By Camden Proud
OSWEGO, NY (May 9, 2021) – In Oswego Speedway’s first event in more than 600 days, Ohio’s Dave Shullick Jr. started on the inside of the fourth row and marched the Osetek Racing No. 95 first to the front, and then through lapped traffic for his eleventh career Oswego Supermodified victory and the second of his career on Opening Night.
After passing nine cars in his drive from mid-pack, Shullick was able to pick off earlier leaders Dave Danzer and Michael Barnes with 15 to go, and then sliced and diced his way through late race traffic, keeping Barnes at bay for his second win with car owner Chris Osetek.
“It was like rush hour on the LA freeway out there,” Shullick said in victory lane. “We all were wheel to wheel for a while, but I knew once we got in clean air, we would be in great shape. The Osetek Team went to school over the winter and it shows, this car has been a rocketship since we unloaded.”
Third starting Barnes had used lapped traffic to get by good friend Danzer for the lead with 20 laps remaining, but relinquished it to Shullick just four laps later when the 68 broke sideways coming off of turn two.
“The car was too loose the whole race,” mentioned Barnes. “It was a lucky second by being able to start up front, but a good start to our season finishing on the podium. Thank you to Gary, Eric and the Syrell Race team for everything they do, and congratulations to DJ (Shullick) and Chris (Osetek). They were the class of the field.”
Doug Didero, who started in fourth, hung around in the top five all race long, and was able to sneak under Danzer on a restart with 10 laps to go for his fourth podium in nine races since returning to action with the No. 3.
“The car was good tonight,” quipped Didero. “We could not get the car hooked up in practice all week, and Thursday we were real bad, so tonight we took some big swings at it and figured we would use this as a test session to get the car driveable, but ended up with a better result than any of us were expecting tonight, so we’re all happy.”
Leading the 50-lap Season Opening feature presented by Helena Agri-Enterprises to green was another Ohioan, Mike McVetta, on the pole with Danzer to his outside.
Jumping out to the point was the 22 of McVetta, who put together a rather impressive showing in his first ever attempt at a regular Oswego Speedway event.
McVetta led the first 12 laps before Danzer and third starting Barnes capitalized on lapped traffic to take over the first two positions.
Once he lost the lead, McVetta got the quick shuffle from Didero, Shullick, and Otto Sitterly in the following lap, dropping back outside of the top five.
Danzer built a healthy lead for the next 15 or so laps, but on lap 29, the leaders caught heavy traffic, bringing Barnes, Didero, and Shullick to his back bumper.
Shullick, who had already driven around Sitterly, Dan Connors, Brandon Bellinger, Jeff Abold, and McVetta, was the first driver to use this pack of lapped cars to his advantage, finding the outside of Didero to take third with 21 laps to go.
In the very next corner, Shullick shot to the outside of Barnes to move into the runner-up spot as the field came down to complete lap number 30.
However, Danzer got out of shape in front of the Shullick No. 95 down the backstretch, leaving a hole for Barnes to take the lead with 20 laps remaining.
The third different leader of the race, Barnes was now out in front, with Shullick second, Danzer third, Didero fourth and Sitterly in fifth amidst heavy traffic as the laps clicked away.
On lap 34, Barnes spun the tires coming out of turn two, and this was the opportunity Shullick needed to steal the race lead, getting around the outside of the Syrell Racing No. 68 in between turns three and four.
Barnes did not go away quietly, though, as the top two put on a torrid battle for the race lead with under 15 laps to go, dueling side by side in traffic before a spin by Lou LeVea Sr. brought out the first yellow flag of the race on lap 39.
Shullick managed to get a great jump on the Barnes No. 68 on the restart, while Didero found the inside of Danzer coming out of turn number two to move up into a podium position with the No. 3.
The field slowed twice more on lap 41; first for debris, and again on the ensuing restart when rookie Mike Bruce ended up sideways into the third turn foam with the No. 22.
Once again, Shullick put the hammer down and set sail on the final restart of the race, building more than a straightaway lead over Barnes and Didero, who were left to battle for second.
Sitterly managed to nip Danzer for fourth, but once Shullick got in front, nobody had anything for the Osetek Racing, TJ Toyota sponsored No. 95 in what turned out to be a dominant win for the 2018 Supermodified track champion.
Barnes was second, Didero third, Sitterly fourth, and Danzer fifth.
Abold, Connors, Tim Snyder, Alison Sload, and Bellinger all performed solidly in the top ten, finishing six through tenth, respectively.
Aric Iosue, Joey Payne, Michael Muldoon, and LeVea Sr. rounded out the on track running order when the checkered flag flew.
Jack Patrick, Bruce, Jerry Curran, Lou LeVea Jr, Camden Proud, early race leader McVetta, Moe Lilje, and Hal LaTulip, all called it an early night.
Max McLaughlin made his Oswego Speedway debut in the Jason Simmons Racing CraZ8, but also found himself pitside very early on in the feature due to mechanical issues.
Shullick was the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger for his ninth to first charge, while Connors picked up yet another Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer Award in the No. 01.
Oswego Speedway’s 2021 season resumes this Saturday, May 15 when Oswego County Media Group presents a full program for the Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS, and J&S Paving 350 Supers.
For more information, visit the Speedway online at OswegoSpeedway.com, LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway, or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway.
Helena Agri-Enterprises 70th Season Opener
Saturday, May 8, 2021
Feature (50-laps): 1. 95 DAVE SHULLICK JR, 2. 68 Michael Barnes, 3. 3 Doug Didero, 4. 7 Otto Sitterly, 5. 52 Dave Danzer, 6. 05 Jeff Abold, 7. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 8. 0 Tim Snyder, 9. 39 Alison Sload, 10. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 11. 11 Aric Iosue, 12. 14 Joey Payne, 13. 15 Michael Muldoon, 14. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 15. 90 Jack Patrick, 16. 22 ® Mike Bruce, 17. 99 Jerry Curran, 18. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 19. 54 Camden Proud, 20. 22 Mike McVetta, 21. 32 ® Moe Lilje, 22. CraZ8 ® Max McLaughlin, 23. 56 Hal LaTulip
Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 3 Doug Didero, 2. 22 Mike McVetta, 3. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 4. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 5. 11 Aric Iosue, 6. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 7. 14 Joey Payne, 8. CraZ8 ® Max McLaughlin
Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 52 Dave Danzer, 2. 05 Jeff Abold, 3. 0 Tim Snyder, 4. 32 ® Moe Lilje, 5. 22 ® Mike Bruce, 6. 54 Camden Proud, 7. 90 Jack Patrick, 8. 98 Tyler Thompson
Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 68 Michael Barnes, 2. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 39 Alison Sload, 5. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 6. 15 Michael Muldoon, 7. 99 Jerry Curran, 8. 56 Hal LaTulip
Group Time Trials: 1. 95 Dave Shullick Jr. – 16.135, 2. 7 Otto Sitterly – 16.273, 3. 98T Tyler Thompson – 16.309, 4. 01 Dan Connors Jr. – 16.317, 5. 02 Brandon Bellinger – 16.428, 6. 05 Jeff Abold – 16.430, 7. 3 Doug Didero – 16.434, 8. 68 Michael Barnes – 16.458, 9. 52 Dave Danzer – 16.478, 10. 22 Mike McVetta – 16.593, 11. 0 Tim Snyder – 16.666, 12. 39 Alison Sload – 16.674, 13. 11 Aric Iosue – 16.709, 14. 22 ® Mike Bruce – 16.715, 15. 66 Lou LeVea Sr. – 16.812, 16. 83 Lou LeVea Jr. – 16.987, 17. 32 ® Moe Lilje – 17.064, 18. 15 Michael Muldoon – 17.183, 19. 14 Joey Payne – 17.261, 20. 54 Camden Proud – 17.430, 21. 99 Jerry Curran – 17.435, 22. CraZ8 ® – Max McLaughlin – NT, 23. 56 Hal LaTulip – NT, 24. 78 Guard Nearbin – NT, 25. 90 Jack Patrick – NT
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #95 Dave Shullick Jr.
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: #01 Dan Connors Jr.