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The King of Wings Crowned Classic Champion

By – Chris Porter
Photo – Jim Feeney

Mexico’s Bobby Bond killed two birds with one stone Monday evening, making his first non-winged Oswego supermodified feature win the International Classic 200 at the Oswego Speedway. Bond caught and passed 2010 Oswego Speedway Track Champion Otto Sitterly with 13 laps remaining en route to capturing his second checkered flag at the famed lakeside oval this season. Earlier this year, Bond was crowned “King of Wings” after winning the annual winged supermodified event. That win was his first super feature victory of any kind.

“Everything just fell my way,” Bond said. “With 50 to go, the car just kept getting better and better. I could see the guys in front of me getting looser and looser. Everything just worked out my way … . I could see Otto was really loose and slipping. I was pretty sure I could get him at that point because my car was pretty good at the end.”

However, it wasn’t that way for Bond at the start.

“I thought I was in trouble in the first 100 laps,” he said. “The car wasn’t good. It was loose and slipping a bit. But, once that fuel burned off, it came around.”

Bond qualified his No. 25 Ed Matteson-owned machine ninth, with at time of 16.965 seconds. It put him on the inside of the fifth row, which he was OK with. What was most important for Bond was to just give himself an opportunity to do something at the end. To do that, he knew he had to first still be running.

“I knew the car was pretty good,” he said of his qualifying run. “I wasn’t worried about the time trial. I wanted to be in the top 10 and that’s all we did. That was good enough. We just hung out the first 100 laps. You’ve got to be there at the end to win. If you’re not there, you can’t win.”

Listen to more from – Bob Bond

Bond first came into play for the win after following Greg Furlong underneath the second-place running Davey Hamilton No. 6 on the 169th lap. Furlong and Bond both chased down Sitterly, and the trio began to distance themselves from the field.

As the three entered lapped traffic, Bond lost ground as Furlong pressed the race leader. As the lead duo raced off of the fourth corner with just over 20 trips to go, Sitterly’s No. 7 bobbled, Furlong made contact and suddenly slowed. The contact allowed Bond to make up much needed ground, but also sent Furlong’s No. 72 limping into the pits.

Sitterly suddenly found himself unchallenged, but continued to fight a loose car. However, as the laps began to tick away Bond continued to reel in the race leader. On lap No. 183, Bond caught Sitterly on the front straightaway. Bond stayed with the race leader as the pair headed into more lapped traffic. However, this time, Bond was able to hang with him.

The challenger swung his No. 25 to the inside of Sitterly down the front straightaway on the 187th lap, taking the lead into turn No. 1.

Once atop the field, Bond continued to roll onward. Once finishing off light traffic, just 12 laps remained. Behind him, Sitterly continued to fight for control of his car, losing second place to Bobby Santos, III before losing third to Ray Graham, Jr.

With five to go, Bond was holding more than a full straightaway’s advantage over Santos and Graham. However, that margin suddenly vanished when Sitterly finally lost the battle with his No. 7 in the second turn. He spun, collecting Joe Gosek’s No. 00 in the process.

The caution tightened up the field, putting Santos on Bond’s tail for a green-white-checkered finish. However, while under caution, the fuel tank on the Santos No. 05 ran dry. His car stalled on the track. B-Main winner and current fourth-place running Todd Stowell, coasted to stop after running out of fuel as well.

Bond had no fuel or handling issues on the restart, taking flight with room to spare. Graham bested a lapped car that had separated him from Bond, but was unable to close in for a challenge. Hamilton was too far back to make a run for the win as well. Bond was too strong, winning the Classic 200 with a five-car advantage to spare.

Graham was pleased with his runner-up finish. He wasn’t sure he had a car to challenge for the win.

“It’s hard to say,” Graham said “because the car changes so much from start to finish. We were loose in early and just wanted to ride it out to about lap 160, until we got rid of the fuel. Through attrition, I think we were sitting in fourth or fifth then. Around lap 180 the car started to come in. We were hoping it would’ve come in around lap 150 or 160. It came in a little later than we expected, but it was pretty good. The best car won.”

Listen to more from – Ray Graham, Jr.

Hamilton was able to bring the John Nicotra-owned No. 6 home in third.

“We were really good early,” Hamilton said. “We got into second there. I was behind Otto and really just cruising, just cruising, like half throttle down the straightaways. I was thinking ‘Man, this car is really good.’ For whatever reason, it started getting a little loose. I thought ‘That’s still OK.’ But three-fourths the way through, we couldn’t even gas it on the straightaways. It would just spin the tires too much. We gave all we had and ended up third. We just had too much stagger. We were going for like two inches and ended up with three and one-eights.”

Listen to more from – Davey Hamilton

Sitterly finished two laps down in ninth. Having led the most laps in the race, he knew he’d be in trouble as the car continued to loose its grip. Sitterly said he had some throttle linkage issues through much of the race, but it was when he got loose while battling with Furlong when things really went downhill.

“The one time I just got pretty loose coming out of four,” Sitterly said. “I wouldn’t have lost it or anything, but it was my fault, not Furlong’s. He ran into me, but I really had to check pretty good to keep from losing it. When he did, it damaged his right-front and it ripped the wings loose. The bi-wings were just basically flapping in the breeze. We probably had half the down force of what we would normally have. When that thing went, it was like a light switch. It was there and then it was gone, just like that.”

Listen to more from -  Otto Sitterly

Bond had said that to win the race you had to first put yourself in position. Other potential contenders were not in that position come the final run to the checkered flag. Heated tempers sparked by race incidents boiled over, in some cases.

Furlong had been charging up through the field from his 11th starting spot. He’d just taken fourth away from Joey Payne on the 126th lap of the race. While going for third three laps later, he made contact with Doug Didero’s No. 3 as the leaders raced out of turn No. 4.

Furlong was able to slip under Didero, but as Didero’s No. 3 spun, he gunned the gas in hopes of completing a full circle to keep his momentum going – thus, not loose a lap. However, he failed and in doing so, collected Dave McKnight’s No. 08 and Payne’s No. 99. Gosek and Jerry Curran were caught up as well.

Payne’s No. 99 was able to keep moving, but as the No. 99 came around the speedway, it suddenly found itself back in the thick of the accident scene – jammed into the back of Didero’s No. 3.

Didero and Payne literally came to blows, before having to be separated by track officials and race teams. Both cars were out of the action, as well as McKnight’s No. 08. Didero had been running in third, Payne in fifth and McKnight in seventh. Gosek and Curran (running eighth and ninth) were able to continue, but were virtually eliminated from contention after going laps down.

Didero, who said he had the car to beat on Monday, laid the blame on Furlong for the accident, saying that the No. 72 hit him intentionally. Didero left it at that, not commenting on any issues with Payne. He said there was too much damage to the rear of the car for it to continue.

However, the same could not be said for Payne. The angry New Jersey native was very vocal in his disliking of Didero’s actions in turn No. 4. Payne admitted making intentional contact with the parked No. 3 in retaliation for what he believed to be intentional contact that Didero had made with his No. 99.

Listen to – Joey Payne (WARNING- explicit language)

Once again, a promising run came up short for McKnight.

Listen to – Dave McKnight

Furlong made it through the early incident with Didero and Payne, but his bid for the lead ended later in the race after he made contact with Sitterly’s No. 7.

Listen to – Greg Furlong

In only his second race with the team, Randy Ritskes brought the No. 88 home in fifth.

Listen to – Randy Ritskes

Stowell bounced back from a hard wreck a few weeks ago to win the B-Main before later earning his No. 89 a seventh-place finish.

Listen to – Todd Stowell

The first of three SBS products making their Classic debuts – who all finished in the top 13 – Sobus, brought the C&C No. 92 home with a solid eighth-place finish. The 2010 Classic was the first supermodified feature he’d ever competed in.

Listen to – Brian Sobus

Santos had a solid run going and was even given a shot at the win with a green-white-checkered opportunity at the end. However, he fell victim to the fuel bug that bit more than one driver on Monday. Santos finished in 10th.

Listen to – Bobby Santos, III

2010 Supermodified Rookie of the Year, Dave Gruel, competed in his first International Classic. After qualifying his No. 50 in 16th with a time of 17.08 seconds, he wound up with an 11th-place finish.

Listen to – Dave Gruel

After picking up the feature win on the final race of the regular season schedule, Gosek had hoped to have turned his luck around. However, after getting caught up in two wrecks that he had no hand in creating, he ended his day in 12th.

Listen to – Joe Gosek

2010 SBS Track Champ, David Cliff, was disappointed he couldn’t finish the race, but finishing 13th in his first 200-lapper was an accomplishment in itself.

Listen to – David Cliff

Pat Lavery started the race on the pole, having topped the speed charts earlier in the day with a time of 16.523 seconds. Lavery was hoping to hold the lead early, but contact with Didero at the start, bent his front wing and immediately relegated him to second. Lavery believed he had a car that could win. He says he hopes to be back with the team in 2011 to finally grab that elusive first checkered flag.

Listen to – Pat Lavery

Budweiser International Classic 200:
1. Bobby Bond (25), 2. Ray Graham, Jr. (90), 3. Davey Hamilton (6), 4. Russ Wood (35), 5. Randy Ritskes (88), 6. Randy Burch (52), 7. Todd Stowell (89), 8. Brian Sobus (92), 9. Otto Sitterly (7), 10. Bobby Santos (05), 11. Dave Gruel (50), 12. Joe Gosek (00), 13. David Cliff (98), 14. Greg Furlong (72), 15. Mike Lichty (74), 16. Dan Connors, Jr.  (01), 17. Jerry Curran (24), 18. Jack Smith (09), 19. Joey Payne (99), 20. Doug Diderot (3), 21. Dave McKnight (08), 22. Bobby Haynes, Jr. (44), 23. Pat Lavery (22), 24. Tim Snyder (0), 25. Dave Shullick, Jr. (2), 26. Jason Spaulding (23), 27. Craig Rayvals (94), 28. Bentley Warren (15), 29. Kody Graham (21), 30. Lou LeVea (66), 31. Andy Noto (19), 32. Gary Morton (70), 33. Gene Lee Gibson (03), 34. Dave Duggan (51)

Bud Lite B-Main:
1. Todd Stowell (89), 2. Bentley Warren (15), 3. Bobby Haynes, Jr. (44), 4. Jason Spaulding (23), 5. Dan Connors, Jr. (01), 6. Craig Rayvals (94), 7. Dave Duggan (51), 8. Joe Chillemi (14), 9. Kelly Miller (81), 10. Michael Barnes (66), 11. Shaun Gosselin (26), 12. 1. Shawn Muldoon (1)

Top-10 Time Trialers:
1. Pat Lavery (16.523), 2. Doug Diderot (16.597), 3. Davey Hamilton (16.606), 4. Otto Sitterly (16.632), 5. Joe Gosek (16.792), 6. Joey Payne (16.848), 7. Ray Graham, Jr. (16.848), 8. Dave McKnight (16.875), 9. Bobby Bond (16.965) & 10. Jack Smith (16.990)