Story By: CAMDEN PROUD / OSWEGO SPEEDWAY – OSWEGO, NY – Wearing his father Eddie’s race suit which was last in victory lane thirty one years ago, Brandon Bellinger passed early leader Tim Snyder on lap 7 and drove the iconic No. 02 to a commanding victory in Oswego’s 45-lap ‘Retro Night’ special this past Saturday.
“We’re going to drink some 21 Tequila and have some fun tonight,” said Bellinger from victory lane. “I think the off week really helped us. The car was fast all night long. I was able to get out front early which gave us a huge advantage and we kept them all behind us.”
Aric Iosue and Snyder brought the field to green and it was Snyder sneaking around the pole sitter for the early race lead, looking for his first feature win in nearly ten years with the No. 0.
Snyder built himself a respectable lead in the opening laps, but that was soon negated as fourth starting Bellinger almost immediately began his charge to the front, going around both Logan Rayvals and Aric Iosue with less than two laps complete.
After taking over second, Bellinger began chasing down Snyder and by lap 6, was all over the rear deck of the Zero One lap later, Bellinger dove to the inside going into turn three and made his move for the lead with seven laps complete.
Fresh off his victory in Sandusky Speedway’s Hy-Miler, sixth starting Dave Shullick Jr. wasted little time going around Rayvals, Iosue, and Alison Sload to take over third before making the very same move that Bellinger did on Snyder, inheriting second on lap 8.
Further back in the field, three more cars were really on the move and they were the 05 of Jeff Abold, 7 of Otto Sitterly, and 68 of Michael Barnes, who were all coming from deep to work their way further inside the top ten.
Abold started eighth and by lap 14, had passed five different cars to move into fourth behind Snyder. On the next circuit, he took a look inside of the early leader and grabbed away a podium position.
Just outside of the top five, everyone had their eyes on Sitterly and Barnes as these two drivers, who started tenth and fourteenth, were weaving in and out of traffic towards the front. With less than fifteen laps in the books, this pair was already up to seventh and eighth.
On lap 17, Sitterly made an unbelievable move to go around Sload, Iosue, and Keith Shampine before switching lanes to go under Snyder and into fourth. It took Barnes only three laps to duplicate Sitterly’s move, going by all four cars in a lap and a half to take over fifth.
As Sitterly and Barnes flew towards the front, Bellinger had opened up quite the distance over Shullick and Abold. The No. 02 machine had already begun to approach lapped traffic just prior to the halfway point.
With fifteen laps complete, Shullick’s poor Oswego luck continued as the No. 95 dropped out of the event with apparent issues while running second, handing the runner up position over to the No. 05 of Abold.
Bellinger was now working through lapped traffic with relative ease. However, just as Abold had a glimmer of hope while the 02 got hung up behind a lapped car, the first yellow flag of the event came out for an Iosue spin on lap 35.
‘Cautions breed cautions’ as they say and that proved true as it took two attempts to get past the thirty fifth lap. On the ensuing restart, Barnes had something go wrong on the 68, slowing right in front of the 00 of Joe Gosek who made a phenomenal save to miss him.
With Barnes now heading for the pits, this meant Gosek had come from eleventh to clear six cars including Dave Danzer, Iosue, Snyder, Rayvals, Shullick, and Shampine to drive into fifth behind race leaders Bellinger, Abold, Sitterly, and Sload.
Unfortunately, the next attempt at lap 35 did not go well either as Rayvals ended his night with a very nasty shot into the turn three foam with his No. 94. The car lost steering, came around and hit the backstretch wall before catching the blocks. Fortunately, Logan was unharmed.
Following the cleanup, things finally got back underway with just ten laps remaining for leader Bellinger as both he and Abold were able to pull away from Sitterly, Sload, and Gosek, who ran third through fifth when the green flag was put back in the air.
On lap 37, Gosek shot out of a cannon to go around the outside of Sload coming out of turn four, taking over fourth and moving in behind Sitterly. Less than a lap later, Gosek dove to the inside of Sitterly in turn three. The two brushed wheels, but both were able to gather things up.
Although Bellinger had run away out front, the battle for third continued despite that near miss, with Gosek working Sitterly over right until the bitter end. He took one last shot at the No. 7 car coming to the checkered flag, but came up just a car length short of a podium finish.
The story, however, was the domination by Bellinger, who earned his first checkered flag since August of 2017 and in doing so became the ninth different winner in ten Novelis Supermodified events this season.
Behind Bellinger were Abold, Sitterly, Gosek, Sload, Shampine, Gruel, Snyder, and rookies Jack Patrick and Camden Proud in the top ten. Dan Connors Jr, Barnes, Iosue, Rayvals, Shullick, Hal LaTulip, Jerry Curran, Danzer, Guard Nearbin, and Lou LeVea Sr. completed the field.
Earning his career first top ten finish, Patrick received the Lighthouse Lanes ‘Up & Comer’ Award while Gruel charged from last to seventh to pick up the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger bonus.
Dave Cliff Drives Around Anthony Losurdo on Late Restart for Third SBS Victory of 2019
Dave Cliff took advantage of a late restart to drive around defending Pathfinder Bank SBS champion and current high point man Anthony Losurdo for his third victory of 2019 piloting Tim Barbeau’s No. 50.
The 30-lap main event was marred by several caution flags, including one before the first lap was completed when Mike Bruce climbed over the top of David LaTulip’s rear end going down the back stretch, causing significant damage to the No. 27 machine.
On the second original start, it was a family affair on the front row as Russ Bartlett and nephew Travis brought the field to green. Things went smoother this time, and it was Russ who took the early lead piloting his recent acquisition; the former Tyler Shullick No. 67.
Almost immediately, Travis Bartlett experienced problems in the No. 03, dropping back through the field up high and allowing the dominant inside row of Greg O’Connor, Josh Sokolic, Anthony Losurdo, and Andrew Schartner all to slip underneath.
One lap later, Bartlett’s frustrating start took a turn for the worst as Travis looped it out of turn two with apparent mechanical issues. Just prior to the spin, Losurdo had found a lane under Sokolic for third, but shortly thereafter blew the power steering on his No. 1.
Following a cleanup on the back stretch and a quick check of Losurdo’s car, the points leader was able to keep his position behind leaders Bartlett and O’Connor with Sokolic, Schartner, Cliff, Mike Bruce, and Cameron Rowe all in tow.
The double file restart with two laps in brought O’Connor to Bartlett’s outside, and that did not pan out for the driver of the No. 90, who immediately lost four spots to Losurdo, Schartner, Cliff, and Bruce. Sokolic also got way out of shape, losing several positions in his No. 26.
When the field finally made it through the first five circuits, it was still Bartlett out front, but he was now feeling pressure from Losurdo, Schartner, and Cliff. Meanwhile, battling several car lengths behind the front four, were Bruce, O’Connor, Rowe, Brad Haynes, and LaTulip.
Just as the lap board showed five complete, Losurdo made his move under Bartlett to take the lead going into turn one and it was not a surprise to anyone when the No.1 car began to open up a rather comfortable advantage over the rest of the field.
The next car to make a move was Cliff, who went low under Schartner on lap 7. This pair battled side by side for over a lap before the inside lane finally prevailed, moving the No. 50 car into the third spot right behind Bartlett.
When Cliff tagged Bartlett in the tail looking for second two laps later, this created a parking lot in turn one. The list of cars involved included Bartlett, Cliff, O’Connor, Haynes, LaTulip, Rowe, and Sokolic.
With the exception of O’Connor, all seven cars were able to drive away, but Bartlett and Cliff had to surrender the second and third positions due to the contact that brought out the initial caution.
Following this major shakeup, the new top five consisted of Losurdo, Schartner, Bruce, Rowe, and Haynes, with Losurdo and Schartner leading the field back to green with nine laps in the record books.
In yet another less than ideal situation, Schartner hung tough on the high side of Losurdo, but that hole closed very quickly coming out of turn two, causing the two cars to brush wheels. This contact sent the No. 18 into the back stretch wall with tremendous force.
Schartner’s ride lost the right front tire on impact and sustained very heavy damage, but the driver was uninjured. Losurdo and his race car were also able to drive away unharmed, while three other drivers were collected in the melee including Rowe, who wound up out for the night.
Following this unpleasant turn of events, the entire field was shook up yet again and there were still twenty laps remaining as Losurdo would have to keep Bruce, Haynes, LaTulip, Steve Flack, Bartlett, Cliff, Sokolic, Ken Moody Jr, and James Babcock all behind him.
On the restart, Losurdo took off this time, and was able to build a huge lead over Bruce and Haynes, who soon had company in the form of Dave Cliff. Cliff had come from eighth to fifth and had actually rolled the outside groove around both Bartlett and LaTulip to do so.
At halfway, it was now Losurdo’s race to lose, with Bruce, Haynes, Cliff, LaTulip and Bartlett all locked in a very entertaining battle a little further back. For the time being at least, those five cars were over a half straightaway behind the leader.
The next driver to fall victim to Cliff was Haynes. On this occasion, Cliff made a bold move to the inside of the speedway and took third on lap 17. It took the No. 50 car less than half a lap to reel in runner-up Bruce and he no sooner began applying pressure on the No. 04.
With eleven laps to go, Cliff made his way under Bruce going down the front stretch, but on the very next circuit, LaTulip made contact with Haynes while working him over for third, causing the No. 27 car to swap ends and also bringing the caution lights back on.
Now, this spin set up a double file restart with ten laps to go. It also meant that Losurdo and Cliff; the two fastest cars all season long, would restart side by side, providing fans with a very exciting sprint to the finish.
After Bruce spun the RBI Racing No. 04 on the first restart attempt, he had to go tail, now bringing Haynes and Bartlett to row two, and LaTulip and Sokolic to row three behind the top two of Losurdo and Cliff.
The second try at the restart went much better, especially for Cliff, who rocketed around the outside of Losurdo in a rather improbable move to take the race lead. Bringing the crowd to its feet, Cliff cleared the No. 1 car going into turn one, and from there it was all over.
In the final ten laps, Cliff simply outran the field, pulling away from Losurdo, Haynes, and Bartlett to pick up the win. Bruce recovered for fifth over Sokolic, Flack, Moody, LaTulip, and Babcock who completed the top ten.
Bruce drove from fourteenth to fifth for the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger Award, Haynes recovered for a podium to earn Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer Award Honors, and Bartlett was recipient of the White’s Car Care ‘4th Place’ Award.
Just two events remain in Oswego Speedway’s 2019 ‘Road to the Championship’ with U-Pull U-Save Family Night up next on Saturday, August 10. The Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS and 350 Supers will all be in action.
JP Jewelers ‘Retro Night’
Saturday, August 3, 2019
Feature (45-laps): 1. 02 BRANDON BELLINGER, 2. 05 Jeff Abold, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 00 Joe Gosek, 5. 39 ® Alison Sload, 6. 55 Keith Shampine, 7. 50 Dave Gruel, 8. 0 Tim Snyder, 9. 90 ® Jack Patrick, 10. 54 ® Camden Proud, 11. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 12. 68 Michael Barnes, 13. 11 Aric Iosue, 14. 94 Logan Rayvals, 15. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 16. 56 Hal LaTulip, 17. 99 Jerry Curran, 18. 52 Dave Danzer, 19. 78 Guard Nearbin, 20. 66 Lou LeVea Sr.
Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 52 Dave Danzer, 2. 05 Jeff Abold, 3. 0 Tim Snyder, 4. 39 ® Alison Sload, 5. 99 Jerry Curran, 6. 78 Guard Nearbin, 7. 50 Dave Gruel
Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 2. 00 Joe Gosek, 3. 11 Aric Iosue, 4. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 5. 68 Michael Barnes, 6. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 7. 56 Hal LaTulip
Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 55 Keith Shampine, 2. 94 Logan Rayvals, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 54 ® Camden Proud, 5. 90 ® Jack Patrick, 6. 66 Lou LeVea Sr.
Group Time Trials: 1. 00 Joe Gosek – 15.857, 2. 05 Jeff Abold – 16.038, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly – 16.041, 4. 02 Brandon Bellinger – 16.049, 5. 39 ® Alison Sload – 16.050, 6. 55 Keith Shampine – 16.059, 7. 11 Aric Iosue – 16.086, 8. 50 Dave Gruel – 16.092, 9. 94 Logan Rayvals – 16.167, 10. 95 Dave Shullick Jr. – 16.189, 11. 52 Dave Danzer – 16.248, 12. 54 ® Camden Proud – 16.381, 13. 0 Tim Snyder – 16.407, 14. 01 Dan Connors Jr. – 16.543, 15. 90 ® Jack Patrick – 16.565, 16. 99 Jerry Curran – 16.728, 17. 56 Hal LaTulip – 17.583, 18. 66 Lou LeVea Sr. – 17.814, 19. 78 Guard Nearbin – 18.709, 20. 68 Michael Barnes – 19.928
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #50 Dave Gruel
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: #90 ® Jack Patrick
Pathfinder Bank SBS
Feature (30-laps): 1. 50 DAVE CLIFF, 2. 1 Anthony Losurdo, 3. 88 Brad Haynes, 4. 02 Russ Bartlett, 5. 04 Mike Bruce, 6. 26 Joshua Sokolic, 7. 32 Stephen Flack, 8. 01 ® Ken Moody Jr, 9. 27 David LaTulip, 10. 15 James Babcock, 11. 18 Andrew Schartner, 12. 90 Greg O’Connor, 13. 77 Cameron Rowe, 14. 03 ® Travis Bartlett
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 26 Joshua Sokolic, 2. 02 Russ Bartlett, 3. 27 David LaTulip, 4. 50 Dave Cliff, 5. 90 Greg O’Connor, 6. 32 Stephen Flack, 7. 15 James Babcock, 8. 93 Steve Wood
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 18 Andrew Schartner, 2. 1 Anthony Losurdo, 3. 77 Cameron Rowe, 4. 03 ® Travis Bartlett, 5. 01 ® Ken Moody Jr, 6. 88 Brad Haynes, 7. 04 Mike Bruce
Group Time Trials: 1. 1 Anthony Losurdo – 18.657, 2. 50 Dave Cliff – 18.860, 3. 04 Mike Bruce – 18.895, 4. 27 David LaTulip – 18.900, 5. 77 Cameron Rowe – 19.008, 6. 02 Russ Bartlett – 19.026, 7. 18 Andrew Schartner – 19.101, 8. 90 Greg O’Connor – 19.123, 9. 88 Brad Haynes – 19.142, 10. 26 Joshua Sokolic – 19.393, 11. 03 ® Travis Bartlett – 19.516, 12. 32 Stephen Flack – 19.556, 13. 15 James Babcock – 19.920, 14. 01 ® Ken Moody Jr. – 20.050, 15. 93 Steve Wood – 21.349
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #04 Mike Bruce
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: #88 Brad Haynes
White’s Car Care 4th Place Award: #02 Russ Bartlett