After what will be remembered as one of the greatest finishes in Oswego Speedway’s rich history, Canajoharie’s Otto Sitterly pocketed $10,000 dollars on Saturday night, winning the lakeside oval’s 29th annual Mr. Novelis Supermodified 75-lap event. With the crowd brought to its feet, Sitterly, Ray Graham, Jr. and Michael Barnes would all take turns leading the way over the final five laps of the race. Inside and outside moves galore, all in the midst of traffic, kept everyone guessing who would cross the checkered stripe come race’s end. However, it would be Sitterly earning the upper hand on the final circuit.
In the final laps, the defending track champ would find himself taking the lead, losing it, falling to third, retaking the lead, falling back to second and taking it back for good. He would end up only be credited for leading the final two laps of the race.
This was Sitterly’s third Mr. Supermodified win, moving him into a tie with Greg Furlong for second all-time – behind Mike Ordway’s six wins. This victory was Sitterly’s fifth of the 2015 season and puts him back atop the standings in the points chase for the track championship.
Listen to – Otto Sitterly
Baldwinsville’s Michael Muldoon would take the initial lead of the race following the drop of the green flag, but a four-car jingle in the rear of the field ended the night for all involved before they could complete their maiden lap.
Brandon Bellinger, Lou LeVea, Jr. and Joe Gosek all exited via the hook. Hal LaTulip was able to limp his damaged No. 56 back to his pit. None of the four would return.
The complete restart saw Muldoon taking the point away from Tim Snyder again. Ray Graham, Kody Graham and Jeff Abold would chase the lead duo across the line to complete lap No. 1.
Following a quick caution for Jerry Curran’s spun No. 24, Muldoon would begin to ease a way from the field. A simple bobble by Snyder’s No. 0 sent him back to fifth on lap No. 5. After 10 laps, Muldoon was racing a dozen markers ahead of Ray Graham, Kody Graham and defending race winner, Dave Danzer. Fifteen lengths behind them, Snyder, Abold, Bob Bond Sitterly, Barnes and Tim Devendorf filled out the top 10.
Muldoon’s lead would begin to shrink as he began making his way through the tail-end of the field. In the midst of lapped traffic, Muldoon would make contact with Aric Iosue’s No. 11, sending the race leader into the outside wall. Kody Graham’s No. 21 would spin into the scene as well, along with Danzer’s No. 52. Muldoon, Danzer and Iosue would receive night-ending damage. Kody would return.
With 24 laps in the books, the leaderboard shake-up put Ray Graham atop the field. Abold, Sitterly, Snyder and Barnes held the top five positions. Devendorf, Pat Lavery, Dave Shullick, Jr., Dave Gruel and Dave Cliff filled out the top 10.
On the ensuing restart, Graham would start to pull away. By the 30th lap, he held 10 lengths on Abold’s No. 05. Just after receiving the halfway signal from the flagman, Sitterly dipped under Abold on the front straightway and took over the runner-up spot.
Sitterly would slowly begin to close in on the race leader. A yellow flag for Jerry Curran’s disabled No. 24 would reset the field. With 42 rounds in, Graham led Sitterly, Abold, Barnes and Snyder. Devendorf, Lavery, Shullick, Cliff and Bond completed the top 10.
Graham would hold strong on the restart, but Barnes would wrestle third away from Abold. A few laps later, Cliff and Kody Graham would tangle while racing for 10th off of turn No. 2. Both cars would be sidelined for the evening. This caution would result in a red flag for refueling.
Sitterly would take his first look around Graham on the restart. After one more minor challenge, Graham would reassume command by a length and a half. By the 55th lap, Barnes had fallen some 15 lengths off the pace of the race leaders. A late-race surge by Bond, saw his No. 47 slip under Abold for fourth place. However, he would trail Barnes by half of a lap and need a caution to close the distance.
As the lapboard made its way through the 60s, Barnes would slowly begin to close in on the lead duo. That progress multiplied as the race leaders approached the tail-end of the field.
Hitting lapped traffic with five to go, Sitterly made his first serious charge on Graham’s No. 91. Heading into the third, turn, Sitterly’s No. 7 sailed up and around Graham. Taking the lead away, but only for a moment. Graham would slip back under, retaking the point as Sitterly wrestled his machine through the third groove.
Barnes would take advantage of Sitterly’s push and take away second. Running with momentum, he would then race with Graham for the lead. Throwing his No. 68 hard into the turn, Barnes would inch out in front. However, he too would end up skating up and out of the racing groove. Graham would stay low, drive back under Barnes and reclaim the lead. Sitterly would follow the No. 91, bumping Barnes back to third.
However, Barnes would not give. Charging down the back straightaway, he’d give it a final go on the outside. Again, sailing his way into the lead between turns three and four, but only for a brief moment. Graham and Sitterly would take advantage of the Barnes No. 68 losing its grip again, back peddling its way from the outside wall.
Again, Sitterly would zip past Graham as the duo raced into the third turn. Again, Sitterly would be unable to hold his No. 7 low, allowing Graham to drive his way back underneath.
Sitterly would give it a final go in the midst of lapped traffic on the 74th lap, this time in turn No. 2. It would be an inside move that threaded the needle between a lapped car and Graham to secure the pass. Sitterly would hold on the final five-eighth’s mile to earn the win.
Landing his Xtreme Chassis No. 91 in second place, Graham was pleased with what he said was his last race before Classic Weekend.
Listen to – Ray Graham, Jr.
Coming up short with his late-race charge, Barnes brought the Syrell Racing No. 68 home in third.
Listen to – Michael Barnes
After pitting early, Bond would return to race to a fourth-place finish.
Listen to – Bob Bond
Mr. Novelis Supermodified $10,000 to-win 75: 1. Otto Sitterly (7), 2. Ray Graham, Jr. (91), 3. Michael Barnes (68), 4. Bob Bond (47), 5. Tim Devendorf (5), 6. Jeff Abold (05), 7. Tim Snyder (0), 8. Dave Gruel (50), 9. Pat Lavery (22), 10. Stephen Gioia, III (9), 11. Dave Shullick, Jr. (2), 12. Lou LeVea, Sr. (96), 13. Shaun Gosselin (26), 14. Dave Cliff (06), 15. Kody Graham (21), 16. Jerry Curran (24), 17. Michael Muldoon (20), 18. Dave Danzer (52), 19. Aric Iosue (11), 20. Brian Sobus (raced Muldoon No. 1 as No. 79), 21. Brandon Bellinger (02), 22. Hal LaTulip (56), 23. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 24. Joe Gosek (00), 25. Dan Connors, Jr. (01)
Qualifying heat races were won by Muldoon, Sitterly and Danzer.