Nicotra eager to start season with trio of supermodifieds

From Nicotra Racing

HOMESTEAD, Fla. – Nicotra Racing, led by four-time defending Oswego Speedway track champion and chief mechanic Otto Sitterly, has another full slate of supermodified racing on tap for the 2011 season.

Owner John Nicotra says the team plans for Sitterly to return to Oswego in May to attempt to win four track championships in a row and his fifth overall. Indy car ace Davey Hamilton will return to run “a handful of Oswego shows,” Nicotra says, while Sitterly will look to make select ISMA shows throughout the Northeast, as he’s done for the past few seasons.

Which car Sitterly will field at Oswego this year is the question.

Headlining the offseason news for the team is the purchase of a brand new Hawk Jr. super, which gives Nicotra three nearly identical Hawk-built chassis in the team’s stable. Sitterly picked up the frame from Joe Hawksby Jr.’s Oswego, N.Y., shop in the fall, and he and his crew have worked all winter to build the new mount.

The car will hit the track this spring, although Nicotra says he hopes Otto continues to field the reliable G&I Homes blue No. 7 with which he’s won seven Oswego features in the last two years, including the 2009 Budweiser International Classic 200.

“I told Otto, ‘why change something that doesn’t need fixing?’” Nicotra said from his Homestead, Fla., winter residence. “I think Davey will probably start with the new car, and I hope Otto chooses to stay with the current one. I’d be very surprised if (Sitterly) decides to start with anything other than the car he’s won with. It’s like riding a horse, and he’s very comfortable with that car.”

Nicotra went on to stress that other than the new car, very little will change in 2011.

“Otto’s doing the same thing he always does: working hard in the shop and going over everything meticulously. I thought about changing the paint scheme, but we don’t even want to touch that. The cars will come back with the same paint, fresh motors and we’ll give 100-percent effort like we’ve been doing. We’ll take it one lap at a time and let the chips fall,” Nicotra added.

The three-car team will once again give Nicotra an opportunity to enter a trio of supers in September’s International Classic. This occurred in 2009, when Sitterly, Hamilton and Bobby Santos III wheeled Nicotra-owned cars in the 200-lap grind, which Sitterly won.

Nicotra says he would like to enter all three cars in Oswego’s season-ending race.

“We like to stick with what we know with the Oswego stuff, and we’d like to give someone a shot in one of our cars. I have someone in mind, and we’re trying to work a deal that would be a big story in supermodified racing if it happened. I hope it can work out because it’d be good for non-wing and winged super racing,” said Nicotra, who wouldn’t reveal any further details about the potential deal.

Oswego’s season kicks off with an ISMA-sanctioned 50-lapper on May 7. The Oswego non-wing season gets the green flag with the Jim Shampine Memorial 75 on May 28.