Makin’ Tracks – Oswego Mr. Supermodified – PTD Exclusive

By BILL FOLEY

Put $10,000 up for a 50-lap event and you can rest assured that one of the largest regular season fields will roll through the gate.

On Saturday night the annual Mr. Supermodified event drew 23 running methanol breathing machines to the Oswego Speedway and the Mr. Small Block Super field numbered an identical 23.

Growing up attending Oswego weekly as a fan and then for over 20 years writing their program and some of that time toward the end doing on track announcing it was indeed like going home.

I hadn’t been in the Oswego pits for a regular Saturday night show in 20 years and the stars aligned to allow me to write about my old stomping grounds once again.

In the early days not all drivers were happy with the “Dolly Parton” payoff. For those that might not remember Dolly had everything all on the top. The $10,000 to win dropped like falling off a cliff at the Grand Canyon. So, anyone who wanted a good pay day took chances and it provided excitement for the fans yet a little consternation for the race teams.

This year’s edition was clean as a couple of minor spins slowed things down, but overall it was relatively smooth.

A bad season was made good for winner David Gruel as he started outside of he front row and though challenged at times, held on over Brandon Bellinger (who passed Mike Muldoon) between three and four on the final lap.

Small Block winner Jesse Bearup looked like a third place finisher until the top two cars took each other out. Dalton Doyle did everything in his power, including a couple of “Hey, I’m here” moments, but Bearup came home with the $1,500 win and the Mr. Small Block Super crown.

News and Notes

Danny Connors Jr. led 40 laps of the previous week feature only to suffer problems that put him out when victory was in reach. The pole sitter couldn’t fire, pitted and then went back out, but for the second week in a row the mag appeared to quit…

Michael Barnes had a move that I will remember for a long time to come. While everyone else was bottom dwelling he tried a fourth to first b*lls out move. It nearly worked, but the car simply didn’t stick at the west end of the speedway…

Tim Snyder started outside of the second row, but pitted a few times before electrical problems sidelined him. Look for the team to start doing a little more ISMA winged racing. They are getting comfortable with the wing on board…

Timmy J was behind the wheel of Danzer family 52…

Jersey Joey Payne was in the house with a new ride. Don Pennix from California purchased the car that Payne was driving from the Mike Muldoon racing stable…

The 51 that is usually driven by Joey Moriarty apparently was there as a back up for the Nicotra team. It was on jack stands all night long. That was the 24th Super in the pits…

The start of the Small Block main was a nightmare as a car hit another car who then hit the rear end of Kraig Herroth. The 04 spun and when the dust had settled nearly dozen cars were in a parking lot in the first turn. It was the lone major mishap of the night…

Alan McRae, grandson of Joe Hawksby, had a good karting career and is running Small Block Supers now. He went up in a puff of smoke on the 21st lap…

Mike Bruce and Cameron Rowe had one-two locked up in the SBS main, but tangled off two with 11 laps to go…

Andrew Schartner, second in points, had a problem early on, dropped back to eighth and spent the majority of the rest of the race trying to pass point leader Dave Cliff. Eventually with 7 laps to go Cliff’s right front touched the 18 as he tried to pass in one as they battled for sixth. Schartner hit the wall. Ironically, there was irreparable damage to the point of car contact with Cliff and no damage on the wall hitting side…

Russ Brown, who was around when the SBS class started, went to the rear and was one of the few that could pass. He ended up a solid third. Who knows what would have happened with another yellow…

Tim Devondorf making his first Super start of the year and came home 13th…

Dave Shullick, four time feature winner and point leader, had his worst starting position of the year. He came off the line 15th and spent much of the race battling teammate Otto Sitterly…

Keith Shampine, Joe Gosek and Jeff Abold were steady and consistent throughout the main and came home fourth, fifth and sixth…

The Mike Muldoon team is done with Oswego until Classic. After finishing one, two and three during the past three weeks the elder Muldoon noted, “It’s costing me $2,300 a week to run here and I just can’t do it. Things are so aero dependent here now and with the tires they’ve given us and the back wings you just can’t race. The tires just slide and the cars get so tight.”…

Bill Sharkey has been putting his car together with the dream of returning to Oswego for the last 10 years and he has been out the past four shows…

Camden Proud spent the later part of the SBS main chasing Greg O’Connor. Several times Proud dove in deep in three, but couldn’t finish off the pass…

Chance to Catch Up

Jeff West, who drove at Oswego the last time 17 years ago, was in a Jerry Curran new Super.

The car had new car problems and he will be back for Classic.

Walking the pits I was able to catch up with folks I hadn’t seen in quite some time and it was fun.

Jeff’s wife Laurie came over and gave me a big hug. She called her three boys over and said, “This is Mr. Foley and he’s the reason you are here.”

Laurie was a college intern for me when I was still in radio. She was my producer for a weekly two hour racing call in show.

Jeff was a guest one night and she said, “He’s cute.”

I said, much like a father would, “Don’t get involved with a race car driver. You’ll regret it.”

Have to say I’m glad I was wrong. Jeff has a successful fabrication business in Indy while his three boys are outstanding hockey players. Jeff is doing work for GM NASCAR bodies and the 2018 Indy Cars.

Good to see them and all the other folks including Shirley Letcher, Don Kranz, Ray Grela, the Sharkey Brothers, Marcia and Donnie Bartlett, Mike Muldoon, Denny Snyder and many more. I guess you can go home.

Well, walking across the track to the exit tunnel I stopped, took time to gaze both ways and reflect.

The Oswego Speedway had been a major part of my life and I wondered why I let one person drive me away from the place.

Lots of memories.

However, fortunately the dirt family has adopted me. For one night I was able to go back to my home base in my home town.

But sadly it was only for one night.

Comments, new and stuff please send along to foley395@hotmail.com