Bob Clark Photo
OSWEGO, NY (June 17, 2018) – For the first time since his unforgettable Championship Night drive to victory in 2016, Michael Barnes and the Syrell Racing No. 68 were back in Oswego Speedway victory lane on two occasions this past Saturday night. ‘The Hustler’ swept the Novelis Supermodified Twin 35’s presented by Burke’s Do It Best Home Center and Bosco & Geers in sole possession of victory for the first time since Doug Didero pulled the trick back in 1995.
Dave Gruel and Dave Shullick Jr. lead the first Twin 35 to green with Shullick jumping to the point from the outside part of the speedway almost immediately.
Fourth starting Aric Iosue jumped in front of third starting Dave Danzer to take away the final podium position before the completion of lap 1 with the third row of Michael Barnes and Otto Sitterly doing battle just behind them.
Barnes and Sitterly soon both cleared the Danzer No. 52 to take over third and fourth with Keith Shampine following suit from the seventh spot right on Barnes’ back bumper.
By lap five, Sitterly was on the move getting by Barnes and Iosue, and then shooting under Gruel in turns three and four to take over second and begin to chase down leader Shullick who was since long gone.
Approaching the halfway point, Dan Connors Jr. took a nasty ride into the frontstretch wall when a part failed on the No. 01. Connors road the steel all the way into the turn 1 foam before the car finally came to rest. All corners of the family owned racer were more or less a write off, but Connors was OK.
The Canale Insurance & Accounting yellow for Connors drew the field together and out of lapped traffic with 17 laps to go as Shullick lead Sitterly, Barnes, Gruel and Iosue inside the top five.
On the restart, Iosue took advantage of the lapped traffic in front of Gruel and made the lowisde move for fourth with Shullick again off to the races ahead of Sitterly and Barnes, who had also pulled away from the rest of the top five.
By lap 24, Shullick had caught more traffic in the form of the No. 02 of Brandon Bellinger and that’s when Sitterly was finally able to close ground on the race leader.
Shullick tried to go around Bellinger on lap 25, but was unsuccessful and this allowed Sitterly to get a nose under the No. 2 off the exit of the second corner. The two brushed wheels, but both continued on.
The contact between the teammates actually allowed Bellinger to pull away from the top two as Shullick and Sitterly would again have to handle lapped traffic just a lap and a half later.
When the leaders caught back up to the No. 02, Shullick washed out again trying to make a high side pass in between turns three and four and for the second time in three laps, Sitterly got a nose underneath with the two brushing wheels for a second time.
On this occasion, Shullick lost the handle on the car and touched the outside wall off of turn four, causing noticeable damage to the No. 2 and bringing out the Canale Insurance & Accounting yellow flag.
Shullick then gave Sitterly a tap on the back bumper in between turns one and two before taking the car to the pits. He did not return for the second feature.
In a dramatic turn of events, Sitterly was penalized for the contact and sent to the rear of the field, but later recovered for an eighth place finish.
What looked to be a sure Nicotra Racing 1-2 finish soon resulted in Barnes and Iosue taking over the front two positions, Gruel inheriting third, Shampine fourth, and Gosek making a run from twelfth to fifth.
Barnes ran away with the remaining three circuits to grab his tenth career Oswego victory with Iosue and Gruel completing the podium for the first of two 35 lappers.
“I figured those guys weren’t playing nice when I heard Chuck talking to the 2 and 7 on the radio,” Barnes commented in victory lane. “I had a good car, but those Nicotra guys were so far ahead. They were so much better. We were really third, but I would rather be lucky than good any day so we will take it. I’m happy to be back in victory lane”
Second place finisher Aric Iosue was also pleased with his effort in the former Graham Racing No. 11 to grab the first podium finish of 2018 for his family team.
“I was really happy,” Iosue stated. “We were able to get rolling early and turn some laps. On the restart I was able to get by Dave (Gruel) and I was thinking fourth place wasn’t so bad then I don’t know what happened to DJ and Otto, so we ended up second. The car is in one piece and it’s handling pretty good.”
After starting pole, Gruel was on the podium for the second time in as many weeks, but wasn’t completely thrilled, noting, “We kind of lucked into third place tonight. I’m not really sure what happened with the two blue cars up front. We took advantage of their issues and got up to third. The car was just a little bit off, so hopefully we can make some gains and it will be better for the second twin.”
In that second main event, the field was to the green this time by Iosue and Gosek with Gosek jumping out to the early lead from the outside in the iconic No. 00.
Danzer had started third, but dropped back to sixth on the restart after getting out of shape heading into the third corner. This allowed fifth starting Gruel, sixth starting Barnes, and eighth Shampine to all get by.
With one win already to his credit on the evening, it didn’t take but five laps for Barnes to work to the outside of Gruel and take away the third spot. Shampine tried to use the same move one lap later, but ninth starting Sitterly was up to sixth and then passed the No. 55 for fifth after Keith pushed high off of turn four.
After cracking the top five, Sitterly then made an exciting inside move on Gruel on lap 9 to take away fourth heading into turn one before giving chase to the top three of Gosek, Iosue and Barnes. Shampine followed Otto under the Gruel No. 50 shortly thereafter to crack the top five.
The first Canale Insurance & Accounting yellow flag of the race was thrown on lap 11 for a spinning Rayvals in turn 1. Logan was able to keep the car off the foam and be pushed back off.
Barnes used the outside lane to shoot to second past Iosue on the ensuing restart and began to give chase to Gosek with Sitterly also finding the outside of the Iosue No. 11 on the same circuit as well as the No. 55 of Shampine.
An exciting four way battle for the lead between Gosek, Barnes, Sitterly and Shampine then took place for the following three laps before the yellow was thrown once more on lap 15 when Lou LeVea Jr. spun in turn 1 and was hit by the No. 71 of Bill Sharkey. The No. 56 of Hal LaTulip also stopped at the scene, but was uninvolved.
On this caution flag, Gruel brought the U-Pull U-Save No. 50 pitside for adjustments before returning to the speedway and driving back up to sixth at the end of the main event.
Out in front, Gosek was able to keep Barnes at bay for the next several laps before Barnes finally found the inside of the No. 00 on a daring three wide move down the backstretch splitting a lapped car.
Sitterly and Shampine were just behind the front two, but were both unable to take advantage despite the No. 68 of Barnes opening the door.
After taking the lead on lap 25, Barnes walked away from Gosek for the final ten circuits to grab his second victory of the night and the eleventh of his Supermodified career with Sitterly hanging on for third, Shampine fourth, and Danzer in fifth.
“At least we earned this one, that feels good,” Barnes said back in victory lane. “The car was pretty good. Joe (Gosek) is a veteran and I had to wait for the right time to make my move. He got a little high with a lapped car down the backstretch and I was able to slip him under him.”
Barnes admitted that had Gosek not washed out trying to get around the lapped car, it may have been a lot more difficult to get by the No. 00.
“Gosek is just so good,” Barnes added. “It would have been a lot harder to make something happen if I didn’t have the chance to use the move that I did. I had to keep telling myself that I was falling into the bait and using up my stuff. I just kept getting looser and looser, so I was trying to slow myself down, but then again, you can’t slow down with the 7 behind you. We really lucked out. It feels great. I’d like to dedicate this win to my buddy Joe Scanlon. He passed away a couple weeks ago and was a big fan and crew guy when I drove for Double Deuce Racing. Thanks to Doug Holmes for all the time he spent dealing with our motor issues today, Furdi’s, all the sponsors, crew, and everyone that supports our team. They make my job easy.”
After a popular ‘Retro Night’ victory last season, Gosek was certainly happy to be back on the podium after picking up what was unbelievably his 234th career top five finish. Joe said, “My move in traffic set Barnes up perfect. I got committed to the outside and slowed down and he got to diamond underneath both of us. Sometimes you win some and sometimes you lose some. I want to thank my sponsors since 1980, Tom and Chuck and everyone at Burke’s Home Center.”
Nearly picking up his first win since September of 2015 earlier in the evening, Sitterly was back on the podium for the second Twin 35 with a fine third place for the current Novelis Supermodified points leader. Despite the solid showing, the seven time speedway champion was still a bit upset with the outcome of the first main event.
Sitterly said, “The car was OK. We got our caged rattled in the first race so it wasn’t as good in the second. The 2 got into me in turn two and bent the front end on the car, so I stuck it underneath him in turn three and yup, we brushed, but I don’t know what happened to him. I kept going, but got sent to the back so I don’t really know what that was all about.”
Completing the top ten in the second main event were Gruel, Gosselin; who finished seventh in both features, rookie Tyler Thompson who had another impressive run in eighth, Hal LaTulip in ninth, and Brent Murray; who also impressed in the Snyder Racing No. 0 to finish in the tenth spot.
Lou LeVea Sr. and Sitterly were D&S Landscaping ‘Hard Chargers’ this past Saturday night while LeVea Jr. and Thompson were the two Lighthouse Lanes ‘Up and Comers.’
Oswego Speedway’s ‘Road to the Championship’ continues in two more weeks when Galloway Century 21 and Oswego D-Bus will present the Independence Weekend ‘Grand Prix’ featuring extra distance 75 and 35-lap events for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank SBS plus the second Novelis ‘Fan Can Chase’ of the season and a gigantic fireworks display. To order tickets, please phone the speedway box office at (315)-342-0646.
For more information on Oswego Speedway, be sure to visit online at OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
Burke’s Do It Best Homecenter and Bosco’s Novelis Supermodified Twin 35’s
Twin 1 (35-laps): 1. 68 Michael Barnes, 2. 11 Aric Iosue, 3. 50 Dave Gruel, 4. 55 Keith Shampine, 5. 00 Joe Gosek, 6. 52 Dave Danzer, 7. 77 Shaun Gosselin, 8. 7 Otto Sitterly, 9. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 10. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 11. 94 Logan Rayvals, 12. 71 Bill Sharkey, 13. 2 Dave Shullick Jr, 14. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 15. 0 Brent Murray®, 16. 98T Tyler Thompson®, 17. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 18. 56 Hal LaTulip, 19. 26 Nathan Schultzkie®, DNS – Jeff Abold.
Twin 2 (35-laps): 1. 68 Michael Barnes, 2. 00 Joe Gosek, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 55 Keith Shampine, 5. 52 Dave Danzer, 6. 50 Dave Gruel, 7. 77 Shaun Gosselin, 8. 98T Tyler Thompson®, 9. 56 Hal LaTulip, 10. 0 Brent Murray®, 11. 11 Aric Iosue, 12. 94 Logan Rayvals, 13. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 14. 71 Bill Sharkey, 15. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 16. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 17. 26 Nathan Schultzkie®, DNS – Dan Connors Jr, Dave Shullick Jr, Jeff Abold.
Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 7 Otto Sitterly, 2. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 3. 00 Joe Gosek, 4. 52 Dave Danzer, 5. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 6. 56 Hal LaTulip, 7. 0 Brent Murray®
Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 68 Michael Barnes, 2. 50 Dave Gruel, 3. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 4. 55 Keith Shampine, 5. 71 Bill Sharkey, 6. 26 Nathan Schultzkie®
Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 11 Aric Iosue, 2. 2 Dave Shullick Jr, 3. 77 Shaun Gosselin, 4. 98T Tyler Thompson®, 5. 94 Logan Rayvals, 6. 66 Lou LeVea Sr.
Group Time Trials: 1. 55 Keith Shampine – 16.122, 2. 7 Otto Sitterly – 16.174, 3. 2 Dave Shullick Jr. – 16.309, 4. 68 Michael Barnes – 16.313, 5. 52 Dave Danzer – 16.612, 6. 11 Aric Iosue – 16.625, 7. 02 Brandon Bellinger – 16.644, 8. 00 Joe Gosek – 16.745, 9. 77 Shaun Gosselin – 16.770, 10. 50 Dave Gruel – 16.790, 11. 01 Dan Connors Jr. – 16.965, 12. 98T Tyler Thompson® – 17.015, 13. 94 Logan Rayvals – 17.125, 14. 83 Lou LeVea Jr. – 17.272, 15. 71 Bill Sharkey – 17.417, 16. 66 Lou LeVea Sr. – 17.824, 17. 0 Brent Murray® – 18.902
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger – Twin 1: #66 Lou LeVea Sr.
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer – Twin 1: #83 Lou LeVea Jr.
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger – Twin 2: #7 Otto Sitterly
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer – Twin 2: #98T Tyler Thompson®