OSWEGO, NY (September 21, 2015) – In a fitting conclusion to Oswego Speedway’s 65th anniversary season, Bob and Mike Bond became the first brother tandem to earn Oswego Speedway track championships in the same season following Sunday’s Fall Championship 125 finale at the ‘Steel Palace.’
Each entered the final point event of the season as the series point leaders in their respective Novelis Supermodified and Pathfinder Bank SBS divisions, and did just what they needed to in order to claim track titles.
Bob would go on to finish second in the final Supermodified main event of the season behind track title rival Otto Sitterly, earning enough points to secure his first career Novelis Supermodified track championship by a mere 3.5 points.
Mike took fourth in Sunday’s Small Block Super main behind Dalton Doyle, Andrew Schartner, and title hopeful Dave Cliff, also scoring just enough markers to wrap up his fourth career Pathfinder Bank SBS championship by only 5.5 points.
With his first career championship, Bob Bond becomes the 24th driver in Oswego Speedway’s history to earn a Supermodified track championship, dating back to 1962.
“We weren’t sure what we were going to do at the beginning of the season,” said Bond in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane following the final main event of the season. “We kept earning good finishes, so we decided to come back and try for it (the championship). It would have been nice to have one more spot in the race today, but we’ll take this instead.”
Bond ended a streak of three consecutive track titles for Sitterly, who won six main events in 2015, and was in search of his record setting eighth Supermodified title.
“What an up and down year,” said Sitterly. “We won six races, we led all the statistical categories, but we came up just short in the end. There are too many things to look back on that went wrong, we could never key on just one that could have turned things around. We have something to shoot for now next year, we will be back to try and knock Bob Bond off the top of the ladder.”
Tim Devendorf and Tim Snyder led the 25-car Novelis Supermodified Fall Championship 75 to green on Sunday, with Devendorf darting to the early race lead.
Sitterly started fourth in the 75-lapper, with Bond in seventh.
Earlier in the day Sitterly won his qualifying heat race, as Bond finished second, meaning that the once 12.5 point lead for Bond was now only 9.5.
Knowing that, Sitterly began his charge to the front right away, looking to do all he could to steal the title away from the Four Sevens machine of Bond.
By lap 8 Sitterly had stormed to the front, diving under Devendorf for the top spot into the first corner. The daring move saw Sitterly and Devendorf brush wheels, but each would come out unscathed.
A hard charging Jeff Abold, fresh off a runner-up finish in the Star Classic, slid through along with Sitterly to score second.
As Sitterly rocketed to the front, Bond stayed in tow, making a brilliant inside move on both Snyder and Dave Cliff down the back chute to hit fourth position.
But, on lap 11 the yellow lights would come on as Devendorf stopped in turn four with an apparent broken torque arm as the culprit.
The early restart saw Sitterly lead Abold and now Bond in third with Dave Danzer, Snyder, Cliff, Dave Shullick Jr., Ray Graham, Brandon Bellinger, and Dave Gruel in the top ten.
At this point each title hopeful was doing just what they needed to. Sitterly had marched to the front, and Bond was now only one spot away from securing the championship.
Back to green the field settled into its rhythm as it wasn’t until lap 36 that Bond found what he needed in order to slip by Abold for second into turn three. With that move Bond was now in position to earn the title, he just needed to ride out the remainder of the event.
Trouble would strike however at lap 46 as Stephen Gioia III took a vicious ride into the outside fourth turn steel in the Gioia Racing No. 9. Gioia’s machine suddenly jolted to the right coming off the fourth corner, slamming the outside wall head on sending itself into a mid-air spin before landing on the pavement, facing the wrong direction.
Oswego Speedway’s track safety crew was on the scene in a matter of seconds to find Gioia awake and alert, but in a great amount of discomfort.
After being removed from the racecar, Gioia was transported to University Hospital for observation.
The Gioia family has since reported to Oswego Speedway that Stephen has no threatening injuries, but he did suffer a dislocated elbow in the collision as well as a compression fracture in his lower back. The Speedway will post more updates as they are provided from the Gioia family.
Race teams were allowed to take fuel during the Gioia incident and once back to green flag racing Sitterly led Bond, Abold, Danzer, Bellinger, Gruel, Joe Gosek, Ron Silk, Shaun Gosselin, and Snyder.
Silk, the 2011 NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion, made his first career Supermodified start on Sunday, subbing for Kody Graham who was unable to make the rain date. Silk would end up taking the controls of the No. 91 Graham machine, and after starting scratch on the field was in the top ten at lap 46.
Gosek, who was in a violent accident at Star Speedway just one week ago, returned to the Speedway Saturday with the same No. 00 racer and also had to start at the tail of the field along with Silk after being sent to the pit area during main event warm-up laps with a potential leak. The matter apparently cured itself, as Gosek was now on the charge.
Gosek’s charge continued at lap 49 as he made moves on both Gruel and Bellinger to work to the top five, but unfortunately at lap 69 it was halted as Bellinger found the inside hubrail collecting both Gosek and Gruel to stop the action one more time.
All cars would rejoin the field.
Back to green for the final time Sitterly continued his stellar pace out front ahead of Bond as the two crossed under the checkers first giving the victory to Sitterly and the championship to Bond in an unforgettable 65th season at Oswego Speedway.
Danzer would come across the line in third with Gruel bouncing back to fourth ahead of Silk with his first career top five finish at Oswego, in his first start.
Gosselin, Abold, Gosek, Brian Sobus, and Pat Lavery finished the top ten runners in the final Supermodified event of the year.
Sitterly would be awarded the Radical Race Gear Lap Leader award with Silk earning both the Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger and Up and Comer prizes.
Sitterly, Devendorf, and Michael Barnes won Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint Heat Race Challenge wins.
A total of 27 Novelis Supermodifieds were in the pit area on Sunday with Aric Iosue and Bob Magner failing to make the field.
Iosue crashed out of his heat race with the No. 11 while Magner continued to experience firing issues with the No. 35, as the racer never came to life.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS main saw Camden Proud and Mark Castiglia charge to the green flag with Proud earning the top spot early on.
Bond started from eleventh position while Cliff started tenth. As in the Super main, Bond needed to only keep Cliff in his sight to earn the title, but early on that seemed to be a tall task.
On the third circuit Bond tried the high side on JJ Andrews with Andrews’ right rear bumper catching the left front tire of the Bond No. 74 sending the machine high up the race track, allowing several cars to roll past. Now well outside the top ten, it looked as though Mike Bond would have his work cut out for him in the race for the title.
Meanwhile up front it took Dalton Doyle only four laps to work from fourth position to the point, rolling by Proud to the top spot into turn one on the low side. The No. 01, who led the series standings for much of the year, was now alone in the lead.
On lap five Proud and Castiglia would tangle in the fourth corner to turn on the caution lights moving Schartner and Cliff into the top three with Alex Hoag, Jack Patrick, Greg O’Connor, Dennis Richmond, Andrews, Bond, and Anthony Losurdo in the top ten.
Despite losing several positions early on, Bond was now only five positions away from closing on the back bumper of championship combatant, Cliff.
Back to green it took only 12 laps for Bond to methodically work his way through the pack, eventually finding the fourth position on the tail pipes of Cliff in third.
By the halfway mark of the 50-lapper Doyle had the field well in control of Schartner, Cliff, Bond, and Hoag.
As the race wound down it was clear Doyle was the class of the field on this day, driving away from Schartner, Cliff, Bond, Hoag, Patrick, Rob Pullen, Andrews, Losurdo, and Jason Simmons at the line for the win.
With his fourth place finish, Bond earned enough markers to clear Cliff by 5.5 to win his fourth career SBS title.
“I was doing the math there in my head a few times,” said Bond. “We got caught out early there with that deal with Jay, but we did what we needed to do to get back in position. I had a little bit of a vibration there at the end, maybe a brake rotor warped, I’m not sure? I just want to thank all my guys, my sponsors, my wife, and Denise Merrill for helping to make this happen.”
Doyle said his car was as good as its been all year.
“This thing was great today,” said Doyle. “We’re going to take this car home, get it apart, start from scratch and get working on next year.”
Pullen, driving the Rupert Racing No. 99, was the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger with 2015 SBS Rookie of the Year Alex McRae earning the Nice Price Auto Sales Up and Comer Award.
The White’s Car Care 4th Place finisher was Bond with Doyle earning the Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader Award, and Castiglia taking the Bacc-Off Hard Luck Award.
Doyle, Andrews, and Patrick earned Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint Heat Race Challenge wins.
To add another historical touch to the 2015 season, Denise Merrill will move into the record books as the first car owner to win both the Supermodified and SBS track titles in the same season as Merrill owned each of the Four Sevens machines that claimed titles on Sunday.