OSWEGO, NY – As opening day at Oswego Speedway gets closer and closer, teams and fans alike are readying themselves for the summer long activity on East Albany Street.
The competition level gets tougher by the day, as not only is the commitment program full in each division, heavy hitters not in the program are set to go as well.
Drivers come from all different backgrounds to race at The Steel Palace. Many are Oswego residents that have had a life-long love affair with Oswego Speedway. Others have a fascination with the supermodifieds, while still other teams are coming to see what asphalt has to offer after years on the dirt side of things.
One of the drivers looking for “Rookie of the Year” honors at Oswego Speedway is a new face to Oswego, but a familiar one to Central New York dirt race fans.
“The Hitman,” Tony Steiner got a taste of Oswego Speedway last year in the Sportsman race Classic Weekend.
He liked the thought of running Oswego Speedway weekly, liked the thought of running one night a week instead of the three or four nights a week on dirt, and enjoys the idea of racing an hour from home on a regular basis. So, Tony tossed his hat in the ring of weekly competition in the supermodified class at Oswego Speedway.
“Last year I ran the Dirt-Asphalt series, and had pretty good success in it, winning four of eight races,” Tony reflected. “I’ve been racing the Dirt-Asphalt car a couple, and before that running dirt three, or more nights a week. I thought about it a lot, and wanted to spend more time with my family. My daughter is on a traveling softball team, and I want to watch her play, and be around, not out racing so much.”
“Oswego is an hour door to door, from my home in Lafayette,” he continued. “I have a little bit of asphalt experience, with last year’s races, and running the car at Plattsburgh, Airborne, Devils Bowl, and Lancaster too. I still have my Dirt-Asphalt car and can run those races if I chose too, but am waiting to see their schedule when it comes out.”
Tony compared the competition levels at Oswego and the CNY dirt series as well.
“Both Oswego and dirt are tough. They have national touring series top competition each night. The level of racing in both series is excellent. You have to be at the top of your game to run with these guys weekly,” he said.
Thanks to a long-time friendship with an Oswego Speedway Hall of Famer, Tony comes into competition this year with his guns locked and loaded.
“I’ve known Mike Muldoon a long time,” Tony said of one of his aces in the hole. “I bought a Bicknell frame from him years back, and we became friends. It was a no-brainer. He knows these cars so well, and is going to be a huge help. Part of the deal was that Mike is going to help me, teach me, and be there along the way.”
Muldoon’s record at Oswego Speedway cannot be disputed, with 21 feature wins, three track championships, a classic win and winner of The Rookie of the Year (1983), six-time Crew of the Year, and Car Owner of the Year (1995).
Tony has one of the more colorful nicknames in local racing, as he was tabbed as “The Hitman.”
“I picked that up in my sportsman days,” Tony laughed. “It came from a couple of places. One, I have a gun business, AKS Firearms. Second, one night I was running sportsman, I was running well and going to the front, and someone dumped me. So the next week, totally as a joke, I put a hit list on my trailer. Everyone got a laugh out of it, thus the nickname.”
Looking back at his Oswego Sportsman race last year, Tony has good memories of his run.
“We had a good run going,” he remembered. “It was an older car, and we were running well. We started 10th, and were up to second in about eight laps. I was moving up in the outside of the fourth turn, and I guess someone didn’t expect me to be driving around on the outside of them in four. We ended up in trouble. It was really fun racing at Oswego, and I’m looking forward to this year. I really want to come back.”
“This year should be fun,” Tony said looking forward to 2013.
Tony has one of the Muldoon cars from last year under him, and has one of the most knowledgeable supermodified minds in his corner with Muldoon.
“We’ll be at the open practices, some of the Fast Friday’s and we have a private practice scheduled too. I don’t think we’ll strap a wing on it for the ISMA race on the 4th, we want to take it one step at a time,” he said.
The old white Muldoon car will have a whole new look.
“We build our own bodies, and we’ll have a black car numbered 07. Is there any significance to having the #07? I am a James Bond fan, and would have liked to run 007, but you can’t run three numbers, so we went with 07,” he explained.
Tony is 47 years old, and is married to Stephanie. His daughter Kaylee is 15 years old. Tony owns AKS Firearms, as well as NY-Tec Supply in Lafayette. Ny-Tec sells auto service supply and equipment. As well as Ny-Tec, Tech Tire repairs (Johnstown, Ohio), Haylor-Freyer & Coon Insurance, Magnum Balancing, and Plumbco Wheel Weights sponsor the new supermodified venture.
Shawn and Shane Donath, as well as Jim Kuwagulet, are the loyal crewmembers getting the methanol monster ready for the year, as well as being there day in and day out in the summer time.
We’re getting closer day by day to Opening Day #63 at Oswego Speedway. Teams are burning a lot of midnight oil making sure they’re ready to go once the green flag drops. Supermodified rookie driver Tony Steiner is one of those drivers prepping for Opening Day, as he looks for a successful 2013 season.
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To purchase tickets for the 2013 racing season call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.