Sunday, 07 July 2019 23:23

Michael Barnes Hustles From Row Nine to Win Independence Weekend Grand Prix 75

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Michael Barnes Hustles From Row Nine to Win Independence Weekend Grand Prix 75 Ray Grela photo

Michael Barnes ‘The Hustler’ from Mexico, NY charged from his eighteenth starting spot to win Saturday night’s Novelis Supermodified Independence Grand Prix 75 presented by Holiday Inn Express & Suites of Oswego.

Picking up the victory for Syrell Racing, Barnes earned his thirteenth career checkered flag at the Oswego Speedway and also became the sixth different Supermodified feature winner in a total of seven races this season.

The early race leader in the extra distance feature was Dan Connors Jr, who now has four heat race wins this season, but still remains in search of his first main event victory. Connors beat polesitter Keith Shampine into turn one to lead the first two laps.

When Shampine tried to go around the outside of Connors, he left a lane down low for Osetek Racing teammate Dave Shullick Jr. Shullick had a prime starting spot in fourth, and was looking for his third straight win in the Independence Weekend Grand Prix.

Just as Shullick had taken the lead on lap 3, Shampine’s string of bad luck continued with a left rear tire going flat on the No. 55. The car was initially pushed to the pits, but repaired, allowing Keith to re-join the field.

Instead of Shullick, it was Connors who kept the lead on the first restart, but he did not get far as the field was slowed again one lap later for a spin involving Tyler Thompson and Lou LeVea Sr.

On restart number two, Shullick worked Connors over for eight laps, and made his move for the lead on lap 12. This dropped Connors to second while Joe Gosek was third and Alison Sload fourth with the front four cars nose to tail.

Further back in the pack, Michael Barnes, Doug Didero, and Otto Sitterly were on the move. All three drivers started thirteenth or worse, but it appeared to be Barnes and Didero who had the two best cars early on. The pair came from row nine to nearly the top ten by lap 15.

Upon taking the lead, Shullick began to set sail, finding lapped traffic by lap 18 and building a big advantage over Connors, Gosek, Sload, and Logan Rayvals, who filled in positions one through five.

When Connors bobbled in lapped traffic, both Gosek and Sload ducked low and moved into the second and third positions, dropping Connors to fourth just ahead of Rayvals.

The next yellow flag came out a third of the way through the race for Aric Iosue, who had made heavy contact with the foam in turn one. One of six cars to turn 15.9 seconds or faster in time trials, Iosue was running in the ninth position when he hit the wall.

Picking cars off two at a time, Barnes shot out of a cannon on the restart. He had put his No. 68 in the seventh position, and next made an exciting move to go by both Rayvals and Dan Bowes in the same straightaway, moving him inside the top five.

By lap 45, the leaders had again reached heavy lapped traffic and believe it or not, that allowed Shullick to build his advantage in the Osetek Racing No. 95. With twenty five to go, The 'Shoe 2' had a full straightaway on Gosek and a straightaway and a half on Sload.

On lap 54, Connors again got out of shape exiting turn four, finally opening the door for Barnes, Didero and also Dave Danzer to move under his No. 01, dropping the outside polesitter back to sixth.

Upon getting by Connors, the trio of Barnes, Didero, and Danzer immediately began to reel in the race leaders of Shullick, Gosek, and Sload, but there was a considerable amount of lapped traffic ahead and just a short twenty laps remaining.

With fifteen to go, Gosek got caught behind the faster lapped cars of Dave Gruel and Tim Snyder, drawing Sload to his back bumper. When Gosek looked to the outside of Gruel coming off of turn four, he got sideways and handed the runner up spot over to Sload.

Through lap 70, Gosek still struggled to get by Gruel and Snyder, now allowing the No. 68 of Barnes and the No. 3 of Didero to pressure him for third. Meanwhile, Sload was running away with second and doing her best to reel in race leader Shullick.

As Shullick crossed the line with three laps to go, he began to run out of fuel, setting up one of the most dramatic finishes in recent memory. Coming to two to go, it appeared DJ may have a chance at keeping Sload behind him, until the car ran completely dry off of turn four.

Now, Sload caught Shullick like he was sitting still, but when she went to the outside looking for the lead off of turn two, her No. 39 pushed up and made heavy contact with the outside wall. In an unreal turn of events, Gosek then came out of nowhere to thread the needle between both of them for the lead.

With two laps to go, three lead changes had now taken place between the exit of turn two and the halfway point of the back stretch, but it was clear the number one spot was not the place to be as Gosek was next to fall victim.

Entering the third turn, Gosek’s right rear was cut down due to contact with Sload, who bounced off the wall and come back across the track to touch wheels the No. 00. The flat tire brought the car around in a big spin, collecting Shullick, and causing him to climb the turn three wall.

The wild incident saw Gosek nearly get his car stopped, but as he came sliding across the track, this left Shullick with nowhere to go. The No. 95 went up and over the No. 00 and landed on its side. Fortunately, both drivers were unharmed.

With the top three of Shullick, Sload and Gosek now gone, this meant the new leaders would be Barnes, Didero, Danzer, Jeff Abold, and Sitterly. It also meant that the field would perhaps come up just a little bit short on fuel, and the decision was made to refuel all cars with three laps to go.

When each car was stopped on the front straightaway for refueling and new race leader Barnes was pushed off to re-fire, the car would not start. It took several tries, but the No. 68 finally came to life, saving Syrell Racing from disaster and keeping the ‘Hustler’ in front of runner-up Didero.

On the restart, Didero had nothing for Barnes, and he earned a hard fought victory from deep in the field. Didero finished second for the third time in six races, while Danzer, Abold, Sitterly, Connors, Bowes, Rayvals, Thompson, and Snyder filled in the top ten.

Completing the running order were Gruel, Brandon Bellinger, Camden Proud, Shullick, Sload, Gosek, Shampine, Dave McKnight, Mark Sammut, Jack Patrick, Jerry Curran, Lou LeVea Sr, Iosue, Hal LaTulip, and Ben Seitz.

Barnes was the obvious D&S Landscaping Hard Charger Award recipient, advancing more positions than any other driver this season to win from eighteenth.

For his solid sixth place run, Connors brought home the Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer Award.

Oswego Speedway’s 2019 season will continue this Saturday, July 13 as C’s Beverage Center presents ‘Summer Championship’ events for the Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS, and 350 Supermodifieds.

About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. The speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at the Oswego Speedway making it the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds and 350 Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, and former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.


Holiday Inn Express & Suites Oswego ‘Grand Prix’ Night

  • Oswego Speedway
  • Oswego, NY
  • Saturday, July 6, 2019
  • Novelis Supermodifieds

Feature (75-laps): 1. 68 MICHAEL BARNES, 2. 3 Doug Didero, 3. 52 Dave Danzer, 4. 05 Jeff Abold, 5. 7 Otto Sitterly, 6. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 7. 25 ® Dan Bowes, 8. 94 Logan Rayvals, 9. 98T Tyler Thompson, 10. 0 Tim Snyder, 11. 50 Dave Gruel, 12. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 13. 54 ® Camden Proud, 14. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 15. 39 ® Alison Sload, 16. 00 Joe Gosek, 17. 55 Keith Shampine, 18. 70 Dave McKnight, 19. 78 Mark Sammut, 20. 90 ® Jack Patrick, 21. 99 Jerry Curran, 22. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 23. 11 Aric Iosue, 24. 56 Hal LaTulip, 25. 32 ® Ben Seitz

Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 94 Logan Rayvals, 2. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 3. 55 Keith Shampine, 4. 50 Dave Gruel, 5. 7 Otto Sitterly, 6. 99 Jerry Curran, 7. 70 Dave McKnight, 8. 32 ® Ben Seitz

Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 00 Joe Gosek, 2. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 3. 0 Tim Snyder, 4. 39 ® Alison Sload, 5. 98T Tyler Thompson, 6. 3 Doug Didero, 7. 54 ® Camden Proud, 8. 78 Mark Sammut

Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 2. 25 ® Dan Bowes, 3. 11 Aric Iosue, 4. 05 Jeff Abold, 5. 52 Dave Danzer, 6. 68 Michael Barnes, 7. 90 ® Jack Patrick, 8. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 9. 56 Hal LaTulip

Group Time Trials: 1. 7 Otto Sitterly - 15.863, 2. 11 Aric Iosue - 15.926, 3. 39 ® Alison Sload - 15.929, 4. 55 Keith Shampine - 15.942, 5. 68 Michael Barnes - 15.951, 6. 3 Doug Didero - 15.994, 7. 50 Dave Gruel - 16.052, 8. 05 Jeff Abold - 16.073, 9. 95 Dave Shullick Jr. - 16.083, 10. 94 Logan Rayvals - 16.241, 11. 52 Dave Danzer - 16.285, 12. 98T Tyler Thompson - 16.285, 13. 02 Brandon Bellinger - 16.298, 14. 01 Dan Connors Jr. - 16.313, 15. 00 Joe Gosek - 16.338, 16. 90 ® Jack Patrick - 16.366, 17. 32 ® Ben Seitz - 16.389, 18. 25 ® Dan Bowes - 16.428, 19. 54 ® Camden Proud - 16.464, 20. 0 Tim Snyder - 16.601, 21. 99 Jerry Curran - 16.759, 22. 70 Dave McKnight - 16.922, 23. 78 Mark Sammut - 17.510, 24. 56 Hal LaTulip - 17.811

D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #68 Michael Barnes

Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: #01 Dan Connors Jr.

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