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Danny Johnson, Speedway Reporter
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Chasing a Win: Mike Bruce Feels This is His Year
Bruce Racing Prepares for Third SBS Season
OSWEGO, NY (March 12) - “We’re definitely excited for this year, it should be a really competitive year, with a lot of top guys in the division going for the win week in and week out, “ third year driver Mike Bruce said as he looks forward to the 2012 racing season at Oswego Speedway. “It’s going to be a heck of a year. We’re looking to have a whole lot of fun, and hopefully run really well and maybe even get that first feature win.”
Mike is entering his third year of Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supermodified racing at Oswego Speedway this May, after very successful 2009 and 2010 seasons. 2009 saw Mike gather up a few top five finishes, and an eighth place finish in the season long standings en route to being named the 2009 Pathfinder Bank Small Block Rookie of the Year.
2010 was a banner year for Mike, as the #22 garnered two seconds, a third, two fourths and three fifths, as he wheeled the machine home to a fifth in the point standings. Mike and the 22 team were named Crew of the Year at Oswego Speedway for the Small Block Class as well.
“Without a doubt, 2011 was a pretty great year for us, “ he reflected. “We only had one or two Dnf’s, and ran well pretty much every week. It was a very competitive year, and the only time we started on the front row was week one, when my dad pulled that spot for us. We seemed to be near the front pack most weeks, and ran with the leaders a lot.”
“We were shooting for that elusive win last year, and it just hasn’t come yet,” said the patient driver. “We’re shooting for it this year, that’s for sure. We’re really trying to get that first win.”
Mike has been busy this off season, giving his machine a good going through, as he readies for Opening Day 2012. “We have the same car we’ve had, the Shawn Walker car,” Mike said. “We’ve gone through it pretty well, and found a few minor things that we hope will make it quicker. There’s a lot that goes into it, maintaining it and getting it race ready.”
Mike currently goes to Alfred University, majoring in motorsports technology, a field that seems to be already paying dividends in his racing career. Mike explains, “I brought the car to Alfred, and we took it apart. They have a lot of room to work on it, there’s a big room with everything you need, lifts, room, all you need. We took the engine apart, and found that we had a few problems with it. We found a few things, and went through it piece by piece, and put a lot of hours into it.”
“Tom Kaylor is my instructor there, and he has a background in street stocks, mods, and sprints, but on dirt. He doesn’t have a lot of asphalt experience, but a racecar is a racecar, dirt or asphalt. He’s always willing to help, and has answers if I have questions for him.”
Local fans may know that Mike also knows his way around the D-Shaped Dirt Demon at Brewerton, the 3/8’s mile dirt track in Brewerton. Mike wheels a Mod Light on Friday night, and says the transition from Mod Light to SBS was easier than one would think. “They travel about the same peed, and the Mod Light has such a short wheel base, and no power steering, you have to get up on the wheel and manhandle it.”
“The tie in this year is, with the SBS car, we’re going to our colors, and our own body style with the car,” Mike added. “I’m really excited about it. The car is bright, stands out, and we really hope is quick this year as well. We’re happy with our first two years, but we really want to keep that going, and hope to get that first win this year.”
Mike Bruce is one of the young rising stars of the Pathfinder Bank SBS series. He has been all around the top five, the only things missing is the “W” on the resume. With Lady Luck as a passenger, and all the hard work and dedication the 22 team has put in this winter, that win doesn’t appear to be far away. He’s anxious to get the season going, but in the meantime, is putting in the long hours in the garage to be ready for opening Day 2012.
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.
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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.