Oswego, NY - It was the Budweiser International Classic at Oswego Speedway and it was all there once again. Mike Ordway had the pole and everyone said the best car. But there's been a monkey that he and veteran car owner and builder Clyde Booth...
Oswego, NY - It was the Budweiser International Classic at Oswego Speedway and it was all there once again. Mike Ordway had the pole and everyone said the best car. But there's been a monkey that he and veteran car owner and builder Clyde Booth have been carrying around. They've been in the hunt too many times to count, only to lose that elusive victory for a multitude of reasons. Sunday things went their way and stayed their way. The monkey is gone. Sitting on the pole, Ordway led the first 17 laps giving up the spot to Otto Sitterly who lost it to Doug Heveron. Mike Ordway didn't want to be up front just yet. He described some of his thoughts in a tumultuous victory lane ceremony that had been a long time coming as tears of joy flowed from his wife and many of his longtime supporters.
"This is just awesome. The best car and the best crew... they did it... they made me look good. I was just following those guys. I was just watching them. Doug was getting looser and looser. Joey was working on him but couldn't get by him. So, I tried Joey a couple times on the outside and I could just pull up there. So I knew I could sit back and save the tires a little longer. I was going to wait for 40-50 to go and when we had that caution at 150 I thought I'd better get to the front now so I wouldn't have to work on them when the tires wore out. The car was working great all day long."
"It's tough to set the pace. You don't know how fast you're going. You don't know how close anybody is. I can tell when they show you a wheel. Joey showed me a wheel a few times. I knew I wasn't going too fast out there. I just wanted to be there at the end. I've been there and done that too many times and didn't end up in victory lane."
Clyde Booth, who had been waiting since the late 70s to get his first Classic win, was actually pacing the infield trying to figure out what to do when he lost this one after Mike took the lead. "I actually was trying to figure out what I was going to do if something happened," said the North Carolina resident, "I'd just load my stuff up and come back next year. I've had things go to hell in a handbasket too many times. It goes back to the late 70s, excluding a couple years when we didn't race. I was drinking water, soda, anything and then I started walking up and down back and forth. I was thinking to myself, something is probably going to break and how should I deal with it. I can't say that I've ever won a race that was more important. The first race I won here was probably a Port City with Coniam in 1980. That was the biggest to this point. Not dollar or lap wise, but this is just such a prestigious race. You join such a small, elite group. Now, we've got the monkey off our back, we can just keep on trucking. We just want to win races."
But, ultimately it was the years of planning and losing that might have been the major factor this time. Said Booth philosophically as to what made this year different. "I just can't believe it. It's just been so damn long. We've led this race and done all kinds of things. This is just a really tough race. I think we've not taken it quite as serious in regard to running 200 laps before. This time we really worked on making it 200 laps. We changed things. We watched the fuel mileage. That was Mike's deal to wait. That was his idea. I just want to lead races and win races. I don't give a crap about the rest of it, but sometimes it catches up to you. This time we took our time and did the right thing. I'm just elated. I work hard on this. It's a job. I work almost every day in the shop and then we lose 2 and a half days on the road. I love doing it. No one could pay to do what I do because they'd say this isn't enough money. I just do it because I just doing it and I think that's why it works. I'm self-taught. I've been involved with engineering with engineers for quite a while. When I was at UPS I was involved with the automotive part there. I enjoyed doing it there. The thing that happened was that I needed to go to school. I tell young guys that come into the shop that they need to go and get that education."
The race that included six former champions, played out just as one might have expected for many laps. It was a watch and wait. Mike Ordway took the lead from the pole but soon gave it up to Otto Sitterly who would eventually have a fine fourth place run. Otto knew he needed to conserve but couldn't resist leading just a little. "I tried to conserve at the start," said the St. Johnsville driver. "I kept a little bit for the end. I got up there, but the pace of the race was so slow that I just couldn't help myself and led a few laps. When Heveron stuck it in there I knew he'd be aggressive if anyone would be. So I tried to just kick it back and let a couple guys get by. I wanted to watch Gosek and I wanted to watch Furlong and stay back in there. Snyder, Furlong and I had a good race at the end. We had a very fast car but we lost a cylinder and ran late with seven cylinders. I'm not going to complain. I think that with eight cylinders we were a second place car. I'll say that sincerely. "
The driver everyone was watching was Doug Heveron who had not been racing at Oswego for many years, but who had collected two Classic wins over 20 years ago and almost a third in 1983 until the famous Bellinger pass. Heveron had a good mount under him in the Holbrook 40 and looked tough out front after taking the lead on lap 23, a place where he stayed until Ordway took over on lap 155.
Several cautions dotted the way as the 200 lapper progressed. Running a tight line for many laps after Heveron took the point were Ordway, Joey Payne in the Muldoon 20, defending champ Joe Gosek, Otto Sitterly, Doug Didero, Greg Furlong, and Tim Snyder 0x2022 all with some impressive credentials.
Yellow fell on lap 37 for a Jeff West spin and moments later 1996 Classic winner Doug Didero nosed the Syrell 08 into his pit stall out for the day.
Bob Bond brought out the second slowdown when he hit the foam in between turns one and two on lap 47. A couple strategy pits came as Jerry Curran, Howard Page and Bill Peri came in for tires or adjustment.
Out front Joey Payne had moved in behind leader Heveron and was about to squeeze past for the lead when the yellow flew again on lap 67 for a Curran-Kyle Carpenter tangle. Both of the aforementioned restarted and the race went green again on lap 72 only to slow again on lap 74 when Bill Peri sat sideways off turn four.
Heveron pulled away from Payne on each restart as Ordway, Gosek, Dave McKnight, Sitterly, Furlong and Snyder were watching the action ahead and waiting.
Just prior to the 100 lap mark, Bobby Santos III, in his first Classic 200, lost the motor on the Lair 44. Jeff Holbrook used the yellow period to dive in for a tire.
On the lap 102 green, Ordway moved ahead of Payne just to make sure he could do so as he said and then eased up and Payne was by for second again.
As the long tight line of frontrunners traversed the track, the tension of when the moves would come was evident. Pit stops also were on the schedule for some teams and they waited now for the cautions to come. One came on lap 127 for Ray Graham. In a separate incident, Dave McKnight ended up on the inner hub rail when some cars in front of him checked up. McKnight was pushed off and fell in at the rear out of a top five spot.
Green flag racing resumed on lap 135 and off went the line with Heveron leading Payne, Ordway, Gosek, Furlong, Snyder, Sitterly, Tim Gareau and Dave Trytek now.
Yellow flew on lap 148 for two cars with McKnight and Bentley Warren coming pitside for tires. Jeff West also came in with a crunched nose wing, while Pat Lavery was hooked with a broken axle.
This was the restart the pack was waiting for. As the green fell on lap 155, Ordway powered to the outside and picked off both Heveron and Payne. Mike was on cruise, but could he hold? The answer came 45 laps later. It was yes.
Ordway pulled away as Heveron and Payne, as Furlong, Snyder, Sitterly and Gosek ran side by side for spots. Gosek, unfortunately, was the loser here as he saw his hopes of two straight fade away. Said Joe later, "We were in the hunt until about 150 and then they dropped the green and we went back about five spots. It was unexpected. At 150 that's when you'd want to change a tire. But, if you're fourth at 150, you don't want to go in. So, it went away instantly. It went backwards."
Several more cautions claimed the 22 of Pat Abold, as Heveron used the time to come in for a tire. Todd Stowell also came in. On 174 another flew for Kyle Carpenter's 88. Ordway's only potential bullet was dodged here when he luckily was able to avoid a safety truck, which had come out to Carpenter's aid as the leaders as he tried to power down on the yellow.
Ordway set the pace out front on each restart as Payne tried not to lose him. Furlong, Snyder and Sitterly were putting on a battle off Payne's back end, but were not within striking distance just yet as the race wore down.
A lap 191 caution was probably not one Mike Ordway wanted to see, but it didn't bother him. Said Mike "I just figured it would be a green-white-checkered. We had plenty of fuel this time. We didn't want to get into that problem again." The yellow was for Doug Heveron, Todd Stowell and Jeff Holbrook who came together on the front straight with Heveron's ride bearing the brunt of the damage.
The race went white on lap 196 and Mike Ordway was on his way to his first-ever Classic victory that would not elude him this time. Payne stayed in second while Snyder claimed yet another third place podium finish. Otto Sitterly and Greg Furlong rounded out the top five.
Said Payne, who had won the NEMA show the night before, "I couldn't ask for a better weekend, winning last night and finishing second, except if it were to beat Mike. I thought I had something there but we were low on fuel with three laps to go. I'm not making excuses as we held out for second. Clyde builds a great car and it showed today. I have to thank the Muldoon crew for having the faith in me. It's an honor for me. Anytime Mike Muldoon wants someone to drive his car in Classic you know you're pretty good. I'm not patting myself on the back but it gives you a lot of confidence. The last two weeks were kind of rough. I was sweating out whether I had a ride or not. Then Mike called me and told me the deal was mine and then I couldn't sleep that Wednesday night because I was so excited." Payne also received the AJ Michaels Runner up award.
Snyder was ecstatic with third also, but never denied he would have liked a spot or two more. "We like this third place. I just sat and watched conserving everything. Furlong got by and then Heveron got by and took off. I was just trying to save tires. It was winding down and at the 150 I thought I'd better get going and move up. You always want to go for that second win. I was working toward Joey in second, and maybe in another ten laps we might have gotten that as he was running low on fuel. But, I'd like to congratulate Mike and Clyde. They did a great job."
Fifth place finisher Greg Furlong, a two-time Classic champ in his own right said, "We basically didn't tighten up the car enough tonight. We had a good car. We let that tire psych us out. We thought we'd be a little bit better at the end. We concentrated on that tire and basically it didn't make any difference in the world. We just didn't tighten it up enough. I had third. I screwed up in traffic and finished fifth. We didn't have that great a car, but I know some guys around me got worse. I thought everyone up front might be sandbagging, but then I realized maybe they weren't. Maybe they didn't have any more either, except for Ordway. He had a great car. But, we came back in one piece today and won last night. I can't complain. We didn't have the car we had in the past but it's a learning experience. "
Rounding out the top ten in the long grind were Gareau, Shawn Muldoon, Gary Morton, who received the Jim Shampine Memorial lap award for 8th; Joe Gosek and Dave Trytek.
Asked if he had had a game plan for this year's Classic, Mike Ordway admitted that he had not. "No. I was on the pole and I've been there before and took off like a rabbit and I haven't been there at the end. I didn't know what I was going to do ahead of time this year, but I knew I wanted to be here at the end."
And here was standing in victory lane with a Classic trophy, a wreath around his neck and a check, which would amount to nearly $33,000 with purse and awards. More importantly the monkey was gone and his name finally placed with the only two dozen others who have claimed victory in the greatest supermodified race in the world!
Budweiser International Classic 200
FINAL RACE RESULTS
FINAL RACE RESULTS 8/31/03 Updated 5:55 pm
CAR COUNT: Supermodifieds (48)
TIME TRIAL RESULTS (TOP 24)
1. #61 Mike Ordway (16.673) 2. #72 Greg Furlong (16.956) 3. #79 Otto Sitterly (16.982) 4. #08 Doug Didero (17.063) 5. #77 Bob Goutermout (17.089) 6. #44 Bobby Santos III (17.170) 7. #0 Tim Snyder (17.187) 8. #20 Joey Payne (17.197) 9. #50 Joe Gosek (17.223) 10. #96 Gary Morton (17.228) 11. #70 Dave Trytek (17.253) 12. #40 Doug Heveron (17.261) 13. #97 Randy Ritskes (17.263) 14. #18 Howard Page (17.333) 15. #27 Dave McKnight (17.352) 16. #5 Tim Gareau Jr (17.355) 17. #90 Ray Graham Jr (17.370) 18. #35 Jeff Holbrook (17.386) 19. #87 Keith Gilliam (87) 20. #1 Shawn Muldoon (17.392) 21. #94 Craig Rayvals (17.432) 22. #11 Chris Perley (17.449) 23. #09 Jack Smith (17.498) 24. #3 Brian Sweeney (17.517)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #1 (TOP "5" QUALIFY)
1. Kyle Carpenter (88)
2. Pat Shullick (49)
3. Pat Abold (22)
4. Nokie Fornoro (32)
5. Jeff West (01)
6. Bentley Warren (71)
7. Dave Halstead Jr (34)
8. Pat Lavery (99)
9. Mark Sammut (78)
10. Jon Gambuti (85)
11. Bill Sharkey (7)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #2 (TOP "4" QUALIFY)
1. Todd Stowell (89)
2. Jerry Curran (24)
3. Bob Bond (25)
4. Bill Peri (14)
5. Lou Cicconi (98)
6. Jamie Letcher (58)
7. Bob Magner (52)
8. Justin Belfiore (28)
9. Hal LaTulip (56)
10. Johnny Payne (86)
11. Joe Chillemi (41) DNS
SUPERMODIFIED B-MAIN (WINNER QUALIFIES)
1. Bentley Warren (71)
2. Jamie Letcher (58)
3. Jamie Timmons (28)
4. Mark Sammut (78)
5. Lou Cicconi (98)
6. Pat Lavery (99)
7. Bob Magner (52)
47TH ANNUAL BUDWEISER INT'L CLASSIC (200)
1. Mike Ordway (61) 2. Joey Payne (20) 3. Tim Snyder (0) 4. Otto Sitterly (79) 5. Greg Furlong (72) 6. Tim Gareau Jr (5) 7. Shawn Muldoon (1) 8. Gary Morton (96) 9. Joe Gosek (50) 10. Dave Trytek (70) 11. Craig Rayvals (94) 12. Howard Page (18) 13. Randy Ritskes (97) 14. Bentley Warren (71) 15. Pat Shullick (49) 16. Keith Gilliam (87) 17. Nokie Fornoro (32) 18. Jeff Holbrook (35) 19. Todd Stowell (89) 20. Dave McKnight (27) 21. Brian Sweeney (3) 22. Doug Heveron (40) 23. Kyle Carpenter (88) 24. Pat Abold (22) 25. Jeff West (01) 26. Pat Lavery (99) 27. Ray Graham Jr (90) 28. Jerry Curran (24) 29. Bobby Santos III (44) 30. Bill Peri (14) 31. Jack Smith (09) 32. Bob Bond (25) 33. Doug Didero (08) 34. Bob Goutermout (77) 35. Chris Perley (11)