OSWEGO, NY (May 6) – Otto Sitterly proved yet again that he is the man to beat in the Novelis Supermodified division at Oswego Speedway on Saturday May 5, by claiming his 21st career victory and 4th overall opening night (2006, 2008, 2010, 2012) win at the Steel Palace. The Canajoharie native, and defending Budweiser International Classic 200 champion, started from the 12th position and sliced his way through the field to the lead on the 46th circuit, propelling himself to Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane as a part of the 62nd Annual Opening Night presented by Gater Racing News and the Palladium-Times.
Sitterly’s Nicotra Racing teammate, Davey Hamilton of Boise, ID, would finish in the runner-up spot putting the No. 7 and No. 6 cars at the top of the podium, beginning 2012 where they ended 2011. Canadian Mike Lichty drove the Nicotra No. 6 machine to a second place finish in the 2011 International Classic behind Sitterly.
Brian Sobus, with a brilliant run, Dave Gruel, and Jeff Abold would complete the Top 5 order ahead of Ray Graham, Shaun Gosselin, Tim Snyder, Randy Ritskes, and Pat Lavery.
“Dave had a left front tire going flat,” said Sitterly, in Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane. “I’m sure that dampened the performance of his car. I got him once and then that yellow came out, and the second time I wasn’t going to mess around because I figured if the caution came out again he could hold me off for a couple laps with only two tires, so I sort of made a bonsai pass there but it was open. He couldn’t make the car turn out of turn 2 so I did my best to beat him into turn three.”
Sobus and Gruel would bring the 25 car Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s New York Pizzeria green flag, with Gruel gaining the early advantage in the No. 50. As Gruel sped to the front, it was Indianapolis 500 veterans Hamilton and Joe Gosek making quick work of the first three rows to move into second and third respectively by lap 3.
The races first caution flag waved on lap 7 as Michael Muldoon slowed in turn three. During the caution period third place running Gosek, the defending Speedway champion, would head pit side with the No. 00. After looking under the hood of the Burke’s Home Center machine, Gosek would return to the Speedway for a couple circuits, but would ultimately call it a night with a 23rd place finish although he did turn the races fastest lap with a time of 16.866 seconds at 133.404mph.
After the restart Hamilton immediately began working Gruel for the race lead. As the two leaders began to distance themselves from the pack, a great race was also being wagered for 3rd between Ritskes, Mike Barnes, Joey Payne, and Dave Danzer. The four cars would run two-by-two at times as Barnes and Payne became comfortable in their new full-time rides for 2012.
Deeper in the field Sitterly was already beginning to make his presence known, as he moved around the outside of Sobus for the 7th position on lap 13.
Just three laps later however, the complexion of the race would change entirely, as in a pit of irony the present and former drivers of the Strong Racing No. 99 would come together.
On lap 16, Barnes lost the handle going into turn one and washed up the race track leaving Payne’s Muldoon Racing No. 20 nowhere to go. The two cars made contact resulting in each being hooked off the Speedway. Barnes would be credited with 20th position, while Payne would end the night 21st.
The restart order would be Gruel leading Hamilton, Ritskes, Danzer, Sitterly, Sobus, Abold, Pat Lavery, Jerry Curran, and Tim Snyder.
Curran’s night would end however just one lap after the restart as his No. 24 would power slide into the third turn foam removing the tail section of the Nuclear Banana.
As the 50-lap feature go again gained momentum, Gruel began to truly show his might as he gained a comfortable margin on Hamilton out in front.
As the cross flags for halfway waved in the air the Top 10 pilon read Gruel, Hamilton, Ritskes, Danzer, Sitterly, Lavery, Sobus, Abold, Snyder, and Gosselin.
With just under 20 laps to go the Speedway crowd began to see the full deck of cards in the hands of Sitterly, who had ridden outside the Top 5 for the majority of the event. On lap 31 Sitterly turned up the wick, pulling a slide job underneath Danzer in turn one for position number four. The two cars would make contact as a result of the low side move, shoving Danzer way out of the groove, slipping him back to the 6th spot on the track.
Sitterly would then make quick work of Ritskes, in the Darratt Farms No. 88, to move to 3rd behind teammate Hamilton and leader Gruel.
Just after Sitterly made the move on Ritskes for 3rd, Danzer would slow to a stop in turn two ending his evening. The defending Cleaning for a Reason Oswego Speedway Novelis Supermodified Rookie of the Year was none too happy with Sitterly’s low side move and showed his displeasure under caution.
“I waited and waited on Danzer,” said Sitterly. “He slipped up out of turn four and I got a late run on him down here in one and I tried to stay off him for all it was worth and I hit that drain and we just barely touched. He sort of threw his arms up at me, but the cars are so even you can’t wait. If you wait you are going to finish 10th.”
When the field came back to green the Top 5 would now show Gruel, Hamilton, Sitterly, Ritskes, and Lavery.
With 10 laps to go Sitterly surprised teammate Hamilton with another low side move into turn one to snag the runner-up spot. Within seconds, the Sitterly No. 7 would draw right onto the back bumper of Gruel for the top spot.
After working Gruel for just three circuits, Sitterly found the low lane again, this time in turn three to take the lead on lap 44, but at the same time the caution would wave for debris in turn two. As a result, Gruel would return to the point.
The lap 44 restart would prove to be another pivotal point in the event.
As the green flag waved it was clear Sitterly was the fastest car on the Speedway. Just one lap after the race got back underway, Sitterly would slip under Gruel for the lead into turn three as he had done before the caution. Another lap later a tangle would occur in turn one involving Shawn Muldoon, Bobby Haynes, Graham, and Stephen Gioia.
After the incident the red flag would be displayed for re-fueling.
Under the red flag Lavery’s No. 22 was informed he would have to move to the tail side of the lead lap for jumping the lap 44 restart, shuffling the top of the running order.
With just a handful of laps remaining Sitterly would now officially be displayed as the race leader ahead of Hamilton, Gruel and Ritskes. Sobus would now move into the Top 5 trailed by Abold, Snyder, Gosselin, and Tim Devendorf.
As the green flag hit the air Sitterly steamed ahead in the race lead, leaving a comfortable margin between himself and Hamilton. However, with the Super Moon looming large over turn three the race’s final caution would wave on lap 48 for the No. 44 machine of Haynes.
Once again under caution a driver was informed he was going to be penalized for jumping a restart, and this time it was 4th running Ritskes in No. 88. Ritskes would too have to fall to the tail side of the lead lap in the restart order.
With a two lap dash for cash on the line for the win Sitterly led Hamilton, Gruel, Sobus, Abold, Snyder, Graham, Gosselin, Lavery, and Devendorf.
With the green flag flying it was evident that Gruel was clearly having issues with his left front tire, which opened the door for Sobus on the high side of the Speedway on the race’s final circuit. Sobus would mount a tremendous charge on the outside of the Speedway, breezing passed Gruel for the 3rd position as the two drivers hit the line.
Meanwhile out front it was all Sitterly as he led teammate Hamilton across the line for his 21st career Novelis Supermodified victory.
“You know these cars are great and Otto does such a good job of putting these things together,” said Hamilton, on the front straight after his runner-up finish. “Finishing one and two is great and it gives us a great head start on what I want to do when I come back. Week in and week out you see these cars out front and they are there for a reason that’s for sure.”
After arriving to the Speedway late and getting limited practice, Brian Sobus wowed the crowd with a tremendous podium finish, his best career result in the Novelis Supermodified division. Saturday night’s late hot laps were the only laps Sobus had in his new ride, the former Kody Graham No. 21, now No. 60.
“You wouldn’t believe from where this car was this morning, that we even came to the racetrack today,” said Sobus. “We got to Hawksby’s shop at 10:30am and he changed everything on this car you could imagine. We missed half the warm ups and got here and the car was awesome right out of the box turning 16.9’s, faster than I have ever gone. I’m not even comfortable in the car yet, we still have a lot to do.”
Next on the schedule is a Memorial Day Weekend triple header on Saturday, May 26 featuring the Jim Shampine Memorial 75 for Novelis Supermodifieds, the Tony White Memorial 35 for the Pathfinder Bank SBS Series, and the Richie Evans Memorial 75 for the Race of Champions Modifieds.
Grandstand gates will open at 1pm, with racing getting underway at 4pm. General admission tickets will be set at $25, with reserved seating priced at $30.
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 .
Saturday, May 5, 2012
Gater Racing News/The Palladium-Times Opening Night
Sat, May 26th (4pm) Jimmy Shampine Memorial Supermodified 75, Tony White Memorial SBS 35, Richie Evans Memorial Modified 75
Feature (50laps) – 1. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 2. 6 – Davey Hamilton, 3. 60 – Brian Sobus, 4. 50 – Dave Gruel, 5. 05 – Jeff Abold, 6. 90 – Ray Graham, 7. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 8. 0 – Tim Snyder, 9. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 10. 22 – Pat Lavery, 11. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 12. 1 – Shawn Muldoon, 13. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 14. 33 – Rod Sauder, 15. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 16. 52 – Dave Danzer, 17. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 18. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 19. 24 – Jerry Curran, 20. 99 – Mike Barnes, 21. 20 – Joey Payne, 22. 12 – Jessica Zemken, 23. 00 – Joe Gosek, 24. 25 – Bob Bond, 25. 50 – Michael Muldoon
Lap Leaders – Dave Gruel (1-45), Otto Sitterly (46-50)
1st Heat (12 laps/6 qualify) – 1. 24 – Jerry Curran, 2. 20 – Joey Payne, 3. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 4. 05 – Jeff Abold, 5. 0 – Tim Snyder, 6. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 7. 33 – Rod Sauder, 8. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 9. 23 – Jason Spaulding, 10. 90 – Ray Graham
2nd Heat (12 laps/6 qualify) – 1. 50 – Dave Gruel, 2. 6 – Davey Hamilton, 3. 99 – Mike Barnes, 4. 52 – Dave Danzer, 5. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 6. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 7. 1 – Shawn Muldoon, 8. 66 – Lou LeVea, 9. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 10. 12 – Jessica Zemken
3rd Heat (12 laps/6 qualify) – 1. 00 – Joe Gosek, 2. 22 – Pat Lavery, 3. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 4. 60 – Brian Sobus, 5. 25 – Bob Bond, 6. 50 – Michael Muldoon, 7. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 8. 21 – Kody Graham, 9. 56 – Hal LaTulip
Consi (10 laps/6 qualify) – 1. 1 – Shawn Muldoon, 2. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 3. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 4. 90 – Ray Graham, 5. 33 – Rod Sauder, 6. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 7. 12 – Jessica Zemken, 8. 66 – Lou LeVea, 9. 23 – Jason Spaulding
About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.
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