OSWEGO, NY (August 19, 2014) – As the 58th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds approaches, a stellar entry list has formed for the richest and most prestigious Supermodified race in the world, with over $100,000 in cash and contingencies being awarded on Sunday, August 31.
Sizing up the field for this year’s Budweiser International Classic is a tall task, with a top shelf mix of regular competitors and invaders looking to achieve Classic glory in a one-off effort.
As of August 19, a total of 38 Supermodifieds have officially been entered, with 34 drivers slated for those cars, leaving four machines open for potential suitors.
While 38 roadsters have been entered, there are a few other machines that are believed to be in competition that have not yet registered, which will be covered below.
One by one, each car currently entered and believed to be entered will be covered below giving fans a glance at this year’s field.
0 – TIM SNYDER/Tilton, NH (2001 Classic Winner): The 2001 winner of the Budweiser International Classic, Tim Snyder debuted a brand new Hawk chassis Supermodified in 2014 and has showed mixed results. Snyder has had engine troubles sporadically through the season, but has shown the speed necessary to contend in the closing stages of the 200, should the No. 0 go the distance. Last finishing in the top five of the Classic in 2012, with a fourth place finish, Snyder has just two top ten finishes this season but has registered three victories in heat racing action.
00 – JOE GOSEK/Oswego, NY (1991, 1992, 2002 Classic Winner): A three-time winner of the Budweiser International Classic, Joe Gosek returned to Oswego Speedway victory lane this season, leading all 75-laps of the Fourth of July Grand Prix 75 in the No. 00. When Gosek has finished, he has been a contender in ’14, with two top five finishes and seven top ten runs landing the Gosek machine fifth in the Speedway’s driver standings heading to Classic. Struggling in last year’s Classic, Gosek contended all race long in 2012 before a vapor lock dropped him from contention. Gosek’s last top five finish in the Classic came in 2008, with a runner-up finish to Doug Didero.
01 – DAN CONNORS JR./Oswego, NY: Dan Connors Jr. debuted a new chassis at the beginning of the 2014 season, but struggled mightily with the creation before crashing it in the King of Wings event at Oswego in July. Returning with the Xtreme chassis, which the team has campaigned the last several seasons, Connors rebounded with a top five run and has since shown the previous speed and contention we have grown accustomed to with the No. 01.
02 – BRANDON BELLINGER/Fulton, NY: Driving the Randy Daratt No. 02, Brandon Bellinger has had an up and down 2014 season. At times Bellinger has shown tremendous speed, but has also struggled some as the mid-way point of the feature event looms. Staying out of trouble, the Bellinger machine nearly always finishes main events, and will look to tally all 200-laps come Sunday, August 31. Bellinger is 12th in the current Speedway standings with two top ten runs and a heat race victory.
05 – JEFF ABOLD/Baldwinsville, NY: The son of 1992 Speedway champion Pat Abold, Jeff Abold has been a hit and miss sight at the Speedway in 2014. After leading some 40-laps of the Speedway’s opener in the homebuilt No. 05, before giving way to eventual winner David Danzer, Abold has continued to fight gremlins in the A&P No. 05 through the season. With several days of testing in Fast Friday sessions under his belt with the beautiful No. 05, it still remains to be seen whether Abold will come to Classic with the new racer or his tried and true machine that he has contended with in recent Classics.
06 – DAVE CLIFF/Oswego, NY: A veteran and champion of Oswego’s Small Block division, Dave Cliff and his family operated team have tried all year long to make it to the Speedway with their No. 06 Supermodified. Prior to August 16 racing, the Cliff team brought the No. 06 to the Speedway to fire the racer, but ran into issues. If the team is able to solve their issues under the hood, look for the No. 06 come Classic Sunday.
2 – DAVE SHULLICK JR./North Ridgeville, OH: The Shoe 2 will once again drive for John Nicotra in this year’s Classic, making for a three car effort with Otto Sitterly and Davey Hamilton. Shullick has contended twice at the Speedway this season with Nicotra and Sitterly, driving to a third place finish in the May 24 Jim Shampine Memorial 75. In last year’s Classic, Shullick was a top contender as the laps wore away, but ended up in trouble in the second corner, knocking him out of the event. Shullick has two career top five finishes in the Classic with a fifth place effort in 2007 and a third place finish in 2008.
3 – BRIAN SWEENEY/Hannibal, NY: After a broken part sent the No. 3 into the wall during Classic testing one year ago, Brian Sweeney is eager to make his first start in the Classic since 2003. As in 2013, several bouts of misfortune have left Sweeney fixing more pieces than maintaining; however when the No. 3 is dialed in Sweeney is fast. The former Small Block Super racer no doubt has speed and has finished in the top five twice in 2014 main events.
5 – TIM DEVENDORF/Brewerton, NY: Tim Devendorf has had a consistent and relatively trouble free 2014, resulting in a current position of ninth in the Speedway’s driver standings with the No. 5. Devendorf has won three qualifying heats, showing good speed on several occasions. Couple the speed with four top ten runs and a podium finish in 2014, and Devendorf should feel good heading to Classic Weekend. Despite good runs in his current Hawk chassis, the buzz remains that Devendorf will have a new Hawk chassis at the track before Classic Weekend. The new ride could potentially leave a seat open for another entrant into the Classic, and a top entry it would be.
6 – DAVEY HAMILTON/Boise, ID (1997 Classic Winner): The winner of the 1997 Budweiser International Classic, Davey Hamilton has contended in only one Oswego Speedway Supermodified event this season. Regardless, Hamilton is a sure fire winning contender anytime he straps into his Nicotra Racing Supermodified. Plans are still in place for Hamilton to drive a brand new Hawk chassis in the Classic for Nicotra, a similar creation to the Bond-Barnes-Danzer machines recently released, making Hamilton a threat for the win as well as the pole position come ‘Fast 14’ time trials on pole day Friday, August 29.
7 – OTTO SITTERLY/Canajoharie, NY (2009, 2011, 2012 Classic Winner): The flagship ride of the Nicotra Racing team, three-time Classic champion Otto Sitterly is the Speedway’s point leader and continues to close in on his seventh Speedway track championship. Until then, Classic is the focus, and Sitterly no doubt shines when the money is on the line. Some contend that Sitterly is off the mark heading into Classic, with only one win this season in the Jim Shampine Memorial 75. Others argue that Sitterly, as he has sometimes shown, does what it takes to claim championship points in the regular season. No matter the opinion, the fact remains that Sitterly has finished in the top five in six of the last eleven Classics, including three straight. The No. 7 will go 200-laps, with fans waiting to see how the action shakes out in the last 50-laps.
9 – STEPHEN GIOIA III/Oswego, NY: After taking a year off, Stephen Gioia III looks start his first Classic since 2012. Gioia and team have worked all year long to find speed in their Gioia built No. 9, and have slowly gained. While Gioia is not likely a contender for the ‘Fast 14’ spots, Gioia has proven his prowess in long distance events with a top five run in 2007, and will no doubt look after his racer over the course of 200-laps in 2014.
11 – TBA/Graham Racing: The Graham Racing No. 11, which started the year and was driven in last year’s Classic by Jessica Zemken, is currently entered with no driver for this year’s Classic. A top notch ride for the 200, names such as Bentley Warren, Chris Perley, and others have surfaced as candidates for the seat. Time will tell who will pilot the No. 11 in the International Classic.
14 – JOE CHILLEMI/Oswego, NY: Joe Chillemi is a long-time veteran of Supermodified racing at Oswego Speedway and qualified for his first International Classic just last season. Chillemi has not been at the Speedway all year with his No. 14 Supermodified, but does plan to attend Classic Week testing to prepare for the 200.
18 – HOWARD PAGE/Oswego, NY: Howard Page made his long awaited return to Oswego Speedway this season with another Page chassis Supermodified. After a couple weeks of R&D at the Speedway, Page seems to have found a comfortable pace with the No. 18 heading into Classic, and should find even more speed as the week progressed leading up to the 200.
21 – RAY GRAHAM/Ankeny, IA: Like a few others this season, Ray Graham has been hit and miss with his brand new Xtreme Supermodified in 2014. Graham qualified up front one year ago, but trouble always seems to strike the Fulton native in recent years. The last top five finishes for Graham were back to back podium finishes in 2009 and 2010. The Xtreme team has found the set-up in recent weeks at the Speedway with consecutive wins for Joey Payne and Kody Graham, Ray hopes to capitalize on the momentum in the Classic.
22 – PAT LAVERY/Oswego, NY: A three-time pole sitter for the Classic, including the last two consecutive seasons, Pat Lavery is ready to match the finish with the starting spot in the No. 22. Lavery is third in the driver standings this season with three top five finishes and nine top ten runs, and his always steady consistency makes him a threat for the Classic each year.
24 – JERRY CURRAN/Oswego, NY: Jerry Curran joins the list of the non-weekly competitors coming out for the Classic with his always ready No. 24. In Curran’s limited runs at the Speedway this season, he does have one top ten finish, and is a veteran of the 200-lapper.
26 – SHAUN GOSSELIN/Oswego, NY: Shaun Gosselin is the prime example of the highs and lows in racing. Last season, Gosselin battled for the Speedway track title and finished third in the Budweiser International Classic. This season, Gosselin has run into one issue after another, leaving his No. 26 crippled more than not. However, the Gosselin team has regrouped, and if they can get lady luck on their side they will be a contender for the ‘Fast 14’ positions and a front runner come Classic Sunday.
37 – RANDY RITSKES/Oswego, NY: No driver has won more Supermodified features at Oswego Speedway this season than Randy Ritskes in the Ken Locke No. 37. Ritskes has visited Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane at the Speedway three times in 2014, and as a result has to be on people’s list as a primetime favorite for the International Classic. Ritskes has been snake bitten in Classic’s over the years, never quite finding the right combination to head to victory lane, despite leading 197-laps of the race in 2000. The last time Ritskes scored a Classic top five was 2011, and he is ready to return in 2014.
44 – BOBBY HAYNES JR./Kirkville, NY: Bobby Haynes Jr. has been out more time than not this season with the No. 44. Three top ten finishes on the year shows that Haynes has the ability to go the distance, which he once again did in last year’s Classic with a fine ninth place finish.
45 – BOBBY SANTOS/Franklin, MA: Former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion Bobby Santos is entered to compete in this year’s Classic behind the wheel of the Mike Barbera No. 45 Muldoon chassis Supermodified. Santos finished second in the 2004 International Classic, driving a Muldoon chassis, and will be a threat for victory at the end of 200-laps should the No. 45 go the distance.
47 – BOB BOND/Mexico, NY (2010, 2013 Classic Winner): The defending champion and two-time winner of the International Classic, Bob Bond returns in 2014 with the Denise Merrill owned No. 47. Bond has contended in few events this season but has three top five finishes to show for his effort in the No. 47. A prime contender for the Classic pole position as well, Bond set a brand new Speedway track record of 16.098 seconds during opening day time trials in May. This season made clear there is no love-loss between Bond and Sitterly, the one-two finishers in last year’s Classic, making the duo a potent combination to watch come Classic Sunday.
50 – DAVE GRUEL/Fulton, NY: A constant threat for the Speedway championship all year long to Sitterly, Dave Gruel started his own team in 2014 with a new Hawk chassis and has showed tremendous results. Gruel has shown stellar speed with five top five finishes this season and amazing consistency with ten top ten runs in the No. 50. Always a stout runner in the Classic, Gruel has two consecutive top five runs in the 200, and has more than a fighters chance at his first win of the season coming in the International Classic.
51 – MICHAEL MULDOON/Baldwinsville, NY: With a brand new Muldoon chassis at his disposal in 2014, Michael Muldoon has shown the speed necessary to contend for wins this season. With five top ten finishes and a top five run this season, Muldoon is tenth in the driver standings and is a driver looking to make the ‘Fast 14’ positions in pole day time trials on August 29.
52 – DAVID DANZER/Oswego, NY: David Danzer has two wins in 2014 in different racecars. Danzer won on opening day with his Hawk chassis from previous seasons, then debuted his new Hawk chassis just weeks prior to winning the $10,000 Mr. Novelis Supermodified title. A near shoe in for a ‘Fast 14’ qualifying spot, Danzer is a good long distance runner, as evident with his fourth place finish in the 2011 Classic and a seventh place run just last year. The No. 52 has four top five finishes this season and six top ten runs, with Danzer being near the top of those drivers with a good shot at the Classic title.
55 – KEITH SHAMPINE/Concord, NC: A pleasant surprise in 2014, Keith Shampine has driven the Chris Osetek built and owned No. 55 to several good runs this season, including a fine runner-up finish to Joey Payne in August. Shampine, who qualified in the ‘Fast 14’ one year ago, has given cars good runs before in the International Classic and will look to do the same with the Osetek No. 55 this season.
56 – HAL LATULIP/Oswego, NY: A veteran of Supermodified racing and Oswego Speedway since the early 1980’s, Hal LaTulip continues as a welcome addition to the Speedway’s Supermodified field in 2014 with the No. 56. LaTulip finished in the Top25 of last year’s Classic and will no doubt give the No. 56 a solid run in 2014.
60 – TIM JEDRZEJEK/Independence, OH: Timmy J continues a long standing tradition of Ohio drivers coming to town for the International Classic and he will again do so in 2014 driving the Mike Murphy owned No. 60 Supermodified. A former Graham Racing Hawk chassis, the Murphy No. 60 is a stellar piece and will give Jedrzejek all the tools he needs to contend for a top five with the help of Soule Racing and others providing assistance.
66 – LOU LEVEA SR./Volney, NY: Lou LeVea Sr. once again enters the Classic driving for Steve Buske, and this year they do so with a new creation out of the Buske Racing shop. Debuted on August 16, the new No. 66 looked stable and showed early speed, giving Buske and LeVea hopes the new ride can be a contender. ‘Big Dog’ has a top ten finish this season and was recently the division’s Hard Charger on August 17, sitting 15th in the overall driver’s standings.
68 – MICHAEL BARNES/Mexico, NY: The talk of the early season was ‘The Hustler’ Michael Barnes debuting a brand new Hawk chassis for Syrell Racing. With blinding speed right out of the box, the Barnes No. 68 drove to two early season wins, and no doubt would have been a threat for the championship had the team not missed the first event of the season in May. Barnes joins the list of drivers as a sure bet for the ‘Fast 14’ qualifying positions and is at the top of the list of drivers with a strong shot at claiming the $15,000 prize as the winner of the 200 come August 31.
72 – TBA/Danzer Racing: One of the most cherished rides in the pit area, the back-up Danzer Racing No. 72 Supermodified has been a large part of the rumor mill throughout the season. Early indications pointed toward SBS racer Dalton Doyle being in the seat, followed quickly by SBS guaranteed starter and point leader Andrew Schartner. In the past two weeks word has come out that the seat is still open, with Supermodified Triple Crown candidate Lou Cicconi being added into the mix. Just like the Graham No. 11, only time will tell who will be in the seat of the No. 72 come Classic.
79 – BRIAN SOBUS/Fulton, NY: After taking a season off from Supermodified racing, Brian Sobus acquired the former Dave Gruel Supermodified over the off-season and has been slowly preparing the car for an attempt at the International Classic. Unfortunately, Sobus brought the No. 79 out on August 17 but ended the night in the outside front straight wall after a suspension piece broke on the machine. Sobus and team will do all they can to repair the racer for a return to the Speedway come Classic Weekend, as a welcomed addition to the field.
83 – LOU LEVEA JR./Fulton, NY: A weekly runner at the Speedway in 2014, Lou LeVea Jr. campaigned the Naramore owned No. 83 Belfiore chassis to a top ten finish this season. LeVea has qualified for multiple Classics and finished in the Top 20 last season with the No. 83.
90 – KODY GRAHAM/Liverpool, NY: Kody Graham returned to victory lane in 2014 driving the Xtreme No. 90 on August 17, putting the third generation driver in a prime spot heading into Classic Weekend. In a bit of an up and down year, Graham is 11th in the driver standings with four top five finishes, but has clearly hit the set-up as of late with the No. 90.
96 – TBA/Buske Racing: Steve Buske recently entered the former Kerfien Supermodified, driven in the past few weeks by Lou LeVea Sr. and most recently SBS front runner Jack Patrick. The Page chassis Supermodified last attempted the Classic back in 2008 with Michael Barnes at the wheel as No. 77.
98 – TBA/Strong Racing: Another seat that has been wildly debated, the Strong Racing No. 98 Supermodified, driven early this season by Joey Payne, is currently listed as TBA on the entry roster for the Classic. Names such as Jarett Andretti and MSA guaranteed starter Trent Stephens have all surfaced as potential pilots, with Stephens seeming to be the front runner. The Strong Supermodified was driven to an eighth place finish last season by Michael Barnes.
99 – JOEY PAYNE/Hawthorne, NJ: Joey Payne appears to be hitting his stride just before Classic in the Graham/Strong Racing No. 99 Xtreme. With a main event win on August 9, and a tremendous drive through the field on August 17, Payne is comfortable and racy with the new No. 99. Payne has five top five finishes this season and is primed for his first Classic top five since 2012 in the Muldoon Racing Supermodified.
Listed below are cars not currently entered in the Classic, which have the potential of being added to the lineup come Classic Weekend.
07 – DAVE SANBORN/Tilton, NH: In a recent development as of August 19, ‘Super’ Dave Sanborn has indicated that he and car owner John Burke are in the process of purchasing the Tony Steiner No. 07 Supermodified, with the intention of attempting this year’s International Classic. The Steiner Supermodified, a Muldoon chassis, is a stout and well prepared machine, that Sanborn hopes can qualify him into his first Classic since 2009. In recent years Sanborn has continued as an accomplished Small Block Supermodified shoe in New England.
07 – GEORGE GROVES/Ontario, Canada: George Groves, father of former Supermodified pilot Shannon Groves, brought his Graves copy No. 07 Supermodified to the Speedway on August 17. Groves has said that the No. 07 Supermodified, last campaigned by Brandon Bellinger in 2005 and 2006, may be at the Speedway come Classic Weekend with a different driver.
1 – SHAWN MULDOON/Oswego, NY: Word has yet to come out officially on Shawn Muldoon’s plans for the No. 1 Supermodified, although there is the potential of seeing it in action. Word has spread that Shawn himself will be at the wheel, however SBS shoe Mike Bruce has also been discussed as a potential driver.
40 – BOB MAGNER/Oswego, NY: Former Oswego Speedway weekly competitor, turned part-time ISMA driver, Bob Magner has stated that he would like to convert his No. 40 Supermodified over for Sunday competition at the Classic if all goes well in Saturday’s ISMA event. Magner made the switch in 2013, qualifying for the Classic through the B-Main, with a 22nd place finish in the 200.
70 – DAVE MCKNIGHT/Brampton, ONT: Dave McKnight is listed on the Speedway’s Classic Week testing schedule in the Gary Morton No. 70, as he looks to contend in another International Classic. McKnight was called into action late last year for Morton, qualifying the No. 70 in second round time trials with a 32nd place finish. The Morton No. 70 recently had engine issues in an ISMA event at Delaware Speedway, but all indications still point to the machine being in the Port City come Classic Weekend.
75 – GENE LEE GIBSON/Richwood, OH: The inaugural Mr. Supermodified, Gene Lee Gibson returned to the Speedway after a several year absence back on August 9 with a new Supermodified creation out of Ohio. Gibson was unable to turn too many laps with the No. 75, but is listed on the Classic Week testing schedule prior to Classic Weekend.
77 – CHARLIE SCHULTZ/Lorain, OH: One of the MSA’s guaranteed starters, Charlie Schultz has indicated that he has not ruled out contention of the No. 77 at the International Classic. A former starter in the International Classic, Schultz and the May Racing team would be a great addition to the field come Classic Weekend, should the team decide to compete.
84 – MIKE LICHTY/Innerkip, ONT: Mike Lichty and the PATCO Transportation, Reeds Salvage team recently acquired a former John Nicotra Supermodified for competition at Oswego Speedway and the International Classic. Lichty is also currently on the Classic Week testing schedule and plans to pull double duty on Classic Weekend.
87 – KEITH GILLIAM/Cazenovia, NY: Another former weekly Oswego competitor, turned part-time ISMA shoe, Keith Gilliam is exploring the idea of changing over his No. 87 Supermodified for Sunday Classic action.
88 – RYAN LITT/London, ONT: Last year’s Rookie of the Race and the Carl Rutledge Memorial Fastest Canadian Qualifier, Ryan Litt is working hard to be back at Classic with the Lair Jet No. 88 after blowing an engine in testing earlier this summer. Litt is currently scheduled on the Classic Week testing lineup with the Dave Lair Supermodified.
Individual seating is available for all three days of Budweiser International Classic Weekend, with three day ticket packages also available.
Three day general admission seating is $105, with three day reserved seating set at $115, and three day pit passes for $125.
Kids 5 and under are free throughout all of Budweiser International Classic Weekend with three day child admission for kids 6-16 available for only $35.
Budweiser International Classic Weekend will kick-off on Friday, August 29 with Corr/Pak Merchandising ‘FastFriday’ featuring Budweiser International Classic ‘Fast 14’ Novelis Supermodified time trials, Bud Light SBS Classic ‘Super 6’ Pathfinder Bank Small Block Super time trials, and the RoC Modified 100.
A full day of practice begins on Friday at noon with Small Block Super ‘Super 6’ time trials hitting the Speedway at6 p.m. followed immediately by Supermodified ‘Fast 14’ time trials at 6:30 p.m.
Classic Weekend’s Bud Light ‘Super Saturday’ will feature the final round of the ‘Steel Palace’ ISMA Super Series with the Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals, as well as the Bud Light SBS Classic 75, and the ATQMRA TQ Midget Classic.
Grandstands open at 3 p.m. on Saturday with qualifying getting underway at 5 p.m.
Budweiser International ‘Classic Sunday’ will see grandstand gates open at 9:30 a.m. and second round Supermodified time trials take to the Speedway at noon.
The 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200 is expected to take the green flag at 3 p.m.
To purchase tickets for Budweiser International Classic Weekend and the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200, call the Speedway’s box office today at (315) 342-0646.
-Oswego Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Bill Taylor