Thursday, 30 May 2013 21:07

Up to Speed: Sitterly, Gosek rebound to climb Oswego Super Standings

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     The "Road to the Championship" continues this Saturday, June 1, at Oswego Speedway with Best Western PLUS/Quality Inn and Suites Night at the 'Steel Palace.'

     With a total of 26 Novelis Supermodifieds in the Speedway pit area Saturday, May 25, it was Otto Sitterly and Joe Gosek showing the way at the front of the field as they came home first and second in the Jim Shampine Memorial 75-lap main event.
     For Sitterly, the victory was his fifth in the prestigious race, coming at a perfect time helping to catapult him back into the battle for the title after a frustrating 12th-place finish in the Novelis Supermodified 'Kick-Off' May 11.
     Sitterly earned the maximum number of points allowed last Saturday as the Canajoharie driver also went to victory lane in his qualifying heat race. Collecting 115 points on the evening, Sitterly jumps from eleventh all the way to third on his quest for a second consecutive championship and sixth overall.
     Jumping to the runner-up position in the standings is Oswego's Gosek, who like Sitterly, improved on his opening week result after finishing seventh on May 11. While a seventh place finish in such a competitive field may not seem like a dismal finish, the 2011 Oswego track champion was never really in the hunt during the Novelis Supermodified 'Kick-Off', but certainly came on strong in the Shampine Memorial 75.
     Passing both Kody Graham and Dave Gruel on the outside in the closing stages of the Memorial Weekend event, Gosek charged on to a second place finish behind Sitterly and ahead of Gruel on the podium. Gosek now sits five points ahead of Sitterly in second and trails your new Supermodified point leader Michael Barnes by only four markers.
     While Sitterly and Gosek are the only two drivers to win Oswego Speedway Novelis Supermodified track titles since 2008, the pilot leading them both in the current "Road to the Championship" standings is Strong Racing driver, Barnes. One of only two drivers to score top five finishes in each event to start the season, Barnes point lead is the first in his career at the Speedway in either the Novelis Supermodified or Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

     In a career which dates back to 2003, Barnes finished third in the 2005 Pathfinder Bank SBS standings, and in 2007 came home as the Novelis Supermodified championship runner-up driving the Lighthouse Lanes No. 22 behind Greg Furlong.
     But, neither of those season's started as good as his current campaign.
With a total of 205 points scored so far in 2013, Barnes ran to a runner-up finish on May 11 and held on for a fourth place finish in the Shampine Memorial just last weekend, adding yet another top five finish for the Strong Racing crew in 75-lap events. With the best start in his racing career, Barnes look to continue his streak of momentum heading into Saturday night's 50-lapper.
     The only other driver to collect two consecutive top five finishes to start this season, besides Barnes, is Dave Danzer. Danzer has finishes of third and fifth to start the year, and like Barnes, is enjoying the best start of his career at the Speedway. Riding fourth in the current standings, Danzer is just two points behind Sitterly and only trails Barnes by eleven points for the championship lead.
     Rounding out the Novelis Supermodified top five is Independence, OH driver Tim Jedrzejek, wheeling the Mike Murphy owned No. 60. 'Timmy J' is one of eight drivers that have scored consecutive top ten finishes to start the year, with a season best finish so far of fourth on May 11.
     Pulling double duty this season, Jedrzejek will also pilot the Danny Soule No. 32 Supermodified in ISMA competition, meaning that Jedrzejek's tenure in the top 10 of the Speedway standings may only last until June 29 with the year's first cross over date between ISMA and Oswego.
Finishing the top 10 in the series standings for the Novelis Supermodified division is Dave Gruel, Michael Muldoon, Jeff Holbrook, Shaun Gosselin and Jeff Locke.
     The Pathfinder Bank SBS division also saw 26 racecars in competition on Saturday, May 25 and once again it was Jason Simmons battling up front for victory.
     After finishing second to Mark Castiglia on May 11, Simmons finally put it all together after seven years of trying last Saturday night to beat out Mike Bruce and Dalton Doyle for the first SBS win of his career at Oswego Speedway.
     While the victory was a milestone in Simmons' career, it also thrusts him into the championship discussion with title favorites Russ Brown and Mike Bond. The win for Simmons was his second top five finish of 2013, as he joins Brown as the only other driver with more than one top five this season. Simmons now trails Brown by only eleven points in the "Road the Championship" standings.
     Still the championship leader, Brown is the only driver in the series with top five finishes in the first three events of the season. A late race run to fourth last Saturday night helped Brown extend his lead over Bond by one more point, now to six in total.
     Bond, the current championship runner-up, has been the fastest SBS machine in the pit area all season and after Saturday night his is unofficially the fastest in history. With a recorded lap of 18.939 seconds in his heat race, Bond becomes the first driver to take an SBS under the 19-second barrier on the AMB transponder scoring system. More importantly, Bond has two heat race wins this season, earning valuable points.
     Sitting fourth in the standings is the defending Pathfinder Bank SBS series champion, Kreig Heroth. Heroth has yet to collect a top five finish this season, but has been consistent with three top 10 finishes to begin the year. Like Bond, Heroth has two qualifying heat race wins in 2013 which has helped him to trail Simmons by only fourteen points for third overall.
     Finishing the top five overall is the defending Butler Disposal Services SBS rookie of the year, Jon Tesoriero. The driver of the Four Sevens Motorsports No. 47 has impressed many in his sophomore season, driving to three consecutive top ten finishes including a career best finish of fourth on opening night. Tesoriero has a 14-point edge on sixth place running JJ Andrews and trails Heroth by only five points.
     Rounding out the top 10 in the standings after three events is Andrews, Cameron Rowe, Jack Patrick, AJ Bernys and Andrew Schartner.
     Best Western PLUS/Quality Inn and Suites Night at the Races will get the green flag this Saturday, June 1 at 6:30pm. Grandstand gates will open at 4 p.m. with the beginning of hot laps.
     For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at; LIKE on Facebook at; or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway.
     To order tickets or merchandise call the Speedway at 315-342-0646.

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