Story By: CAMDEN PROUD / OSWEGO SPEEDWAY – OSWEGO, NY – The Bartlett family of nearby Mexico, N.Y. has a rich history when it comes to racing at the Oswego Speedway, however it has been over ten years since anyone with that last name has competed at the lakeside oval. That will change ahead of this coming Saturday’s ‘Retro Night’ at the races presented by JP Jewelers.
Pathfinder Bank SBS veteran Russ Bartlett will be back behind the wheel this time piloting the former Bowman Racing No. 12, which has already been driven so far this season by both Dennis Richmond and AJ Bernys. Russ’s nephew Travis, a former Supermodified and Small Block Supermodified driver himself, purchased the car just a couple of weeks ago.
“I will be driving the remainder of the regular season and the Classic with the car renumbered as the 62,” Bartlett confirmed. “My brother Travis owns the car and the plan right now is to actually have two of them next year with him in one and me in the other. We are working out a deal on that second car right now and may have it out soon. I’m not sure if I will be there every week in 2019, but I know Travis will be for the entire season with the other car”
Although Bartlett has not raced weekly at Oswego since 2002, he did appear at the speedway in 2005 driving a car owned by his brother Tim Bartlett. Throughout his tenure as an SBS competitor, Russ has a pair of top five finishes at Oswego along with a NORA victory at the Spencer Speedway in 2000.
“It’s been awhile since I’ve raced weekly,” Bartlett said . “I ran under funded during my time at Oswego, but we had some decent runs. I’d say my biggest career highlight is winning both the feature at Spencer Speedway in what was the NORA event in 2000.”
As for Travis, he had a short, but successful Supermodified career, driving to an eighth place effort in the 2006 championship standings and going on to be declared Novelis Supermodified Rookie of the Year piloting the No. 03. His father Terry Bartlett was also a Supermodified competitor between the years of 1998 and 1992.
Throw in Russ’s other brothers Timmy, Jamie, and Jeff, who all competed in the Small Block Super ranks from 1999 to 2001 and it is hard to believe that a name which frequented Oswego for so many years has not been on a driver roster in either division for over a decade.
In terms of his upcoming return, Russ says the goals are to be “fast and competitive.” Bartlett added, “I’d love to win, but we will have to see if we can be competitive first. I’m very confident we can be. We have a good car and engine. It’s better than anything I’ve ever been in and I am very excited. I can not thank Travis enough for this opportunity.”
Bartlett will first test with the renumbered 62 during this week’s Fast Friday session from 4 to 8pm before turning attention over to Saturday’s 30-lap Pathfinder Bank SBS main event as part of ‘Retro Night’ at the speedway.