Story By: CAMDEN PROUD / OSWEGO SPEEDWAY – OSWEGO, NY – Jack Patrick, a 23 year veteran of the Pathfinder Bank SBS division, will make the move to Oswego Speedway’s Novelis Supermodified ranks full-time this season.
Patrick has very little Supermodified experience under his belt, first piloting a big block for Buske Racing several seasons ago. Last year, Jack took the plunge and purchased the former Shawn Muldoon No. 1 just prior to the 62nd running of the Budweiser International Classic 200.
“After 23 years racing at Oswego, I was faced with a difficult decision going into Classic Weekend,” Patrick stated. “With the SBS division switching over to Chevy crates, my Mopar engine was being phased out. I was trying to determine if I should switch to a crate or move on to other racing ventures.”
Anyone who has caught Small Block Super action within the past 20 years, will surely recall Patrick’s bright red No. 9. Through over 250 starts, 7 feature wins, 51 top five finishes, and countless top ten runs including in 33 of the last 35 races, the Fulton Fireman’s color and number have always remained the same.
“I love the SBS class and spent a lot of years in it,” Patrick said. “I took the time to sit back and reflect on my long career before making any decisions. Reaching second in all-time points with seven wins and a consistent past handful of years has been great.”
In the midst of determining plans for the following season, Patrick said he received a deal he could not refuse to purchase the former Muldoon No. 1. Torn between adhering to the pending rule changes in the Small Block Super class or the chance to live a personal dream, Patrick’s racing career temporarily came to a crossroads, but it wasn’t long before he made up his mind.
“I figured this was the chance I had been waiting for to pursue my dream of driving in the Supermodified division,” Patrick explained. “This decision brightened what was to be an emotional weekend for me due to my last race in the Mopar and purchasing a Super just before the Classic seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to get some valuable seat time.”
The plan for the former No. 1, which was switched to No. 5 for Patrick’s first run at the International Classic, was to get the car running before Friday Pole Qualifying. Things proved difficult almost immediately, as his team got the car to the track, but were unable to fire it up.
“After borrowing a fuel pump, we were able to get the car started, but then we had no oil pressure,” Patrick recalled. “We decided our best bet was to take the car home and find the issue. We came back to the track Friday and still had no oil pressure. With my frustration and nerves peaking, I feared we would not be able to get any seat time in before the Classic, but after a lot of searching my engine guy found the problems and we finally had oil pressure.”
Patrick slowly got comfortable with the No. 5 in early practice and time trials, but by end of the weekend’s final practice, he hit a respectable 17.3 second lap, which was good enough for 17th fastest overall.
“Going 17.3 put a smile on my face,” Patrick said. “We really missed the setup in time trials, but I still was getting comfortable in the car. Even though we had to run the heats on Sunday, we found some speed and I was able to make the Classic.”
Patrick Racing tackled the tall order of double duty on Classic Sunday, competing in the Bud Light Classic 75 for the Small Block Supers along with the Budweiser International Classic 200 for the Supermodifieds.
An ill-handling race car coupled with sweltering heat made for a disappointing 13th place finish in the SBS 75 and a whole lot of uncertainty for the 200, which was set to take the green flag just a short while later.
“After an exhausting SBS Classic in sweltering temperatures, I wasn’t sure how far I was going to go in the International Classic,” Patrick explained. “As the race wore on and attrition took its toll, I decided I was going to keep going as long as I could.”
Going “as long as he could” worked out well for Patrick, who managed a 14th place finish in his first ever International Classic. He fell just five markers short of being the highest finishing rookie in the event to Tyler Shullick.
“It turned out I made it to the end of the race and finished my first International Classic in 14th place which was an enormous accomplishment,” Patrick stated. “After all of the struggles we had in the past three days just trying to get the car on the track, we were thrilled.”
As the sun set on the 2018 season, the sad end of Patrick’s SBS career was overshadowed by his sense of accomplishment with his recent acquisition. He says he now feels “more confident” approaching 2019 after some hard earned seat time on Supermodified racing’s biggest stage.
“Approaching the 2019 season, the Supermodified field continues to grow. With the competition level continuing to grow, our goal is to make as many races as we can,” offered Patrick. “Oh, and just have fun, of course. That’s the most important thing.”
Patrick has been hard at work on his machine throughout the winter months. The engine and chassis have been overhauled, sponsors are being lined up, and a crew is being assembled.