As was the case with preceding features over the Labor Day weekend at Oswego Speedway (NY), a turn of events over the closing laps decided the winner of the 59th Budweiser International Classic 200 for the non-winged Supermodifieds on Sunday afternoon.  The turn of events put Bob Bond in the driver’s seat and he capitalized on a green-white-checkered-finish to win his third career ‘Classic.’


Michael Barnes claimed the pole award on Friday and set off into an impressive advantage through the halfway mark.  The Mexico, New York driver, who was having the best Classic run of his career, never ran worse than third over the course of the 200 lap race.  His closest competitor Dave Danzer, another without a victory in the prestigious race, used a run on the backstretch for the first lead change of the race on lap 123.


Things would change just over 10 laps later when Danzer spun on his own going through lapped traffic in turn two.


“The car was really snug and I thought the car was good,” Danzer told powered by JEGS.  “I saw a shiny streak, I hit it with the right side tire, and it felt like I hit ice.  I don’t know if it was water, fuel, or something, but it came twirling around.  I had no indication.”


Danzer lost a lap in the process of getting his Supermodified turned back around and pushed back to life, but recovered to finish seventh.   Nevertheless, it was a dejecting conclusion for the hometown driver’s 2015 Classic.


Multi-time and defending event winner Otto Sitterly was able to get by Barnes prior to the yellow coming out and inherited the lead.  The John Nicotra-owned No. 7 looked to be well on its way to another victory in the closing laps when suddenly with less than 10 laps to go his car unexpectedly snapped around slightly after the same spot in which Danzer’s did.


“When I was going to the outside of a lapped car I didn’t have a good enough car to get it to rotate, and I went up into the marbles trying to get by,” Sitterly explained.  “Once I got the front end under it I was so far in the marbles I barely touched the gas and it just went around.”


Despite appearing to be on a Sunday drive before the spin, a different strategy from some of his other big wins in 2015 was partially the cause under hot afternoon conditions.


“We just went with a smaller nose-wing,” Sitterly said.  “We usually run a big wing in the front, but for this race we used last year’s setup even though we knew all season the car has been tight.  It was just too tight.  We wore the right front right off the car.  There was just nothing left.”


Conservation turned out to be the winning move over the final stretch.  Track points leader Bob Bond, who ran in the latter half of the top 10 most of the race, had worked his way into the runner up spot and set his sights on the inheriting leader Barnes.  Bond worked to the inside down the front straightaway and into turn one coming to two laps to go, but at that instant the caution flew once again for an incident further back involving Sitterly.


Barnes would be given back the lead, but on the ensuing green-white-checkered restart it was all Bond that easily maneuvered by for the winning pass.


“I was actually beside (Barnes) when the caution came out and they gave the lead to him, which was probably the right call,” Bond said.  “I would have had him if the caution didn’t come out, but with two to go I knew it was going to be a dogfight.  I think I had the better car and it worked out.”


Now a three-time Classic winner, Bond knew that strategy was going to play a big part like it does every year in a race with such a long distance.


“That’s what this race is all about – save, save, save,” Bond noted.  “It doesn’t get any easier.  This is the toughest one yet, I think.”


Barnes gave it all he had, but had to settle for the runner up a spot.  It was his best finish in the event by far.


“We were about done 130 or 140 in when Danzer and Otto got by me then.  We tried and gave it a shot.  Bobby could get off the corner at the end of the race and Joey Payne was coming on strong too.  We’ll take second.  I’ve never finished on the lead lap before.”


Despite the strong finish it still was a bit dejecting for him knowing that the cards kept falling in his favor at times.


“It’s heartbreaking to lose it when I basically left the door open.  Congratulations to them.  (Bond) drove a smart race.  I kind of kept an eye out for him on the board, and at the end I saw him coming and saw his crew guys standing up next to my crew guys.  Both kind of gave me signs that Bondy’s got to be coming because they were looking pretty excited, so sure enough.  He got first, we got second.”


Payne, last year’s pole award winner and current track record holder, charged from 24th to an impressive third place finish and was challenging Barnes during the closing lap.  Sitterly’s teammates Davey Hamilton and Dave Shullick Jr. rounded out the top five in what turned out to be an unpredictable conclusion at “The Steel Palace.”


– By Aaron Creed, Pennsylvania/Central New York Editor – Twitter: @aaron_creed

– Photo credit: MoJo Photos


59th Budweiser International Classic 200 Results

1              9              47           Bob Bond                            210

2              1              68           Michael Barnes                 210

3              24           99           Joey Payne                         210

4              6              6              Davey Hamilton               210

5              10           2              Dave Shullick Jr.                210

6              8              5              Tim Devendorf                  210

7              2              52           Dave Danzer                      209

8              20           79           Brian Sobus                        209

9              13           50           Dave Gruel                         209

10           12           02           Brandon Bellinger            209

11           28           24           Jerry Curran                       208

12           16           11           Aric Iosue                            207

13           17           22           Pat Lavery                           197

14           19           26           Shaun Gosselin                 197

15           3              7              Otto Sitterly                       197

16           30           45           Kreig Heroth                      197

17           11           00           Joe Gosek                           184

18           27           9              Stephen Gioia III              183

19           22           72           Dave Cliff                             170

20           23           0              Tim Snyder                         157

21           5              21           Kody Graham                    152

22           31           1              Shawn Muldoon               138

23           4              51           Joey Moriarty                    133

24           34           83           Lou LeVea Jr.                     133

25           26           88           Ryan Litt                               123

26           14           91           Bobby Santos III                 91

27           7              15           Michael Muldoon                 84

28           25           84           Mike Lichty                         81

29           21           01           Dan Connors Jr.                  79

30           29           18           Howard Page                     70

31           15           05           Jeff Abold                           62

32           32           56           Hal LaTulip                       62

33           18           35           Bob Magner                       28

34           33           96           Lou LeVea Sr.                     1

Turn of Events Decide Winner of Bud Classic at Oswego