Supermodified driver Tim Snyder, who had to step out of the driver’s seat several weeks ago, has been given the go-ahead to get back in the driver’s seat. After driving the car into mid-June, the “Zero Hero” had to step out from behind the wheel due to problems related to a blood clot in his leg. This week, Snyder has been given the clearance from his doctor to crank it up. “The doctor said I could race it this week if I wanted to”, said Snyder.
But the return won’t happen for this weekend’s championship night. Jarett Andretti, who has been driving the car for the last several weeks in Snyder’s absence, will be hoping to clinch the rookie of the year championship. Andretti currently rides 24 points ahead of Dave Cliff Jr. in the rookie race, with one point race remaining.
“Jarett is still in the car for this weekend only”, added Snyder. “But as it stands right now, I’ll be running Classic”. The 2001 Classic winner has a special knack for this race, and is excited about this year’s chances. Rumors of the team trying to recruit other drivers for Classic are untrue, said Snyder.
Local fans are happy to see the veteran and former winner back in the saddle again. Go get ‘em, Timmy!
A recently announced 602 Crate Dirt Sportsman event on August 31st at Oswego Speedway has turned into a conflict in central New York, when Brewerton Speedway also announced an event for the same division, on the same night. “This is, and isn‘t, a defensive move”, said Brewerton Speedway representative Cory Reed. “This is kind of our built division- something we’ve built. Why would we want to hand something we’ve built, to someone else?”, added Reed. But that’s not why this race was scheduled, said Reed, “we had this show kind of already planned. This wasn’t a reaction, we just hadn’t announced it yet.”
Oswego Speedway’s Eric Torrese confirms that the show will go on, and is excited about putting the dirt sportsman drivers in front of a new audience. Said Torrese “Oswego Speedway’s Classic Weekend is one of the biggest race weekends in the northeast, and this race could be excellent exposure for the sportsman division. If people see them and like them, they’ll go looking for them where they race weekly.”
After the Xtreme Sprints, a traveling division of winged sprints that were scheduled for that night at Oswego Speedway pulled out, speedway management went looking for a high quality event to replace them. After seeing the sportsman a few weeks earlier at Brewerton Speedway, the Torreses were so impressed that they asked one of the drivers, Jeremy Pitcher, to come to the track for a test. When the test went well, track management made sure that there weren’t any sportsman events scheduled nearby for that night, and after it was determined that this was a “night off” for the division, the date was set. It was announced on August 7th, with a healthy purse of $7,300. Brewerton’s announcement came on August 12th. “If they were running any place else that night, we wouldn’t have scheduled them at all”, said Torrese.
“We will probably run them 8-10 times next year”, said Reed, and wanted to see what kind of a turnout that they could get for a weekly show, with a regular purse, of “probably $500-600 to win”. Reed confirmed that as of press time that this is NOT a points race of any kind, and drivers are welcome to run either race. “Go try it - we’re not going to hold it against you”, he said, feeling that most of their guys want to run dirt. Reed hopes that there are enough cars that run both events, and wishes Oswego Speedway and their event the best. But added, “don’t cannibalize our class because you don’t have a class. We don‘t want to have our cars wrecked or blown up before our Saturday (September 1st at Fulton Speedway) show.”
“Short track racing is a struggle right now, and we’re not looking for a conflict. I hope fans will support short track racing at any track, not just ours”, said Torrese. “I look at this event as supporting short track racing - not as competition.” For years supermodifieds raced annually on the dirt track during Super Dirt Week in Syracuse, and it wasn’t looked upon as dirt tracks trying to steal pavement drivers, or pavement tracks trying to steal dirt drivers. “This was a one race deal”, confirmed Torrese.
As an attendee of both tracks, I see this as a loss for many fans and competitors. I thoroughly enjoy the sportsman division, and look forward to the next time I get to see them at Brewerton Speedway, where they put on such a great show last month. But as an Oswego Speedway fan, I’m disappointed that I won’t get to see as many as I expected to see at Oswego, where I will be that night.
This has the potential to be a historic event, and I’m excited for the drivers that will have the once in a lifetime opportunity to compete at the historic oval, where such legendary modified names as Evans, Shampine, Bouchard, Bodine, Spencer, Sacks, and Troyer had competed. The fact that drivers will not have to decide about missing points, or be concerned that their “regular” speedway will be mad at them, will bring some of them to Oswego. While the field will be splintered, there are still a lot of cars out there, and both tracks should have an excellent show.
To be announced soon - 602 Crate Engine dirt Sportsman cars will be added to the field on Friday night of Classic Weekend.
Driver Jeremy Pitcher attended a practice session at the speedway recently, and looked great on the track. Now Pitcher’s team has stated on Facebook that a race will be scheduled, and will be announced this week.
After a few sessions on the track, Pitcher looked very smooth in the car. Pitcher cracked 20 seconds with his sportsman, and looked great. I could definitely picture a field of 24 dirt sportsman cars flying around the track.
This division will be a great addition to Friday night’s card. During a mid-week trip to Brewerton Speedway a few weeks ago, and owners John and Eric Torrese were very impressed with the division - and their 52 car field! The purse that I heard is very lucrative, and should bring a ton of cars to the weekend. As a dirt guy who happens to race on asphalt, I can’t wait to see these guys! Great add.
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.