Championship.
“Everything went pretty much perfect tonight,” said Patrick, who set fast-time in SBS time trials to earn the pole position for Saturday night’s main. “We finally got the win we’ve been looking for this season. It is nice to get the last win of the season; we can take this one with us all winter long. It has been a rough year, I have to thank all my sponsors and crew, without them we wouldn’t have got the car back here after Classic.”
Patrick and Pitcher brought the SBS field down to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag from the front row, but before the first lap could be completed SBS rookies Zack Babcock and Anthony Losurdo spun down the back straight resulting in a complete restart.
On the second try Pitcher would charge out ahead in the No. 93 with Patrick, Bond, Kapuscinski, and Kingsley falling into line behind. Pitcher did his best to hold off the hard charging SBS veterans of Patrick and Bond, but on lap six Patrick managed to shoot underneath Pitcher into turn three to take the top spot.
As Patrick went by the two made some contact forcing Pitcher high on the Speedway allowing Bond, Kapuscinski, and Kingsley to all work by on the low side into turn one pushing Pitcher back to fifth in the order.
Over the next eight circuits Patrick, Bond, Kapuscinski, and Kingsley would pull away from the rest of the field with Bond pressuring Patrick heavily for the point. As the event pressed on both Patrick and Bond began to distance themselves from Kapuscinski and Kingsley, until another yellow flag waved on lap 14 once again for Babcock in the No. 44.
With 21-laps remaining Kapuscinski and Kingsley would now draw back to the rear bumpers of Patrick and Bond ahead of Pitcher, Bruce, Tesoriero, Simmons, Bernys, and Kreig Heroth in the Top 10 at the restart.
As the field came back to green the front four of Patrick, Bond, Kapuscinski, and Kingsley again checked out and just like early in the race, after a few laps Patrick and Bond would distance themselves from third and fourth.
Bond worked Patrick relentlessly for the point for several circuits, before finally losing touch with the race leader with about ten laps to go. With Patrick pulling away out front the battle on the Speedway was for third between Kapuscinski and Kingsley.
Kingsley, driving the Simmons owned No. 91, got a late start to the season but looked very good in the Fall Championship working the No. 79 of Kapuscinski for several laps looking for a podium position. Ironically, Kingsley was the crew chief of the Tom Bliss owned Supermodified which Kapuscinski drove during the 2005 season at Oswego, and now the two battled on the Speedway head to head.
Further back Pullen, who finished second in the SBS Classic, was making his presence known working passed David LaTulip and Heroth to fight into the Top 10 in the very late stages of the race driving the No. 2.
Pullen would eventually hand his ride over to Kathy Harrington, who would go on to her second consecutive win in the Hoosier Mama Powder Puff event at Oswego.
Up front however it was all “Fireman” Jack Patrick rolling onto his first win of 2012 over Bond, Kapuscinski, Kingsley, and Pitcher in that order.
Bond, who finished second in the season long championship battle, talked about his second place run on Fall Championship Weekend.
“The car went away on the long runs, we needed some more cautions,” said Bond. “We had a lot of work to do after the crash at Classic; I have to thank my crew and Terry Solazzo for all the work they put in these past two weeks. We had a halfway decent season this year; I am just tired of finishing second all the time.”
Kapuscinski, who had not been behind the wheel of a racecar since Classic Weekend 2010, brought the Heagerty owned No. 79 home with a third place run.
“I have to thank Carlee and Chris Heagerty and Tim Barbeau for giving me this opportunity,” said Kapuscinski. “I’m a very lucky guy to be able to work here at the Speedway and have a chance to race tonight. It is a pretty cool day. The race suit barely fits, the racecar barely fit, but everyone did a great job on the car and that was just a lot of fun. I hope I have the chance to do it again sometime.”
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Supermodified Time Trials : 1. 22 – Pat Lavery: 16.481, 2. 00 – Joe Gosek: 16.551, 3. 50 – Dave Gruel: 16.586, 4. 37 – Jeff Locke: 16.612, 5. 88 – Randy Ritskes: 16.706, 6. 7 – Otto Sitterly: 16.716, 7. 99 – Mike Barnes: 16.723, 8. 35 – Jeff Holbrook: 16.738, 9. 21 – Kody Graham: 16.800, 10. 52 – Dave Danzer: 16.832, 11. 26 – Shaun Gosselin: 16.878, 12. 60 – Brian Sobus, 13. 1 – Shawn Muldoon: 16.973, 14. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 15. 81 – Kelly Miller, 16. 50m – Bob Bond: 17.233, 17. 02 – Brandon Bellinger: 17.281, 18. 24 – Jerry Curran: 17.343, 19. 87 – Keith Gilliam: 17.345, 20. 9 – Stephen Gioia III: 17.543, 21. 56 – Hal LaTulip: 17.564, 22. 14 – Joe Chillemi: 17.770, 23. 33 – Rod Sauder: 18.252
Feature (75-laps): 1. 7-Otto Sitterly, 2. 99-Mike Barnes, 3. 22-Pat Lavery, 4. 35-Jeff Holbrook, 5. 21-Kody Graham, 6. 11-Ray Graham, 7. 60-Brian Sobus, 8. 9-Stephen Gioia III, 9. 50-Dave Gruel, 10. 26-Shaun Gosselin, 11. 88-Randy Ritskes, 12. 02-Brandon Bellinger, 13. 37-Jeff Locke, 14. 87-Keith Gilliam, 15. 00-Joe Gosek, 16. 50m-Bob Bond, 17. 52-Dave Danzer, 18. 56-Hal LaTulip, 19. 14-Joe Chillemi, 20. 33-Rod Sauder, 21. 24-Jerry Curran, 22. 1-Shawn Muldoon, 23. 01-Daniel Connors Jr.
1st Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 7-Otto Sitterly, 2. 60-Brian Sobus, 3. 21-Kody Graham, 4. 50-Dave Gruel, 5. 1-Shawn Muldoon, 6. 9-Stephen Gioia III, 7. 02-Brandon Bellinger, 8. 33-Rod Sauder
2nd Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 26-Shaun Gosselin, 2. 88-Randy Ritskes, 3. 00-Joe Gosek, 4. 35-Jeff Holbrook, 5. 24-Jerry Curran, 6. 01-Dan Connors Jr, 7. 56-Hal Latulip, 8. 44-Bobby Haynes
3rd Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 52-Dave Danzer, 2. 99-Mike Barnes, 3. 22-Pat Lavery, 4. 37-Jeff Locke, 5. 11-Ray Graham, 6. 50m-Bob Bond, 7. 87-Keith Gilliam, 8. 14-Joe Chillemi
PATHFINDER BANK SBS SERIES
SBS Time Trials – 1. 9 – Jack Patrick: 19.272, 2. 74 – Cameron Rowe: 19.326, 3. 93 – Jeremy Pitcher: 19.392, 4. 26 – Mike Bond: 19.399, 5. 79 – Dan Kapuscinski: 19.439, 6. 47 – Jon Tesoriero: 19.455, 7. 91 – Barry Kingsley: 19.462, 8. 99 – Jason Simmons: 19.465, 9. 22 – Mike Bruce: 19.509, 10. 04 – Kreig Heroth: 19.510, 11. 24 – AJ Bernys: 19.519, 12. 17 – David LaTulip: 19.620, 13. 2 – Rob Pullen: 19.631, 14. 98 – JJ Andrews: 19.640, 15. 87 – Brad Haynes: 19.647, 16. 28 – Stan Gates: 19.700, 17. 1 – Anthony Losurdo: 19.752, 18. 43 – Pitt Watson: 19.899, 19. 95 – Lou LeVea Jr.: 19.920, 20. 88 – Will Hadcock: 20.395, 21. 33 – Andy Noto: 20.634, 22. 44 – Zack Babcock: 20.755, 23. 65 – Barry Silsmer: 24.367
Feature (35-laps): 1. 9-Jack Patrick, 2. 26-Mike Bond, 3. 79-Dan Kapuscinski, 4. 91-Barry Kingsley, 5. 93-Jeremy Pitcher, 6. 22-Mike Bruce, 7. 47-Jon Tesoriero, 8. 24-AJ Bernys, 9. 99-Jason Simmons, 10. 2-Rob Pullen, 11. 04-Kreig Heroth, 12. 17-David LaTulip, 13. 98-JJ Andrews, 14. 1-Anthony Losurdo, 15. 43-Pitt Watson, 16. 95-Lou LeVea Jr, 17. 28-Stan Gates, 18. 65-Kevin Jackson, 19. 88-Will Hadcock, 20. 44-Zack Babcock, 21. 33-Andy Noto, 22. 74-Cameron Rowe, 23 87-Bryan Haynes
1st Heat (10laps): 1. 17-David LaTulip, 2. 47-Jon Tesoriero, 3. 22-Mike Bruce, 4. 93-Jeremy Pitcher, 5. 2-Rob Pullen, 6. 28-Stan Gates, 7. 95-Lou LeVea Jr, 8. 44-Zack Babcock
2ndHeat (10laps): 1. 24-AJ Bernys, 2. 99-Jason Simmons, 3. 1-Anthony Losurdo, 4. 79-Dan Kapuscinski, 5. 98-JJ Andrews, 6. 88-Will Hadcock, 7. 74-Cameron Rowe, 8. 65-Barry Silsmer
3rd Heat (10laps): 1. 04-Kreig Heroth, 2. 26-Mike Bond, 3. 91-Barry Kingsley, 4. 9-Jack Patrick, 5. 87-Bryan Haynes, 6. 43-Pit Watson
Hoosier Mama SBS Powder Puff:
Feature (8-laps): 1. 2 – Kathy Harrington, 2. 91 – Jamie Crossett, 3. 26 – Debbie Bond, 4. 98 – Kim Brown, 5. 17 – Tracy Solazzo, 6. 79 – Carlee Heagerty, 7. 88 – Debbie Haynes, 8. 93 – Danielle Soule, 9. 24 – Amy Bernys, 10. 87 – Collette Moyer