Fulton driver Jeremy Pitcher, a many year DIRT Sportsman standout and Butler Disposal Services SBS Rookie of the Year candidate, realized a lifelong dream on Saturday as he picked up his first career Pathfinder Bank SBS main event win behind the wheel of the TNT Motorsports No. 14, joining Jason Simmons and Dalton Doyle as a first time winner in 2013.
Pitcher started on pole position Saturday night, leading all 35-laps of the Grand Prix main event besting Jon Tesoriero, Mike Bond, Simmons and Russ Brown to the line.
While Pitcher etches his name into Pathfinder Bank SBS history at Oswego, he is no stranger to victory lane at the 'Steel Palace' as he cruised to the 602 crate dirt Sportsman main event win at the Speedway last Classic Weekend.
After driving a Team Tapout SBS last fall for Jason Simmons, a full-time ride for TNT Motorsports became available this season, and the goal quickly turned to returning to Oswego's hallowed victory lane.
"I really don't know what to think right now," said Pitcher in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane. "The way we have been running this season, it has been a blur. Jonny (Tesoriero) raced me hard, got a little loose a couple of times when we made contact, but it was fun. I'm just grateful to run at such a great track, I've been coming here since I was a kid; it is just the best race track around. I want to thank Terry and Tracey Solazzo for giving me this opportunity."
Ironically, the car in which Pitcher took to victory lane is the same machine that carried Bond to the Grand Prix night win at the Speedway one year ago.
Kreig Heroth, Dalton Doyle, Andrew Schartner, AJ Bernys and Jack Patrick filled the front ten positions in the SBS main on Saturday night.
A total of 27 Pathfinder Bank SBS series machines took to the pit area Saturday night with a few scuffles early on altering the field.
Tim Barbeau was scheduled to be back behind the wheel of a Pathfinder Bank SBS on Saturday night in relief of two-time 2013 feature winner Mark Castiglia who was off on work assignment. Barbeau would drive the CPS Electric No. 67 to a seventh place finish in the second heat race, but would be out of the car by consi time as teammate Cameron Rowe was involved in a scary accident in his qualifying heat.
While battling Heroth in the first qualifier, the two would touch wheels out of turn four sending Rowe hard into the outside steel with severe damage to the No. 77. Before the machine could stop fire would erupt from under the hood of the Four Sevens Motorsports ride forcing Rowe to dive from behind the wheel onto the racing surface.
Rowe escaped injury in the incident, but the same could not be said for his racer. Rowe would then climb behind the wheel of the No. 67 for the SBS consi, qualifying the ride in the fourth position.
Top 10 point contender Mike Bruce would also find himself behind the wheel of two different machines on Saturday as rear end issues with his Teddneck Racing No. 22 dropped him from his heat race.
In a mad dash, Bruce and team rushed to the Heagerty Racing shop to retrieve the No. 79 machine, piloted the last few weeks by Anthony Losurdo as No. 1, with Bruce hopping behind the wheel just in time for the consi.
As the SBS feature came to the green, 25 cars would fall under the Cam's NY Pizzeria starter stand, with Pitcher and Bernys leading the field from row one and before the first circuit could be complete caution lights would hit the Speedway.
Rookie contender Dan Abt and Chris Proud would make contact between turns three and four sending each around collecting fellow rookies Scott Black and Zach Amo. Black was hooked off the Speedway while the others would continue on from the back of the pack.
Green would fall again with Pitcher racing to the lead, but another caution would wave on the second lap for rookies Losurdo and Scott Shafer who faced the wrong direction in turn one. Both cars would pull away from the scene with Pitcher leading Tesoriero, Bernys, Simmons, Bond, Heroth, Doyle, Brown, Tim Gareau and Rob Pullen to the restart.
On the restart, Bond came alive in the No. 74 racing to the high side of the Speedway in a spirited battle with Bernys and Simmons. The racing got a little too close out of turn four on the fourth lap as Bernys and Bond touched on the front stretch, forcing Bond to scrape the outside wall severely bending his right front wheel.
However, the seasoned veteran kept the wheels beneath him, managing to move by both Simmons and Bernys by lap 8 to move to third in the order despite a bent front end.
As the lap count ticked to 11, Bond managed to reel in race leaders Pitcher and Tesoriero to make it a three car battle for the point as the race progressed with Bernys falling back slightly in fourth ahead of Simmons, Heroth, and Brown behind.
As the front three of Pitcher, Tesoriero, and Bond ran away another caution at lap 14 for Pullen and rookie Rob Humphries slowed the field yet again forcing a single file restart. Bruce, now driving the Heagerty No. 79, would also stop on the Speedway with him and Humphries moving to the pits. Pullen would continue on.
As the lights went green again Pitcher continued to lead Tesoriero, Bond, Bernys, Simmons, Heroth, Brown, Doyle, Gareau, and Andrew Schartner.
The restart would provide much of the same out front with the front three checking out to a comfortable margin. However, behind things began to shake up.
The Bernys No. 24 began to fade as Simmons, Heroth, Brown and Doyle would all find their way by in one fell swoop by lap 17, sending Bernys back to the seventh position. With Simmons now passed Bernys, the No. 98 reeled in the leaders to throw his hat into the ring for another race win.
Up front Tesoriero began to apply heavy pressure to the Pitcher No. 14 as the two made contact on a couple different occasions giving Bond a possible open look for a second consecutive main event win.
However, as the race unfolded Pitcher was able to hold on outlasting a hardnosed Tesoriero and Bond to the stripe for his first career SBS win.
The runner-up finish for Tesoriero was the best of his career.
"I was pressuring Jeremy as best I could," Tesoriero said. "We got together there and I think it knocked my tow-in a little bit and the car started getting away from me. I was there and gave him everything I had, but he had a hell of a run. We've had a couple bad breaks the last few weeks, but things are starting to come back together again. The car is getting there, I am really happy with the crew and the guys."
Back-to-back podium finishes for Bond has him closing on Brown for the SBS championship point lead.
"Congratulations to them (TNT Motorsports), they were running good," Bond said. "We'll come back next week and try again. We nearly got into a couple deals out there, but we survived, we'll take third."
Leading all 35-laps Pitcher was credited with the Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader award as well as the Nice Price Auto Sales Up & Comer Award.
Jack Patrick would finish as the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger while Simmons was credited with the White's Car Care fourth-place award.
Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint heat race challenge wins went to Pitcher, Proud and Abt with Josh Kerr collecting the six-lap consi victory.
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com; oLIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway; or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. Those interested in Speedway video programming online can subscribe to the Speedway's YouTube Channel, 'OswegoSpeedwayOnline.'
To purchase tickets for the 2013 racing season, call the Speedway box office at 315- 342-0646.
Saturday, July 13th – Burke's Home Centers/Fleet Pride 'King of Wings V' presented by Ponderosa Steakhouse – ISMA Supermodified 50/Pathfinder Bank SBS 35
Saturday, July 6, 2013
Toys for Tots 'Christmas in July' presented by Days Inn/Knights Inn of Oswego
PATHFINDER BANK SBS SERIES
Feature (35- aps): 1. 14-Jeremy Pitcher, 2. 47-Jon Tesoriero, 3. 74-Mike Bond, 4. 98-Jason Simmons, 5. 13-Russ Brown, 6. 04-Kreig Heroth, 7. 01-Dalton Doyle, 8. 18-Andrew Schartner, 9. 24-AJ Bernys, 10. 9-Jack Patrick, 11. 17-Tim Gareau, 12. 93-JJ Andrews, 13. 2-Rob Pullen, 14. 3-Chris Proud, 15. 1-Anthony Losurdo, 16. 99-Dennis Rupert, 17. 8-Josh Kerr, 18. 44-Zach Amo, 19. 90-Greg O'Connor, 20. 57-Dan Abt, 21. 76-Scott Shafer, 22. 07-Rob Humphries, 23. 79-Mike Bruce, 24. 67-Cameron Rowe, 25. 32-Scott Black
Lap Leaders: Pitcher (1-35)
Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader – Jeremy Pitcher
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger – Jack Patrick
Nice Price Auto Sales "Up & Comer" – Jeremy Pitcher
White's Car Care 4th Place Award – Jason Simmons
1st Heat (10 laps/6-Qualify): 1. 14 – Jeremy Pitcher, 2. 04 – Kreig Heroth, 3. 47 – Jon Tesoriero, 4. 13 – Russ Brown, 5. 07 – Rob Humphries, 6. 99 – Dennis Rupert, 7. 90 – Greg O'Connor, 8. 32 – Scott Black, 9. 77 – Cameron Rowe, 10. 22 – Mike Bruce
2nd Heat (10 laps/6-Qualify): 1. 3 – Chris Proud, 2. 74 – Mike Bond, 3. 17 – Tim Gareau, 4. 93 – JJ Andrews, 5. 2 – Rob Pullen, 6. 1 – Anthony Losurdo, 7. 67 – Tim Barbeau, 8. 76 – Scott Shafer, 9. 6 – Brian Sobus
3rd Heat (10 laps/All Qualify): 1. 57 – Dan Abt, 2. 98 – Jason Simmons, 3. 24 – AJ Bernys, 4. 01 – Dalton Doyle, 5. 18 – Andrew Schartner, 6. 9 – Jack Patrick, 7. 8 – Josh Kerr, 8. 44 – Zach Amo
Consi (6 laps/6-Qualify): 1. 8 – Josh Kerr, 2. 76 – Scott Shafer, 3. 90 – Greg O'Connor, 4. 67 – Cameron Rowe, 5. 44 – Zach Amo, 6. 32 – Scott Black, 7. 79 – Mike Bruce, 8. 6 – Brian Sobus DNS, 9. 86 – Bryan Haynes DNS