The Splendors of Victory Fall Upon Patrick and LaTulip in Small Block Super Twin-20s

By – Chris Porter
Photos – Jim Feeney

Fulton’s Jack Patrick pocketed his first small block supermodified feature win 10 years ago at the Oswego Speedway. With each winless season that passed, the battle between determination and doubt grew more intense. Never knowing he would have to wait a decade to reach victory lane again, Patrick forged on.

When upping the ante by purchasing a brand new Hedger Racing Chassis a few years ago, it became clear that victory lane was not included in the packaged deal. Patrick grew to appreciate that first victory with every race that ended with him outside victory lane. However, he continued to put in the hours of work and preparation into his Mopar-powered No. 9. On Saturday night, Patrick led every lap en route to career win No. 2. The drought was over.

Jack Patrick poses in victory lane after winning his second career feature at Oswego

Listen toJack Patrick

Later in the evening, rookie driver David LaTulip, in only the fourth week of racing in the division, won his first small block supermodified feature. Like Patrick, he led every lap of the way. LaTulip was all but speechless in his post-race interview with infield announcer Danny Johnson – the reality of the accomplishment yet to set in.

Listen toDavid LaTulip

Twin 20-lap small block supermodified features were on the card Saturday night at the lakeside oval. Positioned aside Mike Bond on the first row of the first feature event, Patrick knew the race could be decided by the time he reached the first turn after the drop of the green flag. Passing Bond for the lead has been a rarity for years, but with Patrick having posted top speed in his heat race, he knew he might have what it takes to hold off the multi-time division champion.

Patrick beat the all-time feature win leader into turn No. 1, with Brian Osetek, LaTulip and Barry Kingsley following in order as they crossed the line to complete lap No. 1. Getting into the lead was one thing, holding on to it for the next 19 laps would prove to be another.

Patrick would face multiple race restarts – opportunities where Bond’s No. 26 often finds success in its journey to the front. The first came just two laps into the race. Mark Castiglia No. 90 clocked Tim Barbeau’s No. 50 into the outside wall. Barbeau was able to limp a half lap before his No. 50 came to a stop.

Patrick held his ground on the restart, but the yellow caution lights flashed just three laps later after Lou LeVea, Jr. and Cameron Rowe tangled on the backstretch, collecting Jason Simmons and Andrew Schartner.

Again, Patrick survived the restart, but only to see the yellow flag waved again just one lap into racing for the spun A.J. Bernys No. 24. The following restart saw Bond challenge Patrick down low, but the No. 9 prevailed. Bond was glued to Patrick’s rear bumper until a lap No. 10 caution flag was flown for third-place running Osetek.

Bond couldn’t muster a pass on the ensuing green flag, as Patrick was able to count down the laps remaining on the lap counter. He was hoping to read “three to go” on the scoreboard, but instead was shown the yellow flag for debris on the racing surface.

Top 3 in feature #1 – (left to right), 2nd-Mike Bond, 1st-Jack Patrick & 3rd-David LaTulip

Three laps from victory, Patrick was ready to put it all on the line. On the restart, Bond tried to hang with Patrick, but wasn’t able to pull his No. 26 aside the race leader. Patrick ripped off a lap of 19.369 seconds with two to go – the fastest lap of the race.

The next time by, he took the white flag while clocking the fastest lap of the night, 19.348 seconds. Bond was fading, but Patrick was affixed on finishing the race, recording a lap of 19.286 seconds while taking the checkered flag. It was the fastest lap run in competition by any driver in the division, all year.

Finishing third to Patrick and Bond was LaTulip. LaTulip started in the front row in SBS feature No. 2. LaTulip took the green flag, racing aside fellow front-row starter, Osetek. However, before things could get going, Will Hadcock and Lou LeVea, Jr. tangled off of turn No. 4, hooking bumpers and skidding to a stop short of turn No. 1.

LaTulip nabbed the lead on the complete restart, as Osetek was shuffled into the clutches of the pack. Kingsley, Rowe, Rob Pullen and Barbeau filled out the top five behind the young leader as the field completed its maiden voyage.

LaTulip continued to hit his marks up front while Kingsley waited for the rookie to make a mistake. Behind the two, Pullen challenged Rowe on the high side, only to see Barbeau slip underneath him. However, Pullen was able to regain his fourth spot in line as his determined No. 2 was able to hold its speed on the high side.

Having started near the rear of the field, Bond tussled with Schartner’s Crow Motorsports No. 18 for many laps before his No. 25 finally took control on the outside on lap No. 11. From there, Bond continued his charge towards the front, passing top-five point contenders, Mike Bruce and Kreig Heroth on consecutive laps.

To reach the front, Bond would need some help, sitting in seventh place with just seven trips remaining. On the 16th lap, Rowe’s No. 77 suddenly slowed, bottling up the already bunched field. The end result saw the Simmons No. 98 machine pop the backstretch wall.

With five to go, LaTulip led the field back to racing. In 2010, Kingsley had pocketed his first career win after many dedicated years in the division. Following LaTulip and knowing the situation that the freshman driver was in, Kingsley continued to wait for the nervous slip that’s kept many a driver from reaching the checkered flag for the first time.

Just one tick of the lapboard into racing, Bernys spun alone in turn No. 1. On the ensuing restart, Pullen went to the high side of Kingsley. If he couldn’t challenge the race leader, someone would have to. However, this time, Barbeau slipped underneath Pullen for good, taking away the vacated groove.

David LaTulip poses in victory lane after capturing his first feature win

Still on the prowl, Bond got his revenge on Patrick for fifth, then, with a little nudging, maneuvered his way under Pullen for fourth. It’d seemed Bond was on a beeline for the leader. However, with perhaps a bit of disapproval of the nudge received a half lap earlier, Pullen popped the back-end of Bond’s No. 26 in turn No. 2. The No. 26′s run was done as it limped into the pits with suspension damage.

Pullen was sent to the rear of the field for his actions, setting up a much friendlier scenario for LaTulip to race his final two laps in. With Kingsley unable to pull aside LaTulip with out the leader first making a mistake, the race appeared to be Latulip’s to lose.

The race leader’s No. 27 small block super continued to hit its marks. LaTulip made his final two trips around Oswego’s fast five-eighths like a veteran en route to his first career win.

Kingsley didn’t visit victory lane on Saturday night, but landed himself two top-five finishes. Other than a win on the NORA circuit, Kingsley’s 2011 season had stated out fairly dismal.

Listen toBarry Kingsley

Bond landed a second-place finish in race No. 1 and appeared to be giving it a go to contend in race No. 2.

Listen toMike Bond

SBS Feature #1 Finish: 1. Jack Patrick (9), 2. Mike Bond (26), 3. Dave LaTulip (27), 4. Barry Kingsley (23), 5. Mike Bruce (22), 6. Mark Castiglia (90), 7. Rob Pullen (2), 8. Andrew Schartner (18), 9. Kreig Heroth (44), 10. Kevin Jackson (65), 11. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 12. Will Hadcock (43), 13. Brian Osetek (00), 14. A.J. Bernys (24), 15. Cameron Rowe (77), 16. Dennis Rupert (99), 17. Jason Simmons (98), 18. Tim Barbeau (50), 19. J.J. Andrews (46), 20. Nate Sitterly (79)

SBS Feature #2 Finish: 1. Dave LaTulip (27), 2. Barry Kingsley (23), 3. Tim Barbeau (50), 4. Jack Patrick (9), 5. Mike Bruce (22), 6. Andrew Scharter (18), 7. Kreig Heroth (44), 8. Brian Osetek (00), 9. Rob Pullen (2), 10. Mark Castiglia (90), 11. Kevin Jackson (65), 12. A.J. Bernys (24), 13. Mike Bond (26), 14. Cameron Rowe (77), 15. Jason Simmons (98), 16. Dennis Rupert (99), 17. J.J. Andrews (46), 18. Will Hadcock (43), 19. Lou LeVea, Jr. (95), 20. Nate Sitterly (79)

Heat race wins were won by Bond, Osetek and Patrick.