Tag Archives: Oswego Speedway

Oswego Speedway Cancels Events for June 6 and 13, Discussion for Potential Re-Opening Underway

OSWEGO, NY (May 20, 2020) – Two more Oswego Speedway events; scheduled for Saturday, June 6 and Saturday, June 13, have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With that announcement, the track has officially lost the first four shows of its 70th anniversary season. 

The June 6 program, presented by Oswego County Media Group, was scheduled to include a regular show for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank SBS, plus the first of three appearances by the Sunoco New York Super Stock Series. The Speedway is working with NYSS officials to find a makeup date.

On June 13, Burke’s Do It Best Home Centers and Compass Credit Union were to present the fan favorite Twin 35’s for Novelis Supermodifieds, plus racing for the Pathfinder Bank SBS and J&S Paving 350 Supers. At this point, it is unclear whether or not the Twins will be made up this season.  

“It is a gigantic disappointment to lose more events,” said track owner John Torrese. “Our goal continues to be opening as soon as possible. We are in discussions with local officials about a reopening plan. As soon as they say ‘go,’ we will be cutting things loose at the race track.”

Anyone planning to attend future race track events in 2020 are asked to be aware that Oswego Speedway will be strictly enforcing all of the state and local guidelines for a phased re-opening. Last Friday, the Central New York region reached the first of four steps in that process. 

“By the state model, entertainment can not go until phase 4 and that includes the Speedway,” Torrese explained. “If we continue on the right path, we are confident we can be racing by July, and are hopeful to have cars on the track sooner. When the time comes, we will be following all of the necessary public health protocols.”

In the weeks ahead, Speedway fans and teams are urged to check track social media and OswegoSpeedway.com frequently. At this time, the June 20 event is not cancelled, and the schedule remains fluid with several changes anticipated moving forward. Torrese advised against making plans based on the original schedule. 

“When we open, the schedule will likely be re-shaped in certain areas,” he continued. “Teams should expect a few differences in the specifics of shows, like divisions and laps. We will do all we can to get as much racing in as possible. As we receive more information, we will continue to put it out right away. Everyone’s patience and support is greatly appreciated.” 

Teams are again reminded that when the Speedway is given the green light to open, it will do so without hesitation, so equipment should be prepped and ready. All of the required forms needed to compete, including registration sheets, are posted under ‘RULES’ at OswegoSpeedway.com. 

While the track office also remains closed, drivers are asked to mail in all of their paperwork as soon as possible. All cars must be registered for competition in order to see the track, and an updated medical form for the driver must be turned in. 

For fans hoping to purchase or renew tickets and camping, the Oswego Speedway office will be simultaneously reopened once the season resumes.  

To find the latest information, visit OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or on Instagram @OfficialOswegoSpeedway. 

LaFave Making Full-Time 350 Supermodified Comeback in 2020

OSWEGO, NY (May 15, 2020) – It has been less than a year since Vern LaFave was involved in his fiery turn 1 accident, badly burning the 61-year old racer and destroying his car. This week, LaFave confirmed he is ready for a full-time J&S Paving 350 Supermodified comeback in 2020. 

“I feel great,” LaFave said Tuesday night. “My vision is back to 20/20 and my burns are healed. I have been better for awhile, but it has taken a full year to get to one hundred percent. Gina, my girlfriend, took great care of me and made sure bandages were replaced every day. I’m lucky to have some great people around who care about me and helped so much throughout the recovery process.” 

For the upcoming season, LaFave purchased last year’s Muldoon Racing Supermodified which Michael Muldoon raced frequently on the ISMA trail, and also in the International Classic. The car was built with independent front suspension, but the Muldoons converted it back over to a straight axle 350 immediately after the 2019 Star Classic. Now it is revamped and ready for LaFave to compete with.  

“Mike (Muldoon) has been instrumental in everything,” noted LaFave. “I would not be racing if it weren’t for his help. Not long after my accident, he knew I wanted to come back. He told me he would rebuild the wrecked car, but I wasn’t into driving that again. That was when we started to put the plan in motion to either build a new one, or use one of last year’s cars.” 

LaFave’s 2020 ride is one of four Supers to be built or rebuilt in Muldoon’s Baldwinsville shop over the offseason. Two new big block Supers are in the works, LaFave’s car has already been rebuilt and moved out the door, and a mid-90’s Muldoon car to be driven by Doug Sanborn was also completely refurbished. 

“I can’t thank Mike Muldoon enough. First of all, for building me a safe race car,” LaFave continued. “Everything held up great and bent exactly where it was supposed to in my crash. Lately, as we’ve done the conversion, I have made two dozen trips back and forth, but the wing is finished and that was the last piece we needed. The car came out absolutely great and it’s race ready.” 

Vern’s on-track plans for 2020 include a full Oswego slate once the gates are finally able to be opened, and some select appearances in New England; including at the Star Speedway and on the 350 SMAC tour, in addition. The Philadelphia, NY resident says he plans to “hit as many of the races as he can.” 

“I’m all in for a full Oswego season,” confirmed LaFave. “I’m actually kind of bummed. I just want to get out there already, and this virus has everything on hold. I will absolutely be there for all of the Oswego shows, and we are looking at doing some other stuff too. Speedway 51 out in New Hampshire is doing some testing for the 350’s next week that I’d like to go take part in.” 

While it has been a long, hard road to recovery for LaFave since his horrific incident; arguably the worst in Speedway history, the most difficult part is now behind him. For quite some time, Vern says he questioned whether or not he would ever be able to get back behind the wheel of any race car.

“I really wondered how I would handle it mentally,” LaFave admitted. “Last Fall, I got back into a Modified at Evans Mills just to take a few laps. I’m not sure how many people really knew that, but we did and it went fine. I just wanted to be able to tell myself that I can do this still, and that was all I needed. I was totally fine. I just want to race.” 

Perhaps the most frequent question Vern has gotten, he said, are from those wondering if he is “terrified” or ask “how could you” (go back) after a crash like that. “I’m not scared,” he said. “ I do not dwell on it or think of it much, but I remember the whole thing and know I am lucky. It was a  just a totally freak deal, but if you are afraid of it, then you shouldn’t be doing it. The right safety changes were made and hopefully have taken care of the problem that caused the fire.” 

The big goal for LaFave this year? Get the Oswego victory that he says has “always seemed to elude him.” A veteran of the Pathfinder Bank SBS and Novelis Supermodified divisions, LaFave has been close several times. He was won several SBS travel shows, and is a multi-time winner in the Evans Mills Modified and Legends division as well. 

“An Oswego win is the last big thing on my racing bucket list. That’s all I want,” he explained. “I get upset, because I know we had the car to win last year, but I guess now we have something that should be even better. I’ve been going for the lead in SBS races with a lap to go and gotten wrecked. I’ve just never been able to get it done. To get a win at Oswego Speedway after what happened to me last year would be the biggest dream of my life.”

Lastly, Vern wanted to be sure to thank those that supported him through his journey. He said, “First and foremost, I want to say thanks to the Oswego Safety Crew once again for doing what they do best. They saved my life. I want to thank Mike Muldoon, Kent Klock, Kyle Hafeman, Chippy Wood, Mike Bond, Ed Matteson, and Matt Matteson. I have a lot of people that have pitched in from up around home and in Oswego.” 

LaFave also had praise for race fans, mentioning how “overwhelming and unbelievable” it felt to return to the track after his accident in July of last year. “I just want everyone to know that I am doing well,” he continued. “We are excited to come back. All those people that greeted me last year. Honestly, I don’t think I moved 50 feet in an hour. Most of them were people I didn’t even know. I can not say enough about Supermodified fans. I had a bad day, but it wasn’t my day, so we brush it off, have a new car built, and are going to go for that win. I’ve done this for over forty years. It is in my blood. It’s what I want to do.” 

As of May 14, Oswego Speedway’s 2020 season continues to be ‘paused’ due to COVID-19. All patrons are reminded that the Speedway office also remains closed due to the restrictions, and all camping and ticket sales are halted for the time being. The 2020 event schedule is tentatively scheduled to resume on June 6, pending state and local guidelines. 

For further updates on the Speedway’s 2020 season, fans are asked to log onto the track website at OswegoSpeedway.com, LIKE at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway and Instagram @OfficialOswegoSpeedway. 

Bob Clark Photo

Oswego Speedway Teams to Give Back to Community, Aid Local Farmers with Upstate Niagara Cooperative Milk Drive on Friday, May 22

OSWEGO, NY (May 15, 2020) – The front stretch of Oswego Speedway will play host to a milk drive one week from today; Friday, May 22 at noon, to give back to the community and benefit area farmers, specifically the Upstate Niagara Cooperative corporation based in Rochester. 

Six drivers; Joe Gosek, Brandon Bellinger, Tim Snyder, Dan Connors Jr, Anthony Losurdo, and Dave Cliff, will be in their full racing uniforms distributing over 500 gallons of free milk purchased by race teams. Anyone who stops by the Steel Palace on the 22nd is welcome to collect. 

Vicki Gosek (Joe’s wife) and Phyllis Bellinger (Brandon’s Mom) have spearheaded the effort in an attempt to give back to the local community and aid the farming industry as we all fight these trying times amidst the public health pandemic. 

“We thought this was a great way to allow racers a chance to give back,” Gosek said. “There will be no Indy 500 this month, and that means no traditional drinking of the milk, so we decided we would bring some to Oswego to give back to our community and were able to help local farmers in the process. We appreciate everyone banding together to make this happen.”

All families that wish to collect milk will be admitted through the Albany Street pit gate on May 22 at noon, receive milk and a checkered flag from one of the drivers, and be permitted to take a ‘half lap’ around the Speedway before exiting at the turn 3 pit gate via City Line Road. 

Those who attend the giveaway must remain in their vehicle at all times. All other gates will be locked; including the grandstands, and absolutely no foot traffic will be permitted. If you can not drive, there will be a walkup distribution area just outside the main pit gate on Albany Street. 

The milk will be distributed on a first come, first serve basis and the giveaway will run until milk trucks have been emptied out. It is required that all patrons who collect using the walk-up area wear a mask, and be mindful of the social distancing guidelines. 

As of May 15, 2020, Oswego Speedway’s season is ‘paused’ due to COVID-19. Fans continue to be reminded that the Speedway office is also closed due to the restrictions, and all camping and ticket sales are halted for the time being. The 2020 event schedule is tentatively scheduled to resume on June 6, pending state and local guidelines. 

For further updates on the Speedway’s 2020 season, fans are asked to log onto the track website at OswegoSpeedway.com, LIKE at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway and Instagram @OfficialOswegoSpeedway. 

Any questions about the milk drive can be directed to Vicki Gosek or Phyllis Bellinger, or you can email Camden Proud at cproud@oswegospeedway.com

About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. The 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 the Oswego Speedway making it the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds and 350 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, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, and former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.