By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney
Andrew Schartner became Oswego Speedway’s eighth different winner of the season in the small block supermodified division Sunday afternoon, after leading all 50 laps of the division’s portion of the 62nd Annual Sunoco Race of Champions (ROC) event. Having been plagued with bad luck throughout the 2013 season, the win was a much needed shot in the arm for the weekly commuting Charlotte, N.C. resident.
Following last weekend’s bone-jarring collision with the outside confines of Oswego’s fast five-eighths mile paved oval that left both car and driver reeling for days afterward, Schartner was rewarded with his second consecutive ROC win. It was the pilot of the No. 18’s eighth career win in the series, tying him with Chris Proud for ninth on the division’s all-time win list.
Listen to – Andrew Schartner
Chasing Schartner the entire distance, unable to beat the No. 18 to the first turn to grab the all-important early lead, was 15-year old rookie racer, Anthony Losurdo. With 12th place being his previous best feature finish, Losurdo’s second-place run was almost a win in itself for the young, Oswego native.
Listen to – Anthony Losurdo
Schartner and Losurdo led the 25-car field to the green flag to begin the 50-lap main event. Schartner nabbed the point, but just as the field was completing its maiden lap, Dalton Doyle’s No. 01 tagged Jack Patrick’s No. 9 heading into the first turn. Patrick spun, but Doyle was able to roll on. However, track officials sent Doyle to the rear of the field on the ensuing restart.
With just one lap in the books, Schartner led Losurdo, Mike Bruce, Rob Pullen and Brian Sobus. Cameron Rowe, Tim Gareau, Russ Brown, JJ Andrews and Mike Bond completed the top 10. Jeremy Pitcher, Jason Simmons, Jon Tesoriero, Justin Connell and AJ Bernys filled out the top 15.
Schartner was solid on the restart, bringing Losurdo and Bruce with him on a gradual three-car breakaway. However, the caution lights would flash again on the 10th lap for Dan Abt’s spun No. 57.
Again, Schartner would not be challenged on the restart. A few positions back, Brown and Andrews bounced Gareau back to ninth. Two laps later, last week’s feature winner, Andrews, shot underneath Brown’s out of shape No. 13 to claim seventh. Though, Brown would retake the spot a few rounds later.
At the lap No. 20 mark. Schartner held a commanding 10-car advantage over Losurdo. Bruce and Sobus trailed runner-up Losurdo by an equal margin. Those margins were soon erased on the 22nd lap after Simmons lost an radiator hose coming out of the fourth turn.
Caught up in the mess behind Simmons, Gareau walloped the outside wall. Tesoriero and Heroth both piled into Gareau’s scene, leaving three badly damaged machines. Ironically, only Simmons was able to pit and return to action. Two former track champs (Gareau and Heroth) and last season’s Rookie of the Year (Tesoriero) exited the racing surface via the hook, unable to return.
While under caution, Bruce suddenly pulled his No. 22 pit-side with engine woes. The third-place runner would call it a night. After the top-10 shake-up, Schartner, Losurdo, Sobus, Pullen and Rowe controlled the top five spots. Brown, Andrews, Pitcher, Bond and Bernys ran sixth through 10th.
Returning from his early race spin, Patrick would make his way back into the top 10, passing Bernys. With track conditions less than optimal, this pass would end up being the final change of position among the top 10 finishers of the race.
At the lap No. 30 mark, Schartner and Losurdo continued to run one-two all alone out in front of the field. Further back, Pullen was working hard on Sobus for third, with Rowe, Brown and Andrews watching closely.
A glimmer of hope for the young rookie would come to light as the duo began to catch the rear of the field. Pesky lapped traffic would put a skip in Schartner’s rhythm, but only enough to all Losurdo a closer view. Once clearing the initial traffic, the caution flag would fly for Greg O’Connor’s No. 90.
The field would be bunched again, eliminating any of Schartner’s lapped traffic concerns. Another quick yellow two laps later would only delay the inevitable. Schartner would cruise the final few laps to collect the win.
Sobus was solid all day, driving his No. 6 small block super to a third-place run. Having scored a solid top-10 finish in each of his three International Classic 200 starts, Sobus says he’s actively searching for a ride in this year’s upcoming big block event.
Listen to – Brian Sobus
Bouncing back from a 21st-place finish last weekend, Pullen collected his fourth top-five finish of the 2013 season.
Listen to – Rob Pullen
Just as happy to bring his No. 77 home in one piece, Rowe raced the Four Sevens Motorsports No. 77 to a fifth-place finish.
Listen to – Cameron Rowe
Building on his championship points lead with just four point races remaining, Brown earned his series-leading ninth top-10 run, landing the Ray Hedger-owned No. 13 in sixth.
Listen to – Russ Brown
Backing up last week’s feature win, Andrews drove the Team Tapout No. 93 to a seventh-place finish.
Listen to – JJ Andrews
63rd Annual SUNOCO Race of Champions SBS 50: 1. Andrew Schartner (18), 2. Anthony Losurdo (1), 3. Brian Sobus (6), 4. Rob Pullen (2), 5. Cameron Rowe (77), 6. Russ Brown (13), 7. JJ Andrews (93), 8. Jeremy Pitcher (14), 9. Mike Bond (74), 10. Jack Patrick (9), 11. AJ Bernys (24), 12. Jason Simmons (98), 13. Dalton Doyle (01), 14. Dan Abt (57), 15. Scott Shafer (76), 16. Justin Connell (07), 17. Bryan Haynes (86), 18. Greg O’Connor (90), 19. Josh Kerr (8), 20. Mike Bruce (22), 21. Tim Gareau (17), 22. Jon Tesoriero (47), 23. Kreig Heroth (04), 24. Dennis Rupert (99), 25. David LaTulip (27) DNS – Zach Amo (44)
The top three feature finishers took Friday evening’s qualifying heat wins as well.