OSWEGO, NY (September 2, 2018) – 35 cars took the green flag for the 62nd running of the Budweiser International Classic at Oswego Speedway this past Sunday, and the race came down to two of the best in Supermodified history with Canajoharie’s Otto Sitterly picking up a fifth Classic victory in the No. 7 car owned by John Nicotra.
“I wanted to lead at the end and wanted to lead at halfway,” Sitterly said after an exciting late race battle with Doug Didero. “I saw the halfway bonus was $1,500. Once I got it, I was content to let him (Didero) go by for awhile. I didn’t want to get into heavy lapped traffic and use up my stuff, there’s just no reason for it. So, when Doug went I let him go, and just figured I would stay in his tire tracks until the end. He is a heck of a racer.”
From his third starting spot, Sitterly sat patiently in second for the first fifty laps before a turn three parking lot involving Tim Snyder, Brian Osetek, Lou LeVea Jr, Joe Gosek, and Aric Iosue finally allowed Otto to take the lead from polesitter Michael Barnes on a restart at lap 53.
Soon after taking the top spot, the black No. 7 car pulled away from the field by over a straightaway, but that comfortable lead did not last very long as Didero no sooner dove under Barnes and Dave Shullick Jr. to take second just after lap 70.
It became apparent early on that the outcome of the race would come down to a battle between Sitterly and Didero, and when the yellow flag flew on lap 79 for a spinning Michael Muldoon in turn one, that put Didero right on Sitterly’s back bumper.
The Canale Insurance & Accounting yellow flag, which found Muldoon’s right rear tires hung up on the grassy area in turn two, took eight laps to clean up and when the green flag was waved again on lap 87, there were only thirteen more laps until the halfway point.
Out in front, Sitterly was eyeballing the $1,500 halfway bonus from Insinger Performance, but Didero was keeping him honest the entire time, also in search of the extra cash.
At halfway, Sitterly and Didero were long gone from the rest of the top five which included Davey Hamilton, Barnes, and Shullick as the No. 7 and No. 3 had well over a half track lead on the field.
For the next 20 laps, Sitterly and Didero continued to run away and hide until they finally caught up to lapped traffic, which was when Sitterly started to slow his pace just a little bit.
On lap 122, Didero went right on by to take the lead and pulled away from Sitterly with Hamilton, Barnes, and now Brandon Bellinger in the top five.
Fifth starting Keith Shampine was running sixth with the Jim Shampine tribute No. 55, while Shullick had fallen back to seventh ahead of Shaun Gosselin, Dave Danzer, and Jeff Abold in the top 10 with 80 laps remaining.
The Classic remained clean and green until lap 129 when Bellinger’s solid run was finished in the foam as the No. 02 and the No. 12 of Pat Lavery got together going into turn three with this crash ending the day for both drivers.
After the cleanup, the green flag was put back in the air with 138 laps in as it was now Didero, Sitterly, Hamilton, Barnes, and Shampine making up the top five running order.
On this restart, Didero wasted little time hitting the throttle and opened up over a straightaway lead on the Sitterly No. 7.
Unfortunately, this lead was diminished with a yellow flag for a hard crash in turn 1 involving rookie Tyler Thompson in the No. 98 and Jeff West in the No. 1.
This particular accident started when the lapped car of West and the No. 50 of Dave Gruel came together going into the corner with West being spun around, collecting Thompson and sending him into the foam with heavy force. Thompson was uninjured in the crash.
During the yellow flag, Shullick decided he was going to pull pitside to put a new right rear tire on the No. 2 car, but this wound up being disastrous as the 2017 Classic winner lost a lap in the pits, all but ending the Ohio driver’s hopes of becoming a back to back champion.
This time, the green flag was displayed on lap 153 for Didero and he yet again began to run away from Sitterly with Barnes taking third from Hamilton on the restart.
As the laps clicked off, things continued to show that the race would come down to Didero and Sitterly as they pulled away from Barnes, Hamilton, and Shampine one more time.
On lap 159, a mediocre day for Shullick became even worse as the No. 2 was forced pitside with issues at just over 40 laps to go, removing DJ from contention.
With Shullick now in the pits, Shampine started to show late race speed in the No. 55, working the low side under Hamilton to take fourth on lap 164.
Back up front, Sitterly had caught Didero with just over thirty laps remaining, but a caution flag for his teammate Hamilton on lap 170 gave this year’s track champ the golden opportunity he had been waiting for.
With Hamilton hitting the fence after contact with Abold and Shullick pulling in the pits a handful of laps earlier, it was now up to Sitterly to pick up the $15,000 Classic prize for Team Nicotra.
When the race went back green there were only 23 laps to go, and Sitterly immediately showed he was no longer messing around.
On the restart, SItterly stayed glued to Didero’s back bumper for 7 laps before Didero got a bit wide in turn four, allowing Otto to slip by and make the race winning move on lap 185.
When Sitterly dove low on Didero going into turn 1, this caused the car to wash up the race track and gave Didero a hole back under the No. 7. The two battled down the backstretch side by side, with Sitterly inching back out in front.
For the next 10 laps, Sitterly showed the speed he had been saving all race long, walking away from Didero clocking in laps at 16.6 seconds and putting considerable distance in between himself and the rest of the field.
It looked as though the race was over, but when Gosselin spun going into turn 3 with just five laps to go, this gave Didero one more opportunity in International Classic overtime.
The field remained under caution for the next five circuits before a green white checkered finish was organized with 201 laps in the books.
This GWC gave Didero one last shot at yet another Classic victory, but he had nothing for Otto in the late stages.
Once again, the Classic was Sitterly’s race as he took win number five in the 62nd running and his first victory in the 200 since 2014 over Didero, Barnes, Abold and Shampine in the top five.
Dave Danzer brought the No. 52 home with a nice run in sixth place while Gruel, Bob Bond, rookie Tyler Shullick, and Logan Rayvals completed the top ten.
A full rundown of earnings, contingency winners, and more from the 62nd annual International Classic will be revealed in the coming days.
Oswego Speedway’s 2018 pavement schedule has now come to a close. Oswego Bacon Fest will take place at the track next Saturday, September 8 before NAPA Auto Parts Super Dirt Week XLVII comes town October 3-7. For more information on Bacon Fest, please visit BestBaconFest.com.
The speedway’s annual Hall of Fame Awards Banquet has been scheduled for Saturday, November 3 at the Lake Ontario Event & Conference Center. Teams will be informed when tickets are available for purchase.
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.
Sunday, September 2, 2018
62nd annual Budweiser International Classic 200
62nd Budweiser International Classic (200-laps): 1. 7 OTTO SITTERLY, 2. 3 Doug Didero, 3. 68 Michael Barnes, 4. 05 Jeff Abold, 5. 55 Keith Shampine, 6. 52 Dave Danzer, 7. 50 Dave Gruel, 8. 47 Bob Bond, 9. 25 Tyler Shullick®, 10. 94 Logan Rayvals, 11. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 12. 77 Shaun Gosselin, 13. 1 Jeff West, 14. 5 Jack Patrick®, 15. 6 Davey Hamilton, 16. 2 Dave Shullick Jr, 17. 98T Tyler Thompson®, 18. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 19. 12 Pat Lavery, 20. 21 Mike McVetta®, 21. 69 Brian Osetek®, 22. 15 Michael Muldoon, 23. 56 Hal LaTulip, 24. 11 Aric Iosue, 25. 00 Joe Gosek, 26. 0 Tim Snyder, 27. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 28. 96 Lou LeVea Sr, 29. 73 Jerry Curran, 30. 71 Bill Sharkey, 31. 78 Mark Sammut, 32. 22 Camden Proud®, 33. 44 Chris Perley, 34. 66 Tony Pisa®, 35. 70 Dave McKnight
Semi-Final 1 (15-laps): 1. 94 Logan Rayvals, 2. 73 Jerry Curran, 3. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 4. 96 Lou LeVea Sr, 5. 78 Mark Sammut, 6. 71 Bill Sharkey, 7. 66 Tony Pisa®
Semi-Final 2 (15-laps): 1. 1 Jeff West, 2. 70 Dave McKnight, 3. 69 Brian Osetek, 4. 21 Mike McVetta®, 5. 12 Pat Lavery, 6. 56 Hal LaTulip, 7. 22 Camden Proud®, 8. 5 Jack Patrick®
Indy Performance Composites Polesitter ($1,000): #68 Michael Barnes
Indy Performance Composites Outside Polesitter ($500): #2 Dave Shullick Jr.
Lakeside Property Services ‘Last Car to Qualify’ In Memory of Joe Paeno ($100): #01 Dan Connors Jr.
RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting Semi-Final Winners ($50): #94 Logan Rayvals, #1 Jeff West
Insinger Performance Halfway Leader ($1,500): #7 Otto Sitterly
Oswego Classic Can-Am Camping Group Last Car on the Lead Lap ($300): #25 Tyler Shullick®
Oswego Classic Can-Am Camping Group Highest Canadian Finisher ($200): #3 Doug Didero
Area Auto Racing News Best Car & Crew: #55 Keith Shampine