Oswego Speedway

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TYLER THOMPSON WINS JIM SHAMPINE MEMORIAL

TYLER THOMPSON WINS JIM SHAMPINE MEMORIAL

The 73rd season of racing at Oswego Speedway kicked off in spectacular fashion last Saturday with the 75-lap Jim Shampine Memorial for Supers


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A Look Back On "Oswego Speedway: A Legacy of Speed at the Steel Palace"
1694
5/14/2024

5/14/2024

Oswego Speedway


A Look Back On "Oswego Speedway: A Legacy of Speed at the Steel Palace"

By ROY SOVA

I got involved in this a month or so ago. Kip Zeiter, the Visitor Services Coordinator at the International Motor Racing Research Center in Watkins Glen, asked me to MC the panel discussion. Together we worked on how big the panel should be, it ended up being bigger than we had originally wanted, and who should be on the panel. The 8 people we decided on, Alison Sload, Bentley Warren, Brandon Bellinger, Dave Danzer, Eddie Bellinger, John Nicotra, Otto Sitterly and Warren Coniam turned out to be a just about perfect mix of veteran Hall of Fame drivers, current winning drivers, drivers early in their career, and a top car owner.

The original plan was to have people who were former drivers of the car, and those involved in the restoration of the Purdy Deuce, an iconic car at the track, be a part of that panel, but we soon realized it would be too much. So a second panel was set up. That panel included drivers Bentley Warren and Warren Coniam, and men involved in the restoration of the car, Doug Holmes, Lee Osborne and Steve Miller.

At the last minute, a third panel was set up to talk to people who were involved with the car when it was racing at the Oswego Speedway. That panel included Mary Purdy, wife of car builder and owner Howard Purdy, and Bob and Nancy Hodgson. Bob was a crew member on the car, while Mary took care of feeding the crew.

The discussion on the restoration of the car was held in front of the car. The discussion with Mary and the Hodgsons was held in the elementary school. While neither event was closed to the public, there were few attendees as those events were not widely publicized. Both can be seen on the IMRRC website.

Then came the main event; The panel discussion on racing at the Oswego Speedway. There were over 300 people in the auditorium. I’m told it was one of the biggest, if not the biggest, crowds for an event held there by the IMRRC.
The discussion lasted two hours, and I could have gone on with them for another two hours. Or more. It was, without a doubt, one of the most fun racing things I’ve ever done. The drivers answered questions in detail, but never too long. Other drivers would join in to add to what was said. John talked about his 5 race Challenge Series, and the drivers chimed in with their plans to run it.

Then there was “Eddie B in ‘83.” Wow, just wow! The drivers who finished 1-2-3 in that race, Eddie Bellinger, Warren Coniam, and Bentley Warren, were all on stage. Probably for the first time ever the three were together and talked about the finish of that race. Each driver gave his perspective of what happened the last lap and a half.

Alison Sload talked about being the first woman to win a Supermodified feature, then to finish second to Dave Danzer in the International Classic. Dave talked about that win, and his win at the Open Wheel Showdown in Las Vegas.

Brandon Bellinger talked about being the first ever third generation driver to have all three generations win a Track Championship. Dave talked about the history of his family racing at Oswego. Otto Sitterly talked about how he started at Oswego, his Track Championships and ISMA Championships. John Nicotra and Otto talked about the difficulty of maintaining feature winning race cars.

And all that just touched on the topics covered, the fun, the interaction of those involved. Nobody left the auditorium early. Everybody was involved in the enjoyment of what was happening. I know many of you couldn’t make it, but you can see all three events in their entirety on the IMRRC website.


Submitted By: CAMDEN PROUD

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