The Eagles Fan Club at Oswego Speedway has been doing a lot of work this year to build up the point fund for the drivers of the supermodified and small block supermodified divisions. Coming up on Sunday, June 13th, the Eagles and LaGraf’s Pub will present a captain and Crew Golf Tournament at Tamarack Golf Club. A $250 prize will greet the winning team, and a driver’s shootout and skins will add to the fun. $55 /person includes 18 holes with the cart, and a great buffet and prizes afterwards at LaGraf’s Pub. For more information, contact Larry Lee at 315-529-1504, or Bob Garafolo at 315-254-6528. Or email firstname.lastname@example.org. ALL proceeds benefit the Eagles Fan Club general fund and injured drivers fund.
“It’s almost pointless to go back now”, said Steve Abt, who was not happy with the position he’s been put in by being disqualified after May 29th’s feature. Worried about the stigma of being declared “illegal”, no matter what the reason, Abt isn’t excited about the prospect of what people are saying or thinking. But once the situation is explained, I don’t expect that anyone will think less of Abt for this transgression. Abt called me just a few hours after the ruling was made official to set the record straight.
“Tell everyone in the pits that there are only two metering block numbers that are legal on the Holley 0-4412 carburetor. They should make sure that they have either a 5924 or 5925 metering block on the carb that they are running, and if it has anything other than that, then it’s not legal”, Abt warned. “No place in the rule book online does it say anything about these numbers, and I don’t want anyone else to make the same mistake.”
I’ll try to explain how I think this happened, although I am not an expert myself. Some carburetor companies will mix and match different carburetor components to find the best parts that match up together, and “flow” the best. While all parts are box stock and unaltered, a lot of effort is made to maximize the “stock” components, and sell the best carburetor. So do they modify these parts to make them illegal? Not necessarily, but it obviously creates a gray area, which is what made this an illegal part - and got him bounced.
“This should have been better clarified after the Sobus DQ, so this wouldn’t have happened again”, said Abt, referring to a carburetor disqualification after last year’s Classic that cost Brian Sobus a 2nd place finish.
But isn’t the burden of proof on the driver/owner, not the tech crew? That’s the question that the competition may be asking. It’s not the tech crew’s job to approve your parts - it’s your job to make sure the tech crew approves your parts.
“It’s the responsibility of the car owner to know the rules. The track’s position is that the metering block numbers didn’t match with the carburetor housing number, so we had to disqualify”. When I asked if this was the exact same circumstance that got Sobus disqualified last year, Gioia said, “that is one thing that we found with Brian last year”. Apparently there were some other questions, but that in itself was enough to warrant the DQ. “Any part that leaves the premises can technically be determined illegal”, is track owner Steve Gioia’s reply when asked why that carburetor may have been deemed legal at a different time in the past
“It’s too bad that we had to disqualify Steve. He was understandably upset, but as I told him, how would you like someone to beat you with an illegal part?, said Gioia. Gioia does appreciate all that Abt has done for the division, and looks forward to putting this issue in the past. “I’ve had the same thing happen to me“, said Gioia, referring to past disqualifications from his own family racing team. “You don’t like it, but it happens.” No lasting hard feelings should come from either side in this matter.
“I’m all done if they let this go. It’s not right - I won‘t be back”, said Brian Sobus on race night. At the time, no official ruling had been made, in favor of calling a carburetor manufacturer to confirm. But many people were very upset at the thought that maybe Abt wouldn’t be penalized. “I just heard that they’re letting him go with an illegal carburetor, just because he has three cars here”, said another driver, concerned with the rumor that politics would make this go away.
Everyone can calm down now.
“I actually feel bad for Sobus now”, said Abt, familiar with the exact feeling of being disqualified for having an illegal part - that he didn’t know was illegal. “I hope the track is consistent now about these calls. It‘s a good start. We just need better clarification of the rules.”
Steve has done a ton to support this sport, and if someone deserved a “mulligan”, maybe it would be him. He does bring three fast cars and drivers to the track weekly, and is elevating the division this year through hard work and dedication. But track tech stood strong, and made the call that had to be made.
Important note: drivers were told at the Driver’s meeting that carbs would be checked in post-race tech. If Steve knew he had an illegal carburetor, you can bet he would have swapped it out with a different piece before the feature. And he was declared LEGAL on everything that was checked when he won on opening night. (Apparently carbs weren’t checked on opening night.)
I’d be willing to bet that this bump in the road won’t slow the #85 down very much. Instead of being in or near the lead, Abt now sits 7th in points, 51 markers behind leader Mike Bond. Not insurmountable numbers this early in the season.
Understandably upset, Steve is taking it in stride, and was a lot calmer at the end of our conversation than he was at the beginning. While he wasn’t happy that he had to be the one that will clarify this situation, he did want to make sure the word got out, and have other people not be caught the same way. “There I go - helping everybody out again”, Steve chuckled.
“Wait’ll they see what I do this week, since I won’t be starting in the back now”, Abt enthused. “I predict a one and two finish for Timmy (Barbeau) and I this week”, Steve joked. “I love this @$&%”.
He sure came around quick.
Yes, this is an auto racing blog. But every now and then I’m allowed to change the subject if there’s something else on my mind…
If you will humor me for a minute, I would like to recognize something personally in my life that is not racing related. On June 1st, my wife April and I will celebrate our 25th Anniversary. It’s amazing to think back about how our lives have changed in those 25 years, yet we’ve always remained on the same page. In this day and age it’s rare that people actually stay happily married for that long, and I am very proud that we have accomplished that. Three great kids have been the icing on the cake.
People say it’s a lot of work to keep a marriage healthy, but I have to say that it really hasn’t been that hard. We don’t agree on everything, but we’ve always been able to find a compromise or work out the things that have come up over the last quarter century. We were lucky that at 19 years old we were able to find the right person, and it’s been an amazing ride for us.
We’ll be celebrating the event quietly this year due to other commitments to our son John’s graduation party and daughter Lacey’s wedding this summer, but we’re already planning quite a vacation for our 26th Anniversary. A trip to the lake at Roy’s cottage will be a great way to spend the day, and a trip to Alexandria Bay this Friday will be a great celebration.
Happy Anniversary to my amazing wife April! I have been very fortunate to marry the best person I’ve ever met, and I look forward to the rest of our lives together. I love you!
The most horrifying wreck of opening day at Oswego Speedway took place prior to the day’s events at a track rental in the morning. Rookie supermodified pilot Dave Danzer rented the track prior to the day’s events, to be ready for the night. “I went out twice, and we were going pretty good, high 17’s. Then we went out for a third time, and the throttle went right to the floor”, Dave explained. The car smashed the wall, flipped, and took an awful ride. The damage is horrible - even the roll cage is bent. Thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours will be required to get that car back together. If it’s even possible.
Amazingly and thankfully, Dave was not injured. He sprained his wrist and cracked his helmet, and a few bumps and bruises, but he was back at the track a few hours later hanging out in the pits. I chose not to ask him the obvious question of when - or if - the supermodified would be back. I didn’t want to make him feel any worse. I’m sure they don’t know those answers yet. So is he taking the next couple of months off?
“If I can get my medical clearance this week (which is required because of the cracked helmet), we’ll be there this week with the small block”, Dave told me on Sunday. “I feel fine”.
The Danzers still have their small block supermodified that they campaigned the last few seasons, that was on the backburner in favor of the super. He was going to race it a few times in 2010, but the super had obviously been the priority. So now the focus will have to go back to the small block, with the super on lower priority, I would think. But I would have to be deaf to not hear the enthusiasm in his voice about getting back on the speedway - right away. “I’ve got to get a new helmet this week”, said Danzer. Maybe his next purchase should be a couple of blindfolds for his parents, Craig and Sherry, who were certainly mortified at the sight of the wreck.
Ivan Steen Jr. was injured in a small block supermodified accident on opening night. Steen came into turn one as two cars were spun in front of him,and spun his own vehicle, backing into the backwards racecars. Steen was taken out of the car on a backboard, and transported to the hospital.
Steen suffered broken ribs, a shoulder injury, and a concussion in the incident. He will be back after a couple months of healing, I am told. Get well soon Ivan!
Once again, even though everyone got sunburn at the ISMA race at Albany-Saratoga just one week earlier, Oswego Speedway’s opener was met with SNOW. Apparently someone didn’t wish Mother Nature an early Happy Mother’s Day.
The good news is that we now will be racing at Oswego on May 15th, a date which wasn’t originally scheduled to be a race day at Oswego. The original schedule listed May 15th as an “off day”, so this is a great fill in.
It’s risky business for the speedway though, as people have been looking at their schedule for several months now, and many have already made other plans for that open date on the schedule.
So to those people I will say this: cancel your other plans! It’s race day! We need to spread the word, so there is a great crowd for opening day - even if it’s not on the schedule. Here’s some info from the press release from the speedway’s website.
“Oswego, N.Y. - After a relatively mild winter by central New York standards, Mother Nature interrupted the scheduled start of the 60th consecutive summer of racing at the Oswego Speedway by dishing up a windy and cold Mothers Day Weekend complete with wet snow in the forecast in parts of central New York. Supermodified and Small Block Supermodified fans will only have to wait one week for the season to kick into gear as the Oswego Speedway management has decide to fill the vacant May 15th date on the schedule with the postponed Burrit Motors and Syracuse Post-Standard “60th Season” opening day. Fans that purchased $10 tickets at Price Chopper for use on May 8th, will be able to use them on May 15th.
In 2009 Otto Sitterly captured both the Track Championship and the International Classic in the Novelis Supermodified division. Over in the PathFinder Bank SBS Series, Dave Gruel was the Track Champion and Mike Bond won the SBS Classic. Sitterly is back to defend both of his crowns while Gruel makes the long awaited jump to the Novelis Supermodified division where he will compete for the Cleaning for a Reason “Rookie of the Year” award. Mike Bond returns and likely will end the 2010 season as the all time leader in points and feature victories in the nineteen year history of the PathFinder Bank SBS Series.
The “60th Season” opener is sponsored by Burritt Motors and the Syracuse Post-Standard. The Oswego Speedway welcomes Burritt Motors and the Syracuse Post-Standard as opening day sponsors for the “60th Season” of racing in 2010.”
|<< <||> >>|
As a driver/owner in the Limited Supermodified division, JJ Andrews covers mostly Oswego Speedway events, from a driver's point of view.