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OSWEGO SPEEDWAY ANNUAL AWARDS AND HALL OF FAME BANQUET ENDS 2018 SEASON

By Carol D. Haynes, for Oswego Speedway

Oswego, NY – The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center hosted the annual Oswego Speedway Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Saturday night where award winners and Hall of Fame Inductees were recognized. The MC for the evening was Steve Quonce of the Oswego Safety Crew.

The Hall of Fame Inductees honored were Tim and Denny Snyder, driver and owner of the Snyder Racing Novelis Supermodified #0 team, competitors at the Oswego Speedway for the past 25 years. The Snyder team had picked up ten features and a Budweiser Int’l Classic win over the years. There were hints that while the team is not retiring by any means, that there may be a new pilot for the car next season.

Pathfinder Bank SBS car owner Tom Aaserud of Crow Motorsports, who has had some very successful drivers over the years including the likes of Dave Gruel, Russ Brown, Kreig Heroth and most recently Andrew Schartner, was inducted.

Oswego Speedway employee Dave Rice, who has been the basic keeper and provider of all the statistics at the track and has logged in over the many years. His work traces back to the beginning of racing at the Speedway. Rice compiled statistics from the early years through hours of research. Since he took over as the Oswego Speedway statistician, Dave has compiled lists of all races run dividing the information into different categories such as win lists, top 5 and 10 finishes.

Longtime sponsor of the Oswego Speedway pace vehicles, Burritt Motors, was the final inductee of the evening. Over many years, Dick, Chris and now Rich Burritt have not only provided the speedway with a vehicle to lead the race fields, they have also sponsored golf tournaments, nights of racing and special awards such as the fastest front row at the Budweiser International Classic.

Moving to the 2018 Oswego Speedway awards, the first presentation that took place was the Ed Clark Safety Crew Spirit Award, which was given to Kevin Holliday. The entire group of Oswego Safety crewmembers on hand gathered to present the award.

The Oswego Speedway Recognition award went to long time race scorers Robin Delaney and his wife Janet who have gone through the hand scoring days to the current use of the more modern transponders. Janet still uses the hand method as a backup to the technology.

The Matczak Woman of the Year award was awarded to Mackenzie Coleman, who represents the Oswego Speedway not only as trophy girl, but also as an avid promoter and ambassador of the track and racing in general. Coleman sent a recorded acceptance from the racing taking place in Charlotte, NC.

The Oswego Speedway Rookie of the Year honors went to Josh Sokolic in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division, finishing thirteenth in points and to Tyler Thompson, for his second such award of the day, in the Novelis Supermodified Division where he finished an admirable eight in points.  Thompson was also named Rookie of the Year in the ISMA organization, quite a feat by the teenager.

Mark Castiglia was honored with the Pathfinder Bank Car Owner of the year. Castiglia fielded cars for the 2018 Champion Anthony Losurdo and those driven by Dave LaTulip and Dan Kapuscinski during the season.

The Novelis Car Owner of the Year was pretty much a given as John Nicotra was presented that award as owner of the cars of 2018 Champion Otto Sitterly and second place finisher Dave Shullick Jr. Those two drivers accumulated eight feature wins during the season, with Sitterly picking up an exciting Budweiser Classic 200 win.

The Jake’s Automotive Crew of the Year award went to the Ray Hedger-Russ Brown team, which finished second in the Pathfinder Bank SBS points.

The Novelis Supermodified Chris Osetek-Keith Shampine  number 55 team was presented with the Crew of the Year Award for their third place finish in the final point standings. The team, which travels from North Carolina each race night, put in a lot of miles and hard work to achieve that spot.

Lou LeVea Jr. accepted the Novelis Most Improved Driver Award for his tenth place point standings in the Narramore-owned 83, while Dave LaTulip, driving for car owner Mark Castiglia, picked up the Pathfinder Bank SBS Most Improved Driver Award in that division. LaTulip, after a short hiatus from racing, came back this year to finish 12th in points, and logging one feature win along the way.

The newly reorganized and regenerated Eagles Fan Club presented three awards as introduced by Eagles leader Eric Syrell. The newly named Pullen’s Plumbing Tony White Memorial award went to Barry Kingsley, driver of the SBS 91, who finished tenth in points. The Total Seal Joe Paeno Memorial award went to Craig Soper and in an emotional presentation, the annual Jim Shampine Memorial award was issued posthumously to Bob Smith, a long time Joe Gosek crewman, who passed away earlier this year. “Smitty’s” son Cole, also a member of the Gosek crew, accepted for his late father.

The top ten Pathfinder Bank SBS drivers were honored. Each of the top three had Thomas race videos to accompany their season’s accomplishments. Dan Phillips of Pathfinder Bank was on hand to present the awards to champion Anthony Losurdo, Russ Brown, Mike Bond, Dave Cliff, Dalton Doyle, Jack Patrick, Dan Kapuscinski, Cameron Rowe and Barry Kingsley. The championship was Losurdo’s first such honor. He accrued two feature wins during his run for the title.

Kevin Shutt of Novelis spoke briefly about the company’s sponsorship of the supermodified division and the recycling of aluminum cans effort, which takes place during the season, which is important to the overall recycling program. Each year the Oswego Speedway brings in hundred of thousands of cans to recycle and the fans bringing them in are presented with various speedway tickets, a beneficial arrangement to both entities and the environment as well.

Kevin then presented each of the Novelis Supermodified top ten their awards. 2018 Otto Sitterly spoke briefly of his 8-time record breaking championship run acknowledging his car owner John Nicotra, his crew and family as well. Sitterly also called up Anthony Losurdo, Tyler Thompson and Josh Sokolic to the podium and introduced them as the “future” of Oswego racing, which brought a round of applause from the banquet crowd.  Sitterly had 3 feature wins this season, one of which was the Mr. Novelis Supermodified win, a win fifth win of the Budweiser International Classic and an record-breaking eighth supermodified championship.

Dave Shullick Jr., former champion and Classic winner, had four feature wins. finishing second in the Nicotra number 2. Keith Shampine, Michael Barnes (3 wins and winner once again of the Turning Stone Casino sponsored Favorite Driver Contest}, Aric Iosue, Dave Danzer, Brandon Bellinger, Tyler Thompson, Dave Gruel and Lou LeVea Jr. finished up the top ten presentations, with videos from the season also presented for the top three.

Millennium Music by Ron Gray provided the post-award activities.

Paul Conzone of the Oswego Speedway Safety crew, as head of the banquet committee, was thanked along with his assistants, on a job well done.  The banquet videos by Matt Thomas of Thomas Video were announced as being put on YouTube for viewing for those who may have missed the program. Those videos and others are also offered for sale on the Thomas Video website.

Oh, Black Betty: Sitterly Earns Record Breaking Eighth Oswego Supermodified Title

Photo: Michael Jaworecki Myracenews

OSWEGO, NY (November 2, 2018) – Oswego Speedway’s newest track champions Otto Sitterly and Anthony Losurdo will finally be awarded for their well deserved honors at the track’s Hall of Fame and Championship Banquet set for tomorrow evening at the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center in Oswego.

Following a shocking winless streak that spanned two straight seasons, Sitterly unleashed the wrath of John Nicotra’s ‘Black Betty’ on the Novelis Supermodified division in 2018 and dominated the second half of the season, winning a quarter of the twelve main events scheduled as part of the regular season.

After spending his 2017 campaign as chief wrench both on John Nicotra’s No. 7 car driven by himself, along with Dave Shullick Jr’s No. 2 plant, Sitterly decided that he would instead like to focus on only his team for the 2018 season and it paid off as ‘DesperOtto’ drove to career championship number eight, passing Bentley Warren and Jim Shampine to break the record for most Supermodified titles in speedway history.

As it would turn out, Sitterly finished in the top five in nearly every single race he entered throughout the course of the season and in the mere two events he missed the cut for a top five, he was involved in his only two on-track incidents of the season, which was a far cry from the disappointing number of DNF’s that piled up a year earlier.

This year, Sitterly sang a different tune as the Canajoharie, N.Y. driver started his season with a fine fourth place finish in his debut with the former Joey Moriarty No. 51.

Later in the evening, as part of Opening Day’s second Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50, Sitterly returned to the podium and did so with a color other than blue on his car for the first time since 2006.

Fans are used to that trademark Nicotra blue, but for this year, Sitterly decided to leave flat black on the No. 7, thus resulting in the now infamous ‘Black Betty’ nickname. Otto left no doubt that he was certainly ‘back in black,’ continuing on with what wound up being one of the most successful seasons of his Supermodified career.

With the Opener in the books and two top five efforts to his name providing for a nice kickstart to 2018, Sitterly began his season atop of the point standings heading into the Spring Championship on June 9.

Shortly thereafter, Otto continued his consistency on week 2, and finished runner-up to teammate Dave Shullick Jr. in the 50-lap main event.

The following week saw the running of the Novelis Supermodified Twin 35’s and it was the evening’s first main event that was destined to be the race that left fans talking all season long.

Ironically enough, Sitterly and Shullick got together while battling for the lead in the first twin, and unfortunately Otto was penalized for the contact forcing the No. 7 to go to the tail end of the field. At that point, he was only able to recover for an eighth place finish.

In the second twin, which Shullick sat out due to damages from the contact, Sitterly put on a clinic and drove from the back of the pack to his third podium finish of the season behind Michael Barnes and Joe Gosek.

Over the years, it has been proven that consistency wins championships at the Oswego Speedway and Sitterly’s 2018 run was just that; consistent. However, everyone knew that Otto wanted more than just a championship. He wanted to break that winless streak.

Two years earlier, Dave Gruel fell less than ten points short of the 2016 track championship, nearly capturing the track title without winning a single race all season.

After Sitterly extended his point lead with yet another runner-up effort to Shullick in the June 30 Independence Weekend Grand Prix, Shullick’s speed continued to beg the question as to whether or not this would be Sitterly’s fate as well.

With the point standings in his favor, July 7 finally turned out to be Sitterly’s night.

Otto charged from tenth to the top three in just a matter of laps and worked over Brandon Bellinger to take the lead at halfway. Several late race cautions forced him to hold off Shullick, who overtook second in the closing stages but on this occasion, the now eight time track champion was able to hold on for what at that point was his first feature win since September 20th of 2015.

With momentum on his side and all of the confidence he needed, Sitterly was poised for what at the very worst looked to be another podium finish one week later, but his efforts came to a screeching halt with just over 20 laps to go as the No. 7 car made contact with the No. 55 of Keith Shampine working through lapped traffic. This resulted in Sitterly’s first DNF of the season and instead awarded Shullick the victory.

After destroying the front end of his car, the heavy accident left Sitterly with just one week to repair his machine ahead of the following weekend’s $10,000 to win Mr. Novelis Supermodified feature event and it turned out that all of that hard work would pay off for Nicotra Racing.

Incredibly, Otto drove from tenth to first in less than three laps and took over the lead with 72-laps to go. His momentum never faded in the extra distance show and Sitterly put on an absolute clinic, lapping up to fifth place enroute to his fourth career paycheck in the 32nd running of Mr. Supermodified.

Following his biggest victory in several years, just three events remained in the race for the championship approaching the month of August and Sitterly continued to dominate the final month of the summer, starting off with a second place finish to Barnes on August 4.

Next, on August 11’s ‘Family Night,’ Otto drove to win number three and it came in what was one of the most unforgettable finishes in speedway history. In lapped traffic, Sitterly ducked down low off of the final corner to beat returning hall of fame driver Doug Didero at the line by a mere 0.010 seconds to win his third main event of the season.

By the time the last event in the road for the championship rolled around, the only battle left in the point standings was between Shullick, Shampine and Barnes for second, third, and fourth as Sitterly was long gone approaching August 18.

In the final regular show of the 2018 season, Otto put the exclamation point on his record breaking title run with a drive from twelfth to victory number four on the year ahead of Aric Iosue and Joe Gosek on the podium.

By virtue of his win on track championship night followed by a dominant late race performance over Didero in the International Classic two weeks later, Sitterly tied and then later surpassed Nolan Swift for fifth on the all-time Supermodified win list with an impressive 42 victories put together in just ten winning seasons.

More than two months after clinching his record breaking title, Sitterly will accept the accolades for his efforts tomorrow evening before likely mounting a run at a ninth title in ‘19 with John Nicotra.

Should Otto win the 2019 championship, he will pass Nolan Swift (8), for most overall championships in Oswego Speedway history.

Ticket sales for the baquet are now closed, but as part of the event, discounted room rates at host location Best Western PLUS in Oswego will be available to all ticket holders for $119. For more information, you can call the hotel at (315)-342-4040 or visit their website at BestWesternOswego.guestreservations.com. Plan to bring your banquet ticket with you upon check-in.

Oswego Speedway’s 2019 schedule, along with a full rule book, are both a work in progress. The speedway’s 69th annual Opening Day has been set for Saturday, May 25th. Open Practice will take place a week earlier on Saturday, May 18.

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.

Michael Barnes Wins Turning Stone Resort Casino Favorite Driver Contest for Fourth Time

OSWEGO, NY (November 1, 2018) – Mexico NY’s Michael Barnes, an Oswego Speedway Supermodified feature winner on three occasions this year, has been declared winner of the Turning Stone Resort Casino Favorite Driver Contest for the fourth time in six seasons.

Barnes, driver of the Syrell Racing No. 68, brought home nearly 50% of the votes ahead of Bob Bond, Joe Gosek, Mike Bond, and Brandon Bellinger in the top five.

For winning the contest, this year’s Budweiser International Classic 200 polesitter will be awarded a 2019 season pit pass to the Oswego Speedway.

It has been quite the week for the driver fans call ‘The Hustler,’ as Barnes and wife Jodi recently announced that they will be welcoming a baby boy to the family in April 2019.

Barnes will accept the award at the speedway’s Hall of Fame Banquet this Saturday at the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center.

Contest sponsor Turning Stone Resort Casino is a Forbes Four Star Award-winning destination featuring world-class amenities including four hotels, two luxurious spas, five golf courses, more than 20 restaurants and dining options, an all-new 125,000 square foot Las Vegas-style gaming floor, a cabaret-style Showroom, a 5,000 seat arena, and several bars and cocktail lounges.

Conveniently located at NYS Thruway exit 33, Turning Stone can be found on social media, or online at TurningStone.com. For reservations, please call (800)-771-7711.

Oswego Speedway’s 2019 schedule, along with a full rule book, are both a work in progress. The speedway’s 69th annual Opening Day has been set for Saturday, May 25th. Open Practice will take place a week earlier on Saturday, May 18.

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.