Furlong, Walker and Kelly Miller in victory lane at Oswego; Shawn Muldoon becomes first rookie track champion; Mark Regan repeat champion in Limited Supers and Joe Miller takes Super Stock title. Oswego, NY - It was a night for drama Saturday at...
Furlong, Walker and Kelly Miller in victory lane at Oswego; Shawn Muldoon becomes first rookie track champion; Mark Regan repeat champion in Limited Supers and Joe Miller takes Super Stock title.
Oswego, NY - It was a night for drama Saturday at Oswego Speedway. The championship point titles were the closest in years. Misty rain fell almost all day, but Mother Nature relented and let the race go on. For some the night produced joy; for some extreme disappointment. In the supermodifieds, Howard Page, Otto Sitterly and Shawn Muldoon were just points apart going into the remaining feature. Sitterly would crash, Page would blow a motor while ahead of Muldoon and Muldoon would finish fourth for a history-making 2002 championship. Muldoon, in his rookie season never won a feature along the way to the title. He didn't have to. The rookie just finished well each week. And, meanwhile out front, Greg Furlong, not a regular at Oswego this season, showed the way around as he and Jamie Moore battled for the victory. Furlong, prepping for a possible third Classic win this weekend, said in victory lane, "At the beginning of the race the car was really good. When the green dropped it was really fast. It started to get loose and by the end of the race it was unbelievably loose. Luckily I was in the front by that time or otherwise Jamie would have definitely beat me. I knew he was back there. It's tough not running here weekly and then coming back and have the setup. We're pretty good. I'd like to have it better going into Classic. I'd like to thank my sponsors Modular Homes by Furdi, Haylor Freyor and Coon, Johnston's Propane, Granby Pit Stop, Doug Holmes who build my motors - they are awesome, and the rest. Special thanks to my crew; they do a great job. They work really hard. And, congratulations to Shawn on winning the championship. They were consistent this year and won. Hats off to them."
Track title holder Muldoon, surrounded by crew and his famous brother-car owner Mike, was quietly pleased with huge his accomplishment. He was asked first what went through his mind when he saw Page, who was ahead of him, drop out, "I thought maybe Howard wouldn't last. Five laps before he blew he was spraying stuff. I had a feeling he might not last much longer. It's been a great year. I don't know what to say. The car is great. My brother built me a great car. Anybody could have done it with this car. I didn't count on anything until the end. I'd like to thank my sponsors Riccelli Trucking, Hough Construction, Seaboard Atlantic, Law Office of Ed Izyk, Tri-R-Karts, Sandy's Bumper Mart, - everybody. They give me the money that make it possible. I could not have done it without them and the fans. They have been great this year, especially the fourth turn."
Page, who sat atop the point standings from the fourth race event at Oswego, was understandably dejected. He finished poorly in his heat, ran the consi and started the feature 19th. He watched rival Otto Sitterly go off on a hook with five laps to go. Page had charged into fourth. His other rival, Muldoon, was one spot behind. Coming off four on a restart of lap 42, Page's 18 spewed the telltale smoke. He pitted. The championship was soon to be Muldoon's.
After some time to compose himself, Howard said, "This was a huge disappointment. I don't know what to say. Motor problems were the last thing I thought we'd have. Pat Morrison has helped me with the motors and they have been awesome all year. I just can't believe it broke. We were way off in practice and in the heat we missed the setup. We just got way off. But we had it nailed in the feature. I'd like to thank all the guys. They work so hard. This is a huge disappointment for them as well. Oh well, we'll just come back and get them next week. My sponsors - Vashaw's, Front Door, Triple D, Bellinger's Auto, Ingles Performance, and Castle Chemical - thanks for supporting me."
Starting just a little late due to the wet conditions, the qualifying events on Burke's Home Centers night breezed by with every point counting to the tight races. Sitterly won his heat, Muldoon finished second in his. Page went to the consi. In the limiteds Regan finished third, Bond fourth to give Regan a point advantage.
Jamie Moore, driving the Lair 88 this week, took up the lead in the supermodified main after a couple early yellows. The race out front was watched closely but perhaps not as closely as the one farther back. Out front Greg Furlong steadily moved into second, putting Joey Hawksby in third to handle the pack.
By lap 20, Howie Page was ninth, but Muldoon was fifth and Sitterly sixth. Howard was running his heart out, but so were Otto and Shawn.
Greg Furlong took over the race lead at that juncture and he and Moore would battle for the point to the end. Bob Goutermout sat comfortably in third while Hawksby continued a good run in fourth.
Otto Sitterly, continued full bore and he picked off Hawksby on lap 26. Muldoon had Page right behind him by now with Hawksby separating them from the 79.
Howard pulled the 18 by the 27 on lap 33. Muldoon was one spot back now. There were only 12 laps remaining. Out front Furlong, Moore and Goutermout were now challenged by a driving Sitterly.
On lap 40, it was Furlong, Moore, Goutermout, Sitterly, Page and Muldoon. The crowd was on their feet.
Suddenly, Sitterly's 79 slapped the inner wall on lap 41. He tried to correct and hit again in two. This time he needed a hook. Not for major damage, but the effects were enormous as to the track championship. Otto said later he was trying to get under some lap cars and just got too low.
One circuit was in when a yellow fell again for Jerry Curran, Tim Gareau and Brian Sweeney.
The drama reached crescendo on the next restart. Coming off four, Page, in fourth, Muldoon in fifth; smoke suddenly puffing from the 18. Yellow flies now for Page, whose first-ever championship hopes were up in smoke. Moore pressured Furlong on the next restart, but yellow fell one more time for the 25 of Bob Bond and the 27 of Hawksby, both of whom required hooks. Furlong was able to fend off Moore for the win while Goutermout, Muldoon and Jeff Holbrook settled into top fives. The chase and the race was over. Muldon was champ. Sitterly and Page sat in the pits, although Otto had tried to run those last couple laps to salvage second place in the points.
Said second place runner Moore, in his first ride in the 88 of late, Jamie Moore: "It's fun running up front. The 88 ran really well tonight. It was very smooth. Running with Greg was fun. I actually thought I had an opportunity to get by him at the end. His tires were running out. But, he's an excellent driver. That's why he's won a few championships. We had an opportunity to get him and I just didn't. I'm real happy with second. And, I don't know which car I'll be in for Classic. Everybody is asking. We don't have a second driver lined up for the second car. We've talked to a couple people. I think the 44 is faster but the 88 is more consistent. We'll decide next Friday."
The limited super race was no less dramatic. As the full moon slid in and out behind the clouds, luck appeared to ebb with each appearance. One point separated Mark Regan and Mike Bond as they went into the feature with Steve Austin right on their tail. Regan worked slowly up in the field with Bond just behind him. Bond suddenly exited the field with a cut tire on lap 8. Charging back up to challenge Regan's position to the finish, Bond was one spot off at the end. Regan's teammate, Shawn Walker, was headed for his first victory lane for a huge celebration at the finish. "My first win. Coming out of two, I tapped Star a little and she got loose. I didn't see what happened after that. It felt good once I got in front. I knew Tony (White) was back there and I didn't know where he was hiding and where he'd try to go around - up or down. But, I came out on top. I'd like to thank everybody - a lot of sponsors are here and all the sponsors on the car. Also by father-in-law and all the guys in the pits for helping me wrenching and everything. There are so many names, I can't think of them all. Thank you everybody!"
2002 limited supermodified champion Mark Regan pulled his 69 alongside Walker's 68 in victory lane.
"I knew when Mike went in with a flat," said Regan amidst a cheering throng, "that he'd get it fixed and be back out there right behind me where he was. So there was no letting off. I'd like to thank my crew. I really wrecked the car a couple weeks ago and they put it right back where it was. The car was really good the last two weeks. I never thought number two championship would happen, but then of course, I never thought number one would happen either. This was one feels as great as the first one. It was really tight this year I really had my doubts going in because Mike's a great driver. To come back from the rear and to come right up behind me. You couldn't get anybody tougher than that.It was tight with the points right to the end but the crew was great all the while. And he races great too and very clean. I'd like to thank Paul and the Front Door, Auto Gallery, Harbor Framing and of course, Regan Auto Sales.
The intensity of the night continued as Star Matteson took up the limited super lead with Regan and Bond starting side by side back in row 6. It was Star, Shawn Walker, Lou LeVea, Chris Proud and Tony White out front as they survived some early crashes by Jack Patrick and then Kevin Knopp, then a four car tangle on lap 7.
Star and Walker took off with LeVea, Proud and White in the top five. Bill Izyk, Steve Austin, Regan and Bond were right there in line until on lap 8, the yellow flew for a sparking 01. Bond had cut a tire. he fled into the pits and was back out at the tail on the restart.
At halfway, Matteson retained her lead as Walker, LeVea, White, Proud, and Regan were right behind. Bond was tearing carefully up through the pack to try and catch Regan as the race remained flagless until lap 19. As the yellow flew for LeVea in the foam, Walker had passed Matteson, but had to go back. He made the pass good on the restart, however, and Matteson soon drifted quickly backwards.
On lap 20, Walker was on cruise out front while his teammate Regan sat in sixth. Bond was closing up on Regan with only Kevin Battelle in between. On lap 22, yellow fell for Chris Proud, who had a tire go down, causing him to spin off turn four out of third place.
Tony White closed the gap on Walker on the restart as Austin, Regan and Battelle were right there. Bond pressured Battelle and got up on Regan with two to go, but that was it for the Mexico, NY challenger.
Walker crossed the winner, Regan the champion by a nose. Tony White, and Steve Austin joined Regan and Bond in the top five.
And, not to be outdone, the super stock title was a battle of the Miller brothers and when the race ended, Kelly Miller won his third feature of the year while brother Joe took home his first-ever track title. The brothers also sat side by side in the winner's circle. Race winner Kelly said of his race, "I looked outside there toward the end and saw Frank Reakes coming and said if I'm going to do it, I'm going to do it now. It was a tough run tonight. I drive on the edge, but is there any other way to be. I'd like to thank Bob Andrews for helping out, Tommy Duell, my girlfriend and the kids, J&K Napa, Oswego Glass, Dynamic Designs and Empire Carpeting. "
And, new super stock champion Joe indicated, "I think I lost a cylinder again tonight. It's a great engine, but I keep breaking rocker studs. Anyway, that wreck a while ago set us back some. it took us about three weeks to get the car handling again and then we started having motor problems. I was beginning to wonder if I was going to make it at all. This is great. I'd like to thank George's Salt Sity Books, Jerry Hollister Insurance, Paul and the Front Door, Andrews Auto, Steve's Body Shop, Precision Tae Kwon Do, my crew - these guys have been great. It's the first year I've had a crew. "
The super stock finale found Joe Miller jumping to the lead from the start. Joe Skilinski, Bill Moore and Kelly Miller would challenge immediately, with Skilinski falling to fourth by lap 4.
A yellow flew on the 20 lapper on lap 4 when Bobby Newman tapped another car and had a tire go down.
At halfway, it was Joe Miller, Bill Moore, and Kelly Miller but moving rapidly into the mix was Frank Reakes.
Joe Miller had Moore, brother Kelly and Reakes fighting tooth and nail behind as Chris Lupa fell into a distant fifth.
Lap by lap the battle ensued when finally Kelly put his 8 outside Moore and then Joe to take the lead on lap 15. Frank Reakes moved by Moore soon thereafter leaving Joe Miller in fourth. But, fourth was all Joe needed for the title and there he stayed for the remaining five circuits. Kelly, Frank Reakes, Bill Moore, Joe Miller and Doug Reaume finished up the top five with Joe Miller eking out his first title by a mere point or two.
Oswego Speedway closes out its season with the 46th Annual Budweiser Classic Weekend beginning Friday, Aug. 30th and running until Sunday, Sept. 1.