Ray Graham won the ROC supermodified feature this week from 8th place, and has kicked off some serious concerns among many fans -and other teams. Graham’s newest version of Paul Colloca’s Xtreme Chassis has been very fast since it came out, and after a few weeks of working out the bugs, has now won two in a row. Many people are concerned that the new car pushes the letter of the rules, possibly too much. While the car looks radical with its different body style, and the fact that the engine appears almost all the way next to the driver, it remains to be seen if it will dominate the division.
In the final rundown, though, AMB scoring shows that he was only a tenth of a second faster than Lavery, Ritskes, and Sitterly, and same the previous week when he won.
Opposing car owner John Nicotra saw it coming, and over the winter ordered a new Hawk Chassis with some new ideas, to take advantage of some of the minor rules changes that were implemented over the off-season. Nicotra’s main driver, Otto Sitterly, debuted that new car this week, and turned in a 6th place finish. I would bet that we’ll see more speed from this car in the coming weeks.
So the concern is this: will these two new cars crank up the price of poker in the supermodified division? Every new supermodified costs more than the last, so how long before they approach the six figure range? Looks to me like it may be another step up in the evolution of supermodifieds. Just like when Shampine made them offset. And Freddy Graves made the fiberglass front spring car. And Clyde Booth dominated with Mike Ordway Sr. a few years ago. And Greg Furlong and Tim Snyder were the boss with the Hawk Chassis cars. And the new Xtreme a few years ago when Didero won the Classic.
Important fact: it’s NOT like this year’s cars are a half second faster. Other guys will get faster. And I bet there’s already a new car on the drawing board somewhere with even better ideas.
It’s the natural order of things. But right now is a critical time for the future of Oswego Speedway. It’s imperative that track management employ the best and smartest tech help to go over these cars with a fine tooth comb, and enforce every rule for the better of the community, to ensure that this division doesn’t turn into a private cage match between two rich guys. The future of the division, and the continuation of 30 car fields, depends on it.
I would like to make an announcement. As a veteran of the sport since starting driving in 1979, a competitor in five different decades over 34 years, this has been a long time coming. But when you have enough success, you eventually earn the respect of your competition. For years I had wanted to have a fast enough car that the competition would have us on their minds. And when they’re thinking about us, they’re not thinking about their own. And what better way to show that you are intimidated, then to have t-shirts made about the people you are most concerned with.
Let the record show that on Saturday, June 30th, competitor Mark Castiglia debuted t-shirts that forever elevated Team Tapout to legend status. That is the day that the “Team Wipeout” shirts were unveiled, making it official: WE HAVE ARRIVED. I have waited for 34 years to arrive in this sport, and I am proud to say that we have done that. I am humbled.
DISCLAIMER: After a conversation at the speedway, I was told that some people don’t get the satire or sarcasm of this and other columns, and that it comes off as arrogance. Guys - I’m cracking wise here. And needling the guy who bought the shirts.
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As a driver/owner in the Limited Supermodified division, JJ Andrews covers mostly Oswego Speedway events, from a driver's point of view.