OSWEGO, N.Y. — Story by Race Chaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker — Speed51.com photo — The 64th Annual Sunoco Race of Champions for the NASCAR-style Northeast Asphalt Modifieds gets underway tomorrow at the famed Oswego Speedway in Oswego, N.Y.
This race is the second oldest consecutively run race in the United States.
It is a tradition that goes back years to former tracks such as Langhorne (PA) Speedway and Trenton (NJ) Speedway before finding a home for a while on the shorter 3/4-mile Pocono Raceway track.
Northeast Modified legends including Maynard Troyer, Richie Evans, Geoff Bodine, Jerry Cook, Bugs Stevens and countless others converged on past RoC events to compete against drivers crossing over from regional dirt tracks such as Lou Lazzaro, Buzzie Reutimann and Bob McCreadie.
Current Modified hotshoes Matt Hirschman in the red No. 60 and Chuck Hossfeld will sit as heavy favorites in this year’s edition, but they’ll have plenty of competition for the prestigious title.
NASCAR Nationwide and Modified standout Ryan Preece will be in action on Sunday after running the previous night at Riverhead Speedway in the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event.
The dirt tracks will still play a role in the RoC 200, as Stewart Friesen will also be driving a Modified this weekend as part of the Rick Kluth team. This will be the first time the DIRTcar Modified/Sprint Car ace has ever driven an asphalt Modified car.
Once the race found a home at Oswego, it’s continued to grow and expand to include not just Modifieds but also the Sportsman/SK-style Modifieds and Super Stocks so all these divisions will be fighting for the right to say they won the “Race of Champions” in 2014.
The race weekend is of great significance to the Oswego Speedway Supermodifieds and Small Block Supermodifieds (SBS) cars as well, because this year the Race of Champions weekend has been combined with the Fall Championship weekend for both divisions, so track champions will be crowned in those classes as well!
Andrew Schartner just needs to start the SBS race to wrap up a track title for Crow Motorsports, while Otto Sitterly is battling Dave Gruel for the Supermodified championship. If Sitterly wins the title, it will be his seventh Oswego track championship.
Adding even more excitement will be the NEMA Midgets and NEMA Lite classes to make it a full 7 division show over the two days!
Features for the NEMA Midgets, NEMA Lites, Roc Sportsman and SBS Supermodifieds will be run on Saturday.
Sunday will find qualifying for the Supers and Modifieds, the Super Stock 75-lap feature, the 75-lap Supermodified championship and the Sunoco 200-lap Race of Champions Modified race.
Bobby Santos, known for both his open wheel and Modified skills, will drive a Supermodified for Graham Racing for the second straight Oswego race. He finished fourth in the Budweiser International Classic 200 two weeks ago driving the No. 11. This weekend he will see duty in the brand new Extreme Chassis No. 21 that team owner Ray Graham drove in the Classic.
RaceChaser Online and Speed77 Radio will be on hand all weekend to provide both live updates and post-race coverage.
For more information on the event go to www.RaceOfChampions.net.