With three straight Supermodified championships and a total of seven heading into the 65th season opener for Oswego Speedway (NY), Otto Sitterly certainly has an immense amount of momentum in his favor. Sitterly used some of that momentum, as well as the team’s preparation leading up to the night to gain his first victory of the season in the 50-lap season-opening race.
“We practiced with it last week and we tested last night, and just worked on a bunch of new things,” Sitterly told Speed51.com powered by JEGS following his 31st career victory. “Probably one of our biggest things we didn’t even use yet tonight. These cars are like a moving target. We just happened to get lucky and hit it good in the feature.”
While he partially attributed the strong performance to luck and did not expand on what they still have to offer, it surely was an indication that the John Nicotra-owned team could be the one to chase in the division once again in 2015.
Sitterly had to take the top spot away from a first-time teammate in one of the team’s older creations. It was Joe Gosek, a widely familiar face in the Supermodified ranks, who led the way early. Sitterly used the outside line to pass numerous cars before getting to Gosek. He would pass him for the top spot around that lane, but when the caution flew on the same lap the order would be reverted back to the previous completed circuit.
On the lap 28 restart, Sitterly would take advantage of a slow start for Gosek and would have sole possession of the lead by turn one. He never looked back and went on for a seemingly easy victory.
“That’s an older car of ours and I told (Gosek) before he got in it that there are only about three adjustments we’ve run long enough,” Sitterly explained. “We talked about taking some nose wing away from the car for the feature. They did, and I think it might have been the wrong move for those guys.
“He said it got tighter and tighter, and on that restart I anticipated a little bit. I just went to peek to the outside and he had to scrub all of his speed because he didn’t have the nose so I was able to roll around him pretty good.”
On that restart, Bob Bond was able to follow Sitterly and go on for the eventual second-place finishing position. Gosek would hold off Bobby Santos III for third, but altogether it was still a good night for the storied veteran racer.
“I was just trying to protect the bottom and try to get up to speed and he just motored around on the outside, and then I slipped up and (Bond) got under me so I lost two spots,” Gosek recapped.
The deal came together for Gosek after his car was not ready for the season opening event, but he and car owner Nicotra go back way further than that to the most prestigious race of his long career.
“John and I have been friends forever,” Gosek said. “In fact, he is the one that got me to Indianapolis (in 1996). He is the one that orchestrated and got the right people to get me to Indy. He was it.
“We never teamed up; he got Otto and I had my own team, and now later in my career with my kids and time I didn’t get my car together. John offered me a ride with that car. It’s not one of the new cars, but it’s still a really good racecar. I am appreciative of that whole gang and Otto for preparing it. Good ride. First time out, we’ll take a third.”
While Sitterly starts off the 2015 season with a leg up on the competition, there will be no prediction by him for a record-tying eighth title until championship weekend.
“This is just one night out of 14 or whatever it is,” Sitterly mentioned. “It’s a whole long summer. Nobody on this team is looking that way yet. We just want to be able to roll all of the cars in in one piece each week. If we can finish the races then most likely with the equipment that we have we’ll be near the front.”
Dalton Doyle made a pass for the lead in the second half of the 30 lap Small Block Supermodified (SBS) feature, and held off defending track champion Andrew Schartner for the win.
– By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Pennsylvania/Central New York Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed
– Photo credit: Oswego Speedway
Oswego Speedway 65th Season Opener
Supermodified 50 Finishing Order
1 8 7 Otto Sitterly
2 6 47 Bob Bond
3 2 00 Joe Gosek
4 10 91 Bobby Santos III
5 3 50 Dave Gruel
6 4 05 Jeff Abold
7 14 55 Keith Shampine
8 16 26 Shaun Gosselin
9 12 52 David Danzer
10 9 22 Pat Lavery
11 11 21 Kody Graham
12 22 51 Michael Muldoon
13 23 11 Aric Iosue
14 20 83 Lou LeVea Jr.
15 13 0 Tim Snyder
16 1 01 Dan Connors Jr.
17 5 79 Brian Sobus
18 15 96 Lou LeVea Sr.
19 7 6 Davey Hamilton
20 24 02 Brandon Bellinger
21 18 9 Stephen Gioia III
22 21 06 Dave Cliff
23 19 56 Hal LaTulip
DNS 17 90 Ray Graham