Oswego Speedway new owners ready inagural opener

New Oswego Speedway Owners Gearing Up For Their Inaugural Opener on May 8 Oswego, NY - It's been a long winter for the new owners of the Oswego Speedway as they prepare for their first opening day in May. But things are falling in place, as the...

New Oswego Speedway Owners Gearing Up For Their Inaugural Opener on May 8

Oswego, NY - It's been a long winter for the new owners of the Oswego Speedway as they prepare for their first opening day in May. But things are falling in place, as the closing date when the paperwork is signed and sealed approaches in mid-March. Both the new owners are not novices to these nuances of the business world. Nor are they strangers to the racing world either. Pat Furlong Sr. and Steve Gioia Jr. knew a lot of hard work faced them before they would realize their dream of owning one of the most famous asphalt short tracks in the country.

Gioia laid out some of the plans in the works recently from his Oswego home. "We're looking forward to the bank closing in mid-March but in the meantime we are moving ahead with our plans," stated Steve. "Our hands have been tied in some respects in regard to our sponsorships, but many other things are falling in place nicely. Our office is set up at the track already. Our 2004 Rule Books are in the mail and our schedule is pretty much set. We hope that people will bear with us during this transition period. We have been a little slow coming out of the gate, but we expect the transition to be a smooth one."

Furlong and Gioia have had a race schedule in print for several months but are still in the tweaking stage. "We plan on opening for practice on Saturday, May 1st with the 54th consecutive Opening Day slated the next week on May 8," Gioia continued. "We are still adding and making minor changes on selected shows but the dates in place are firm. We have 4 or 5 more racing dates on the schedule than last year and some different promotions planned."

Steve outlined some of the new events. "On June 10 we have an Open Competition show for supers. That's a little different. On June 19th we will be hosting the CNY Pinewood Derby Championships in the early afternoon prior to the evening's racing. That's in conjunction with the Disney Network. We are trying to line up a Monster Truck show, also for June. On the 25th of June, which is a Friday, we are hosting a sport compact and compact truck Stunt Show in conjunction with their appearance at the NYS Fairgrounds that weekend. Right now there is no racing slated for June 26th at Oswego, but that is one thing that could change. That's a TBA for us presently."

The popular Race of Champions modifieds are slated for July 31 as a prelude to the 54th running of the Race of Champions on September 18. Right now Oswego plans to close, on July 24th, for the Harborfest celebration that the city holds every year, but that might change too.

While the traditional Saturday nights of summer will be filled with the sounds of racing, Sundays will not be without activity either at the Big O. During the summer Go Karts will be running under the auspices of Rick Martel and his kart organization, which previously had run at Cherry Valley. "They will be utilizing the infield and part of the race track, " said Steve. "It's a participation activity right now but if enough interest is shown, it may turn into a spectator one as well."

"We've got a lot of things going right now. The staff is coming together. Both our families are working hard. We've hired Chuck Handley, former ISMA president-race director as the Race Director and former supermodified competitor Jim Gray is the new head tech inspector. Don Forbes will be back on the flagstand and under the safety crew is being capably assembled by Ed Geers, Oswego City Fire Chief. There is a lot of racing experience among that group."

Weather and a later than anticipated start will determine what interior and exterior projects get finished first at the speedway. One important addition will be a transponder system, which the new owners hope to have in place as soon as possible. "Right now we are looking into a transponder scoring system for the supers and possibly the limited supers. We hope to get that installed before opening day. Upgrading of the scoreboard and other technological advances will naturally follow, but quite honestly 2005 will be the year for much of that," said Steve.

Race fans who want to show their support and get a jump on the season right now can head for or call the Oswego Speedway office and purchase season's tickets or Classic Weekend tickets which went on sale last week. Admission prices remain pretty much the same for 2004 with an adult general admission ticket a bargain at $13.00. The office is currently open for ticket sales from 11 am until 4 pm Monday through Friday. The phone number remains 315-342-0646 and the website continues to be a wealth of information at www.oswegospeedway.com.

Fans can also stop by the Oswego Speedway booth at the upcoming Motorsports Expo March 12-14 at the New York State Fairgrounds to pick up their 2004 color schedules. Plans are also in the works for a Jim Shampine Book Signing/Oswego Speedway Race Fan Gathering at the Lighthouse Lanes Bowling Alley on Shampine Drive, Sunday afternoon March 28. More information will be forthcoming on that event.

-os-

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Series Sprint , Stock car