Oswego, NY — (June 9, 2012) — If the Top 3 finishers in Saturday night’s RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting/Thunder Road Bar and Grill Novelis Supermodified 50-lap feature are any indication of the future of Oswego Speedway, it is certainly in good hands.
Despite a terrible forecast and early rain showers, young Dave Danzer who already had one Supermodified win to his credit, used a lap 20 inside move to slip past fellow youngster Michael Muldoon for his second career visit to Chris Nelson Insurance Victory Lane Saturday night at Oswego Speedway. Danzer, 24, would outlast Dan Connors Jr., just 18 years of age, and 21-year old Kody Graham for the exciting victory. Saturday’s podium finishers made for the youngest Top 3 in Supermodified history at the Speedway, with a combined age of just 63 years.
Oswego Supermodified veterans Joey Payne and Otto Sitterly would complete the Top 5 finishers in the tire tracks of the Speedway youth movement. Pat Lavery, Tim Devendorf, Brian Sobus, Shaun Gosselin, and last week’s winner Joe Gosek filled the Top 10.
“This one we came from the back, this one means a little bit more,” said Danzer in victory lane, comparing career win No. 1 to win No. 2. “Today we started 8th and came up through there. I think by the end of the year we’ll have a couple wins, that is what we are shooting for. We’re slowly crawling our way back into the championship, we just need good consistent runs and hopefully it will pay off.”
Muldoon and Graham would lead the Novelis Supermodified field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag, with Muldoon blasting into the early lead piloting his father’s No. 50m machine. With Muldoon out front Graham settled into second, while Mod Lite champion Tim Devendorf worked his way under Stephen Gioia III to pull into the 3rd position early on.
As the field sorted itself out, a frightening accident developed coming out of turn two on just the third circuit of the event.
Last season’s championship runner-up, Randy Ritskes, and the Gioia No. 9 would touch wheels out of turn two sending Ritskes into the inside hub rail. After the contact with the inside retaining wall, the Ritskes No. 88 came back across the Speedway leaving drivers little room to maneuver.
Dave Gruel would climb the right rear wheel of the Mike Barnes No. 99 trying to avoid the accident, sending him head first into the turn two outside wall. As Gruel’s No. 50 machine spun back around it slammed into the No. 88 causing a massive fuel leak from the rear of the Lighthouse Lanes ride. A methanol burning fire would soon erupt forcing both Gruel and Ritskes to make daring exits from their vehicles.
Both drivers exited their cars without injury, and the highly touted Oswego Speedway safety crew made quick work of the blaze, knocking it down in a matter of seconds.
Tim Snyder, Joe Gosek, and Pat Lavery were also involved in the scene in turn two and all three were able to rejoin the field. Gruel and Ritskes were each done for the night.
When the field came back to green Muldoon led Graham, Devendorf, Gioia, and Connors in the Top 5.
Connors would be the car on the move after the lap 3 restart. For the third consecutive week the No. 01 showed great speed and before long Connors drove around Gioia then underneath Devendorf to climb to the 3rd position. As Connors moved up, Muldoon began to distance himself from Graham.
Danzer began to mount his charge on lap 13 as he moved around Devendorf on the high side in corner three to move to 4th. From there the No. 52 quickly closed on the Top 3 as they checked away from the field.
Further back the Gioia machine began to slip through the field as Sobus, Payne, and Sitterly all made low side moves on the No. 9 on lap 17. One lap later, the caution lights would come on again.
The No. 50m of Muldoon nearly lost the handle charging into corner one, leading the field. A pre-cautionary yellow flag was waved as Muldoon got out of shape. He was able to gather the car and restart at the front of the field.
The Top 10 at lap 18 showed Muldoon, Graham, Danzer, Connors, Devendorf, Sobus, Payne, Sitterly, Gosselin, and Jarett Andretti.
Seeing that the Muldoon car was losing the handle, Graham would try Muldoon high on the lap 18 restart but would push too high, leaving the low lane open. As a result, 3rd place running Danzer and Connors were able to fly past on the inside and quickly mount a charge on Muldoon for the point.
Just two laps later a near mirror image would occur as Danzer found more bite than Muldoon low out of turn four to take the top spot into one, keeping the lane open for Connors to slide through for 2nd. Danzer and Connors would now lead the field ahead of Muldoon, Graham, and Devendorf.
By the halfway point of the 50-lap affair both Payne and Sitterly had worked their way well into the Top 10, running 7th and 8th respectively. In his first ever Novelis Supermodified feature event, Andretti had charged from 22nd on the grid to 10th at the cross flags.
Muldoon’s great run would come to an end on lap 30 as the No. 50m broke loose and spun in turn three. The spin would move Graham into the Top 3, Devendorf to 4th, and Sobus into the Top 5.
As the green lights came back on it looked as though Payne and Sitterly may start their charge to the front. They each made low side passes of Sobus, picking their way further through the pack, but would eventually stall out battling each other for a Top 5 position.
By lap 40 Danzer mounted a near full straight lead leaving the battle for 2nd between Connors and Graham. But on lap 41 a Danzer run away faded away as Snyder spun down the back straight battling with Andretti and Gosek. The quick caution allowed Connors to close on Danzer for another shot at his first career victory.
As Don Forbes threw the green one more time Danzer dropped the hammer ahead of Connors, Graham, Devendorf, Payne, Sitterly, Sobus, Gosselin, Lavery, and Andretti.
As Danzer rolled out of turn four the No. 52 broke traction, turning slightly sideways allowing the Connors machine to make a full-fledged attempt at the lead on the high side into turn one. Danzer however was too tough, and he was able to fend off Connors on the low side to keep the top position.
The restart helped Payne to improve himself another spot as he drove around Devendorf to move to 4th on lap 42.
Out front though Danzer was simply too good as not even another yellow flag on lap 43 could slow his momentum. Danzer would easily go on to his 2nd career Novelis Supermodified feature win, in just his second year of Supermodified competition.
Connors, who had been known as the hard luck driver of the Supermodified division at Oswego, was more than pleased with yet another podium finish.
“It was a lot of fun out there, the car started going away on us but we kept it in there,” said Connors, who has finishes of 3rd and 2nd in the last two weeks. “Dave ran a great race; we just didn’t have enough for him. I definitely have to thank Doug Holmes, if it wasn’t for him we probably wouldn’t even be here. Hopefully we can keep improving and get the car better every time. The last 3 weeks have been great, hopefully we can keep improving.”
Kody Graham, son of Ray Graham who had issues with his new No. 90 electing not to take the feature green flag, said his No. 21 had an odd feeling to it.
“It was the weirdest thing, in turn one and two I was extremely tight and in three and four I was sideways,” said Graham. “It was definitely a learning curve; I have never had that before. On that restart there I showed Mike a look and that’s when they (Danzer & Connors) got me, but hats off to them, they did a great job. I gave it all I could.”
Saturday, June 9th, 2012
RJ Caruso Tax & Accounting/Thunder Road Bar and Grill Night
Saturday, June 16th – Universal Metal Works Night at the Races, including Driver Autograph Night
Novelis Supermodified 50 – Pathfinder Bank SBS 30
Feature (50-laps): 1. 52 – Dave Danzer, 2. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 3. 21 – Kody Graham, 4. 20 – Joey Payne, 5. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 6. 22 – Pat Lavery, 7. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 8. 60 – Brian Sobus, 9. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 10. 00 – Joe Gosek, 11. 1 – Jarett Andretti, 12. 24 – Jerry Curran, 13. 05 – Jeff Abold, 14. 0 – Tim Snyder, 15. 81 – Kelly Miller, 16. 33 – Rod Sauder, 17. 50m – Michael Muldoon, 18. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 19. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 20. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 21. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 22. 99 – Mike Barnes, 23. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 24. 50 – Dave Gruel, 25. 90 – Ray Graham Jr.
1st Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 50m – Michael Muldoon, 2. 90 – Ray Graham Jr., 3. 52 – Dave Danzer, 4. 22 – Pat Lavery, 5. 60 – Brian Sobus, 6. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 7. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 8. 87 – Keith Gilliam, 9. 1 – Jarett Andretti, 10. 56 – Hal LaTulip
2nd Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 88 – Randy Ritskes, 2. 21 – Kody Graham, 3. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 4. 0 – Tim Snyder, 5. 50 – Dave Gruel, 6. 33 – Rod Sauder, 7. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 8. 05 – Jeff Abold, 9. 81 – Kelly Miller
3rd Heat (12laps/6qualify): 1. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 2. 00 – Joe Gosek, 3. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 4. 9 – Stephen Gioia II, 5. 99 – Mike Barnes, 6. 20 – Joey Payne, 7. 24 – Jerry Curran, 8. 66 – Lou LeVea, 9. 23 – Jason Spaulding
Consi (10laps/6qualify): 1. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 2. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 3. 24 – Jerry Curran, 4. 05 – Jeff Abold, 5. 1 – Jarett Andretti, 6. 81 – Kelly Miller, 7. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 8. 66 – Lou LeVea Sr.