By Camden Proud
OSWEGO, NY (August 20, 2023) – Jeffrey Battle, a three-time Classic champion from Westford, Massachusetts, invaded the Steel Palace for a Championship Night shakedown and once again made the trip back home victorious following his ninth to first drive at Oswego.
After starting fifth row on the inside, Battle was up to sixth in just one lap before a caution came out for a spin by Robbie Wirth. He then would use the ensuing double file restart to make work of rookie Brendan Young, his brother Ryan Battle, and Nick Barzee to crack the top five.
By lap 6, Battle had gotten past Nick Kinney for fourth, but when Dave Cliff broke, again slowing the field with 8 laps complete – Jeffrey also used this restart to his advantage as he immediately drove around track champion Josh Sokolic before taking the second spot from Kyle Perry a lap later.
The car Battle had the toughest time with was polesitter and early leader Talen Hawksby. The 16 year old rookie; shooting for his first ever feature win, held his own, keeping the multi-time Star Speedway champion at bay for a number of laps.
When Kinney spun out of sixth place on lap 13, the restart was again key for Battle as he made a bid to the outside of Hawksby between turns one and two, taking over the lead with 12 laps to go.
Two circuits later, Sokolic, who had already secured his first Speedway championship simply by taking the green flag, broke while running third with right front hub issues on the No. 26.
This bunched the field up once more with Battle the leader, Hawksby still second, Perry moving back up to third, Ryan Battle fourth, and Nick Barzee fifth for the restart.
Although Ryan did his best to join his brother with a podium finish, Perry was able to muscle his way back into third on the low side of the Speedway, while Jason Spaulding stole fifth away from Barzee.
Battle would dominate the rest of the way for the sixth Oswego Speedway victory of his career. Hawksby settled for a strong second with Perry third, Ryan Battle fourth, and Spaulding fifth.
Completing the top ten were Barzee, rookies Noah Ratcliff, Dan Kapuscinski, Young, and Wirth, who locked up the Rookie of the Year title this past weekend.
It’s safe to say the Rich Witkum No. 14 is in pretty good shape ahead of the 6th annual, 50-lap J&S Paving 350 Super Classic next Sunday, September 3.
“I hope that I gave Talen enough room,” mentioned Battle. “That was fun racing. Congratulations to whoever won the championship. I know it’s a big night for all the Oswego guys. We were just out here to have fun and come back soon for the Classic, but it means a lot to me to be out here racing. We have a lot of fun here. I have to thank my uncle Rich at Witkum Crane. Without him none of this would be possible. We did a lot of work to the car this week to try some things out here. Also Essex Seafood, Westford Glass, John Young Landscaping and doing this in memory of Chris Siembor tonight.”
Hawksby, who impressed with his third podium of the season, was pleased with his performance racing wheel to wheel with one of the very best in the 350 Supermodified division.
“It was kind of a crazy night,” said Hawksby. “You go into the race saying you’re not going to be nervous, but the entire time you’re just wondering who is behind you or how close they are, but you have to try to just keep your cool and I think they did a good job of that. Restarts obviously, I think we did pretty good, I was just getting tight towards the end, but that was a good battle with Battle. He got us. He was the faster car and congrats to him. I’d like to thank IPC Indy, Acro-Fab and Top Quality Construction.”
Perry came home with a third in the No. 20, for his division best ninth top five finish in 10 events this season. The Fulton, NY driver fell 28 points short of Sokolic for the track title.
“First off I’d just like to congratulate Josh (Sokolic) and the whole 26 team,” stated Perry. “They had a great season. Congrats to Jeffrey on winning tonight and Talen had a good run. It was a fun race. We were pretty good, but just weren’t as good as the 14 and 79 tonight. The car is in one piece, we learned a little bit, and will come back for Classic in two weeks. Thanks Bellinger Auto, Gibby’s Irish Pub, 21 Tequila, and Orange Crate Brewing Company. We wouldn’t be here without them.”
With the regular season in the books, the 350 Supers will square off in their 50-lap Classic next Sunday, September 3rd alongside the 60-lap Bud Light Classic for Pathfinder Bank SBS and the 67th annual Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds. Tickets are on sale at OswegoSpeedway.com or at the track box office.
For more information, please visit the track website online at OswegoSpeedway.com or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or Instagram @OfficialOswegoSpeedway.
Best Western PLUS / Clarion Hotel & Suites Riverfront / LaGraf’s Pub & Grill Track Championship Night
J&S Paving 350 Super 25
Saturday, August 19, 2023
Feature (25-laps): 1.14 JEFFREY BATTLE, 2. 79 ® Talen Hawksby, 3. 20 Kyle Perry, 4. 21 Ryan Battle, 5. 23 Jason Spaulding, 6. 31 Nick Barzee, 7. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff, 8. 32 Dan Kapuscinski, 9. 75 ® Brendan Young, 10. 4 ® Robbie Wirth, 11. 26 Josh Sokolic, 12. 7 Nick Kinney, 13. 50 Dave Cliff, 14. 19 ® Bailey Groves
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 14 Jeffrey Battle, 2. 20 Kyle Perry, 3. 79 ® Talen Hawksby, 4. 75 ® Brendan Young, 5. 7 Nick Kinney, 6. 73 Noah Ratcliff, 7. 19 ® Bailey Groves DNS 4 ® Robbie Wirth
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 26 Josh Sokolic, 2. 31 Nick Barzee, 3. 50 Dave Cliff, 4. 21 Ryan Battle, 5. 32 Dan Kapuscinski, 6. 4 ® Robbie Wirth, 7. 23 Jason Spaulding DNS ® 24 Tony DeStevens
Group Time Trials: 1. 26 Josh Sokolic – 16.839, 2. 14 Jeffrey Battle – 16.867, 3. 31 Nick Barzee – 17.051, 4. 20 Kyle Perry – 17.056, 5. 79 ® Talen Hawksby – 17.103, 6. 73 ® Noah Ratcliff – 17.116, 7. 21 Ryan Battle – 17.170, 8. 75 ® Brendan Young – 17.265, 9. 50 Dave Cliff – 17.268, 10. 32 Dan Kapuscinski – 17.301, 11. 7 Nick Kinney – 17.314, 12. 24 ® Tony DeStevens – 20.792, 13. 19 ® Bailey Groves – 22.155 DNS 23 Jason Spaulding, 4 Robbie Wirth
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger ($25): #14 Jeffrey Battle
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer (Pizza & Wings): #79 ® Talen Hawksby