Sunday, 04 August 2019 10:35

Brandon Bellinger Brings Home Popular 'Retro Night' Victory at Oswego

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Brandon Bellinger Brandon Bellinger Bob Clark photo

Wearing his father Eddie’s race suit which was last in victory lane thirty one years ago, Brandon Bellinger passed early leader Tim Snyder on lap 7 and drove the iconic No. 02 to a commanding victory in Oswego’s 45-lap ‘Retro Night’ special this past Saturday.

“We’re going to drink some 21 Tequila and have some fun tonight,” said Bellinger from victory lane. “I think the off week really helped us. The car was fast all night long. I was able to get out front early which gave us a huge advantage and we kept them all behind us.”

Aric Iosue and Snyder brought the field to green and it was Snyder sneaking around the pole sitter for the early race lead, looking for his first feature win in nearly ten years with the No. 0.

Snyder built himself a respectable lead in the opening laps, but that was soon negated as fourth starting Bellinger almost immediately began his charge to the front, going around both Logan Rayvals and Aric Iosue with less than two laps complete.

After taking over second, Bellinger began chasing down Snyder and by lap 6, was all over the rear deck of the Zero One lap later, Bellinger dove to the inside going into turn three and made his move for the lead with seven laps complete.

Fresh off his victory in Sandusky Speedway’s Hy-Miler, sixth starting Dave Shullick Jr. wasted little time going around Rayvals, Iosue, and Alison Sload to take over third before making the very same move that Bellinger did on Snyder, inheriting second on lap 8.

Further back in the field, three more cars were really on the move and they were the 05 of Jeff Abold, 7 of Otto Sitterly, and 68 of Michael Barnes, who were all coming from deep to work their way further inside the top ten.

Abold started eighth and by lap 14, had passed five different cars to move into fourth behind Snyder. On the next circuit, he took a look inside of the early leader and grabbed away a podium position.

Just outside of the top five, everyone had their eyes on Sitterly and Barnes as these two drivers, who started tenth and fourteenth, were weaving in and out of traffic towards the front. With less than fifteen laps in the books, this pair was already up to seventh and eighth.

On lap 17, Sitterly made an unbelievable move to go around Sload, Iosue, and Keith Shampine before switching lanes to go under Snyder and into fourth. It took Barnes only three laps to duplicate Sitterly’s move, going by all four cars in a lap and a half to take over fifth.

As Sitterly and Barnes flew towards the front, Bellinger had opened up quite the distance over Shullick and Abold. The No. 02 machine had already begun to approach lapped traffic just prior to the halfway point.

With fifteen laps complete, Shullick’s poor Oswego luck continued as the No. 95 dropped out of the event with apparent issues while running second, handing the runner up position over to the No. 05 of Abold.

Bellinger was now working through lapped traffic with relative ease. However, just as Abold had a glimmer of hope while the 02 got hung up behind a lapped car, the first yellow flag of the event came out for an Iosue spin on lap 35.

‘Cautions breed cautions’ as they say and that proved true as it took two attempts to get past the thirty fifth lap. On the ensuing restart, Barnes had something go wrong on the 68, slowing right in front of the 00 of Joe Gosek who made a phenomenal save to miss him.

With Barnes now heading for the pits, this meant Gosek had come from eleventh to clear six cars including Dave Danzer, Iosue, Snyder, Rayvals, Shullick, and Shampine to drive into fifth behind race leaders Bellinger, Abold, Sitterly, and Sload.

Unfortunately, the next attempt at lap 35 did not go well either as Rayvals ended his night with a very nasty shot into the turn three foam with his No. 94. The car lost steering, came around and hit the backstretch wall before catching the blocks. Fortunately, Logan was unharmed.

Following the cleanup, things finally got back underway with just ten laps remaining for leader Bellinger as both he and Abold were able to pull away from Sitterly, Sload, and Gosek, who ran third through fifth when the green flag was put back in the air.

On lap 37, Gosek shot out of a cannon to go around the outside of Sload coming out of turn four, taking over fourth and moving in behind Sitterly. Less than a lap later, Gosek dove to the inside of Sitterly in turn three. The two brushed wheels, but both were able to gather things up.

Although Bellinger had run away out front, the battle for third continued despite that near miss, with Gosek working Sitterly over right until the bitter end. He took one last shot at the No. 7 car coming to the checkered flag, but came up just a car length short of a podium finish.

The story, however, was the domination by Bellinger, who earned his first checkered flag since August of 2017 and in doing so became the ninth different winner in ten Novelis Supermodified events this season.

Behind Bellinger were Abold, Sitterly, Gosek, Sload, Shampine, Gruel, Snyder, and rookies Jack Patrick and Camden Proud in the top ten. Dan Connors Jr, Barnes, Iosue, Rayvals, Shullick, Hal LaTulip, Jerry Curran, Danzer, Guard Nearbin, and Lou LeVea Sr. completed the field.

Earning his career first top ten finish, Patrick received the Lighthouse Lanes ‘Up & Comer’ Award while Gruel charged from last to seventh to pick up the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger bonus.

Just two events remain in Oswego Speedway’s 2019 ‘Road to the Championship’ with U-Pull U-Save Family Night up next on Saturday, August 10. The Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS and 350 Supers will all be in action.

For more information on Oswego Speedway, be sure to visit online at OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway, Instagram @OfficialOswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.

About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. The speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at the Oswego Speedway making it the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds and 350 Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, and former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.

BOX SCORE

  • JP Jewelers ‘Retro Night’
  • Oswego Speedway
  • Oswego, NY
  • Saturday, August 3, 2019
  • Novelis Supermodifieds

Feature (45-laps): 1. 02 BRANDON BELLINGER, 2. 05 Jeff Abold, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 00 Joe Gosek, 5. 39 ® Alison Sload, 6. 55 Keith Shampine, 7. 50 Dave Gruel, 8. 0 Tim Snyder, 9. 90 ® Jack Patrick, 10. 54 ® Camden Proud, 11. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 12. 68 Michael Barnes, 13. 11 Aric Iosue, 14. 94 Logan Rayvals, 15. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 16. 56 Hal LaTulip, 17. 99 Jerry Curran, 18. 52 Dave Danzer, 19. 78 Guard Nearbin, 20. 66 Lou LeVea Sr.

Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 52 Dave Danzer, 2. 05 Jeff Abold, 3. 0 Tim Snyder, 4. 39 ® Alison Sload, 5. 99 Jerry Curran, 6. 78 Guard Nearbin, 7. 50 Dave Gruel

Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 95 Dave Shullick Jr, 2. 00 Joe Gosek, 3. 11 Aric Iosue, 4. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 5. 68 Michael Barnes, 6. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 7. 56 Hal LaTulip

Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 55 Keith Shampine, 2. 94 Logan Rayvals, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 54 ® Camden Proud, 5. 90 ® Jack Patrick, 6. 66 Lou LeVea Sr.

Group Time Trials: 1. 00 Joe Gosek - 15.857, 2. 05 Jeff Abold - 16.038, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly - 16.041, 4. 02 Brandon Bellinger - 16.049, 5. 39 ® Alison Sload - 16.050, 6. 55 Keith Shampine - 16.059, 7. 11 Aric Iosue - 16.086, 8. 50 Dave Gruel - 16.092, 9. 94 Logan Rayvals - 16.167, 10. 95 Dave Shullick Jr. - 16.189, 11. 52 Dave Danzer - 16.248, 12. 54 ® Camden Proud - 16.381, 13. 0 Tim Snyder - 16.407, 14. 01 Dan Connors Jr. - 16.543, 15. 90 ® Jack Patrick - 16.565, 16. 99 Jerry Curran - 16.728, 17. 56 Hal LaTulip - 17.583, 18. 66 Lou LeVea Sr. - 17.814, 19. 78 Guard Nearbin - 18.709, 20. 68 Michael Barnes - 19.928

D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: #50 Dave Gruel

Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: #90 ® Jack Patrick

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