OSWEGO, NY (May 27) – For the third time in his career, Otto Sitterly graced Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane on Memorial Day Weekend. The opening night winner at Oswego used a lap 72 outside pass of Joey Payne going into turn one to claim the Mitchell’s Speedway Press Shampine Memorial 75 victory in the Novelis Supermodified division, his second consecutive main event win of the year.
Payne, driving the Muldoon Racing No. 20, crossed the line in the runner-up position ahead of Ray Graham Jr., Shaun Gosselin, and Tim Sndyer in the Top 5. Dave Gruel, Pat Lavery, Brian Sobus, Bobby Haynes Jr., and Kody Graham would fill the Top 10 rundown.
“Joey is a real tough racer and they have that car going pretty good,” said Sitterly. “I tried him on the bottom a couple times and he wasn’t going to let me have it. So, if you can’t go under him there is only one thing left to do. I knew I needed to get close to him, and Joey and I have run a lot of years together and never really had any problems. He ran me clean and I appreciate that.”
Sitterly’s win was the 22nd overall Novelis Supermodified win of his career, moving him past Speedway legends Todd Gibson and Mike Muldoon.
“You know how it goes,” Sitterly said. “When you get on a roll things are going good. As soon as you fall off the ball it is all over, you know?”
Dan Connors Jr. and Kody Graham brought the Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag, with Conoors jumping out to the early race lead in the Big M No. 01. Connors would quickly streak to an impressive full straight away lead in the 75-lap grind over Graham, Michael Muldoon, Joe Gosek, and Mike Barnes.
After putting in a smooth 25 laps, the races first caution of the night would fly, and a big one it was.
Running inside the Top 5, Muldoon in the No. 50m would break loose and spin in corner number four. With nowhere to go both Gosek and Payne were collected in the incident. For the second race in a row Gosek, the defending Novelis Supermodified track champion, would head pit side before the halfway point. Payne, who was allowed his spot back in the field for spinning to avoid, was able to push back off into the pack with front wing damage.
When the field got back to green Connors led Graham, Barnes, Payne, Ray Graham, Gosselin, Dave Danzer, Sitterly, and Tim Snyder.
After the restart the Connors No. 01 was not the same, and on lap 32 Graham was able to pull up alongside of Connors and underneath him for the race lead out of turn two. Barnes took advantage as well, pushing Connors from the lead back to the third spot.
Just three laps later, Barnes himself would mount a charge for the lead pulling to the outside of Graham into turn three. But, the two cars brushed wheels sending Barnes into a spin, turning the yellow lights on.
At this time the cars were stopped on the track for a red flag refueling. While under red Graham, the race leader, would have to pull to the pit area as a result of heavy front wing damage from the contact with Barnes in turn three. That would hand the lead back over to the Connors machine for the lap 37 restart.
As the field came back to green Connors, Payne, Ray Graham, and Gosselin would check away from the field.
After several laps, Connors would again pick up his under steer condition, leaving the low side of the race track open. On lap 45 Payne, a three-time Supermodified winner at Oswego including one with a wing, would drive under Connors for the race lead out of turn four.
Connors condition would only worsen as by lap 53 he was pushed higher out of the racing lane, slipping all the way back to the 7th spot as Ray Graham, Sittlerly, Danzer, Gosselin, and Snyder would all sneak past.
With Payne well out in front with 15 laps to go in the Shampine Memorial, the battle began to heat up for second between Graham and Sitterly. Before long the duo managed to reel in the race leader, making it a three car battle for the win.
With just eight laps remaining Sitterly began to mount his charge, pulling high on Graham out of turn two. Graham got loose, slipping to the low side, giving Sitterly a high road to the runner-up spot. With Graham clear, Sitterly quickly chased down Payne for the top spot.
By lap 71 Sitterly was all over Payne, close enough that the two drivers actually made contact out of turn four, severely damaging the wing on the Sitterly-Nicotra No. 7. At the same time however, Jerry Curran would slow to a stop in turn one with a flat right front tire, setting up a four lap shootout to the finish.
Payne led Sitterly, Graham, Gosselin, Snyder, Gruel, Haynes, Lavery, Snyder, and Kody Graham down to the stripe for the restart.
Just one lap after the green lights came on Sitterly, who consistently tried the low lane on Payne for the point, wound up sliding to the high side of the Speedway out of turn four on lap 72 to complete the pass and hurry on to victory lane.
Payne explained what happened to his car after contact with Gosek on the lap 25 caution.
“We had a really good car, but I bent the hell out of the nose wing with that contact early and it tightened the car up,” Payne said. “I guess when I hit Joe it knocked two bolts out of the steering wheel, and literally under yellow I was tightening the bolt on the wheel. So, my hands were hitting the frame there at the end when Sitterly got along side of me and I wasn’t going to wreck him.”
Graham, who bounced back from week one issues in the No. 90, came home with a third place finish and talked about another tight battle with Sitterly.
“I’m not sure what happened down the back straightaway there, but I see my tail section is smashed up,” said Graham. “I assume the No. 7 car (Sitterly) ran into the back of us. I’m not sure, but that is ok. If that is the way they want to race I’m ok with that, good hard racing, just expect the same in return.”
Gosselin came across the line with a fourth place finish in the No. 26, the best Novelis Supermodified result of his career.
“It feels good,” said Gosselin. “It is great to see all the hard work we put into this car finally showing. We are really a hometown team running with these guys, nearly 30 cars on a weekly basis, it doesn’t get much better.”
Kyle Ebersole Claims Back-to-Back RoC Modified Wins Earning the Richie Evans Memorial Championship
Every racecar driver no matter how talented they are throughout their driving career always has a moment that they do something that the racingpublic will never forget. Early Saturday evening at the Oswego Speedway in the Richie Evans Memorial for the Race of Champions Asphalt Modifieds Kyle Ebersolehad that moment.
Ebersole, a college student from Hummelstown, Pa. was running exclusively in the outside groove attempting to get the lead from JR Kent. The two drivers raced side by side for the first 19 laps in the 75 lap feature event. Coming around tocomplete lap 20 Ebersole changed his strategy as he was exiting turn four he dove to the bottom to get underneath Kent. Ebersole then completed the pass for the lead entering turn one as he had Kent on the outside now to lead lap 21.
Once in front Ebersole was never challenged to claim his second consecutive RoC Modified feature win and his first Richie Evans Memorial win. Kent ended up second holding off eighth place starter Matt Hirschman with Billy Putney in fourth and Terry Cheetham in fifth.
“ I wasn’t trying really hard on the outside for so many laps to get the lead and he (Kent ) kept moving up a little bit and I was getting tight running up that high. So I decided just to follow him for a little bit and I went into turn three a little high. I saw him get tight in the middle of the turn and I dove underneath and got a good run off the corner to get under him and that finished it “ said Ebersole when talking about the pass.
Kent spoke about the pass, which did surprise him.
“Yes it really did surprise me. Between three and four I looked up in the mirror and I saw him ( Ebersole )right behind me. When we exited four I couldn’t believe he was under me and wheel to wheel with me, he’s got a real strong piece under the hood. But it was a clean pass and you have to give him credit for that. “
By the luck of the draw JR Kent and Kyle Ebersole brought the 26 car field to green with Kent taking the lead over Ebersole, Terry Cheetham, Jimmy Zacharias, and Billy Putney. Putney moved into fourth one lap later while on lap three Rusty Smith displaced Zacharias to move into fifth.
Ebersole barely got the lead on lap five as he and Kent still raced side by side with Kent retaking the lead on the next lap. Ebersole got moved back to third on lap seven as Cheetham joined the battle for the lead.
Cheetham tried an outside turn one pass for the lead on lap eight, which saw his slip up the track and this shuffled the running order as Ebersole, Putney, Smith, and Matt Hirschman moved into second through fifth in the running order.
On a lap 14 restart Smith got trapped in the outside groove and this allowed Hirschman to fourth and Cheetham to fifth.
The top five remained the same for the next 32 consecutive laps until Hirschman moved past Putney who bobbled entering turn one on lap 48 to move into third.
With Ebersole way out in front all eyes were focused over the final 25 laps on the battle for second between Kent and Hirschman. The two second generation drivers battled hard with Hirschman using every trick in the book except hard contact to try and get the position.
At the checkers Ebersole in for the win over Kent, Hirschman, Putney, and Cheetham.
Ebersole who seems to have the new American Racer tire figured out spoke about his two wins in a row on these tires.
“You definitely have to drive the car differentwith the American Racers. You can’t run the car as hard with the AmericanRacers as you could with the Hoosiers. We have had the perfect setup now fortwo weeks in a row and starting on the front row two weeks in a row is a plustoo. But we’ve known right from the start what we wanted to go with setup wise and the tire brand change, there isn’t that much of a difference.”
Having a good base setup was a key on this day for Ebersole as he only got five laps of practice due to arriving late.
“That was the key for us today as we got here late due to our truck breaking down and we had to call for another truck to come up and that made a four and half hour trip into eight hours. The car was a little off for the heat and we made a small adjustment that got it right on for the feature “ said Kyle.
Kyle spoke about winning his first Richie Evans Memorial.
“It’s awesome especially to win it here at Oswego as we have had some up and down races here in the past. I’m proud to win it here and win my first race at Oswego. I just can’t believe I’ve won two races in a row on the RoC Tour. “
“As happy as you can be with a second, you really want to win but it’s been a while since I’ve run the RoC Tour, it just feels good to be competitive, it’s a great night “ said second place finisher JR Kent.
Kent spoke about the high level of competition that he is facing on the RoC Tour this year.
“It’s a tough bunch of guys running with us now. Before when I ran full time there were maybe five or six guys who could win, now there is ten to fifteen who could win on any given night. It’s a different deal now like with anything once you’re out of it for a while it takes a bit to get back up to speed. My dad is going to run this car at Spencer as my new one should be done by then and then we’ll see what we got for them.”
For the second consecutive race TJ Zacharias, who ended up 21st won the Gater Racing News $500 bonus for being the highest finishing B Modified.
Qualifying for the 27 car field saw heat wins go to Jimmy Zacharias, Cheetham, and Daren Scherer.
Cameron Rowe Notches Second Career SBS Series Victory at Oswego with Tony White Memorial Victory
After claiming a rain shortened event in 2011 for his first career win at Oswego Speedway, Cameron Rowe this time used extra laps to make his return trip to Chris Nelson Insurance Victory lane as a part of Mitchell’s Speedway Press Night.
Driving an FFB chassis, which the late Tony White helped to initially create, Rowe led 34 of the 35 laps on his way to victory.
“I feel awesome,” exclaimed an emotional Rowe in victory lane. “To win in honor of Tony, such a great guy. I just can’t believe I’m here right now. No holds barred, we did it all ourselves this time.”
Rowe held off several advances late in the race from two of the best in the business in Mike Bond and Andrew Schartner.
“I was nervous,” said Rowe. “It is great to race with those guys, and yeah we started in front of them, but we beat them tonight.”
Tim Barbeau, Kreig Heroth, Mike Bruce, JJ Andrews, Jason Simmons, Chris Proud, and Dalton Doyle would fill the Top 10 spots.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS Series main event saw Bryan Haynes and Dennis Rupert lead the field to the stripe with two first lap jingles slowing the early progression of the event. The first of which saw opening night podium finishers Jack Patrick and Mark Castiglia tangle in a five car incident in turn one. Patrick made hard contact with the first turn foam, and both would be done for the night.
Eventually the race would gain some momentum with Haynes again snagging in initial lead, but after just one circuit Rowe blasted on past Haynes for the top spot and immediately began to pull away from the field.
Defending Speedway champion Bond, who broke a rear panhard bar on opening night, made quick work of the field to get to the second position by lap 3 after starting back in the 5th position.
With Rowe and Bond in command of the field, the main battle on the track was being waged between Bruce and Simmons for the 3rd spot. Simmons continuously tried Bruce on the high side of the Speedway with no success.
Eventually the high side bit Simmons allowing Schartner, who started all the way back in 14th, Barbeau, Heroth, and Andrews all to slip underneath him.
With that tight battle going on for 3rd on back, it looked as though Rowe would go on uncontested over Bond for his second career win. However, a lap 26 caution for debris in turn one brought out the caution flag, giving Bond one last shot at the race leader.
With the field bunched up Rowe, Bond, Schartner, Bruce, Barbeau, Heroth, Andrews, Simmons, Proud, and Dave LaTulip filed under the green flag as the Top 10 runners.
Again, as he had done all night, Rowe would charge to a comfortable race lead over the field and speed away under the checkered flag for the Tony White Memorial win, the second victory of his career.
In the late stages Barbeau managed to slip past Bruce for the 4th position.
Despite not visiting victory lane for another time, Bond was happy with the runner-up finish.
“The car got tighter on those longer runs,” said Bond. “The way things started, this is pretty good. Hopefully the car stayed together. The car was loose and then right, but we’ll adjust on it and try again next week.”
Schartner, who made yet another trip from Charlotte, NC to race at Oswego Speedway, passed several cars on his way to a third place run.
“I had to do it; we just didn’t have anything all night long getting off the corner and we we’re really loose,” said Schartner. “We tried some stuff in the heat and we demonstrated how well that worked. We made some big adjustments and got it close, and actually the contact I made with the No. 47 under caution on the front straight when he stalled, helped the car.”
Schartner hopes to be able to come back to the Speedway Saturday night for Best Western/Quality Inn Night at the Races.
“It has been fun. I get that feeling to come up here and be home,” said Schartner. “We’re waiting to see if I am going to make it next weekend, I don’t have a place ticket. We’re going to wait and check out the weather and see how it goes.”
Next on the schedule is at Oswego Speedway will be Best Western Plus/Quality Inn and Suites Night at the Races coming up on Saturday, June 2. The event will feature a 50-lap Novelis Supermodified feature as well as a 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS main.
Grandstand gates will open at 4pm, with racing getting underway at 6:30pm. General admission tickets will be set at $15, with Price Chopper Tickets to Go available for just $14.
Kids 16 & under are admitted free, with paid adult, to all Speedway events excluding Race of Champions Weekend and Budweiser International Classic Weekend.
Oswego Speedway events run May through September on most Saturday nights, culminating with the Fall Championship 75 on September 15th.
For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com. You can also LIKE the (Official) Oswego Speedway page at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. To purchase tickets or order merchandise please call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.