Dan Connors Jr, Brandon Bellinger, Jeff Abold, Otto Sitterly, Alison Sload, Dave Danzer, and Aric Iosue, have all finalized plans to compete in the final event of a shortened Supermodified season that has seen a mere six big block shows completed in the entire country.
Below, we take a closer look at each of the seven teams who will close out their 2020 seasons at the Star Speedway.
01 - DAN CONNORS JR. - Perhaps one of the most underrated talents in Supermodified racing, Connors has knocked on the door for an Oswego feature win for years. He has also entered a number of winged events over the last decade, including at Indy and Thompson last Fall, where he showed solid speed with his Xtreme Chassis. Now, Connors will make his first career start in the family owned Hawk Chassis, a car just purchased from John Nicotra a little over a year ago. Daniel was fast with the No. 01 in Fast Friday testing at Oswego, and has a more than capable piece underneath him to go the distance in Star’s 125-lapper.
02 - BRANDON BELLINGER - A third generation driver, Bellinger is coming off a banner year at the Steel Palace which brought a very popular win on Retro Night, plus the pole position for the 63rd Budweiser International Classic 200, which was earned by virtue of a record setting lap of 15.769 seconds. Brandon has far more winged experience than most any of the other Oswego teams, won the 2006 Rookie of the Year award on the tour, and has a fine 8th place run in the Classic to his credit earned in that rookie year. However, Bellinger has not made an appearance at Star Speedway in over a decade, and prior to a rare Sandusky start in July, it had been over five years since a wing was strapped on the iconic Bellinger Auto Special. After some additional testing at Oswego, the 02 team will be ready for the Classic.
05 - JEFF ABOLD - Defending champion of the Star Classic and a former Oswego Classic 200 winner, Abold has been a big force in the pair of winged events he has competed in this season, finishing second to Mike Ordway Jr. in the Sandusky Hy-Miler Nationals, and again to Jonathan McKennedy after a thrilling battle in August’s Ollie SIlva Memorial at Lee. Falling just a position short of completing the lifetime Supermodified ‘Triple Crown’ in July, there is no question things are firing on all cylinders for Team Abold Racing right now, and with a ridiculous streak of eight Star Classics in a row that have brought not one finish worse than fifth, it is easy to point to the 05 as a favorite to not only win on Saturday night, but set pole time as well. In 2019, Abold was the lone driver under 11 seconds in Classic time trials, nearing the blistering 10.7 record lap with a 10.977.
7 - OTTO SITTERLY - For Sitterly, the nine-time and defending Speedway champion, his team expectations are also very high. Last year, car owner John Nicotra finalized his purchase of the potent Bodnar built, winged machine formerly owned by Edwards Racing. Now dubbed ‘Black Ice,’ the one time Bodnar Racing car has seen Sitterly behind the wheel in select starts before, and has won a myriad of crown jewel Supermodified events including the 2017 Star Classic with Dave Shullick Jr. Otto has made the trip to every winged Supermodified event but one this year, and is coming off of his best finish yet with a second place to Rich Reid at Ohio’s Lorain County Speedway in August. A five-time winner of the International Classic, Sitterly knows exactly what to do in extra-distance races and will no doubt be up front this weekend.
39 - ALISON SLOAD - It has been three years since Sload, formerly Cumens, has sat behind the wheel of a winged Supermodified. A lot has happened since then; her marriage to ATQMRA veteran Buddy Sload, a full year out of the seat in 2018, and then a surprise announcement in January of last year, unveiling her plans to compete in John Nicotra’s No. 39 on a weekly basis at Oswego Speedway. In Sload’s first ever Novelis Supermodified event, she held off Joe Gosek to become the only female Supermodified main event winner in history. The standout talent from Pennsylvania will now pilot that very same car for Nicotra and chief mechanic Otto Sitterly in her return to the ISMA trail - a series she won Rookie of the Year on in 2013, and has come awfully close to a handful of feature wins with in the past.
52 - DAVE DANZER - A driver who has seen great success in his Oswego career, two-time Mr. Supermodified champion and eleven-time Oswego winner Danzer, has been known to throw a top wing on the family owned 52 on occasion. The Oswego native has one winged start in 2020 at Lee USA Speedway, where he brought home a solid 7th place effort in the Ollie Silva. While Danzer has not competed in the Star Classic since 2018, he does have a top ten in the event, and also qualified inside the top ten positions two seasons ago. Danzer and his Hawk Chassis absolutely have the capability to be competitive this weekend.
75 - ARIC IOSUE - It has been quite an interesting year for Iosue, a two-time feature winner and former Grand Prix champion at Oswego. While Aric has participated in a handful of Fast Friday sessions shaking down John Colloca’s brand new No. 41; the car he will pilot on a weekly basis in 2021, the five year Novelis Supermodified veteran also took his regular No. 11 ride out to the Sandusky Speedway in Ohio for his first career winged start on July 4. Racing with the Midwest Supermodified Series, Iosue improved each time on the track, towing the car home in one piece after a respectable 8th place finish. With at least one winged event under his belt, Iosue will now hit Star Speedway for the first time in his career driving the re-numbered No. 75, a nod to uncle Gary Allbritain.
These seven Oswego regulars will have their work cut out for them this weekend in the field of over 25 Supermodifieds expected for the Star Classic that includes three additional champions; Russ Wood, Chris Perley, and McKennedy.
New England drivers knocking on the door for their first Classic wins include veterans Ordway Jr, Ben Seitz, Danny Bowes, Joey Payne, Jamie Timmons, Mike Netishen, Dave Duggan, and more, plus up and comers Ryan Locke and Bobby Chartier, and rookies Bobby Timmons III, Eric Emhoff and Kenny White Jr.
The Midwest contingent will be stout as well, as five drivers; Timmy Jedrzejek, AJ Lesiecki, Rich Reid, and former MSS and ISMA champions Mike McVetta and Kyle Edwards, all plan to make the 10-plus hour commute this weekend.
Pre-sale tickets for the Star Speedway Classic are now SOLD OUT, but if you do not yet have your ticket, 250 more will go on sale at the race track Saturday on a first come, first serve basis. Pricing is $30 for adults, $25 for seniors and kids 11 to 16, and $5 for kids 10 and under. Pit passes will be sold on raceday as well.
Pits will open at 11:45am, ISMA cars will be asked to fire engines at 12:00pm, practice sessions will be held from 1:10 to 1:30, 2:20 to 2:45, and 3:50 to 4:05pm, with time trials at 4:45pm. The racing program will start at 5:05pm, and includes action for 350 Supermodifieds, and the NEMA and NEMA Lites, with the Star Classic 125 serving as the nightcap.
For the latest updates and information on this weekend’s events, fans should visit the ISMA site at www.ISMASupers.com, LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/ISMASupers, and FOLLOW on Twitter and Instagram @ISMASupers.
For more from Oswego Speedway, FOLLOW the Speedway on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway and Instagram @OfficialOswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.
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.