By Camden Proud
OSWEGO, NY (July 3, 2021) – Pathfinder Bank SBS high point man Dan Kapuscinski came from twelfth to the lead and held off a hard charging Josh Sokolic in the closing laps to earn his third win of the 2021 season in a wild 35-lap Tony White Memorial this past Saturday, July 3.
Kapuscinski, driving the Flack Racing No. 23, had started in twelfth, but wound up in fifth before the actual race even began due to a big multi-car pileup in turn three.
After restarting in the five spot, Kapuscinski took twelve laps to pass early leaders Griffin Miller, Robbie Bruce, Noah Ratcliff, and Brad Haynes to grab the lead away.
Kapuscinski was able to open up a big advantage until Sokolic, hungry for his first win, was able to reel in the leader with under ten to go.
Sokolic was able to apply a bit of pressure as the laps wound down, but Kapuscinski held on, driving from twelfth to first for the win in honor of Tony White.
“I knew working with these guys we’d have a really good chance this year, but I have raced a lot of years and things have never really gone my way. This year things seem to be falling one after another,” Kapuscinski said in victory lane. “I feel bad for the guys that got caught up down there, we got lucky and just snuck through (the accident). Josh Sokolic was pressuring me at the end, and he is going to win one of these eventually, but we were just a little bit better late.”
Securing runner-up finishes in back to back weeks, Sokolic now has six second place finishes in the SBS class without a feature win, the most of any driver. The 19 year-old continues to knock on the door for that breakthrough first victory.
“I thought we had a shot tonight until we caught up to the lapped car,” Sokolic commented. “I thought Dan (Kapuscinski) seemed to be getting loose later in the race, which is pretty typical, and we were actually tight, but when I caught up to that lapped car, he really got in the way. I don’t know how it would have played out, but congrats to Dan on a great race, and good race to everyone that made it through the wreck. I hope those that were collected in turn three were alright and I just have to thank all my sponsors and everyone that helped me out tonight.”
Earning his first podium finish in the division was 16 year-old rookie standout Noah Ratcliff, who has been beyond impressive in his early bid for Pathfinder Bank SBS Rookie of the Year.
Ratcliff, driving the family owned No. 73, already had a pair of top five finishes under his belt in 2021, but made it three on Saturday with another top five drive, this time coming home in third.
“We were pretty good tonight,” Ratcliff said. “We have had a great car this year and have been able to get some good finishes. I am hoping we can move up a couple spots over the next few weeks and continue to try to keep my nose clean.”
Five rookies; Robbie Bruce, Miller, Mark Denny Jr, Ratcliff, and Joey DeStevens made up the first five spots in Saturday night’s 35-lapper, and it was an entertaining battle right from the get go with Bruce and Miller duking it out for the lead.
The pair were side by side coming around to complete lap number one when the No. 18 of Andrew Schartner and No. 90 of Greg O’Connor came together in turn three.
From there, a parking lot ensued as the accident collected Bryan Haynes, Cameron Rowe, and Joey DeStevens, all of whom made hard contact with one another.
All five cars in turn three were done for the night, but most importantly the drivers involved were uninjured.
After a lengthy red flag for clean up, the race was resumed with the top five now Bruce, Miller, Ratcliff, Brad Haynes, and Kapuscinski for an original restart.
Miller jumped out to the early lead with Bruce settling in for second, Haynes third, Kapuscinski fourth, and Ratcliff was shuffled back to fifth.
Kapuscinski got underneath Haynes on the next lap and chased down leaders Miller and Bruce, quickly applying the pressure with five laps in.
Miller was fighting a loose race car, and when he got sideways going into turn one on lap 10, this opened the door for Bruce to take the race lead with Kapuscinski following suit.
One lap later, Kapuscinski got the run he needed to take the lead from Bruce and immediately began to pull away from the field.
Meanwhile, Sokolic had gone around Haynes and Ratcliff to crack the top five, and then moved in on second and third place running Bruce and Miller.
With 20 to go, the leaders reached traffic, and that is when Miller’s podium run went sour as a lapped car came together with the No. 9 machine in turn number one, which spun the 17 year old rookie out of third.
This moved Sokolic to third behind Kapuscinski and Bruce, while Ratcliff and Haynes would now inherit fourth and fifth.
Kapuscinski went right back to the lead on the restart, with Sokolic slipping under Bruce to steal second. Bruce was now third, Haynes fourth, and Ratcliff fifth.
Sokolic was able to at least keep pace with Kapuscinski for the remainder of the race, but really closed the gap with five laps remaining as the top two reached traffic.
The leaders did their best to dart through heavy lapped traffic, but were both knocked out of shape by a lapped car with three laps to go and Sokolic got the worst end of it as the No. 26 was held up for over a lap behind the slower car.
When this happened, Kapuscinski was able to breathe a sigh of relief as he set sail to his third win of what has already been a season to remember for the veteran driver in his new combination with Flack Racing.
Sokolic finished in second, and Ratcliff made a nice run to pass both Haynes for fourth and then Bruce for third with five laps to go to snag his first podium.
Bruce would settle for fourth, Miller made a tremendous recovery to finish in fifth, Haynes was sixth, Dennis Rupert finished seventh, and rookies Darrick Hilton, AJ Larkin, and Josh Wallace were eighth through tenth with each driver earning the first top ten finish of their careers.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS division returns to action this Saturday night, July 10, with Twin 20 feature events alongside double 50 and 35-lap features for the Novelis Supermodifieds presented by CME Electrical Supply.
Tickets for July 10 are available at OswegoSpeedway.com.
Century 21 Galloway Realty
Pathfinder Bank SBS Tony White Memorial 35
Saturday, July 3, 2021
Tony White Memorial (35-laps): 1. 23 DAN KAPUSCINSKI, 2. 26 Josh Sokolic, 3. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff, 4. 32 ® Robbie Bruce, 5. 9 ® Griffin Miller, 6. 88 Brad Haynes, 7. 99 Dennis Rupert, 8. 66 ® Darrick Hilton, 9. 35 ® AJ Larkin, 10. 49 ® Josh Wallace, 11. 39 Russ Bartlett, 12. 14 ® Mark Denny Jr, 13. 90 Greg O’Connor, 14. 86 Bryan Haynes, 15. 05 ® Joey DeStevens, 16. 18 Andrew Schartner, 17. 77 Cameron Rowe
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 77 Cameron Rowe, 2. 90 Greg O’Connor, 3. 9 ® Griffin Miller, 4. 14 ® Mark Denny Jr, 5. 49 ® Josh Wallace, 6. 99 Dennis Rupert
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 23 Dan Kapuscinski, 2. 32 ® Robbie Bruce, 3. 88 Brad Haynes, 4. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff, 5. 35 ® AJ Larkin, 6. 66 ® Darrick Hilton
Heat 3 (10-laps): 1. 26 Josh Sokolic, 2. 18 Andrew Schartner, 3. 86 Bryan Haynes, 4. 05 ® Joey DeStevens, 5. 39 Russ Bartlett
Group Time Trials: 1. 18 Andrew Schartner – 18.829, 2. 23 Dan Kapuscinski – 18.887, 3. 77 Cameron Rowe – 18.995, 4. 26 Josh Sokolic – 19.114, 5. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff – 19.150, 6. 9 ® Griffin Miller – 19.188, 7. 05 ® Joey DeStevens – 19.404, 8. 88 Brad Haynes – 19.414, 9. 90 Greg O’Connor – 19.428, 10. 86 Bryan Haynes – 19.445, 11. 32 ® Robbie Bruce – 19.507, 12. 99 Dennis Rupert – 19.508, 13. 14 ® Mark Denny Jr. – 19.596, 14. 35 ® AJ Larkin – 19.599, 15. 39 Russ Bartlett – 19.876, 16. 49 ® Josh Wallace – 19.898, 17. 66 ® Darrick Hilton – 21.049
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #23 Dan Kapuscinski
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #26 Josh Sokolic