Story By: CAMDEN PROUD / OSWEGO SPEEDWAY – OSWEGO, NY – Dave Shullick Jr. capped a banner year by not only closing the deal on his second Oswego Speedway Supermodified track championship, but by earning his first career Mr. Supermodified win worth $10,000 this past Saturday at Oswego Speedway.
The driver of the Osetek Racing No. 95 was sitting third with one lap to go when leaders Jeff Abold and Tyler Thompson crashed in turn four, handing the leader over to Shullick, who was able to keep Otto Sitterly at bay on a green-checkered restart for his third straight victory.
“You know, they say sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, so we will take that tonight,” Shullick offered. “Jeff (Abold) had the car tonight and we were not quite as good as we have been, but we had a good car. It was just tough racing up front, but we just lasted it out and it’s exciting to be here. I don’t always run my best for this race, so to be standing here today to get this title as Mr. Supermodified is pretty awesome. This is one of the only ones I hadn’t gotten in my career. I think the fans got a really good race today. There was a lot of passing and it was a lot of fun out there.”
Championship runner-up Sitterly started in eighth, and ran fourth for much of the race, but was also able to pick up a pair of spots due to the accident coming to the checkered. It was the fifth top five finish of the season for Otto.
“We really weren’t very good,” Sitterly said. “It was a long 75-lap race. That could have been a 25-lap race and I would have been happy with it. Unfortunate to see the 05 and the 98 up into the fence there and it looks like it was coming to the checkered so that sucks for both of them, but sometimes you have to take it when you can get it.”
Dan Connors Jr. drove a phenomenal race to charge all the way up from nineteenth to third in the No. 01. It was the fourth top five and ninth top ten finish of the season, more than any other driver in the division. Connors continues to knock on the door for career win number one.
“I guess I can’t complain about tonight,” Connors stated. “We kind of ran into some avoidable issues in the heat race and it wasn’t looking too good. We started way in the back, but they hit the set up pretty much right on. It probably couldn’t have got any better than it was. I just took it one car at a time and ended up here. The car has been improving every week and we definitely improved it again this week.”
The ‘Zero Hero’ Tim Snyder and Lou LeVea Jr. were the front row for the 34th running of the 75-lap, $10,000 to win event and it was Snyder using the bottom part of the Speedway to take the early lead away.
LeVea Jr. got way out of shape on lap 2, moving third starting Alison Sload into second, fourth starting Thompson into third, fifth starting Abold into fourth, and eighth starting Sitterly into the five spot as the No. 83 fell back to sixth.
Snyder had started to pull away early on, but Thompson went under Sload for second on lap 5 with Abold making the same move a lap later as the pair would now quickly begin to close in on the race leader.
The yellow flag came out on lap 8 for a turn three tangle between Michael Muldoon and Lou LeVea Jr. which ended the night for both cars as well as Dave Danzer and Max McLaughlin, who were collected in the incident.
On the restart, Snyder was shuffled from the lead to fifth with Thompson, Abold, Sitterly, and Shullick all going around the No. 0 on the outside.
With ten laps complete, Thompson had already built a healthy half straightaway lead, but soon after the yellow flag came back out for a Lou LeVea Sr. spin in turn four.
Thompson was again able to pull away from Abold on the restart, but further back, the two cars on the move were Brandon Bellinger and Michael Barnes, who had gone by Snyder and Sload to move up to fifth and sixth, respectively.
Unfortunately, a broken header would drop Bellinger out of the race on lap 14, moving Barnes up to fifth, Snyder sixth, Sload seventh, Joe Gosek eighth, Keith Shampine ninth, and Connors in tenth with 60 laps remaining.
Back in front, Shullick had worked Sitterly over for a good 15 laps before he was finally able to find a way by and into third on lap 27 as Barnes began to close on positions two through five.
With 30 laps complete, it was still Thompson in the lead ahead of Abold, Shullick, Sitterly, and Barnes, but that is when things began to get interesting.
Thompson caught heavy lapped traffic with 45 laps remaining and lost a ton of ground to Abold, with Abold making a run on the high side of Thompson to look for the lead in traffic.
Sitterly was also caught up in the lapped traffic and Barnes took advantage, sliding into fourth behind Abold and Shullick.
Thompson was able to clear this traffic, and in clean air, pulled right back away from Abold, until he caught up to another pack of lapped cars with 40 to go.
When this happened, Abold, Shullick and Barnes immediately were on the tail pipes of the No. 98T.
Abold took a second peek to the high side of Thompson, but could not make the move stick, instead giving Shullick an opportunity to look low and take over second on lap 40.
Shulick then went to go for the lead coming out of turn four, but was unable to complete the run as Thompson dove low in front of the No. 95 desperately looking for a way around the traffic.
On lap 41, Thompson again had to get way out of the gas as he tried the low side of the slower car going into turn three.
This would give the outside lane not only to Abold for the lead, but Barnes for second as well, as for just a split second the ‘Hustler’ had gone by both Shullick and Thompson in the same corner to take over the runner-up spot.
Thompson, however, was able to take second back from Barnes using a daring low side move to finally clear the traffic at last going into turn one.
By now, though, it was a different race with Abold the new leader over Thompson, Barnes, Shullick, and Sitterly with 30 laps to go.
The exciting run by seventeenth starting Barnes would end in the pit area with mechanical woes as he was working Thompson over for second with 25 laps to go.
Now, the top five consisted of Abold, Thompson, Shullick, Sitterly, and Connors, who went by Shampine, Gosek, Sload, and Snyder to make it all the way up into the five spot.
As the laps wound down to just 10 remaining, everyone thought Abold had the win in his hip pocket with a big lead over Thompson and a clear track ahead.
…until Abold caught traffic with three to go.
Thompson had driven the wheels off of the No. 98 to catch leader Abold in the closing laps and unbelievably, appeared within striking distance as Abold took the white flag.
Going into turn three, Abold was still pinned in behind a lapped car, and Thompson saw the opportunity he was looking for to make a last lap, last ditch effort at the race lead, but got into the corner too hot, tagging the rear end of Abold, and sending the leader around.
As Abold was spinning, Thompson caught his wheel and also went spinning sideways into the outside turn four wall.
Both cars ended up on the hook in an extremely unfortunate ending to an excellent run for both drivers.
The race would end on a green-checkered restart with Shullick now the leader over Sitterly, Connors, Shampine, and Sload in the top five and that is the way they would finish.
Gosek, Shampine, Sload, Snyder, and Tyler Shullick filled out the top ten.
Josh Sokolic won the battle, but Dan Kapuscinski won the war this past Saturday night at Oswego Speedway with Sokolic claiming $1,500 with the title of Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS while Kapuscinski took home the 2021 Track Championship.
Only six points separated the pair going into the regular season finale, and just 13 markers was the difference prior to feature time with Kapuscinski still holding the narrow edge.
The duo started eighth and ninth on the grid, and while Josh stormed the No. 26 to the front in short order; Danny K did exactly what he knew was a must; simply kept pace with Sokolic, and in doing so, was able to secure the title by a slim seven points.
19-year-old Sokolic, meanwhile, would have to settle for his third win of the 2021 season and the extra payday for becoming the first teenaged driver to be crowned ‘Mr. SBS’ in Speedway history.
“That was a crazy race,” Sokolic said. “Starting in eighth, we were actually a little loose at the start, but then it came in and got too tight. I knew if I held my line I would probably catch up to the guys at the front. It was a good run. Good job to the 23 crew. They have been solid all year, and came out tonight and did what they had to do to win the track championship. I am proud of this whole crew for all of their hard work; my parents, my sister, all the sponsors; All Weather Power Equipment, Lakeland Auto, J&S Paving, Logos Custom Embroidery, Ed, and everyone that has helped out all year. We have progressed a lot this season and we’ll take the win and second in points.”
Finishing in second was Kapuscinski, who earned the sixth podium finish of what has been a masterful four-win season for the Flack Racing No. 23 team. It was enough for the Speedway veteran to take home the first track championship of his career.
“I figured I would only be as aggressive as Josh was tonight,” Kapuscinski commented. “I tried to points race last week and it got me in a lot of trouble. I was being patient and when I got to his bumper, I was content where I was. The car is pretty banged up though. The toe is off, the rear end got knocked, and we were actually lucky we finished the race because we got jingled up from the back a couple times. It doesn’t matter now though. I had a feeling when I started driving for Steve Flack and Mikey O’Connor this year that a championship was possible. They have given me a great race car every single week. When we didn’t put ourselves in trouble or get caught up in someone else’s trouble, we’ve been fast. I have to thank Burger Construction, Burger Masonry, Oscar Roofing, Hedger Fabrication, Mohawk Northeast, Billy Whittaker Cars & Trux, Stephen Gioia’s Farmers Insurance, Premiere Landscaping, Cooper’s Custom Canvas, and my Mom. Now we’ll come back in two weeks and try to beat that 74 car.”
Coming from seventh to finish third both in the race and the point standings was Bryan Haynes, who had a strong 2021 campaign with his No. 86. It was the fourth podium finish of the season for the Odenton, MD driver.
“This is my first actual full-time season in twelve years of doing this so I really have to thank my brother Brad, Ron Pratt, Brian Langer, Dennis Lyons, and Greg. We would not be here if it was not for them,” Haynes said. “It’s been a blast out here racing in front of the fans, racing with all of these guys, and more importantly my brother and putting on a show for everyone. The car was not great tonight, hats off to Noah (Ratcliff). We were racing for third on the track and third in the points. He has a huge, bright future in front of him and the only thing that beat him tonight was a little more experience on the restarts. He was a little bit better than me, but I just muscled it out and we ended up third.”
Veteran Greg O’Connor and rookie Griffin Miller led the field to the green flag for the 35-lap special and it was O’Connor leading the way in the No. 90.
Sokolic and Kapuscinski wasted no time starting their respective drives to the front, with Sokolic going by four cars in the first two laps to crack the four spot.
Kapuscinski, who started one position behind his championship rival, would ride sixth, settling in behind Noah Ratcliff early on.
With five laps complete, it was O’Connor, Miller, Brad Haynes, Sokolic, and Ratcliff the front five.
On lap 6, Kapuscinski was able to look low underneath Ratcliff to move in behind Sokolic in the top five.
One lap later, Sokolic made the same move to get by Brad Haynes for third going into turn three, with Danny K following suit for fourth on the ensuing lap.
At this point, O’Connor and Miller had built a comfortable lead out in front, but by halfway, both Sokolic and Kapuscinski were hot on their heels.
The front three were nose to tail in a battle for the lead for ten laps, but things went south for leader O’Connor with 8 laps remaining as Miller got into the back of the No. 90 going into turn three, sending the race leader around.
O’Connor would have to tag the tail and Miller was also penalized for the contact.
This meant that the points leaders would now make up the front row for the double file restart with eight laps remaining.
From the inside lane, Sokolic was able to grab the point with Kapuscinski right there for second.
Riding third was Ratcliff, as he did his best to keep Bryan Haynes at bay in their duel for the third spot in the point standings.
The yellow flag would come back out again, though, for a Brad Haynes spin in turn three which collected Miller.
On the restart, there were still 8 to go for the leaders and it was again Sokolic able to keep the lead from the low lane with Kapuscinski in second.
This time, Haynes was able to get the jump on Ratcliff for third with the rookie now fourth and David LaTulip coming from tenth to crack the top five.
The field would remain nose to tail for the closing five laps and that is the way they would finish with Sokolic the winner, Danny K second, Bryan Haynes third, Ratcliff fourth, and LaTulip fifth.
O’Connor, Robbie Bruce, Darrick Hilton, AJ Larkin, and Mark Denny Jr. completed the top ten.
With five top 5 finishes, 16-year-old Ratcliff was able to close the deal on Rookie of the Year honors by a healthy 43 point margin over Griffin Miller.
Former International Classic champion Tyler Thompson became the first ever driver to hold the title of Mr. J&S Paving 350 Supermodified this past Saturday night at Oswego Speedway.
Driving the Top Quality Motorsports No. 98T entry for car owner Mike Barbera, fourth starting Thompson took the race lead from Kali Spaulding on lap 3 and walked away for the dominant victory worth $2,000.
“I was worried about the New England guys. They are all fast. We just got the car hooked up again tonight,” Thompson said.
15 year-old Chase Locke came from eighth to finish second. It was his third runner-up effort in three Oswego starts this season.
“I think if we had a couple more laps I could have probably closed the gap,” Locke commented. “We’ll come back for Classic Weekend and hopefully with not another second place. We’ll make it first place.”
Completing the podium was championship runner-up Dalton Doyle, who earned his fourth top three finish of the season in the No. 08. Doyle fell just 13 points shy of the track championship to Mike Bruce.
“I thought the car was pretty good once we made it through the traffic and I got in the clean air,” Doyle stated. “I could see that we were reeling (Dave) Cliff in, but I don’t know if I would have been able to do anything when I caught him. These guys must have been hooked because they were in a different zip code than us. We’ll just keep digging and trying to get more speed out of this thing every week. I feel like now it’s starting to race pretty well. We’ll keep plugging away.”
Bruce did what he needed to do, keeping Doyle in sight and finishing in fifth. With two wins and five top 5 finishes in seven starts, the Speedway veteran was able to recover from a horrifying early season crash to secure the 2021 track championship for RBI / Bruce Racing.
“This is my first track championship and in our first year with a new team this season in RBI / Bruce Racing and Dan Dennie,” Bruce said. “It’s pretty sweet. We wrecked some cars, but also had some good races. The last couple weeks we haven’t been on top of our game, but we were smart about it tonight because we wanted to win the championship. I have to give a huge thanks to Rich Wirth for giving us everything we need with this 350. Dan for putting endless hours into our 350 program, Robbie the Wrench, Bobby Magner, my father, my girlfriend, and everyone on the crew; Tyler Henry, Larry Muroski, Eric Howell, and the wives for putting up with shenanigans every week. This is pretty great.”
Spaulding and Vern LaFave brought the field to the green flag for the 30-lap regular season finale with Spaulding jumping out in front from the inside lane.
LaFave got the quick shuffle on the first lap with third starting Dave Cliff moving up into second, Thompson there for third, sixth starting Bruce in fourth and eighth starting Locke up to fifth when the field completed lap 2.
Not far behind was Jeffrey Battle, who already rode sixth after starting in the ten spot, while fifth starting Doyle sat seventh.
The race was red flagged on lap 3 for a nasty crash involving Barry Kingsley, who took a heavy ride into the third turn foam due to a parts failure on the No. 06. Fortunately, Barry was not hurt.
Action really picked up on the restart, with Spaulding able to hold off Cliff for the lead going into the first corner, but it was Thompson who wound up going by both cars to take over the point as the field headed down the back stretch and into turn three.
With Thompson on the run, Battle meanwhile made a big run on the outside to clear both Locke and Bruce for fourth, and next worked the low side of Cliff looking for third.
Before Battle could make the move, Spaulding got out of shape in front of Cliff, but he tucked the No. 50 to the inside down the back stretch and was able to secure second.
Battle, however, got stuck up high, giving Locke the low lane for third with 5 laps complete.
On lap 6, Spaulding ran into issues on the No. 23, and just as she tried to go pitside, Battle was attempting to take over the position down low.
The two made contact, resulting in damage to Battle’s car which ultimately dropped him out of the race. The Spring Classic Champion had put on a clinic in the first six laps.
Thompson, Cliff, Locke, Bruce, Doyle, Mike Netishen, and Kyle Perry were now the front seven cars.
Right at the halfway point, Locke was able to catch and pass Cliff for second. Doyle had also gone by Bruce for fourth just a little earlier with the top five now Thompson, Locke, Cliff, Doyle, and Bruce.
Unfortunately, another great run for Cliff went by the wayside with five to go as the Barbeau Racing No. 50 was forced pitside due to mechanical issues.
This moved Doyle into third, Bruce fourth, and Netishen fifth behind leaders Thompson and Locke.
Locke closed the straightaway gap between he and Thompson quite significantly as the laps wound down, but was unable to get within striking distance of the No. 98T.
Thompson secured his first career win in the 350 Supermodified division ahead of Locke, Doyle, Bruce, and Netishen in the top five.
Rookie of the Year Perry, Brain Sobus, Cliff, Ralph Clark, and LaFave completed the top ten.
Oswego County Federal Credit Union and C’s Beverage Center
Track Championship Night
$10,000 to Win Mr. Novelis Supermodified
Saturday, August 21, 2021
Feature (75-laps): 1. 95 DAVE SHULLICK JR, 2. 7 Otto Sitterly, 3. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 4. 05 Jeff Abold, 5. 98T Tyler Thompson, 6. 55 Keith Shampine, 7. 39 Alison Sload, 8. 00 Joe Gosek. 9. 0 Tim Snyder, 10. 25 ® Tyler Shullick, 11. 90 Jack Patrick, 12. 68 Michael Barnes, 13. 56 Hal LaTulip, 14. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 15. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 16. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 17. 15 Michael Muldoon, 18. CraZ8 ® Max McLaughlin, 19. 52 Dave Danzer, 20. 22 ® Mike Bruce
Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 15 Michael Muldoon, 2. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 3. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 4. 56 Hal LaTulip, 5. 90 Jack Patrick, 6. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 7. 01 Dan Connors Jr.
Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 39 Alison Sload, 2. 0 Tim Snyder, 3. 05 Jeff Abold, 4. 7 Otto Sitterly, 5. 52 Dave Danzer, 6. 68 Michael Barnes, 7. 22 ® Mike Bruce
Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 00 Joe Gosek, 2. 98T Tyler Thompson, 3. CraZ8 ® Max McLaughlin, 4. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 5. 55 Keith Shampine, 6. 25 ® Tyler Shullick
Group Time Trials: 1. 68 Michael Barnes – 16.184, 2. 95 Dave Shullick Jr. – 16.329, 3. 02 Brandon Bellinger – 16.389, 4. 7 Otto Sitterly – 16.412, 5. CraZ8 ® Max McLaughlin – 16.448, 6. 05 Jeff Abold – 16.478, 7. 01 Dan Connors Jr. – 16.492, 8. 98T Tyler Thompson – 16.538, 9. 52 Dave Danzer – 16.556, 10. 15 Michael Muldoon – 16.626, 11. 55 Keith Shampine – 16.628, 12. 0 Tim Snyder – 16.662, 13. 83 Lou LeVea Jr. – 16.801, 14. 00 Joe Gosek – 16.861, 15. 39 Alison Sload – 16.889, 16. 66 Lou LeVea Sr. – 16.923, 17. 90 Jack Patrick – 17.018, 18. 25 ® Tyler Shullick – 17.321, 19. 56 Hal LaTulip – 17.489, 20. 22 ® Mike Bruce – 18.072
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #01 Dan Connors Jr.
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #01 Dan Connors Jr.
2021 Track Champion: #95 Dave Shullick Jr.
2021 Rookie of the Year: #22 Mike Bruce
$1,500 to Win Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS
Feature (35-laps): 1. 26 JOSH SOKOLIC, 2. 23 Dan Kapuscinski, 3. 86 Bryan Haynes, 4. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff, 5. 27 David LaTulip, 6. 90 Greg O’Connor, 7. 32 ® Robbie Bruce, 8. 66 ® Darrick Hilton, 9. 35 ® AJ Larkin, 10. 14 ® Mark Denny Jr, 11. 88 Brad Haynes, 12. 9 ® Griffin Miller, 13. 77 Cameron Rowe, DNS 29 ® Andy Loden, 49 ® Josh Wallace
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff, 2. 86 Bryan Haynes, 3. 9 ® Griffin Miller, 4. 90 Greg O’Connor, 5. 66 ® Darrick Hilton, 6. 32 ® Robbie Bruce, 7. 29 ® Andy Loden, 8. 14 ® Mark Denny Jr.
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 27 David LaTulip, 2. 23 Dan Kapuscinski, 3. 26 Josh Sokolic, 4. 77 Cameron Rowe, 5. 88 Brad Haynes, 6. 35 ® AJ Larkin DNS 49 ® Josh Wallace
Group Time Trials: 1. 23 Dan Kapuscinski – 19.128, 2. 29 ® Andy Loden – 19.345, 3. 86 Bryan Haynes – 19.500, 4. 26 Josh Sokolic – 19.501, 5. 9 ® Griffin Miller – 19.609, 6. 27 David LaTulip – 19.611, 7. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff – 19.683, 8. 32 ® Robbie Bruce – 19.897, 9. 77 Cameron Rowe – 20.010, 10. 90 Greg O’Connor – 20.019, 11. 88 Brad Haynes – 20.073, 12. 66 ® Darrick Hilton – 20.179, 13. 35 ® AJ Larkin – 20.457, 14. 14 ® Mark Denny Jr. – 20.639 DNS 49 ® Josh Wallace
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #26 Josh Sokolic
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #73 ® Noah Ratcliff
White’s Car Care 4th Place Finisher: #73 ® Noah Ratcliff
2021 Track Champion: #23 Dan Kapuscinski
2021 Rookie of the Year: #73 Noah Ratcliff
$2,000 to Win Mr. J&S Paving 350 Super
Feature (30-laps): 1. 98T ® TYLER THOMPSON, 2. 88 ® Chase Locke, 3. 08 Dalton Doyle, 4. 55 Mike Netishen, 5. 22 Mike Bruce, 6. 20 ® Kyle Perry, 7. 45 ® Brian Sobus, 8. 50 ® Dave Cliff, 9. 5 ® Ralph Clark, 10. 97 Vern LaFave, 11. 14 Jeffrey Battle, 12. 23 ® Kali Spaulding, 13. 47 ® Jon Tesoriero, 14. 32 ® Tom MacLeod, 15. 06 Barry Kingsley
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 98T ® Tyler Thompson, 2. 97 Vern LaFave, 3. 08 Dalton Doyle, 4. 23 ® Kali Spaulding, 5. 55 Mike Netishen, 6. 20 ® Kyle Perry, 7. 32 ® Tom MacLeod, 8. 5 ® Ralph Clark
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 14 Jeffrey Battle, 2. 50 Dave Cliff, 3. 88 ® Chase Locke, 4. 22 Mike Bruce, 5. 45 ® Brian Sobus, 6. 06 Barry Kingsley, 7. 47 ® Jon Tesoriero
Group Time Trials: 1. 14 Jeffrey Battle – 16.949, 2. 08 Dalton Doyle – 17.021, 3. 22 Mike Bruce – 17.093, 4. 98T ® Tyler Thompson – 17.097, 5. 88 ® Chase Locke – 17.287, 6. 55 Mike Netishen – 17.316, 7. 50 ® Dave Cliff – 17.404, 8. 23 ® Kali Spaulding – 17.505, 9. 45 ® Brian Sobus – 17.634, 10. 97 Vern LaFave – 17.694, 11. 20 ® Kyle Perry – 17.702, 12. 06 Barry Kingsley – 17.858, 13. 32 ® Tom MacLeod – 17.958, 14. 47 ® Jon Tesoriero – 18.158, 15. 5 ® Ralph Clark – 18.415
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #88 ® Chase Locke
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #88 ® Chase Locke
2021 Track Champion: #22 Mike Bruce
2021 Rookie of the Year: #20 Kyle Perry