OSWEGO, NY – After a near 30-year absence from the steel confines of Oswego Speedway, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will make its long awaited return to the ‘Steel Palace’ on Saturday, September 3 joining the 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend lineup at the Port City oval.
Since 1957, Oswego’s International Classic has featured the best of the best in Supermodified racing, and over the years the Labor Day weekend spectacular has grown to include a plethora of open-wheel stars and divisions to join the weekend leading up to the International Classic 200 finale on Sunday afternoon.
However, it has been since September 2, 1989 that the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has graced the fast 5/8 mile.
“Budweiser International Classic Weekend is a staple event in open-wheel pavement racing and it should be treated as such,” said Oswego Speedway co-owner, John Torrese. “As we celebrate the 60th anniversary of this amazing racing weekend we felt the time was right to work together with NASCAR to bring back one of the traditions of this great weekend. A long distance, Saturday night special, featuring some of the best Modified drivers anywhere in the country – fighting for the distinguished right to be called a Classic champion at Oswego.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour will contend in a 150-lap Classic event during the Saturday portion of the weekend, pairing with the ISMA Supermodified Bud Light Super Nationals.
“We continue to take in and review a lot of fan feedback and this addition to the weekend was certainly called upon by several of our current and former Classic Weekend attendees,” said Torrese. “While Oswego Speedway is the Home of the Supermodifieds, the Modifieds themselves have played a huge role in our historic journey and we are excited to bring the Whelen Modified Tour not only back to Oswego, but to upstate New York so the many Modified fans in this area can join us again for an entire open-wheel racing weekend.”
The NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour first came to Oswego in 1988, running a total of eight events between ’88 and 1989.
Brian Ross won the first two NASCAR events ever held at Oswego with Mike McLaughlin and George Kent also collecting victories in ’88. Kent’s triumph was the first NASCAR sanctioned event held at the Big O during International Classic Weekend.
NASCAR’s ’89 schedule at Oswego belonged to Tony Hirschman.
Hirschman won three of the four events held at the ‘Steel Palace’ that season including the most recent Whelen Modified Tour stop during Classic Weekend.
Mike Stefanik was the only other Modified winner that season at Oswego, adding his name to the short list of NASCAR sanctioned victors on the 5/8 mile.
While Oswego has not been on the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour schedule in some 27 years, the tour itself has not visited upstate New York since July of 2009 when second generation racer Erick Rudolph went to victory at Williamson, NY’s Spencer Speedway.
Since the year 2000, the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour has visited upstate on only eight occasions at facilities such as Watkins Glen International, Holland International, Chemung Speedrome, Spencer Speedway, and Adirondack International, making this year’s stop in Oswego a rare opportunity to see the northeast’s premier asphalt modified tour locally.
Oswego’s Budweiser International Classic Weekend will officially kick-off on Friday, September 2 with ‘Fast Friday’ pole-day qualifications for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers.
The Friday opener will include a full day’s open practice for Oswego’s Supermodifieds and SBS before time trials for each class begin at 6 p.m.
Following time trials the pit gates will open for the annual ‘Party in the Pits’, returning to its Friday night home. Post time trials, the ‘Party in the Pits’ will include driver autograph sessions, the Supermodified Simulators, a pit stop competition for fans, live music and much more.
Saturday, September 3 will feature the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150 as well as the Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals making for over 200-laps of main event action on ‘Super Saturday.’
The 60th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds will of course be the headliner on Sunday, September 4, but for the first time since 2008 the Bud Light SBS Classic 75 will be scheduled to join the International Classic on the same day, celebrating its historic 25th running.
In 2010 the Supermodified and SBS Classics ran on the same afternoon following a weekend rainout.
Individual ticket pricing as well as weekend pass information for the 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend will be made available soon.
The full 2016 Oswego Speedway event schedule will be released in the coming days.
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com or LIKE on Facebook at www.facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway or FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway.
About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.
2016 60th annual Budweiser International Classic Weekend at Oswego Speedway
FRIDAY, September 2: Oswego Supermodified & SBS Open Practice, International Classic 200 and SBS Classic 75 ‘Fast Friday’ Time Trials, ‘Party in the Pits’
SATURDAY, September 3: NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour 150, ISMA Supermodified Super Nationals 60
SUNDAY, September 4: International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds, Small Block Super Classic 75 for Pathfinder Bank SBS
MONDAY, September 5: Weekend Rain Date
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour History at Oswego Speedway (Race by Race)
May 27, 1988: Reggie Ruggiero (Pole Position), Brian Ross (Winner)
July 2, 1988: Tony Hirschman (Pole Position), Brian Ross (Winner)
August 6, 1988: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), Mike McLaughlin (Winner)
September 3, 1988: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), George Kent (Winner)
May 28, 1989: Jan Leaty (Pole Position), Tony Hirschman (Winner)
July 1, 1989: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), Tony Hirschman (Winner)
August 5, 1989: Mike McLaughlin (Pole Position), Mike Stefanik (Winner)
September 2, 1989: Mike Stefanik (Pole Position), Tony Hischman (Winner)
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour History at Oswego Speedway (Winners)
Tony Hirschman (3)
Brian Ross (2)
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour History at Oswego Speedway (Pole Winners)
Mike McLaughlin (4)
-Oswego Speedway Press Release. Photo credit: Rick Ibsen/Speed51.com