OSWEGO, N.Y. – 38 years ago, a Shampine sat on the pole of the Budweiser International Classic for the last time, when the legendary Jim Shampine qualified fastest for the 1979 edition with a time of 17.914 seconds in the legendary 8-ball supermodified.
Friday evening, during CNY Chevy Dealers Pole Day at Oswego Speedway, the legendary family name finally returned to the top of the speed charts once again at the five-eighths-mile.
Keith Shampine, the nephew of the seven-time track champion, soared to the pole as the final of 31 cars to qualify in two-lap time trials, taking car owner Chris Osetek to his first Classic pole as well in advance of Sunday’s 200-lap grand finale.
Posting a time of 16.104 seconds on his first of two laps around the ‘Steel Palace’, Shampine placed the No. 55 TJ Toyota of Potsdam-Osetek Chassis supermodified on top in an emotional moment for drivers and fans alike.
“Man, that’s just cool,” Shampine said after qualifying, during the annual Party in the Pits. “I felt like we had a really good chance (at the pole), honestly. We’d won two of the last three time trial sessions here and today, the car was just on a rail. We’ve had speed all season long, we’ve won races, but a Classic pole … you dream of things like that.”
“I’m not quite sure what the strategy is going to be for Sunday … but hopefully we can convert this into a win,” Shampine grinned. “We might have (had a shot to win) last year, but we had that fuel pickup problem that dropped us back. This time we’re loaded for bear.”
Shampine was just over three-tenths off the all-time non-winged supermodified track record of 15.802 seconds, set by the ‘Jersey Jet’ Joey Payne on Aug. 29, 2014 during Classic weekend qualifying.
Former track champion and 2015 Classic polesitter Michael Barnes will join Shampine on the front row for Sunday’s crown jewel event, after setting a time of 16.241 seconds (139.717 mph) in the No. 68 Costello & Associates-Hawk Chassis for Syrell Racing.
‘The Hustler’ is seeking his first-career Classic victory come Sunday afternoon, after finishing second the past two years.
Nicotra Racing teammates Otto Sitterly and Dave Shullick Jr. will share row two of the grid for Sunday’s race, clocking the third and fourth-fastest laps of the day, respectively.
Sitterly’s time of 16.348 seconds (137.632 mph) just edged Shullick’s 16.349 (137.623).
‘The Flying Pharmacist’ Aric Iosue completed the Fast Five, ahead of defending Classic champion Jeff Abold.
Last year’s pole winner Michael Muldoon, Tim Devendorf, Kody Graham and Payne completed the top 10.
Multi-time ISMA winged supermodified champion Chris Perley locked into the field in 12th, just in front of Bob Bond, who has won the Classic three times in the past seven years.
Former NASCAR modified champion Bobby Santos III was 16th-quick overall, while three-time pole winner Pat Lavery was the final car to lock in on time in 18th, the slowest of the four Nicotra Racing entries for this year’s race.
61-year-old Joe Gosek, who is looking to make his 38th-straight Classic A-Main appearance on Sunday, was the first car below the cut line for day one time trials in 19th (16.891/133.207).
Others who are not locked in at the end of Pole Day include Dave Gruel (21st), Dave McKnight (22nd), 2017 track Rookie of the Year Logan Rayvals (24th) and Jerry Curran (29th), driving the ‘Nuclear Banana’ No. 24 entry.
Activity for the Novelis Supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway resumes Sunday morning with second-round time trials.
Full qualifying results can be viewed on the next page…