Oswego Speedway race report 2002-05-11

Ordway storms to Oswego opening night Supermodified victory while Matt Wheeler Survives Limited mayhem for victory; Joe Miller takes first in Super Stocks. Oswego, NY - "The Booth crew gave me one heck of a hot rod here," said Mike Ordway in ...

Ordway storms to Oswego opening night Supermodified victory while Matt Wheeler Survives Limited mayhem for victory; Joe Miller takes first in Super Stocks.

Oswego, NY - "The Booth crew gave me one heck of a hot rod here," said Mike Ordway in victory lane after screaming to victory in the C&B Farm Market/Pigger's Liquors/Coca-Cola supermodified opener at Oswego Speedway Saturday night. That probably was an understatement as Ordway's 61 looked more like a jet. Smooth, consistent and FAST, Ordway put the 61 past leader Tim Gareau on lap 7 and the race was his. Greg Furlong got close in the waning laps when a caution flew on lap 37, but he just put his foot down and was gone. Matt Wheeler survived a strange night of leader-crashing, to win the limited portion of the night, while Joe Miller beat out Bobby Newman for the super stock victory.

Ordway noted that lap cars and that last caution might have closed the gap, but he didn't appear worried. "The car never skipped a beat all night long," said Mike. "I think I had to step on it a little more at the end there when that caution came and Greg (Furlong) closed up. I wanted to see what we had left. And we had some. It was pretty good. Clyde does his homework and he makes my job look real easy"

Ordway, who also is the first supermodified driver to try out the Hutchins device, now common in NASCAR, was asked about it's use. "I never even notice I have it on once I get it hooked up.I used it at Lee and Seekonk. I think it's a good idea and I think more of the guys should have one. It does make me feel more confident safefty-wise."

2001 Classic winner, Tim Snyder took up the initial lead of the 2002 season, but quickly lost it to Tim Gareau. Caution flew for Bob Bond on lap 3, and Bond went pitside, not to return until several laps later.

Gareau was in command - for the moment - when yellow fell again on lap 7 for a spin by Tim Proud. Bunching the field was not good for the front runners, as Ordway closed up from a 10th place starting spot, put the 61 outside, and grabbed the lead before the restart of lap 7 was complete. There was no catching the Fremont, NH man now. But, classic battles developed between Gareau, 2001 Oswego champ Greg Furlong and Howie Page, who was running strong once again coming off a third in ISMA's New England run the previous week. Also racing side by side a little further back were Snyder, Bob Goutermout, Vern LaFave, Keith Gilliam and Joe Gosek, in a brand new car built for him by the Holbrook crew.

Yellow flew a couple times on lap 14 when first Otto Sitterly and Joe Peri got the hook and then for a bunch-up on the restart affecting rookie Craig Rayvals, Hal LaTulip and Jerry Curran.

Ordway jetted away on the green while Furlong grabbed second from Gareau. Howie Page was right on Gareau's tail as were Goutermout and Snyder on his. A couple more yellows dotted the way to the midpoint, but Ordway continued to dominate in his intricate Booth creation.

With ten to go, lap cars played a small role as Ordway was blocked with a side-by-side slower car battle. Furlong closed the gap considerably, but on a lap 37 yellow for the 88 of Dave Lair, Ordway put the pedal down as aforementioned and found a "lot" left in his car. Furlong ran ahead of Page, Gareau and Goutermout as Joe Gosek pulled into sixth in his new ride. Rookie Shawn Muldoon raced a great race, coming up into seventh while Tim Snyder, Vern LaFave, Keith Gilliam and Todd Stowell, all still sought top tens. Ordway crossed under the checkers a half track away from Furlong, Page, Gareau and Goutermout in the top five. Gosek, Muldoon, Snyder, LaFave and Gilliam completed the top ten.

Furlong and Page were more than pleased to finish behind Ordway, albeit a good distance behind. Said Furlong, "It was a pretty good run. We had a good car. We got a little loose at the end. We tightened it up somewhat beforehand, but obviously not enough. In the beginning the cautions helped me, but that last one, I was wicked, wicked loose at the end. I had all I could do to hang on to it. The car's in one piece. We were fast. In practice we were horrible. Then we came out and ran really well in the heat and the feature. It's nice to go home in second place."

Top three finisher Howard Page commented, "Third place ... it's better than fourth. The car was running good until I ran into the side of Timmy (Gareau) and that slowed things down a little bit. We'll take third. It was good for tonight after what happened in practice. We broke a spindle. So, we're happy with that. I knew that we were pretty much racing for second tonight...Ordway was strong!"

With rain once again threatening to mar an Oswego opening day, it was hoped that the limited 25 would go off smoothly. It did not. Yellow fell on the initial green, but John Ketcham was right there to take the first lead of the season. But, leading was not the thing to do Saturday night as several of the leaders met with bad luck while out front.

A yellow-red occurred on lap 3 with a track blockage after the 3 of Chris Proud and the 97 of Matt Wheeler brushed near the front causing a jam-up behind. Most of the cars returned after going pitstops. Shawn Walker and Steve Austin slowed soon after the restart, however, and exited the event.

Proud's 3 was parked soon thereafter also Ketcham was content with the lead as Mike Bond sat in second just ahead of Matt Wheeler, Bob Rundell, Danny Kapuscinski and Russ Brown.

A three-car pileup came on lap 6 with all reentering the fray and a slowdown repeated for something on the track.

The lap 7 restart found Bobby Rundell closing quickly up on Ketcham as the two battled for the lead. Unfortunately, the battle got a little too heated and Rundell and Ketcham brushed wheels. Rundell was able to not hit the spinning Ketcham and Ketcham, in turn, kept it off the wall, but both cars went to the rear for causing the cautions.

This put Mike Bond and Matt Wheeler in first and second with Russ Brown, J.J. Andrews, Gregg Davis and 2001 limited super champ Mark Regan next in the order.

Now it was Bond's turn to fight off the advances of second place runner Matt Wheeler while Kapuscinski, Brown, and the others went high and low looking ways to move up.

The race progressed rapidly until lap cars came into play on lap 20. Leader Mike Bond came up on the 7 of Bill Moore, who is moving between the super stocks and the limiteds this season. Bond caught the back end of Moore and was sent spinning of turn four ending up near the main pit entrance. Bond, also kept his car in one piece, but he too was relegated to the rear from the lead. Moore went pitside and then to the rear.

Matt Wheeler had the dubious distinction of being in the lead with just five to go. Wheeler pulled the 97 away from second place runner Danny Kapuscinski who had Brown and Regan tacked to his rear. Andrews, Pitt Watson, Billy Izyk, and Lou LeVea were still in contention.

Lap 22 saw a long stop which began with contact by with the foam out in turn three by several cars. While that mess was being cleaned up, Kapuscinski's second place cars was pulled over for a checkup and oil was found leaking from where an oil plug should have been. Now a track-wide cleanup ensued as sprinkles of rain added to the cold night.

Finally, green dropped for the last time with Wheeler having Brown all over him for the three circuits remaining. Regan, Watson and Izyk didn't give up a tick either as they crossed under the checkers in that order. Lou LeVea, Rundell, Lynn Highhouse, Ketcham and Kapuscinski all came out with top ten spots, despite adversity.

Said second-generation Oswego driver Wheeler in victory lane, "It's raining. I really needed that rain to come before that last restart. Wow that was a tough one. All that speedy dry down. I couldn't see the first two laps of green flag after the restart. I had so much stuff in my eyes. But the Wheel-A-Way Motorsports, Austin Lawncare, Perkins Chiropractic, Family Auction Center 97 did great tonight. The guys decided to make a rear shock change just before the feature and it seemed to work pretty darn good. This is a big win. My first one in three years. Finally we get another one at the Big O. We weren't really planning on running this year. We sold Wheel-A-Way and were going to Florida. But we had a good car here and said what the heck. Now that I'm leading the points, it might be a little difficult. I might as well finish the season. By the way, one of our crewman, Kevin Parody, is recovering from an accident. This one's for him. Hope he's back here soon."

In the super stock feature, Rob Pullen held the early point, but the Miller brothers, Joe and Kelly, didn't leave Rob much room to breath. Coming into the mix was Bobby Newman as only one yellow marred the first half of the 20 lapper. The top five of Pullen, Joe Miller, Kelly Miller Newman and Bill Moore was blanketed as they raced toward the finish. Joe Miller grabbed the point from Pullen on lap 11 and he was into traffic soon thereafter.

A yellow on lap 14 found the 4 of Joe Skillinski on the hook and the pack bunched behind Joe. On that restart, Pullen was pulled from the wall and he was out of the front mix.

Joe Miller, Kelly Miller and Bobby Newman were the top three as the checkers approached. Newman made a bonsai move on Kelly for second as Joe came down for the win. Dave Bock and Eric Connors finished up the top five.

Joe Miller, who had bought a new house recently was as equally ecstatic with some of the farm and garden supplies given out by the sponsors C&B Farm and Garden as he was with victory. "This is awesome. This is a great car. It feels really good. It goes anywhere I want it to. It moves when I tell it too. I had some lap traffic at the end there and I didn't know where Bobby (Newman) was, but it came out great."

Oswego is closed May 18, reopening on May 25 with the highly anticipated Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50's with the ISMA winged and Oswego non-winged supers each running one segment. Limited Supers and Super Stocks join the 5 pm starting show.


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Series Stock car
Drivers Kelly Miller