Oswego Speedway news.
A few things happening…
1. Tim Snyder just got the word this week that he has another blood clot in his leg. He is officially OUT of the driver’s seat for the rest of the season. If you remember, he suffered a similar fate mid-season a few years back, and had Joe
Gosek finish out the season in the car.
2. Jarett Andretti is OUT of the Shawn Muldoon car. But he’ll be back at the track for Fast Friday this week in a different car. “We just picked up the seat from Shawn", said Tim Snyder. “It’s a race to race deal until the end of the year. He’s running for rookie of the year.”
Small Block news…
1. Brian Sobus is back in the small block division next week, for King of Wings Night. Since they do not plan to run the winged show, the family’s Hedger Chassis small block super will come out of the mothballs for a one race deal.
2. New Hedger Chassis built and sent to be powder coated, for driver Russ Brown. The car will feature Ray Hedger’s latest brainstorms, including rack and pinion steering that was legalized this year.
3. New FFB Chassis in the works, that allegedly will be driven by Steve Abt in the 2012 season.
Both Abt and Brown, the two best good buddies, WILL be out before, and for Classic.
Friends to the end.
For those of you that follow auto racing websites and internet message boards, supermodified fans have had their own meeting place for many years. Pinner’s Bar and Grille, created by Oswego’s Mike “Pinner” Johnson is known around the world for pictures, information, and coverage of all kinds of supermodifieds, both winged and un-winged.
Last week, Pinner announced that he would be closing the site, which left super fans reeling. His explanation sounded to me like a classic case of burnout, as I’m sure keeping up on all of the facets of the site was very labor intensive. As one of literally thousands of daily visitors of the site and message board, I was very disappointed to lose one of the most interesting assets for fans of supers. While many accepted Pinner’s decision, we were certainly disappointed, and felt a void. A lot of people share photos and comments on Facebook, cutting into “hits” on Pinner’s I’m sure. But Pinner’s has been for years the meeting point for supermodified fans around the world, and I was concerned that many would be left hanging.
Fortunately, a few days later, someone else reopened the message board at the same domain, with Pinner’s blessing. While the message board is only part of what Pinner was providing, we were very relieved when “Pinner’s Message Board” came back. People that had been accustomed to getting their supermodified info there for years, once again had that resource. Pinner himself is a frequent contributor to the message board, and all is well in the world. Enjoy the break, Pinner, and let someone else pull the wagon for awhile.
And to “Ron” that revived the message board, thank you. We needed you!
Check out the board at: http://www.boards2go.com/boards/board.cgi?&user=pinner
So here’s what happens when you get a fast racecar, after several years of having an average racecar. They start talking…
The “they” that I refer to are people who are theorizing about the success of myself and Team Tapout this year. People are talking because I am having the best season of my career, after 15 years in the division. But they don’t talk to me directly. It just gets back to me through the grapevine that “they” are saying this and that about Jason Simmons and I. Actually, this is proof that we have “arrived". I’ve always felt that if the competition is talking about you, you must be doing something right. I love it. Here are some examples of what I hear “they” are saying…
“THEY” said “you don’t have to do anything to drive that car. You just show up with your helmet in your hand.” Answer: not true. Yes, we have a TON of great help on our cars. I haven’t been so blessed manpower wise for over a decade. There were six guys in the shop working on the two cars Monday night. I’ve had it a lot easier this year compared to the several years of running with one or two guys. But don’t think I’m not working on the car in the shop every week. The result of the extra help, of course, is a faster car because I’m not cutting corners on maintenance like I did with my own car for the last ten years.
“THEY” say the only reason you’re running so hard this year is because Jason is paying the bills. Answer: the reason I’m running so hard is because I have a car that is worthy of running hard. I don’t care who is paying the bills - if the car won’t go, you can’t go. Every week, when the car is fast, it gives me more confidence, which makes me go faster. Same for anyone out there, I would bet. But yes, while I won’t be specific about the financial arrangement between Jason and I, I acknowledge that it does make me go harder knowing that we have a lot of spares and help in the shop if something goes bad.
“THEY” think you have some exotic motor. Answer: I don’t know the definition of exotic, but our engine is a Finger Lakes Machine piece that Jason had, that Doug Holmes freshened for us over the winter. Doug has always produced excellent engines, and I’m sure he will sell you one just like it. And no, he won’t cheat. I asked him years ago, when I was struggling, and he wouldn’t play ball.
“THEY” know you’re cheating, because you pass cars now, instead of holding cars back. Answer: see the previous paragraph. I’m passing cars because I CAN.
“THEY” said you were illegal the night you won, but you were let go. Answer: While we did have an engine to rear-end length that came up short, it sure wasn’t the 1 ½ inches that “they” said it was. This was deemed to not be a performance enhancing infraction, just a minor adjustment that we were asked to change for the next week, which we did in about 15 minutes in the shop. I bet it would be hard to find a car out there with every single measurement perfect. Note: of all of the people talking about this behind our backs, only one guy, Jim Bernys, had the decency to ask me about it to my face.
“THEY” think you’re a flash in the pan. The win on opening night was a fluke. You’re fast now, but don’t worry. You’ll go back to your old ways as a blocker. (Must be they haven’t seen me pass ten cars in my last two heat races.) Answer: all I can say to you boo-birds is…We’ll see. Like many of you, I’m pretty surprised at the way I’m running and driving this year also. Thankfully, we have a lot positive comments as well, and I hope everything keeps going like it is. But I’m a realist, and I know that the bubble can break at any time. Me and my “Jay-Mates” are sure having a great time riding the wave right now!
“THEY” wonder what the hell Jason was thinking of putting you in that car. What’s he ever done? Why would you put Andrews in that car? You should have had (insert name here) drive it. He’s a lot better driver. Answer: I’ve done a few things in my career, but I don’t know if I was worthy of a ride like this. Jason asked me to drive for him because we are friends, and we share a lot of laughs together. If I was a tenth place car, I wouldn’t be in danger of losing my ride. We’d still crack wise and exchange stories at the races and in the shop. We race together because we’re buddies. The success is the icing on the cake.
“THEY” want your cam card. Answer: this is one of my favorites. (A cam card tells the specific sizes of your camshaft, which is one of the few variables allowed in our engines.) We certainly are not disclosing that information. And don’t bother asking Doug Holmes which cam we’re running. I BEGGED him years ago to tell me what cam Shawn Muldoon was running, but he wouldn’t have it.
“THEY” don’t think you deserve any success, because you’ve never done anything to support the division. Answer: this is the one that bugs me the most. While I’ve raced this division the better part of 15 years, currently riding 5th in all time points, history will most likely appreciate me more for the publicity I’ve given the division. Through my stories in Gater News, Syracuse Post-Standard, Oswego Speedway Eagle, Gater Blog, etc, people all over the country know many of our names that wouldn’t have heard them otherwise. I recently had a friend get recognized by a security agent when he had to show his driver’s license. “I’ve never met you, but I’ve read about you in J.J. Andrews’ column.” Do I deserve any success or credit for spreading the word on Oswego Speedway and supermodifieds and small block supermodifieds for the better part of two decades?
“THEY” are jealous.
But for the record, for every back-stab I hear about, I get ten positive comments. A lot of friends are having an absolute riot watching Jason and I have so much fun. And a lot of them are new friends and fans. I have had a few people tell me, “I didn’t used to watch them before, but I have become a small block supermodified fan this year following you guys.” There is no better feeling than that. Thank you to everyone that is having fun along with us, and we hope to convert more of you before the season is over. This class really is a great bunch of guys, that work very hard, and we do have a lot of fun together. Maybe some are secretly enjoying seeing me go fast finally.
And to you that aren’t - don’t hate me because I’m beautiful…
Barry Kingsley will be on the track this week! But in a Teddneck Racing ride, not the Team Tapout car that he was expected to be in next. Nate Sitterly will not be in attendance this Saturday due to a previous (girlfriend) commitment, so car owner Chris Tedd has asked Barry to fill in for the week. It’s a one shot deal, as Nate should be back next week. “It was great of Chris to ask me do drive this week, and I can’t wait to be back behind the wheel!”, said Barry.
Kingsley is still expected to be behind the wheel of the Hedger Chassis #91 in a few weeks for Jason Simmons’ Team Tapout, but that won’t be until Jason’s new car is one hundred percent ready. Barry will be rolling in the car that Jason has been driving all season, currently numbered as the 98, which was most recently the Fred Kilian ride, originally campaigned by Josh LaRochelle.
Jarett Andretti Lands Full-Time Oswego Supermodified Ride
Weekly Schedule Set to Begin on June 2nd
OSWEGO, NY (May 25) – After testing the Strong Racing Supermodified at Oswego Speedway back on Sunday, May 6, young Jarett Andretti hoped he would one day have a chance to race a Novelis Supermodified at Oswego Speedway. Now, he will have his chance.
Beginning Saturday, June 2, as a part of Best Western Plus/Quality Inn and Suites Night at the Races, Andretti will pilot the Shawn Muldoon owned, Jim Paternoster prepared, No. 1 Hawk chassis Supermodified on a weekly basis at the ‘Steel Palace.’
“I’m very excited to race at such a famed Speedway like Oswego, and it only makes it better knowing that my Grandfather (Aldo) and great Uncle (Mario) have raced on the exact same pavement that I will be making my Supermodified debut on,” said Andretti. “I’m also extremely happy that we were able to align ourselves with someone as experienced as Mr. Paternoster. With his roots in USAC racing, like me, it was an instant connection. Being a rookie, you want to be sure you are with an experienced team that has good equipment, and I know Mr. Paternoster will be sure that the car is safe and fast.”
The Hawk chassis Supermodified that Andretti will drive is a joint venture between long-time Oswego Speedway and USAC car owner Paternoster, as well as Muldoon, a former Novelis Supermodified track champion at the Speedway. Muldoon, who drove the car in the Oswego opener back on Saturday, May 5, will step out of the seat for the remainder of the regular season.
“Shawn has lingering injuries from his bad accident a couple years ago that never really healed,” said Paternoster. “He has lost a lot of feeling in his right foot, which doesn’t allow him to be able to feel the pedal quite as he should right now. He is hoping to climb back into the seat, after the regular season, during the Fall Championship Weekend on September 15.”
According to Paternoster, while Andretti will continue his pursuits in USAC Sprint and Midget racing, Oswego Speedway is the Andretti’s priority and main focus for 2012.
“Jarett will be here weekly starting June 2,” commented Paternoster. “He is coming up the Wednesday before that race with his seat to get fitted and comfortable in the car.”
Andretti is excited for the full-time commitment, and believes that this move will be vital in his development as a professional open-wheel racer.
“I think it is important to get experience in all different types of racecars, dirt and asphalt, like Mario and others in my family,” said Andretti. “The experience that I will gain in a Supermodified will no doubt be applicable to other open-wheel cars I drive in my career, potentially even an IndyCar. A Supermodified is the most extreme short track car in existence, so anything I drive on short tracks after this this will be a step back in speed and horsepower, making it so valuable in my development as a racer.”
The next event on Oswego Speedway’s schedule is the Mitchell’s Speedway Press Memorial Day Weekend Tripleheader Saturday, May 26. The night’s racing will feature 185-laps of main event action featuring the Novelis Supermodifieds, the Race of Champions Modifieds, and the Pathfinder Bank SBS Series.
For more info, go to www.oswegospeedway.com.
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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.