By Camden Proud
OSWEGO, NY (May 29, 2022) – Defending Pathfinder Bank SBS track champion Dan Kapuscinski and the Flack Racing team began their 2022 title defense with a dominant victory in Saturday night’s 40-lap main, his second straight win in the Tony White Memorial.
Kapuscinski started in the sixth position, and by lap 7, had taken over the race lead and set sail to his fifth career victory behind the wheel of the No. 23.
“First of all, I want to thank all the SBS guys for coming out and racing,” mentioned Kapuscinski. “It has been a couple years since we have had more cars than anybody in the pit area, so thank you to everyone for the support. It was a long race. That felt like running the Classic. We got lucky a couple times missing accidents, but it all worked out. Mike (O’Connor) and Steve (Flack) build a really great race car and it kind of drives itself to be honest with you. This is in memory of Terry Strong. She was one of the nicest ladies that you will ever meet and the Speedway will never be the same. Also, this is the Tony White Memorial, so that’s two in a row for us. Tony was an awesome guy as well. I love this plaque. The White Family has been supportive of this Speedway for so many years so it means a lot to win this race again for Tony.”
Last year’s championship runner-up Josh Sokolic, who will move to full-time 350 Supermodified action in the coming weeks, brought his No. 26 Small Block Super back out for the Season Opener and was able to settle for a solid runner-up finish.
“It wasn’t a bad night,” said the 2021 Fall Classic Champion. “I think we had a good setup. It was a real good long run car, but with all the new people in the class, we are obviously going to have some cautions and it wasn’t as good on the short run. We should have the 350 out for the third race in the next couple weeks. I have to thank my parents, All Weather Power Equipment, Lamptiques, and the Syracuse Antique Exchange. My Dad put a good car underneath me tonight and I didn’t get the job done, so maybe next week.”
Completing the podium was 2021 Rookie of the Year Noah Ratcliff, who has his 2022 off to a hot start with podium efforts both in the Small Block Super Championship Series Opener at the Evans Mills Raceway Park and now the Tony White Memorial for podium finish number three at Oswego.
“The car got real tight towards the end of the race. It was pushing so bad at the end that I could not get back on the throttle too much,” stated Ratcliff. “It was a good race overall though. I have to thank my sponsors Jake’s Automotive, Total Fire Protections, Dave’s Equipment Center, my Mom, brother, sister, Travis, Will, Mike, and everyone else that helps.”
Sophomore drivers Robbie Bruce and Joey DeStevens brought the field to green for the 40-lap extra distance special with DeStevens jumping out in front from the outside lane to take the early lead.
The caution lights came on almost immediately for a hard tangle coming out of turn two between polesitter Bruce and fifth starting Greg O’Connor.
Both drivers made heavy contact with the outside turn two wall, effectively ending their evenings with only one lap complete in the feature event.
On the first ‘choose-style’ double file restart of the season, leader DeStevens elected to use the bottom part of the Speedway with fourth starting Andrew Schartner now to his outside.
Schartner was able to steal the lead from the high road, but was tagged by DeStevens going into turn one and spun around. This incident also collected sixth starting Tony Pisa.
DeStevens was penalized for the contact, but all three cars were able to rejoin the race at the rear of the field.
For the second restart, it was now third starting Sokolic on the inside of the front row with seventh starting Kapuscinski to his outside.
Sokolic was able to shoot out into the number one spot, with Kapuscinski falling in for second, Noah Ratcliff; who started eighth, was now up to third, with rookies Drew Pascuzzi and Darren Shuman in fourth and fifth in the early going.
The front three ran nose to tail early on with Kapuscinski stalking Sokolic for the race lead and taking over the position with a low side move going into turn three on lap 7.
Caution flag number three came out on lap 12 for a spin by rookie Ryan Gunther, bunching the field up once again.
Kapuscinski elected to use the bottom lane for this restart with the top five now consisting of Danny K, Sokolic, Ratcliff, Shuman, and rookie Robbie Wirth, who had charged from his eleventh starting spot up to fifth.
Pascuzzi, who had a nice top five run coming together, dropped out of the race prior to this caution flag due to mechanical issues.
The drag race back to turn one again saw Kapuscinski finding his way back to the number one spot with Sokolic and Ratcliff still second and third.
Meanwhile, Schartner; who had restarted at the tail end of the longest line, charged to the outside of Shuman and Wirth to make it back up to fourth.
Another simple spin by Josh Wallace caused another caution on lap 15.
Still, the restart running order was Kapuscisnki, Sokolic, Ratcliff, Schartner, Shuman, and now tenth starting Griffin Miller, who had since found his way under Wirth to move into the sixth position.
Kapuscinski still proved too strong for Sokolic on the restart, but this time the yellow lights came right back on for a turn three incident between Miller and Wirth, who tagged the rear of the No. 9, sending both the sixth and seventh place cars into the foam.
Rookie Tony DeStevens, as well as Josh Wallace, spun to avoid just behind them, and received their positions back.
Also collected was a slowing Darrick Hilton, whose night ended after contact from Joey DeStevens destroyed the back end of the No. 66.
The DeStevens crew was able to make repairs to the No. 05 and return Joey to the back of the field.
On this restart, Kapuscinski opened a big advantage over the pack, with second running Sokolic left to fend off challenges from Ratcliff.
The race went green to checkered the rest of the way and it was Kapuscinski capturing the dominant victory over Sokolic, Ratcliff, Schartner, and an impressive run for rookie Shuman in the top five.
Tony DeStevens, rookie Jude Parker, Joey DeStevens, Gunther, and Mark Denny Jr. filled in the top ten.
The Pathfinder Bank SBS season will resume this Saturday, June 4 with a 30-lap main scheduled to run alongside the 50-lap Winged Super Challenge for big block Supers.
Barlow’s Concessions 71st Season Kickoff
Pathfinder Bank SBS Tony White Memorial 40
Saturday, May 28, 2022
Feature (40-laps): 1. 23 DAN KAPUSCINSKI, 2. 26 Josh Sokolic, 3. 73 Noah Ratcliff, 4. 18 Andrew Schartner, 5. 62 ® DJ Shuman, 6. 24 ® Tony DeStevens, 7. 00 ® Jude Parker, 8. 05 Joey DeStevens, 9. 22 ® Ryan Gunther, 10. 14 Mark Denny Jr, 11. 9 Griffin Miller, 12. 04 ® Rob Wirth, 13. 66 Darrick Hilton, 14. 49 Josh Wallace, 15. 72 ® Drew Pascuzzi, 16. 35 AJ Larkin, 17. 89 Tony Pisa, 18. 32 Robbie Bruce, 19. 90 Greg O’Connor, 20. 01 ® Greg Richardson, 21. ® 27 Jon Carson
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 90 Greg O’Connor, 2. 62 ® DJ Shuman, 3. 73 Noah Ratcliff, 4. 9 Griffin Miller, 5. 72 ® Drew Pascuzzi, 6. 00 ® Jude Parker, 7. 66 Darrick Hilton
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 26 Josh Sokolic, 2. 89 Tony Pisa, 3. 05 Joey DeStevens, 4. 04 ® Rob Wirth, 5. 22 ® Ryan Gunther, 6. 24 ® Tony DeStevens, 7. 49 Josh Wallace
Heat 3 (10-laps): 1. 23 Dan Kapuscinski, 2. 18 Andrew Schartner, 3. 32 Robbie Bruce, 4. 35 AJ Larkin, 5. 01 ® Greg Richardson, 6. 27 ® Jon Carson, 7. 14 Mark Denny Jr.
Group Time Trials: 1. 73 Noah Ratcliff – 18.801, 2. 23 Dan Kapuscinski – 18.808, 3. 89 Tony Pisa – 18.890, 4. 90 Greg O’Connor – 18.979, 5. 18 Andrew Schartner – 19.040, 6. 26 Josh Sokolic – 19.059, 7. 62 ® DJ Shuman – 19.196, 8. 9 Griffin Miller – 19.209, 9. 04 ® Rob Wirth – 19.552, 10. 35 AJ Larkin – 19.640, 11. 72 ® Drew Pascuzzi – 19.664, 12. 24 ® Tony DeStevens – 19.753, 13. 05 Joey DeStevens – 19.756, 14. 32 Robbie Bruce – 19.810, 15. 66 Darrick Hilton – 20.030, 16. 00 ® Jude Parker – 20.268, 17. 22 ® Ryan Gunther – 20.407, 18. 49 Josh Walace – 20.412, 19. 14 Mark Denny Jr. – 20.706, 20. 27 ® Jon Carson – 20.920, 21. 01 ® Greg Richardson – 21.020, DNS 93 ® Jake Brown
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #24 ® Tony DeStevens
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #73 Noah Ratcliff
White’s Car Care 4th Place Finisher: #18 Andrew Schartner