By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney
With 12 former feature winners and four track champions filling out the first dozen starting spots in Saturday night’s SBS Classic at the Oswego Speedway, chances of seeing a surprise winner appeared to be slim, at best. However, Odenton, MD’s Bryan Haynes beat the odds. The Mexico, NY native would capture his first checkered flag in style – on Classic Weekend.
Having not raced the fast five-eighth’s paved mile that sits on the shores of Lake Ontario since 2014’s small block super main on Labor Day Weekend, Haynes returned this year as a double-underdog. He’d never won a race and he’d had virtually no track time all season. In fact, the 2014 SBS Classic was the only race he’d run all of last year, where he finished mid-pack. Haynes hadn’t run any regular season events since 2013, where he was only able to muster up one lonely top-five finish.
However, on Saturday night, the stars would align for Haynes and his Hedger Racing Chassis No. 86. His persistence from working through the initial gremlins during Friday’s practice session to surviving Saturday evening’s carnage would help lead him to victory lane.
Listen to – Bryan Haynes
Having started back in the eighth row, Haynes raced his way up to 11th. On the 34th lap, a caution flag would promote him to 10th. This would be a sign of things to come for the eventual first-time feature winner. Never needing to pass another car the rest of the way, Haynes would sit tight and end up watching every single car in front of him simply vanish. One would eventually return to pass him only to disappear again.
On the ensuing restart, two cars just ahead of Haynes, piloted by Jason Simmons and Tyler Shullick, would come together, advancing him two more positions. Three laps later, Haynes would move forward another spot after sixth-place running Barry Kingsley overheated and pulled pit-side. 11 laps later, a similar scenario saw fourth-place running Mike Bond exit after his No. 74 began to smoke.
All was well for the Marylander until made contact with Mike Bruce’s fifth-place car on the 56th lap, turning it around. Track officials would end up deeming him innocent of intent. Avoiding a penalty that would’ve sent him to the rear of the field, Haynes was able to keep his spot. With much of the attention of the race still focused on a great battle for the lead between Andrew Schartner, Russ Brown and Dalton Doyle, Haynes’ No. 86 had quietly made its way up to fifth place.
The complexion of the entire race would end up changing on the 67th lap. A side-by-side battle for the lead between Schartner and Brown went terribly wrong, eliminating first and second place. Again, Haynes would see his number on the leader board climb two more positions. However, before the race would resume, the new leader, Doyle, would need to head pit-side with a flattened tire. Haynes suddenly found himself in the runner-up spot with just nine laps remaining. The lead trio had been putting a lot of distance on the field. With them out of the picture, a possible victory for Haynes was in sight.
As the laps wound down, Haynes could only wait and see if the Caution Gods could grant him just one more wish. Race leader, Alex Hoag, wasn’t giving in. Worse yet, for Haynes, it appeared the car he’d tagged earlier in the race was coming back for revenge. For the first time, Haynes would take a step back as Bruce’s surging No. 22 slipped under his No. 86 machine, sending him back to third with just two laps to go.
With little time to spare, Bruce would catch Hoag with a lap and a half to go. Bruce’s admitted “win or crash trying” style would end up going Haynes’ way. On the final lap, Bruce would make contact with Hoag’s No. 7, sending the race leader around. Bruce would be penalized and sent to the rear of the field. Haynes’ journey to the front had reached its destination.
After a final caution for a few of his chasers, Haynes would end up holding on to claim his first feature win at the Oswego Speedway.
Behind him, Jeremy Pitcher would land the King’s Rubbish-sponsored No. 97 in second. It was a good weekend for Pitcher, who’d been struggling for much of the 2015 season.
Listen to – Jeremy Pitcher
Running in his first SBS Classic, Ohio invader, Tyler Shullick, landed the Four Sevens Motorsports No. 67 in third.
Listen to – Tyler Shullick
Playing his own game of survival, Simmons would bounce back from more than one incident to put his No. 98 in fourth.
Listen to – Jason Simmons
After running an abbreviated season, sharing his ride with AJ Bernys, Dennis Richmond earned himself a career-best fifth-place finish.
Listen to – Dennis Richmond
Earning his best finish of his young career, first-year driver, Alex McRae, raced his No. 14 to a sixth-place finish.
Listen to – Alex McRae
Having raced through the field twice, after restarts at the tail-end of the field, Mike Bruce put his No. 22 in seventh. Bruce found himself involved with in situations all around the track on Saturday night.
Listen to – Mike Bruce
After having fought for the lead for much of the race, Doyle would end up landing his self-built No. 01 in eighth place.
Listen to – Dalton Doyle
Having announced his retirement from racing at the conclusion of the 2015 season, Jay Andrews earned his No. 93 a ninth-place finish.
Listen to – Jay Andrews
After inheriting the lead, Hoag would find himself turned the wrong way on the final lap. He would end up in 10th.
Listen to – Alex Hoag
Having checked out from the rest of the field for most of the race, Schartner, Brown and Doyle were putting on a great show in the mid and late stages of the event. It appeared the race winner would likely be drawn from one of these three. With Doyle not far behind, Schartner and Brown would end up coming together racing out of the fourth turn. The impact of Brown’s No. 13 slamming the outer fence shook the front grandstand. Both former Classic winners and track champs were eliminated from competition.
Listen to – Russ Brown
Listen to – Andrew Schartner
SBS Classic 75:
1. Bryan Haynes (86), 2. Jeremy Pitcher (97), 3. Tyler Shullick (67), 4. Jason Simmons (98), 5. Dennis Richmond (24), 6. Alex McRae (14), 7. Mike Bruce (22), 8. Dalton Doyle (01), 9. JJ Andrews (93), 10. Alex Hoag (7), 11. Camden Proud (54), 12. Kreig Heroth (04), 13. Josh Kerr (8), 14. Andrew Schartner (18), 15. Russ Brown (13), 16. Mike Bond (74), 17. Anthony Losurdo (1), 18. Barry Kingsley (91), 19. Mark Castiglia (69), 20. David Cliff (50), 21. Scott Shafer (76), 22. James Babcock (15), 23. Chris Proud (3), 24. Greg O’Connor (90), 25. Jack Patrick (9)