Contact: Oswego Speedway
Danny Johnson, Speedway Reporter
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Stephen Gioia III Starts New at Oswego Speedway in 2012
Gioia Family Prepares New Supermodified Creation
OSWEGO, NY (February 15) - Garages all around Central New York are in full thrash mode, as racing season gets closer. Teams competing at Oswego Speedway have Saturday, May 5 circled as the gates to the ‘Steel Palace’ swing open that day for its 62nd consecutive year of racing. Teams, officials and fans alike are anxiously waiting on opening day #62 at Oswego Speedway, as the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank SBS Series headline a full summer of activity at the lakeside oval.
In those 62 years of racing, the Gioia name has been around the speedway possibly more than any other family at Oswego. Steve Sr., started it, owning cars and competing for the better part of three decades, before becoming a member of the Mitchell’s Speedway Press Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame in 1999.
Steve Jr. is one of the most decorated drivers to ever don a helmet at Oswego, winning the Novelis Supermodified Track Championship in 1985, a Budweiser International Classic in 1976, and 26 Novelis Supermodified features along the way to becoming a member of the Mitchell’s Speedway Press Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame in 2002.
Now, Stephen Gioia III proudly carries the family name through the gates week in and week out, as he enters his sixth Novelis Supermodified season at Oswego.
Stephen returned to the speedway last year after taking 2010 off to recover after a devastating injury suffered in the 2009 Budweiser International Classic. Stephen’s comeback season wasn’t what they had hoped for, and are coming into 2012 with a new machine. “Last year didn’t work out for us like we had hoped, for a variety of reasons,” Stephen said recently. “We had an assortment of issues, power steering, fuel filters, you name it, we didn’t have the kind of year we were looking for.”
“After Classic last year, we talked about doing something different, ordered tubing, and started a new car. Dad hasn’t built a car in 12 years, and he has some ideas to try. He’s retired now, and has more time to do other things now. There is only so much you can do with a supermodified now and keep it a supermodified. He wants to sort a few things out, try a few concepts, and give it a shot. We have seen some things that we think will work, so why not try it,” Stephen thought.
“Dad has a lot of knowledge of supermodifieds to tap into, and knows these cars,” Stephen added. “We’re looking to get going, as racers want to race. We hope not only to be ready for opening day, but to be hitting the ground running then. We aren’t rushing things by any stretch, but we are going to do it right. Hopefully all of our bad luck is out of the way, and we’re looking for a better season this year.”
“We’ll have the same group of guys helping on the car, and we’re always looking for sponsors,” Stephen said. Brian Warner Physical Therapy will be back with us again, as will my own business, “Factor 9, Shirts and Signs”. We’re always looking for more sponsors though,” Stephen admitted.
While they work in the garage, Stephen still works on getting himself physically better as well. “I feel good for a while, and then have a little set back,” Stephen said of the still on going effects from his 2009 crash. “I recently went to physical therapy and learned a few new things I can try. I’m still working out, hoping I can still get better. There are things I still want to do, and it takes time. I’m working at it.”
During the off season, Stephen also ventured into another new avenue, that of business owner. “I started my own business called “Factor 9, Shirts and Signs”,” he said proudly. “We’re selling shirts and apparel, and running it out of my aunt’s location, Gioia Signs, on East 10th St., It’s been a fun, and enlightening experience, and it is exciting. I never planned on starting my own business, but this is the path we took, and we’re making a go of it.”
The Gioia name has been around Oswego Speedway maybe longer than any other name in the history of the local speed plant. Grandfather Steve Sr., was a legendary car owner, while dad Steve Jr., was one of the most talented shoes ever at the fast 5/8’s. Stephen III carries the Gioia name as well as the famous Gioia #9 proudly.
Stephen looks to rebound from a disappointing 2011 season, and will have a new set of wheels under him in that venture. The Gioia garage always builds them fast and beautiful; and there is no reason to think the 2012 machine will be any different.
The 2012 racing season at Oswego Speedway begins May 5th. Events run May through September on most Saturday nights, culminating with the Fall Championship 75 on September 15th.
The annual Speedway open practice is scheduled for April 28th.
Advertising opportunities with the Speedway are still readily available. If you or your business would be interested in marketing with the Speedway please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com. You can also LIKE the (Official) Oswego Speedway page on Facebook, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway. To purchase tickets or order merchandise please call the Speedway box office at (315) 342-0646.
About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego 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 Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block 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, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.