Oswego, NY - It was Burke's Home Center Night at Oswego Speedway, and as always a lot more than features were at stake. It was final points night. Greg Furlong pretty much clinched his first-ever Oswego Speedway track championship after the ...
Oswego, NY - It was Burke's Home Center Night at Oswego Speedway, and as always a lot more than features were at stake. It was final points night. Greg Furlong pretty much clinched his first-ever Oswego Speedway track championship after the qualifiers in the supermodifieds, but he went on to an exciting feature win, his third, to cap the season. Keith Gilliam repeated as limited supermodified track champion, but this year he finally won a feature to boot. "Mr. Consistency" had gone almost two years without a win, but stayed right at the top of the points with good finishes. He was doubly ecstatic in victory lane. Bill Moore picked up his second super stock win, but Lou LeVea took the first-ever championship in that division by a healthy margin.
Furlong, in his short seven year Oswego Speedway career, has done it all - a limited super championship, a Classic win and now a supermodified championship! He said in victory lane after his third feature win of the season, and a close championship battle with Bob Goutermout among others, "I hate to see Bob go out like that. He's such a class act. Before the race started he came up and joked that he couldn't wait for the feature. But, when the feature was over and I'd won, he came up alongside and gave me the thumbs up. It's too bad that Bob, Timmy(Gareau) and I can't seem to be on the track at the same time. Timmy's one heck of a competitor too. He wants to win and tonight I knew he'd be quick out there. I knew he wouldn't stay back there long. Tonight I had an awesome car. It was on rails. The brakes started to vibrate, and I knew I had to control it. Then I saw Timmy behind me and I said man I've got to give it all I had. I knew I was faster than Timmy and Howie. The crew did a great job. They changed every single brake before the feature tonight and they improved it. It was a rocket ship. We're looking forward to Classic now. One more thing, I'd like to thank all my sponsors, my brother, my crew and my parents. Without them I wouldn't be here. They do an amazing job. Before we started in racing, none of us had any experience in racing. Now, we all love it. Without the whole bunch, there's no way I could do this."
And, in regard to his first-ever championship, "This is unbelievable, amazing. I think my crew is happier than I am. My mom's crying over there. My crew is celebrating. It makes me happy, that I've made them happy. My brother owns the car, but I get all the credit. He's over there busting his butt while I'm doing interviews. I get the glory, but I'm not out here wrenching the car and doing it all by myself. We have a lot of people helping. There are guys who sacrifice family-time to come to the garage each week, putting a lot of time and effort in. I have fans, kids that support me. I just enjoy seeing others enjoy themselves because of something I do. That's what makes it all worthwhile and exciting. That's what it's all about in my eyes. I'm somewhat of an entertainer. I enjoy making people enjoy what they're watching. That's what it's all about for me."
It was Gary Syrell who led the super field for the first 21 laps of the Burke's 45, but on lap 21, Howie Page put the 18 past Syrell for the lead. Syrell's aggressors were Furlong, Ray Graham Jr., Shannon Groves, Tim Gareau and Bob Goutermout.
On lap 22, Tim Snyder's 0 brought out the yellow for a spin, but he was in and out of the pits after that.
Two laps later Bob Bond slid into the foam in turn one, but was able to continue, but only a lap was complete before a red fell for a melee on turn 4 involving Bob Goutermout, Mike Douglas, Todd Stowell, Syrell and Otto Sitterly. Stowell and Sitterly were hooked in. Mike Douglas declared ofn as did Sitterly. Goutermout returned later, but was several laps down. Sitterly, despite his misfortune, took home Rookie of the Year honors easily over his nearest challenger Brian Sweeney. Sitterly finished in 7th in points, Sweeney in 20th.
After this restart, the race finally got some rhythm as Howie Page lengthened his lead out front. But, chasing up through was Furlong who was in second now with Gareau tacked right to his bumper. Groves, Graham Gosek, Dan Soule and Vern LaFave were running right behind. Groves, having a good run, saw it end on lap 33 when his 07 began smoking and he pitted.
Behind Page, Gareau and Furlong stacked themselves side by side, pressuring Howard intensely. The trio approached lapped traffic and the race was on with less than five to go. It was Page, Furlong or Gareau's race to be had. And, when the cars cleared the traffic, Furlong was out front, Page second and Gareau third, but the racing was not over yet. Gareau put his 5 alongside Page's 18 on lap 43 and took over second as the white flag flew. Said Howie later, after just missing his first win of the season, "We ran better tonight than we have the last half of the season. So we'll take third. The car is a lot better than it was. Coming into the Classic, this will help us. Too bad that some of the lapped cars kind of got in the way tonight. What can you do? But, we're happy. It's better than we've been in a while and we'll take it."
At the checkers, the newly crowned Oswego Speedway track champion, also had another feature win. Gareau, Page, Gosek and Graham finished up the top five. Gareau, who has had a roller coaster ride this season, was pleased with second. "I want to thank all my sponsors who have helped me out this year. My crew for sticking with me during a rough, but kind of good season. I had four wins and I'm really happy about that. We'll take second on this last one. I thought we had a shot at it, but Greg was tough at the end. We had a long way to go, starting toward the back. I'd also like to thank my mom and dad, my girlfriend, and everybody whose helped me this year. We're happy with second going into Classic."
The limited point title was the closest going into the night. Defending champ Gilliam and Shawn Muldoon were the primary contenders with only a 9-point spread, while Mark Regan, was not that far behind. The race took some strange twists and turns, finally ending well for Gilliam, but not the other two mentioned.
Steve Austin led the way for several laps before Jeff Holbrook took over the point on lap 4. A first lap jingle took Star Matteson and Mike Gardner into the foam with Matteson able to continue.
Holbrook ran out front with Austin, Billy Izyk, Regan, John Ketcham, Gilliam and Muldoon all looking to make their moves. Gilliam had a game plan as he said later and he stuck with it. "We didn't have a good car, said the Onondaga Sheriff's Dept. employee, "but I knew what I had to do. I have it written in my car what I had to do to win the championship. I knew Shawn was going to be faster than me. I knew I had to stick with him. My car wasn't really running that good and he was. My plan was to follow him if and when he got by. And, that's pretty much what I did."
The race didn't really slow down until lap 14 when John Ketcham went off on the hook, while Billy Izyk pitted. Both were in the top five at the time. Holbrook took off on the restart knowing that Regan, Muldoon and Gilliam were ready to gun him down. For Regan, the gun misfired on lap 17, when he tried a move very low under Holbrook as Muldoon tucked right in there also. Regan brushed the inner hub, bringing out the yellow and sending him to the rear with less than ten to go and dashing his chances at a first track championship.
Now it was Holbrook and Muldoon's turn to bring on the drama. Lap 17 was in the books with Holbrook out front, barely as Muldoon tried the outside. On lap 18, the pair brushed coming off four and Holbrook came around fighting his 70 not to make contact. In an amazing piece of driving, Holbrook emerged unscathed as he sat the wrong way on the track with limiteds going by on both sides.
Another restart, and another contender back at the rear. Muldoon was now the leader, with Gilliam, following his game plan, right behind. Austin, Matt Wheeler, Denny Wheeler, Pitt Watson and Chris Proud followed. Then, coming off turn four, sparks flew from the Muldoon 80. He hit the outside wall and headed straight into the first turn foam, full bore. Shawn was okay, but his car damaged badly and his hopes for a point title, also crashed with the car. The pressure was pretty much off Gilliam now as he sat out front with his main adversaries either in the pit or halfway back in the pack. Gilliam cruised the remaining seven laps easily ahead of Austin and the Wheelers. Chris Proud, heading for a Rookie of the Year title, got by Watson near race end with he and Dan Ferlito battling for fifth. It was Gilliam garnering a feature win and a track title at the checkered, with Austin, Matt Wheeler, Den Wheeler, and 2000 Rookie of the Year Chris Proud the top five. Ferlito, Watson, Regan, Jack Patrick and Jim Guyle, just a few weeks into his racing season, finishing up the top ten. Austin was later to be declared illegal with an oversized carburetor in his 66. He was relegated to the tail of the field and given last place points, moving everyone else up one spot.
Bill Moore led wire to wire in the super stock event, dogged manically the entire distance by Lou LeVea and Kelly Miller. At the checker, Moore picked up his second win of the season while LeVea, out of Fulton, NY, claimed the first-ever Super Stock point championship. LeVea, whose dad Bill is listed as the car owner, lists Volney Tire and Repair, Kurt's Big Boy Toys, Accent Awnings, The Work Horse, Daach Industries, APS Heating and AC, Doyle's Bike Sales & Service, Universal Contracting, Mow Masters and Kountry Keepsakes, as the supporters of his winning season. LeVea also had one feature win to his credit.
Notes...Dennis Wilson took a hard ride into the wall in his heat and was transported to the hospital. At last report, he was being treated for possible broken ribs...Eddie Bellinger had a see-saw night. He and Jerry Curran wrecked in warm-ups, putting fourth-place in points Curran ofn. Bellinger wrecked again the consi, but when Dave Mazzoni withdrew the 04 to give it to Jamie Letcher as a provisional, Bellinger was added back into the feature field. He was involved in one more melee near race end, but managed to finish 9th in his pre-Classic tune-up. ... Budweiser Classic weekend activities start Friday with Practice and Party in the Pits, continued to Saturday with ISMA Super Nationals, Midget Championship, Limited Nationals and Super Stocks. Sunday is the big 44th International Classic 200.
BURKE'S DO IT BEST HOME CENTERS SUMMARY
SUPER STOCK HEAT 1. Lou LeVea (96) 2. Kelly Miller (8) 3. Bill Moore (5) 4. David Bock (85) 5. Tony White (4) 6. Chris Vogler (51) 7. Jim Cieri (3) 8. Joe Miller (9)
SUPER STOCK FEATURE (12)1. Bill Moore (5) 2. Lou LeVea (96) 3. Kelly Miller (8) 4. Tony White (4) 5. Jim Cieri (3) 6. Chris Vogler (51) 7. David Bock (85) 8. Joe Miller (9)
LIMITED HEAT #1: 1. Jeff Holbrook (70) 2. John Ketcham Jr (11) 3. Eddie Horne (98) 4. Shawn Muldoon (80) 5. Shawn Walker (68) 6. Andrew Noto (19) 7. Jamie Bartlett (27) 8. Star Matteson (82)
LIMITED HEAT #2: 1. Chris Proud (3) 2. Matt Wheeler (97) 3. Gregg Davis (89) 4. JJ Andrews (93) 5. Mike Bond (50) 6. Jim Guyle (20) 7. Jeff Bartlett (24) 8. Chip Wood (5)
LIMITED HEAT #3: 1. Steve Austin (66) 2. Keith Gilliam (87) 3. Dennis Wheeler (96) 4. Jack Patrick (9) 5. Tim Falter (71) 6. Brian Nappa (36) 7. Russ Bartlett (26)8. Wayne Wideman (15)
LIMITED HEAT #4: 1. Bill Izyk (1) 2. Mark Regan (69) 3. Ed Watson Jr (42) 4. Craig Rayvals (94) 5. Dan Ferlito (55) 6. Mike Gardner (6) 7. Mike Bocyck (51) 8.Dennis Wilson (13)
LIMITED CONSI 1. Brian Nappa (36) 2. Andrew Noto (19) 3. Mike Gardner (6) 4. Jim Guyle (20) 5. Star Matteson (82) 6. Jamie Bartlett (27) 7. Mike Bocyck (51) 8. Chip Wood (5) 9. Wayne Wideman (15) 10. Russ Bartlett (26) 11. Jerry Curran (24)
LIMITED FEATURE (25)
1. Keith Gilliam (87) 2. Steve Austin (66)*,3. Matt Wheeler (97) 4. Dennis Wheeler (96) 5. Chris Proud (3) 6. Dan Ferlito (55) 7. Ed Watson Jr(42) 8. Mark Regan (69) 9. Jack Patrick (9) 10. Jim Guyle (20) 11. Shawn Walker (68) 12. Andrew Noto (19) 13. JJ Andrews (93) 14. Tim Falter(71) 15. Jeff Holbrook (70) 16. Jamie Bartlett (27) 17. Russ Bartlett (26) 18. Brian Nappa (36) 19. Shawn Muldoon (80) 20. Craig Rayvals (94) 21. Gregg Davis (89) 22. Bill Izyk (1) 23. John Ketcham Jr (11) 24. Mike Gardner (6) 25. Mike Bond (50) 26. Eddie Horne (98) 27. Star Matteson (82) *illegal carb in tech, moved to last place, credited with last place points. All move up one.
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #1: 1. Howard Page (18) 2. Greg Furlong (72) 3. Gary Syrell (08) 4. Dan Soule (32) 5. Bob Bond (25) 6. Tim Devendorf (76) 7. Dave Mazzoni (04) 8. Hal LaTulip (52) 9. Jamie Letcher (58)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #2: 1. Brian Sweeney (3) 2. Ray Graham Jr (90) 3. Bob Goutermout (77) 4. Otto Sitterly (79) 5. Todd Stowell (89) 6. Vern LaFave (97) 7. Doug Boisvert (66) 8. Eddie Bellinger Jr (02) 9. Bill Peri (14)
SUPERMODIFIED HEAT #3: 1. Joe Gosek (00) 2. Shannon Groves (07) 3. Mike Douglas (23) 4. Tim Snyder (0) 5. Jerry Curran (99) 6. Jennifer Chesbro (33) 7. Jamie Moore (88) 8. Dave Trytek (70) 9. Tim Gareau Jr (5)
SUPERMODIFIED CONSI: 1. Tim Gareau Jr (5) 2. Bill Peri (14) 3. Doug Boisvert (66) 4. Dave Trytek (70) 5. Dave Mazzoni (04) 6. Hal LaTulip (52) 7. Jamie Moore (88) 8. Eddie Bellinger Jr (02)
SUPERMODIFIED FEATURE (45):
1. Greg Furlong (72) 2. Tim Gareau Jr (5) 3. Howard Page (18) 4. Joe Gosek (00) 5. Ray Graham Jr (90) 6. Dan Soule (32) 7. Vern LaFave (97) 8. Bill Peri (14) 9. Eddie Bellinger Jr (02) 10. Dave Trytek (70) 11. Tim Devendorf (76) 12. Hal LaTulip (52) 13. Jennifer Chesbro (33) 14. Bob Goutermout (77) 15. Jamie Letcher (04) 16. Shannon Groves (07) 17. Brian Sweeney (3) 18. Gary Syrell (08) 19. Otto Sitterly (79) 20. Mike Douglas (23) 21. Todd Stowell (89) 22. Bob Bond (25) 23. Tim Snyder (0) 24. Doug Boisvert (66) 25. Jerry Curran (99)