OSWEGO, NY — official release — Bill Taylor Photo — The new pairing of Locke Racing and Randy Ritskes continues to impress in Oswego Speedway’s Novelis Supermodified division, as Ritskes cruised to his third win of the season in the Speedway’s Summer Championship on Saturdaynight presented by C’s Beverage Center and Crop Production Services.
Ritskes started the 50-lap main from eighth position, charged through the pack with little resistance, and stole the lead from Tim Devendorf on lap nine to drive away to his 12th career Supermodified victory at the ‘Steel Palace’, tying him on the all-time list with late great Ron Lux.
Devendorf put on a great drive to hold onto the runner-up position ahead of Dan Connors Jr., who returned in his Xtreme chassis from previous seasons, Keith Shampine, and Brian Sweeney finished the front five positions.
“Man, three wins,” said Ritskes in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane. “You know, we don’t go fast in practice, we never do. But this thing runs so good in traffic. It is a pleasure to drive. We went on the outside in this race. You know, Brian Allegresso, John Richichi, all these guys they throw their hearts into it. Kenny Locke showed another tear tonight, you would think he’d be getting used to this by now, but he’s not.”
Michael Muldoon, Pat Lavery, Dave Gruel, Joe Gosek, and Otto Sitterly completed the top ten in the Summer Championship main event.
A total of 21 racers took the green flag in Saturday’s main event with Sweeney and Devendorf starting from the front row. At the drop of the green, Devendorf would shoot to the race lead, but trouble would follow behind before the first lap could be completed.
A jam up in the fourth corner, coming to complete lap one, would see Sitterly spun sideways in the No. 7 with Shaun Gosselin and Hal LaTulip being collected behind. All three racers would head to the pit area with damage, along with the No. 68 of Michael Barnes.
All would return to action with the exception of LaTulip’s No. 56 which would be done for the night.
A complete double file restart would be the result of the yellow, with Devendorf again jumping to the lead in the No. 5 from the outside of the front row.
With Devendorf building a comfortable early lead, all eyes were on Ritskes charging hard through the field in the No. 37. In only three circuits Ritskes drove from eighth to second making high side attempts on Muldoon, Brandon Bellinger, and Sweeney, before diving under Connors for second on lap three.
Ritskes continued to charge hard after Devendorf, but it was not needed, as a quick rain shower hit the Speedway on lap nine slowing the field.
After a few slow circuits the light rain pushed on and the field was ready for another restart with Devendorf leading Ritskes, Connors, Sweeney, Bellinger, Shampine, Muldoon, Gruel, Snyder, and Lavery.
On the restart Ritskes got a tremendous run out of turn two to slide by Devendorf for the point heading into the sweeping third corner, and he began to check away.
Two laps later yellow would fly again however, this time for a stalled Snyder in turn four, along with the return of another small rain shower. Snyder would the done for the night in the No. 0, finishing 19th, and once again the rain would pass setting up another restart.
Once back to green, Ritskes fled away from the field leaving numerous battles behind including former teammate Gruel and Lavery. Lavery would eventually move underneath Gruel for the eighth position on lap 13, setting sights on Muldoon further in front.
By lap 15 the Bellinger No. 02 began to show signs of wear, after running in the top five early on. The Shampine No. 55 would handily drive by Bellinger on the top side of the front straight for the fifth spot, and only five laps later Bellinger would slip high, sliding back to 12th position in the running order.
At the halfway point of the event Devendorf was beginning to cut into the lead of Ritskes out front, in what was shaping up to be a great two car tandem battle for the lead with Connors, Sweeney, and Shampine in tow further behind.
With Devendorf closing, he appeared to catch another break when Gosselin caught the outside front straight wall at lap 26 to bring out another yellow flag situation. Gosselin, who has had a year he would rather forget, was hooked to the infield pit area with extensive front end damage to his racer yet again, after tangling with Lou LeVea Sr.
The lap 26 restart saw Ritskes lead Devendorf, Connors, Sweeney, Shampine, Muldoon, Lavery, Gruel, Gosek, and now Sitterly would had worked back into the top ten after his first lap issues.
On the restart it was clear that Devendorf’s car liked long runs the best, as Ritskes blasted away yet again in the No. 37. Behind the leaders, Shampine made another great high side attempt, this time on Sweeney, to steal fourth into the third corner in the Osetek Racing No. 55.
By lap 40 Ritskes had built a healthy lead on Devendorf in second, who in turn had a healthy lead of his own on Connors and Shampine.
From that point on everyone’s margin stayed nearly the same with Ritskes cruising to his third victory of the season by 1.8-seconds over Devendorf, Connors, Shampine, and Sweeney.
Devendorf, with his best run of the season, was more than pleased with his runner-up effort.
“On the restarts my car was just a little bit tight,” said Devendorf. “I was kind of punching it off, then getting loose, and Randy was pretty good on those restarts and would get away from me. It would take me a while to get some heat in the car and get a rhythm, and then we got to the point where we were about the same. I was hanging on as hard as I could to stay in front of him (Ritskes), but we couldn’t do it and second place is great.”
Connors, who injured his new racer severely in the King of Wings ISMA event on July 12 returned to the Speedway July 19 with his Xtreme chassis Supermodified from previous seasons, and promptly wheeled it to a podium finish.
“I never know what to expect after the year we have had,” said Connors. “It’s kind of easy to finish that way starting up front, but we didn’t figure we would come here and run this well with the car sitting all winter. We didn’t run great tonight but it was enough to stay in front and hang on.”
Bellinger, Lavery, and Muldoon claimed Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint Heat Race Challenge victories.
Devendorf went on to claim the Lightouse Lanes Up and Comer Award while Gosek was the Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger.
Ritskes would lead the 41-laps for the Radical Racegear Lap Leader Award.
LeVea Sr. was in competition on Saturday driving the former Darcey Kerfien owned, Bob Goutermout driven, No. 77 Supermodified purchased recently at the late Kerfien’s estate auction. LeVea, a long-time friend of Kerfien, piloted the machine as No. 77 in honor of the late Supermodified car owner.
Rookie Mike Barbera participated in his first Novelis Supermodified feature event Saturday in his Muldoon chassis No. 45. Barbera completed 19-laps of action with an 18th place finish.
Joey Payne debuted the latest Xtreme chassis Supermodified, showing great speed early in warmups with several laps in the 16.5-16.6 range. Payne started 14th in the main event, running all 50-laps to a 12th place finish, but is no doubt happy with the early progress of the new No. 99.
Gruel is now the new Novelis Supermodified point leader, ahead of long-time leader Sitterly by just 4-points. Feature winner Ritskes now trails the championship lead by only 29.5-points.
Oswego Speedway Summer Championship
presented by C’s Beverage Center and Crop Production Services
Novelis Supermodified Summer Championship (50-laps): 1. 37 – RANDY RITSKES,
2. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 3. 01 – Dan Connors Jr, 4. 55 – Keith Shampine, 5. 3
– Brian Sweeney, 6. 51 – Michael Muldoon, 7. 22 – Pat Lavery, 8. 50 – Dave
Gruel, 9. 00 – Joe Gosek, 10. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 11. 90 – Kody Graham, 12.
99 – Joey Payne, 13. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 14. 68 – Michael Barnes, 15. 02
– Brandon Bellinger, 16. 77 – Lou LeVea Sr, 17. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 18. 45
– Mike Barbera, 19. 0 – Tim Snyder, 20. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr, 21. 56 – Hal
Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger: #00 – Joe Gosek
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: #5 – Tim Devendorf
Radical Race Gear Lap Leader: #37 – Randy Ritskes
Heat #1 (12-laps, all qualify): 1. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 2. 50 – Dave
Gruel, 3. 3 – Brian Sweeney, 4. 0 – Tim Snyder, 5. 26 – Shaun Gosselin, 6.
44 – Bobby Haynes Jr.
Heat #2 (12-laps, all qualify): 1. 22 – Pat Lavery, 2. 01 – Dan Connors
Jr., 3. 68 – Michael Barnes, 4. 55 – Keith Shampine, 5. 99 – Joey Payne, 6.
56 – Hal LaTulip, 7. 9 – Stephen Gioia III
Heat #3 (12-laps, all qualify): 1. 51 – Michael Muldoon, 2. 37 – Randy
Ritskes, 3. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 4. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 5. 90 – Kody Graham,
6. 00 – Joe Gosek, 7. 45 – Mike Barbera, 8. 77 – Lou Levea Sr