Schartner Holds Off Brown & Cliff For Classic Victory

By – Luke Eggleston
Photos – Jim Feeney

Andrew Schartner drew pole position and held off dangerous past-champions for 100 laps on Saturday night to claim his first Small Block Supermodified Classic victory at Oswego Speedway.

After starting in the inside second row position, veteran SBS driver Russ Brown took second away from Mark Castiglia almost immediately and harassed Schartner through most of the race. On numerous occasions, Brown’s No. 79 car appeared on the verge of overtaking Schartner’s No. 18, but a last minute correction helped the Weedsport driver hang onto his lead.

Andrew Schartner poses in victory lane after winning the 2011 SBS Classic at Oswego

During one such instance on lap 40, Brown had the inside on the near straightaway and when Schartner maneuvered to reclaim the lane, the 79 clipped the left rear on the 18.

In victory lane, however, Schartner said that his greatest adversary in the race was also his greatest ally in preparing the car for Classic. Schartner offered the usual thanks to his crew, but also noted that Brown provided considerable help in getting the No. 18 race ready.

“That’s class. And that means a lot,” Schartner said.

“He had some issues with handling this weekend, so we helped him out,” Brown said. “He beat us. What else can I tell you? We were better than him until he and I came together there, going into turn one. I thought he saw me, apparently he didn’t see me. We came together and it bent the spindle. After that, I was just hanging on for dear life. Overall, we just flat got beat.”

Schartner said winning the Classic was an overwhelming feeling.

“I’m speechless. I was tearing up during my cool down lap because this is just something that really means a lot to me. And I can’t thank enough people,” Schartner said.

Fast time setter Brown – who has won three SBS Classics in his Oswego Speedway career – said his car had developed problems that contributed to his third place finish – most notably, the lap No. 40 contact with Schartner. Nevertheless, he credited Schartner and his crew on the victory.

“Give credit to those guys. Andrew and those guys did a good job,” he said.

Not even one lap had passed when the first of several dramatic crashes forced a yellow flag. Replays revealed little, but at the end of the wreck, George Knight’s No. 12 had rolled over into the foam just past turn three after catching a wheel from Dennis Rupert’s No. 99.

It’s a rarity for a small block supermodified to end up on its roof. Knight was OK, but his No. 12 suffered extensive damage. Rupert’s No. 99 was wounded enough for its night to end as well.

On the restart, Schartner led, followed by Brown, Castiglia, Mike Bond, and Dave Cliff in order.

As early as lap two, Brown was menacing Schartner – particularly on the inside lane. He noted that he was eager to get up front in order to spare his car the wear involved in pursuing the leader.

“When you follow a guy like that, it’s hard to save your tires because you have to follow in his tracks. I figured Bond was coming quicker than he was and when you’re up front, you can make your own line. You don’t have to use the brakes up, you don’t have to use the tires up,” Brown said.

Listen to more fromRuss Brown

On the 10th lap, the top five’s order was shuffled after the second wreck of the night occurred when Bond’s No. 26 sent up a cascade of sparks before coming to rest against the wall in turn one. Something had apparently flown off of Castiglia’s No. 90, puncturing a tire on Bond’s machine. Castiglia limped his No. 90 to the pits for repairs. He would return to finish 14th. Bond’s race was over.

On the restart, Cliff, Jason Simmons, and Jack Patrick followed the race leaders.

Brown (79) looks under Schartner (18) heading into turn No. 2. Cliff (06) runs third.

Two more minor wrecks marred the racing before a preplanned stop on lap 50 enabled the drivers’ crews to adjust the stagger on their cars.

Five laps later, the red flag dropped again – this time for a wreck when Cameron Rowe’s No. 77 car spun between turns one and two. JJ Andrews was unable to avoid the No. 77 and struck it squarely. Mike Bruce was also caught up in the tangle, but drove away unscathed.

Both Andrews and Rowe were able to exit their cars on their own.

Around lap 60, Brown began to fall off of Schartner’s pace. On lap 78, Cliff was challenging for the second spot.

Finally, on lap 80, the two-time SBS Classic winner took the inside lane away from Brown off of turn No. 4 to assume second.

Once in second, Cliff had nothing for the No. 18 either.

“The car was good,” Cliff said. “I don’t think I would’ve had anything for Schartner. Earlier on in the race I might have been a little better on longer runs, but at the end, it was definitely his race. He was the best car at the end.”

Listen to more fromDave Cliff

When lapped traffic became an issue, his No.06 and Brown’s No. 79 were able to compress the distance, while Schartner tried to negotiate his way through the stragglers.

Schartner conceded that lapped traffic became his most significant obstacle during the race’s waning moments.

“The thing with the guys in the back is sometimes you can find that weak spot where they really slow down on the edge of a corner or they struggle getting out so you can plant it on that,” he said. “Then guys really hold a really good line and drive a really difficult way to pass them. It’s not quite being at the front, but they’re really difficult to deal with when you get into lapped traffic and I was praying for a yellow…If I was able to get them there, I’d be able to hold them off behind me. I didn’t want to get stuck behind a lapped car while Brown or somebody flies around me on the outside. It worked out but I was nervous those last four laps.”

Listen to more fromAndrew Schartner

SBS Classic top 3 – 1st-Andrew Schartner (center), 2nd-David Cliff (right), 3rd-Russ Brown (left)

When he was free of lapped traffic, Schartner was able to sustain a solid lead over the field en route to his first Classic triumph.

Patrick finished in fourth, followed by Heroth in fifth.

Listen toJack Patrick

Listen toKreig Heroth

Tim Barbeau was credited with sixth, with Bryan Haynes crossing the line in seventh.

Listen toBryan Haynes

20th Annual Bud Lite SBS Classic: 1. Andrew Schartner (18), 2. David Cliff (06), 3. Russ Brown (79), 4. Jack Patrick (9), 5. Kreig Heroth (44), 6. Tim Barbeau (50), 7. Bryan Haynes (37), 8. Mike Bruce (22), 9. Shawn Muldoon (80), 10. Brian Osetek (00), 11. Dalton Doyle (1), 12. Stan Gates (91), 13. Rob Pullen (2), 14. Mark Castiglia (90), 15. A.J. Bernys (24), 16. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 17. David LaTulip (27), 18. Brad Haynes (86), 19. Will Hadcock (43), 20. Jason Simmons (98), 21. Cameron Rowe (77), 22. J.J. Andrews (93), 23. Kevin Jackson (65), 24. Steven Hutchinson (25), 25. Barry Kingsley (23), 26. Mike Bond (26), 27. Dennis Rupert (99), 28. George Knight, Jr.  (12)

SBS B-Main: 1. Jackson (65), 2. Gates (91), 3. Brad Haynes (86), 4. Doyle (1), 5. Rupert (99), 6. Knight (12), 7. Hutchinson (25), 8. Hadcock (43)