Brothers Bob and Mike Bond weren’t able to bring home checkered flags in Sunday’s season-ending races at the Oswego Speedway, but by virtue of their finishing positions, each won their respective division’s track championship. In two hotly contested point races, Bob Bond earned the 2015 Novelis supermodified crown, while Mike Bond won the Pathfinder Bank small block title. Not only was it the first time brothers have won track championships at Oswego in the same year, but both accomplished the feat racing for the same car owner, Denise Merrill.
Defending Novelis track champion, Otto Sitterly, won Sunday’s afternoon’s 75-lap battle, earning his sixth feature win. However, it wasn’t enough to win the season-long points war with Bob Bond. Bob’s second-place finish in the race would earn him his first track title. Sitterly would finish second in the points chase, just three and a half markers behind (1,053 – 1,049.5).
Just over an hour after Bob had sealed the deal on his first big block supermodified track championship, Mike Bond, would earn his fourth. In a crowded points battle, Mike’s fourth-place finish was enough to hold off third-place finishing, David Cliff by five and a half points (1,006 – 1,000.5). Dalton Doyle would hold off Andrew Schartner to win the 50-lap SBS season finale. Doyle’s win would help land him third in the final points rundown, just nine in back of Bond. Schartner would finish fourth in the chase, 11 and a half points in back of Bond.
Car owner, Merrill, now has track championships in two divisions, to go along with two of Bob Bond’s three Classic wins. She says she loves it but admits she often hides in her truck because it makes her too nervous to watch.
“This one’s for my parents and my brother,” Merrill said. “They were huge race fans. This is fantastic. I came here when my husband passed away to keep the legacy going. That’s really it. Did I envision winning two championships? Of course … I didn’t come here not to do it. No, really though, I wanted it, but now that I’ve got it it’s just too real. I’ve really got to thank all of the crews behind these guys … there are so many of them I can’t remember all of their names. Bob and Mike for driving and Dan Dennie for building Mike’s car. We’ll be back next year, with one new small block. (Matt) Magner’s getting one. They’re pressing me for another super though, but I can’t answer that question right now.”
For Bob, a track championship wasn’t even on his radar at the dawn of the 2015 season. His initial plans were just to pick and choose a few races and see how things went. After staying out of trouble and wanting to come back to tweak things a bit here and there, the team’s consistent runs near the front of the pack put them in the title hunt.
Listen to – Bob Bond
Following his third small block super championship in 2011, Mike finished runner-up two straight seasons. An injury from an accident at the start of 2014 shortened his campaign and echoes of an impending retirement began to circle. However, Mike would bounce back in 2015. A seesaw of a season some him enter Sunday afternoon with only six top-10 finishes. However, all six would be top-fives and three would be wins. Coupled with inconsistent runs by other title contenders, Bond would stay in the hunt to the very end.
Listen to – Mike Bond
Tim Devendorf and Tim Snyder led the 25-car Novelis supermodified field to the green to begin their 75-lap main event. Devendorf got the early jump, brining Sitterly, Snyder, Jeff Abold and David Cliff across the line to complete lap No. 1.
Bond would do his best to keep Sitterly in his view early, diving under both, Snyder and Cliff and into fourth place on the fifth lap. After chasing Devendorf for six laps, Sitterly would nose his way under the race leader’s No. 5 machine in the first turn on the seventh lap.
Six rounds later, Devendorf would slow to a stop in the fourth turn, retiring for the day. With 12 trips in the book, Sitterly would lead Abold, Bond Dave Danzer and Snyder back to green flag racing.
Sitterly would hit the tail-end of the field on the 19th lap with a 15-car length advantage. While he began to venture into the rear of the field, teammate, Dave Shullick, pulled pit-side with mechanical woes.
The caution flag would fly again on the 21st lap, after Michael Barnes tangled with the spun Shawn Muldoon No. 1. Both cars would end their day in the pits. On the restart, Sitterly would lead Abold, Bond, Danzer and Ray Graham, Jr..
Following another short caution for turn-two debris on the 35th lap, Bond would swipe second from Abold on the ensuing restart. With Bond now in second place, winning the race alone would not be enough for Sitterly to overcome the points deficit. He would need help from the field behind him.
Graham’s fifth-place No. 21 would fall by the wayside on the 39th lap, slowing and pulling into the infield. Four laps later, Cliff would come to a stop and bring out the caution flag. He too, would retire for the day.
With 33 laps remaining, Sitterly led Bond, Abold, Danzer and Snyder back to racing. One lap into the green flag run, Brandon Bellinger would break into the top five, besting Snyder for fifth in turn No. 3. Dave Gruel, Joe Gosek and Ron Silk would all scoot past the No. 0.
The hardest hit of the day would happen four laps later after a suspension failure on Stephen Gioia’s No. 9 sent it into the fourth-turn wall head-on. Gioia’s No. 9 received considerable front-end damage, but more importantly, Gioia himself was banged up in the accident. The third-generation driver was taken by ambulance to a Syracuse hospital with arm and possible back injuries.
Gosek took to Gruel’s high side on the restart, wrestling sixth away. He would then dip under Bellinger’s No. 02 on the 50th lap to bust into the top five. Up front, Sitterly had checked out and no one challenging from behind, Bond was sitting pretty in second place.
One lap after Danzer bested Abold for third, Bellinger bounced his No. 02 off of the first turn hub, ricocheting into Gosek’s No. 00. The caution flag would fly with just five laps remaining.
Sitterly’s last hope and Bond’s worst fear would be a second-place challenge from Danzer on the restart. However, Bond would hold strong. He would cruise the rest of the way, content to finish runner-up. Sitterly would set sail for the checkered flag, collecting it with a $3,000 dollar payday.
Listen to – Otto Sitterly
Camden Proud would get the early jump on Mark Castiglia at the start of the 50-lap SBS season-closer. Starting in the second row, Doyle was quick to pounce early, nabbing the lead from Proud on the third lap.
After a quick caution for James Babcock’s spun No. 15, Castiglia and Proud would come together racing out of turn No. 4.That would lead to Schartner, David Cliff, Alex Hoag and Jack Patrick filling out the top five behind Doyle.
After being shuffled back early on, Mike Bond was on the rebound. Passing JJ Andrews, Dennis Richmond and Greg O’Connor shortly into the ensuing restart. Bond would then muscle his way around Patrick’s No. 9 to take over fifth on the ninth lap.
By the 15th lap, Doyle commanded 15-car length lead on Schartner’s No. 18 and Cliff‘s No. 50. Behind them, Hoag and Bond were fighting hard for fourth. With an inside move, Bond would earn the spot on the 17th lap.
Doyle would hit the tail-end of the field on his 22nd circuit. The top five would all end up spread apart at the halfway mark. Two laps later, Richmond would slide his No. 24 to a stop on the front straightaway.
Though not in order of points, the top four title contenders were sitting atop the field. Doyle would lead Schartner, Cliff and Bond back to racing with 23 trips to go.
10 laps into the run, Doyle commanded a dozen lengths over Schartner and Cliff. Bond raced alone in fourth while Patrick pressed Hoag for fifth.
Doyle would run into trouble in traffic and Schartner was quick to reel him in. However, before the No. 18 could strike, the No. 01 would find clear road ahead.
With two trips to go, O’Connor would spin his No. 90 and mirror the move on the following restart. The field would reset for a two-lap dash to the checkers. Doyle would only need to fend off Schartner on final restart to claim victory and Bond would only need to stay out of trouble to claim his fourth championship. Both would do their jobs and come away victorious.
Listen to – Dalton Doyle
After his 37th year of racing, JJ Andrews announced Classic Weekend that the Fall Championship would be his final race. Andrews leaves Oswego with four feature wins, including the 2014 SBS Classic.
Listen to – JJ Andrews
Novelis Supermodified Fall Championship 75: 1. Otto Sitterly (7), 2. Bob Bond (47), 3. Dave Danzer (52), 4. Dave Gruel (50), 5. Ron Silk (91), 6. Shaun Gosselin (26), 7. Jeff Abold (05), 8. Joe Gosek (00), 9. Brian Sobus (79), 10. Pat Lavery (22), 11. Tim Snyder (0), 12. Brandon Bellinger (02), 13. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 14. Jerry Curran (24), 15. Stephen Gioia (9), 16. Dave Cliff (72), 17. Ray Graham, Jr. (21), 18. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 19. Hal LaTulip (56), 20. Shawn Muldoon (1), 21. Michael Barnes (68), 22. Ryan Litt (88), 23. Dave Shullick, Jr. (2), 24. Tim Devendorf (5), 25. Lou LeVea, Sr. (66)
Pathfinder Bank SBS Fall Championship 50: 1. Dalton Doyle (01), 2. Andrew Schartner (18), 3. David Cliff (50), 4. Mike Bond (74), 5. Alex Hoag (7), 6. Jack Patrick (9), 7. Rob Pullen (99), 8. JJ Andrews (93), 9. Anthony Losurdo (1), 10. Jason Simmons (98), 11. Matt Magner (87), 12. Alex McRae (14), 13. Dennis Richmond (24), 14. Greg O’Connor (90), 15. Scott Shafer (76), 16. James Babcock (15), 17. Barry Kingsley (91), 18. Jeremy Pitcher (97), 19. Kreig Heroth (04), 20. Camden Proud (54), 21. Mark Castiglia (69), 22. Ray Sand, Jr. (71)