OSWEGO, NY (July 31) – Since 1987, Oswego Speedway has awarded the title ‘Mr. Novelis Supermodified’ to the winner of the annual mid-summer spectacular, and with it a handsome prize of $10,000. The second richest race in Supermodified racing has produced several memories over its previous 25 years including crowning legendary champions Mike Muldoon, Doug Heveron, Mike Ordway, Steve Gioia Jr. and more. Presented by Novelis, this Saturday, August 4 at 6:30pm the memories look to continue, with another piece of history on the line in an increased 75-lap event.
Of the 13 drivers to have won the Mr. Novelis Supermodified title in the past, Ordway is the most decorated. With six overall victories in the historical event, Ordway is the only driver with three consecutive wins coming from 2002-2004.
This weekend Ray Graham will have the opportunity to tie that mark behind the wheel of the No. 90. Coming off of a win in 2010 and of course last year’s showdown victory with Otto Sitterly, which saw Sitterly destroy his machine on the back straight, Graham is poised for a third consecutive win in the title event.
The No. 90 team is clicking on all eight cylinders heading into this weekend’s special, picking up wins in the previous two Supermodified features run this season. However, a handful of drivers have tried in the past for the magical three-in-a-row and failed.
Ironically, it was Ordway who had his first chance at three straight back in 1992, but it was red hot Pat Abold instead grabbing the win in the No. 05 that season with Ordway on his heels in the runner-up position.
Nine years later, Small Block Supermodified graduate Bob Goutermout had his chance in the Kerfien Supermodified looking for a third consecutive title in 2001. Goutermout wound up with a dismal 22nd place finish as young Greg Furlong, another SBS graduate motored on to his first of three Mr. Novelis Supermodified titles.
Another nine years passed before the third driver had a chance at a $10,000 hat trick, and this time it was Bob Magner. With wins in 2008 and 2009, Magner could only muster a 19th place finish in 2010 leaving victory lane at the hands of Graham, who began his current streak of $10,000 pay checks.
While Graham looks to be the favorite heading into Saturday night’s showdown, some may easily forget that while the No. 90 has won the last two events on the Supermodified schedule, the Speedway standings show six different winners in eight races headlining a deep field ready to take action.
2006 Mr. Novelis Supermodified champion Otto Sitterly is the only other driver in 2012 to have won two main events this year. After picking up back-to-back wins to open the season in the No. 7, Sitterly continues to lead the series standings. Now behind the wheel of his new Hawk Chassis, Sitterly was faster than Graham in heat racing action on July 21, but missed the set-up slightly in the feature.
Trailing Sitterly in the title hunt is Pat Lavery in No. 22. With a host of Top 5 finishes in 2012, Lavery trails Sitterly by just seven points despite not winning a feature event. Odds makers may say that this weekend’s Mr. Novelis Supermodified falls as much into the hands of Lavery, as it does Graham, as Lavery continues his search for career win number one.
In the 25 year history of the Mr. Novelis Supermodified, three times has the winner been a first time Oswego Supermodified victor. Gene Lee Gibson picked up his first Oswego Supermodified win in the inaugural running of the $10,000 event in 1987, while Mike Muldoon took his first career win with a $10,000 victory in 1988.
Tim Gareau joined that club in 1997 walking away with $10,000 over hard chargers Doug Didero, Pat Abold, and Steve Gioia.
Randy Ritskes rides 3rd in the championship with one victory this season coming on June 30. Ritskes has never won the Mr. Novelis Supermodified title, but did finish 3rd in the event just last season.
Riding 4th in the series standings is Joey Payne, driving for two-time Mr. Novelis Supermodified Mike Muldoon. Muldoon of course won the event back in 1988 and backed it up with another win in 1998. Payne has never been Mr. Novelis Supermodified, but has finished in the Top 5 in each of the last three $10,000 to win races.
Of all 38 drivers scoring points in the Supermodified division to this point in the season, only Graham and Sitterly are previous Mr. Novelis Supermodified winners, but a host of other drivers are on the line and ready to contend.
Mike Barnes, Dave Gruel, Joe Gosek, and Dave Danzer look to lead the charge of previous Supermodified winners in search of their first Mr. Super title, while Brian Sobus, Dan Connors Jr., Shaun Gosselin, Jeff Abold, and Kody Graham try to join the three previous drivers to have won their first Supermodified event in the Mr. Novelis Supermodified special.
Dave McKnight and Dave Shullick Jr. also look to throw their hats into the ring this Saturday night as they hope to be making their first starts of the Oswego Speedway Novelis Supermodified season.
While the Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS has lacked a few seasons of competition in comparison to the Supermodified division, it has certainly created its share of highlights as well.
In the 21 year history of the event there have been an amazing 18 different winners, dating back to 1992. Daryl Nichols won the inaugural Mr. Limited Supermodified in that season, and it wasn’t until 1997 that the division saw a repeat winner.
Long-time competitor Andy Jodway became the first of only two drivers to win the title event twice coming in 1995 and 1997. Dan Ferlito would join Jodway in 1999 and 2000, also becoming the only driver to win the race in consecutive years.
Tim Gareau and Ray Graham currently stand as the only drivers in history to have won both the Mr. Supermodified and Mr. SBS crowns. Gareau won the Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS title in 1994, while Graham took top honors in 1998.
The most memorable Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS likely came in 2002 when the event name had to be changed in victory lane as Star Matteson picked up the Ms. SBS victory. The win would be Matteson’s only feature victory in the series, as she became the first female feature victor at Oswego Speedway.
Many may find it hard to believe that highly decorated SBS pilots Mike Bond and Russ Brown each only have one win in the $1,500 special event. Bond took the win in 2004, while Brown reached victory lane in 2006. Brown is scheduled to be at a Speedway test session on Thursday as he looks to join Bond in search Mr. SBS title number two.
Other previous Mr. SBS winners expected to be in action this week include Gareau, Rob Pullen, Andrew Schartner, and Barry Kingsley.
Kingsley, the defending Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS champion, hopes to return to racing this Saturday night as a part of Team Tapout Racing with Jason Simmons and JJ Andrews.
This Saturday’s program will begin at 4pm as the grandstand gates open at the beginning of hot laps. Following hot laps will be the second kids autograph session of the season on the main straightaway followed by qualifying heat races promptly at 6:30pm.
General admission passes will be available for $30, with reserved seating set at $35.
Once again kids ages 16 and under are FREE of charge with a paid adult. Active military with ID are also free this Saturday night.
VIP seating is also available in the Lighthouse Lanes VIP tower for $90. Those seats include all you can eat and drink as well as a free race program, air-conditioning, and closed circuit TV coverage of the races.
For more information on Oswego Speedway be sure to visit www.oswegospeedway.com. You can also LIKE the (Official) Oswego Speedway page at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, 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.
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