OSWEGO, NY (July 29, 2013) – The second richest race in all of Supermodified racing, next to the Budweiser International Classic 200, will take the green flag this Saturday night at Oswego Speedway as the title of Mr. Novelis Supermodified is on the line with a hefty prize of $10,000 awaiting the winner.
The 26-year history of the Mr. Supermodified event has provided memorable moments and decorated champions.
Oswego Speedway legends Mike Ordway, Doug Heveron, Mike Muldoon, Steve Gioia Jr., and Doug Didero have all taken home the $10,000 top prize in their careers at the Speedway. However, the race has also come to be known as a catalyst for young drivers, as multiple times the event has produced a first time winner.
In 1987, the first year of the Mr. Supermodified event, Gene Lee Gibson ran to victory lane for his first career Supermodified win at Oswego. Just one year later, Mike Muldoon would do the same, kick starting a Hall of Fame career at the ‘Steel Palace.’
In 1997, perhaps the most improbable winner, Tim Gareau beat out top shoes Didero, Gioia, and two-time champion Pat Abold. Gareau would go on to win 12 more Oswego features and capture the 2004 Speedway championship.
Bob Magner would be the next of the first time fraternity to score in the Mr. Supermodified as he drove to the victory in 2008. Magner would actually win the event two years in a row, doubling up in 2009.
Just last season the Speedway added another first time winner to its list of $10,000 champions as Kody Graham, son of two-time Mr. Supermodified Ray Graham, beat out Joe Gosek and Michael Barnes in a tremendous three car battle for the win. Kody’s victory made for a Graham three-peat in the event, as Ray took top honors in 2010 and 2011.
In 2013 there are a host of drivers still looking for their first career win including Shaun Gosselin, Michael Muldooon, Brandon Bellinger, Dan Connors Jr., Tim Devendorf, and Brian Sweeney. Perhaps this year’s Mr. Supermodified could be their time to shine.
At the same time there is also a list of multi-time winners at Oswego, still seeking their first Mr. Supermodified crown.
Dave Gruel, Barnes, Dave Danzer, and Jerry Curran have multiple Oswego wins without a $10,000 check, but without a doubt the biggest name is that of Gosek.
Gosek is the lone driver remaining in this year’s field that competed in the first Mr. Supermodified back in 1987. In that inaugural event Gosek finished dead last, but since then he has racked up nine career top five finishes and an amazing six runner-ups without a victory. The driver of the No. 00 has yet to record a feature win in 2013, but rides second in the current Speedway standings behind Otto Sitterly.
Sitterly was triumphant in the 2006 running of the Mr. Supermodified and with his victory in the RoC 100 two weeks ago at the Speedway, he now holds an 8-point edge on Gosek in the race for the Speedway title.
Sitterly’s 2006 victory in the Mr. Supermodified event was a part of his dominating championship run, but perhaps his most memorable moment in the $10,000 spectacular was his hellacious ride into the inside hub rail in 2011 battling Ray Graham for the win. After finishing sixth in the 2012 edition of the race, Sitterly is ready to cash another $10,000 check.
Shaun Gosselin sits third in the championship standings in the No. 26, riding the best season of his career at the Speedway. Gosselin’s best career finish in the Mr. Supermodified is 11th coming back in 2011, but the driver of the Greene’s Ale House machine no longer looks in the rear view mirror.
Gruel and Barnes finish the top five in the Supermodified standings heading into this weekend.
Gruel picked up a big win at the Speedway back on July 6, while Barnes led the Speedway standings through the early part of the season before issues in the last couple weeks have dropped him to 5th in the battle for the title.
The $1,500 Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS may be five years behind the Mr. Supermodified, but it has no doubt produced its share of memories and fantastic races.
There have been an amazing 19 different winners of the Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS in 21 attempts.
Daryl Nichols won the inaugural Mr. Limited Supermodified in 1992, and it wasn’t until 1997 that the division saw a repeat winner.
Long-time competitor Andy Jodway became the first of only two drivers to win the title event twice coming in 1995 and 1997. Dan Ferlito would join Jodway in 1999 and 2000, also becoming the only driver to win the race in consecutive years.
Tim Gareau and Ray Graham currently stand as the only drivers in history to have won both the Mr. Supermodified and Mr. SBS crowns. Gareau won the Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS title in 1994, while Graham took top honors in 1998.
The most memorable Mr. Pathfinder Bank SBS likely came in 2002 when the event name had to be changed in victory lane as Star Matteson picked up the Ms. SBS victory. The win would be Matteson’s only feature victory in the series, as she became the first female feature victor at Oswego Speedway.
Many may find it hard to believe that highly decorated SBS pilots Mike Bond and Russ Brown each only have one win in the $1,500 special event. Bond took the win in 2004, while Brown reached victory lane in 2006.
Brown and Bond, the top two in the championship standings, will no doubt be in the hunt for another $1,500 check on Saturday night.
First time winners have also been a highlight of the Mr. SBS title including last season as Oswego’s AJ Bernys drove to the big win in the No. 24. Bernys picked up another win early this season, and looks to repeat in 2013.
Racing begins Saturday night at 6:30pm and is presented by Novelis, Pathfinder Bank, and POMCO Group. General admission seats are available for the premier event for $20, a $10 decrease from one year ago.
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PHOTO – Kody Graham, a feature winner also in 2013, looks to defend his Mr. Novelis Supermodified crown this Saturday night at Oswego Speedway. Bill Taylor