OSWEGO, N.Y. – official track release — Bill Taylor photo —
Syrell Racing has fielded a Supermodified at Oswego Speedway for over 25 years, and in 2015 the veteran team believes all the pieces are in place for their best chance at a championship run with crew chief Joe Hawksby Jr. and driver Michael Barnes.
With the current team lineup brought together in 2014, Barnes drove the Syrell Racing No. 68 Hawk Supermodified chassis to 8th in the championship standings with two features wins, despite missing the opening event of the season.
With all parties back on board for ’15, and all Speedway events in the team’s plans, Syrell Racing co-owner Eric Syrell believes the family run operation finally has the perfect combination heading to the Speedway’s 65th anniversary season.
“My dad Gary (Syrell) has been in the sport for 40 plus years,” said Syrell. “After being an owner/driver, dad turned to a full-time owner and has had some amazing drivers behind the wheel of his racecars including Doug Didero, Dave McKnight, and Mike Lichty. His experience and know-how is the true driving force behind our team and our goals of a championship in 2015.”
While Syrell and McKnight came close to an Oswego championship in 2011, the team fell just short. With last year’s introduction of both Hawksby and Barnes into the mix, failure has been erased from the team’s vocabulary.
“Joey’s (Hawksby) record is beyond impressive,” said Syrell. “He is on his way to becoming the most successful Supermodified car builder of all-time. We were privileged to become partners with Joe last season and it is his personal expertise in fabrication, engineering, and chassis set-up that has brought us to our highest level. Now, you introduce ‘The Hustler’ Michael Barnes into the equation and you no doubt have a recipe for success.”
Barnes has seven career Oswego Supermodified victories, coming with three different teams. Voted as the Speedway’s Turning Stone Resort Casino Favorite Driver this past season, Syrell says that Barnes brings more than his driving ability to the table.
“Michael’s on track abilities are only topped by his marketability,” said Syrell. “He is a humble, friendly, well-spoken individual who always finds time for his fans and is very loyal to his team and sponsors. Michael is no doubt the perfect ambassador for our team, sport, and any company looking for the right spokesperson.”
While on track results is the common identifier of a championship effort, Syrell Racing also believes that making its team accessible to fans and sponsors is another key component to becoming a champion.
“We try to think outside of the box as a team from a marketing standpoint,” said Syrell. “A major sponsor would be a key component to our run for a championship, and we hope our efforts will help to attract one. In recent years we have been a part of several promotional venues, fundraisers, charitable events, and as many community events as time and budget would allow.”
Recently, the Syrell Supermodified was on display at the Oswego County BOCES 10th grade orientation.
“It is this type of forward thinking that we believe puts our team above the rest,” said Syrell. “Besides displaying the car we have had fan appreciation parties, concerts, and recently introduced our racing calendar, all to help our team interact with potential new fans and partners.”
From top to bottom, Syrell Racing’s focus on 2015 is undeniable and the team’s aspirations of battling the recent championship stronghold of Nicotra Racing and Otto Sitterly, look to be a reality.