Oswego Speedway report 2001-08-11

Oswego, NY - Saturday night at Oswego Speedway Greg Furlong repeated his previous week's winning performance in the supermodified division-literally. On August 4, Greg suffered a damaging crash in a heat and came back to win the feature from way...

Oswego, NY - Saturday night at Oswego Speedway Greg Furlong repeated his previous week's winning performance in the supermodified division-literally. On August 4, Greg suffered a damaging crash in a heat and came back to win the feature from way back in the pack. On August 11 he did it all over again. This time, on Nice n Easy Grocery Shoppes-Labatt-TK99 night, it was a little easier for the Hannibal, NY driver. A devastating crash with Keith Gilliam in the third heat, sent Greg to the consolation in his back up car. Starting 19th, Furlong flew up through the 24-car field to capture the point from Otto Sitterly on lap 21. It was Furlong's fourth feature win of the season, and a hard-fought one for the 2000 track champ.

"The car was awesome tonight, said Furlong, "We crashed in the heat race and went to the backup car. I thought we had a good car there in the heat, but unfortunately it only made a lap. We brought this other car out, ran and won the consi. We started toward the back but this car was just on rails. It was hooked. I actually was trying to be kind of conservative out there. I didn't want to be too aggressive and cause us to wreck. But, when the car works that good, it's hard to sit back. The car just wants to go. This car is almost five years old now and it's won us almost $100,000. This car just rocks! It's just awesome. A lot of it is communication between me, my brother and the crew. You know there are a lot of good drivers out there and I don't think it's necessarily that I'm better than they are. I think that we have just found something. The crew has given us a great setup. There's a lot of great talent out there. A lot of them are off from last year like Goutermout and Gareau. Shannon Groves is starting to come on fire and so is Bobby Bond. Once they figure it out, they'll be chasing me down. I enjoy the competition. Last week some people gave me grief for beating Shannon, who ran a great race, but I have to give it all I have. That's what I want to do. That's what my brother wants me to do."

In the limited super mid-summer championship 30, Bobby Rundell made good on his attempt to get back into victory lane. On Aug. 4 he was almost home when a brush with another car sent him to the rear. This time, no one got quite close enough to do that. It was a third career-win for Rundell who spent most of last year out of competition due to a non-related work injury adding to a couple previous years absence at Oswego. Joe Miller, whose luck hasn't been all that good of late either, went flag to flag in the super stock main for his first of the season.

A large crowd turned out for the Nice n Easy Grocery Shoppes-Labatt-TK99 Nostalgia Night and they were treated to some great racing, with the last checkered dropped just before 10 pm. As aforementioned, a scary wreck in the third supermodified heat destroyed both Furlong's and Keith Gilliam's machines, with debris flying to the top of the rear grandstand in the tremendous impact.

Otto Sitterly and Vern LaFave led the supers down to green and it was Sitterly the first leader after a minor spin by Tim Devendorf slowed the action.

Sitterly led Tim Gareau, LaFave, Jeff Holbrook, Todd Stowell and Tim Snyder as the initial laps flew by without a yellow in sight.

The top three became Sitterly, Gareau and Todd Stowell as the clock approached the lap 20 mark. But, out in the pack, Greg Furlong was picking off a car a lap. By lap 21 he was up beside Gareau and entering turn three, he made the pass for the lead around Sitterly. The 72 was flying. Greg said later, "When you have a car that's good, it makes the driver look better too." To everyone on hand, the car and driver looked awesome!

But back in the field, no one was giving up on their racing by any means. Sitterly was holding off a battling Gareau, Stowell, LaFave, Trytek, Holbrook, Snyder, Groves and Jamie Moore, all looking for top five spots. The yellow never flew on this one until just into lap 35 when the 20 of Tim Devendorf spun and pitted. With 11 to go, the lap cars stayed in their place, allowing Furlong a three-lap car advantage over second place runner Tim Gareau. Sitterly, LaFave and Groves were now the top five with Stowell, Trytek, Howie Page, Snyder, Goutermout and Moore still going full bore to toward the front.

Furlong was able to build a great lead quickly as Gareau had to get by the lap cars of LaTulip, Lavery and Eldred. On lap 40, the only major caution of the event took place with six cars affected in one form or another. Vern LaFave had a heavily damaged 97, although he drove a half a lap before stopping. Bill Sharkey was involved as was Jamie Moore, Stowell, Eldred and Tim Snyder. Hooks were out for LaFave, Moore and Snyder, whose crew had performed miracles just to get the 0 back into racing shape after a bad crash on Aug. 4.

It was a shootout now to the end with Gareau starting right on Furlong's tail. But, Furlong disappeared as soon as the green dropped. Said Gareau later, "We might have been able to win the race but we had a problem with the right front. The car was pushing terrible. I think we could have had something for Greg there at the end but it was pushing so bad. We'll take second and a couple weeks to work toward the Classic. We have a couple handling problems. I want to thank all my crew, my mom and dad and my sister to sticking by me and of course, my sponsors."

The checkered flew for Furlong in solo flight while Gareau, and Groves were second and third. Groves, who almost won his first-ever feature a week ago, was content with another top three. "The car was good," said Groves. "We came up through the pack from ninth. It was fun. Furlong was fast, but oh well, we got another top five and the car was good. The last caution it loosened up more than I would have liked it to. We might have gotten another spot, but I'm happy. The car is all together and we have another top five."

Page pulled his 18 into fourth place, a happy one for that luckless driver. "The last ten laps were good for me," said Howard. " A lot of lap cars got in the way and it worked good for me. We definitely weren't the best car out there, but good enough to get up through there at the end. At the end everybody loosened up or whatever happened and it worked good for us. We finished the race. We haven't finished one in about four races. I'm happy about that." And speaking of no luck, Bob Goutermout, who has not finished a race this year except the one feature he won, finally remained on the track for fifth. Said Goutermout, smiling from ear to ear, "We feel GREAT about fifth! Our goal tonight was to roll it back on the trailer. It didn't matter where I finished. We're trying to get ready for Classic. We're out of the points chase now. But, the car is starting to run good again. I'm not sure if I got faster out there or some of the cars came back to me, but we're ecstatic to finish fifth."

Star Matteson took the first lap lead of the limited supermodified midsummer championship, but Bobby Rundell, starting fourth, was up to challenge and take the point the next lap. Rundell, who had been close the previous week, was determined to get this one.

Matteson did a great job in second holding off the pack until yellow flew on lap 7 for the 7 of Mike Bond who had to be hooked.

Rundell pulled away on the restart with Matteson still able to hold off Steve Austin, J.J. Andrews, Jack Patrick and a host of storming limiteds. Yellow slowed things again on lap 14 when Jim Guyle spun and then restarted on his own. He was sent in for an intentional yellow.

Rundell once again made his 33 elusive out front as Austin, who took second on lap 11, was now the number two man. Matteson, Andrews, Shawn Muldoon and Jack Patrick were doing some heavy dicing for position just behind Shawn Muldoon, who hasn't had much luck himself of late, moved into fourth on lap 14 nipping at J.J. Andrews' bumper for third.

Lap 22 saw the last yellow of the night when Jack Patrick was in the inner hub and Star Matteson was around nearby to avoid. Patrick was able to restart and Matteson assumed her fifth place spot.

Bobby Rundell was a man on a mission as the green flew with nine laps to go.Austin, Andrews and Muldoon were side by side, nose to tail, in a fight of their own. On lap 24, that trio appeared to be closing on the leader as the 33 seemed to slow up. Rundell later explained, "The car got a little loose about lap 24 there. I had to wait for the tires to come back and when it felt better, we went back at it again."

And, at it he was for the final laps. Austin remained second while Muldoon tried every route but over to get by Andrews. Russ Brown closed in on Muldoon to make the racing hot and heavy to the end. But, it was Rundell first over the line this week with Austin, Andrews, Muldoon and Brown the top five. Matteson stayed in there for sixth while Gregg Davis Dan Ferlito, Mark Regan and Matt Wheeler finished up the competitive top ten.

Rundell was quietly ecstatic in victory lane, "This was a long time coming. I'm happy to come back this year. It's a tough division. I've had some tough luck, but finally we had something go our way. I'm doing a lot better too. I owe all this to my crew chief and father, for giving me the chance to do it again. And, all you fans, thank you for the support, it means a lot. I feel better as a driver. I spent four years away and came back and everything is starting to come together. We got a little luck and that makes all the difference."

Joe Miller didn't leave much doubt as to where he was headed when he took off in the lead of the super stock 20 lap main. He left Bill Moore, Doug Newman, Tony White and Bruce Long in the dust at the green. But, Miller's been there before, only to have bad luck strike. On lap 4 Butch Coon and Bob Munger came together with neither able to continue.

Miller pulled away from Moore on the green and nothing was going to stop him from getting to victory lane this time. Moore, Tony White, Long, Lou LeVea, Dave Bock and Kelly Miller put on a racing exhibition behind Moore as the laps wore away.

At lap 17 Moore appeared to be closing the gap slightly on Joe Miller, but to no avail. Tony White staved off the intense pressure from Pennsylvanian Bruce Long while LeVea waited for a mistake by that duo. Kelly Miller, Newman and Bock ran right behind LeVea.

Joe Miller finally made it number one on the season when he drove under the checkered on lap 20. Bill Moore was several car lengths behind as Long, Tony White and LeVea completed the top five in the 17-car feature go. "It's been a long time coming. I've had some seriously bad luck this year," said Miller in a joyful victory lane ceremony. "I've been wanting this since the first night and I just couldn't seem to get here. I guess I have now. "

A dwarf car exhibition race delighted the large crowd in both the front and rear grandstands. Twin 30's for the supers are on the docket for Aug. 18 Oswego Quality Carpet Night, with Burke's Home Centers' Aug. 25 event the r egular season finale before Budweiser Classic weekend on Aug. 31-Sept. 1 & 2.

-OS

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Series Stock car
Drivers Kelly Miller