OSWEGO, NY – Andrew Schartner travels to Oswego Speedway each week from Charlotte, NC and he made Saturday night’s trip well worth it, driving to victory in the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super division as a part of the 53rd annual Novelis Supermodified Kickoff presented by Mitchell’s Speedway Press and Planet Fitness.
Schartner’s victory on Saturday in the Crow Motorsports No. 18 is the tenth of his career at Oswego, moving him to sixth on the all-time win list tied with Oswego Speedway Hall of Famer Mark Regan and Novelis Supermodified pilot Dave Cliff.
Starting from the tenth position on the grid, Schartner made a bold inside move on Jon Tesoriero at lap 23 to take the lead into the first corner, driving away for the win over Barry Kingsley, Jack Patrick, Cameron Rowe, and Mike Bond in the front five spots.
Talking to infield announcer Keith Zehr in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane, Schartner first addressed his low side move on Tesoriero, which saw the two cars make contact in the first corner, as the two battled for the win with seven laps to go.
“First things first. I definitely do not want to run anyone over to win the race,” said Schartner. “That was a little disappointing; I still have to watch the tape. I don’t know if he (Tesoriero) came down or if I drove in hard on him? If I did, I apologize for that because that is not the way I want to win it, I prefer to do it clean and green.”
Schartner went on to thank his crew for the victory and reflected on previous season openers that saw the No. 18 not as high in the order.
“You know, I’m happy for my crew, we won this thing,” said Schartner. “After the way we normally start the season, this is good, we needed this. Normally we are running eighth, ninth, or tenth. Special thanks to Ray Hedger, my dad, car owner Tom Aeserud, Russ Brown, and my girlfriend for letting me fly up here every weekend to do this.”
With the win Schartner will be the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super point leader making him the early front runner for a guaranteed starting position in the Novelis Supermodified Budweiser International Classic 200 coming on August 31.
Steve Abt, Tesoriero, Kreig Heroth, David LaTulip, and Josh Kerr completed the top ten finishers on Saturday night.
Before racing action got underway Saturday time trials were conducted to help set the starting lineups.
With wider and softer Hoosier Racing Tires in 2014, there was no doubt the previous track record of 19.081 seconds set by Brian Sobus in 2009 would fall. The question was by how much and how many drivers would break the record?
At the end of qualifications a total of eight drivers broke the previous record with Jack Patrick setting the new lap record with a jaw dropping circuit of 18.596 seconds.
Mike Bond, Andrew Schartner, Jason Simmons, and Steve Abt joined Patrick in the 18-second bracket while Mike Bruce, Barry Kingsley, and Anthony Losurdo also laid down laps under the previous record.
Tesoriero and Danny Abt led the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super field to green on Saturday with Tesoriero jumping to the lead in the No. 47.
JJ Andrews and Mike Bruce were on the move early behind Tesoriero sliding to positions two and four before the first caution would wave on lap three for Tim Gareau and Mike Bond as they tangled in turn three.
Gareau would be done for the day in 23rd while Bond rejoined the tail side of the field and eventually charged back for a top five finish.
When the race went back green a torrid battle began to shape up at the front of the field with Tesoriero, Andrews, Abt, Bruce, Kingsley, Jason Simmons, Cameron Rowe, and Schartner.
As the race approached halfway with Tesoriero leading the pack Schartner and Bruce continued their charge further back.
After starting in the fifth row, Schartner managed to drive around Rowe for seventh on lap 12 as Bruce made an aggressive charge around Danny Abt for third down the front stretch on lap 13.
One of the fastest cars on the track Bruce now found the back bumper of the No. 93 of Andrews in second, and began to apply heavy pressure for the runner-up spot with Tesoriero in sight at the point.
As Tesoriero began to inch away, a blanket could be thrown over second through fourth with Andrews, Bruce, and Abt in a tight bunch.
Eventually on lap 16 disaster struck.
Coming out of turn four Andrews and Bruce got crossed up battling for second, leaving the extreme inside lane open for Abt to try and make it three wide. As the three drivers exited turn four they simply ran out of racing room, and all came together.
From the low lane, the Abt No. 57 was sent across the nose of both Bruce and Andrews, taking a hard left side impact into the front stretch steel sending the car into the air and spinning 180-degrees.
All three cars would suffer damage with Bruce and Abt done for the evening in 19th and 20th positions. Andrews was hooked to the pits also but did return for three more laps ending the night in 18th.
With three top runners out of the action Schartner, who had managed to work his way to fifth on the grid before the accident, would now restart second behind Tesoriero and ahead of Kingsley, Rowe, Patrick, Steve Abt, Heroth, Anthony Losurdo, LaTulip, and Mark Castiglia.
With green lights back on Schartner hounded Tesoriero lap after lap and on lap 23 found enough day light to make a move down the front stretch for the point.
Schartner and Tesoriero would slam doors into turn one battling for the lead, with Schartner gaining the edge. Tesoriero, who was looking for his first career win, was sent up the race track in the process, losing several positions, dropping him back to the sixth position.
Once in the lead Schartner began to run away and hide ahead of new runner-up driver Kingsley as well as Patrick, Rowe, Abt, Tesoriero, Heroth, and Mike Bond.
Kingsley, returning full-time to the SBS division in 2014 driving the Team Tapout No. 91, had one final shot at Schartner on a late race restart, but was unable to take advantage as he followed Schartner across the line ahead of Patrick, Rowe, and Bond.
While another position would have suited Kingsley just fine, a runner-up finish in his return to the class was no doubt satisfying.
“Well, I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Kingsley. “I know that all three cars out of our Team Tapout Racing stable were fast tonight. I’m glad to have the opportunity to run for Team Tapout. They are a great bunch of guys with great equipment. My car got looser as we went along and I knew Jack (Patrick) was behind me and he is fast, has been all night, but if he was going to get me he was going to have to go to the outside.”
Patrick, the new Speedway track record holder, was happy to start the season on the podium.
“We had a fast car all night,” said Patrick. “The car was handling real good except on the restarts, it was real loose. Barry (Kingsley) was giving me the outside lane there and I tried it a couple times, but the tires were a little worn, and I just got loose.”
A total of 26 Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers were in the pit area on Saturday with 23 taking the green flag in the main event.
Danny Abt, Bond, and Patrick earned Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint Heat Race Challenge wins on Saturday.
Tesoriero collected the Nice Price Auto Sales Up & Comer Award as well as the Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader Award.
Josh Kerr was the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger, while Cameron Rowe collected the White’s Car Care 4th Place Award.
Gareau was the Eagles Fan Club/Chris Nelson Insurance $100 Hot Spot Award Winner with his 22nd place finish.
Oswego Speedway returns to action Saturday, May 24 with the Memorial Day Weekend Triple Header featuring the Jim Shampine Memorial Novelis Supermodified 75, the Richie Evans Memorial RoC Modified 75, and the Tony White Memorial Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super 35.
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