Sitterly Celebrates Independence Day With 2nd Feature Win

By – Chris Porter
Victory Lane Photos – Jim Feeney

Oswego Speedway’s 2008 defending track champion, Otto Sitterly, scored his second supermodified feature win of the 2009 season Saturday night, winning the Jim Shampine Memorial 58. Sitterly led the final 26 laps after taking the lead away from Brampton, Ontario Canada’s Dave McKnight on lap No. 33. The win helped maintain his slim points lead over Mooresville, NC’s Doug Didero, who finished second in the main event.

Listen toOtto Sitterly on his win

Jason Spaulding and Todd Stowell led the Novelis supermodified field to the green to begin the 58-lap feature event. Stowell grabbed the early lead, with Spaulding, Ray Graham, Jr., Bob Magner and McKnight filling out the top five after one lap of racing.

Graham bested Spaulding up top for second place while McKnight first took to the high side of Magner for fourth, before bettering himself one more position by moving his No. 08 by Spaulding for third.

Spaulding slipped back to fifth on lap No. 7, after Magner drove his No. 22 around him on the high side. Sitterly was bouncing Spaulding’s No. 23 out of the top five on lap No. 8, but a spin by Bob Bogwicz negated the pass. However, Sitterly would complete the pass on the restart, moving into fifth place.

Up front, McKnight took the runner-up spot away from Iowa’s Graham with an outside move. Quickly, he moved in behind the leader, Stowell.

Still charging from his 11th-place starting position, Sitterly pulled underneath Magner’s fourth-place running No. 22. The duo danced side-by-side for a lap before Sitterly earned the position.

With Stowell and McKnight running five lengths ahead of the field, Sitterly moved in for his attack on Graham. Sitterly’s No. 7 chased Graham’s No. 90 a few trips around the lakeside oval before using a sling-shot move off of the fourth turn to blast under the third-place running driver.

A spin by Lou LeVea, Jr. in turn three summoned the caution lights. With 14 laps in the books, Stowell led McKnight, Sitterly, Graham and Magner. Spaulding, Didero, Davey Hamilton, Joey Payne and Pat Lavery completed the top 10.

Didero muscled under Spaulding on the restart. McKnight was able to put his No. 08 solidly under Stowell’s No. 89 for the lead, but another spin by Bogwicz sent him back to second place.

Stowell held his ground on the restart. The No. 89 led the train of supers through the 25th lap. However, on the 26th circuit, McKnight put the Gary Syrell-owned No. 08 under the No. 89 as the two raced off of the fourth turn. By the time they reached the first turn, McKnight was the new race leader.

Sitterly mirrored the pass less than a lap later, moving into second place. McKnight and Sitterly raced nose to tail as Stowell sat a few lengths back, fending off Graham and Didero.

Sitterly made his first bid for the lead on the 29th lap. Driving under the No. 08 down the front stretch, Sitterly was able to take the lead away. However, as quickly as he earned is, he lost it when his No. 7 went into the first turn with too much steam. Sitterly’s No. 7 pushed high, allowing McKnight to move back by him down low.

The lead duo built a 10-car advantage over their chasers as the lap board ticked to 30. Stowell, Graham and Didero held positions three through five. Hamilton, Magner, Payne, Greg Furlong and Spaulding filled out the top 10.

Again, Sitterly made his bid for the lead on the 33rd lap. This time, his inside move stuck, putting him atop the field. Immediately, he began to pull away.

Running in the top five all evening, Graham suddenly pulled pit-side on the 35th lap.

Listen toRay Graham on what happened to his No. 90

On the 37th lap, Sitterly entered lapped traffic with a 15-car length advantage. McKnight held a 20-length margin over Stowell and Didero. However, all gaps were closed after Stephen Gioia, III spun his No. 9 just short of the third turn. During the caution, Stowell fell out of third place after having to pull pitside.

Listen toTodd Stowell on leading the race before encountering motor woes

With 21 trips to go, Sitterly led McKnight, Didero, Hamilton and Payne. Magner, Furlong, Lavery, Spaulding and Keith Gilliam commanded the top 10.

Didero had McKnight on the restart, but the pass was scratched after Magner spun his No. 22.

Sitterly inched out on the restart, while McKnight fought to hold onto second position. However, Didero’s No. 3 proved too much for McKnight’s No. 08, as the North Carolina invader was able to move under the Canadian on the 41st lap.

Trailing Sitterly by a dozen lengths, Didero set out to see what he had left for the leader. Sitterly was able to maintain a 10-car length advantage with 10 laps to go, but a bobble off of the fourth turn two laps later sliced the lead in half.

Sitterly picked the right lanes as he made his way through lapped traffic. He lost a length here and there, but often gained most of it back on the other side of the obstacles. With his teammate also landing a top-five finish, Sitterly’s checkered flag made it a stellar evening for car owner John Nicotra.

Listen toa thankful Otto Sitterly

Didero crossed the stripe in second.

Listen toDoug Didero on his second-place feature run

Improving weekly, McKnight settled for third place.

Listen toDave McKnight on his third-place run

New Jersey’s Payne and Idaho’s Hamilton rounded out the top five. Behind them, Greg Furlong drove the Pat Furlong, Jr.-owned No. 72 to a sixth-place finish.

Listen toGreg Furlong on his early-season struggles with the 72 car

North Carolina resident Keith Shampine earned the No. 88 team a top-10 finish, landing his ride in ninth place.

Listen toKeith Shampine on his run in the No. 88

Gioia struggled a bit on the evening, but says he’s already looking forward to next week’s King of Wings event.

Listen toStephen Gioia, III

In heat race action, Fulton’s Spaulding led every lap en route to his first win of the season. Graham held off Didero to claim his first qualifier win of the year. Magner led all 12 laps of heat race No. 3, winning his second preliminary this year.

Burritt Motors/Davis Brothers Jim Shampine Memorial 58:
1. Otto Sitterly (7), 2. Doug Didero (3), 3. Dave McKnight (08), 4. Joey Payne (99), 5. Davey Hamilton (6), 6. Greg Furlong (72), 7. Pat Lavery (2), 8. Keith Gilliam (87), 9. Keith Shampine (88), 10. Gene Lee Gibson (06), 11. Jerry Curran (24), 12. Jason Spaulding (23), 13. Bently Warren (15), 14. Bob Magner (22), 15. Hal LaTulip (56), 16. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 17. Todd Stowell (89), 18. Stephen Gioia, III (9), 19. Ray Graham, Jr. (90), 20. Lou LeVea, Jr. (04), 21. Bob Bogwicz (09), 22. DNS – Tim Snyder (0)