OSWEGO, N.Y. – Story By RaceChaser Senior Editor Tom Baker – Audio/Photo By Steven Ovens – Popular Small Block Supermodified (SBS) competitor J.J. Andrews has been trying for years to get a win in the division’s biggest race, the Bud Light SBS Classic.
Saturday night, he finally did.
Andrews held off the challenges of Mike Bond, Alex Hoag and others to lead every lap of the race en-route to a victory for which the post-race party may last into Sunday morning.
27 cars started the 75-lap event. Oswego Speedway veteran J.J. Andrews and “young gun” Kreig Heroth made up the front row, with Jack Patrick and two-time SBS Classic Winner Andrew Schartner in row two. Former track champion Mike Bond and new track record holder Russ Brown started in row three.
Andrews took control at the opening green flag with Patrick quickly assuming second. Bond and Brown ran third and fourth with Schartner fifth at the end of lap two. Bond was working over Patrick for the second spot, while Camden Proud took sixth from a fading Heroth.
The orange No. 93 of Andrews began to leave the rest of the field behind by lap five, leaving Patrick to fend off the challenges of Bond and Brown for the second spot. Schartner, meanwhile, had his hands full as 15-year-old Camden Proud was working hard to move into the top five but finding the track champion in waiting to be a worthy opponent.
On lap 9, Brown moved to the outside of Bond but had to drop back to fourth. Both were right on Patrick’s tail as positions 2,3 and 4 went at it. The No. 47 of Jon Tesoriero slowed on the front straightaway but was able to limp back to the pits safely, so the race stayed green.
Alex Hoag in the No. 73 was on the march, running in the eighth position by lap 15. Andrews had opened up over a straightaway advantage by then as he was determined to get his first SBS classic crown.
The first caution flag of the event came out on lap 17 as Chris Proud in the No. 3 looped it out on the front straightaway. This was not a happy occasion for Andrews, as he now had Patrick, Brown, Bond and Schartner back on his bumper as his 3.5 second lead now vanished.
Andrews led the field back to the green flag on lap 17 but chaos ensued on the restart as it appeared Russ Brown broke loose out of turn four and clipped the right front of Andrew Schartner’s machine, who was trying to avoid. A host of other cars piled in, including Camden Proud then caught a piece of Brown’s No 13 as other cars stacked up.
Cameron Rowe was taken off on the hook and others were damaged as well. Schartner and Anthony Losurdo pitted for repairs as soon as the track went from red flag to yellow flag conditions. Steve Abt, Jesse Bearup, Dalton Doyle, Dennis Rupert and Jack LaTulip were also involved.
Brown restarted at the tail of the field, apparently unharmed. Andrews hit the gas as Bond stole second on the back straightaway from Patrick after the green flag flew again.
Full-speed action was short-lived, however, as the fourth and fifth place cars of Proud and Simmons got together in turn three, necessitating another yellow flag. For the restart, Andrews would lead Bond, Patrick, Hoag and Heroth.
Hoag wasted no time in taking third with an inside move as Patrick dropped back to fourth with 20 laps in the books. Five laps later, Rob Pullen spun his No. 21 and once again the race was slowed to caution pace with a third of the distance completed.
The order was now Andrews, Bond, Hoag, Heroth and Josh Kerr in the top five, with Mike Bruce, Matt Magner, Steve Abt and Danny Abt completing the top ten at this time. Brown was back up to 13th and Schartner 16th as both still had time to make their way through the field with the help of some additional yellows and some attrition.
Andrews and Bond pulled about four car lengths on Hoag on the restart as Bond started applying some pressure on the leader. Hoag was unchallenged in third, with Heroth and Kerr five car lengths back.
By lap 27, Brown was back to 11th and charging forward. Andrews was showing signs of losing some of the handling on his No. 93, but hanging on to the lead.
The No. 13 of Brown stayed on the gas and grabbed two more spots in the next five laps, creeping up to ninth. Schartner also began to go forward again, seeing himself in 14th spot on lap 35.
Mike Bruce was also asserting himself in fifth place now as he had gotten by Heroth. He was all over the back of Patrick, challenging for fourth as they stayed within a car length of third place Hoag in an intense four car battle.
When “40” went up on the board, Matt Magner and Brown came together in turn one, causing Brown to spin. Brown restarted and headed to the pit area as the track safety crew cleaned up some fluid laid down in the incident by the 2 of Magner.
Andrews had led all 40 laps to this point, though it appeared his car was developing a “loose” condition as the back end was stepping out in the corners. Bond, Hoag, Patrick and Bruce were now in the top five with Heroth, Kerr, Abt, Chris Proud, and Haynes rounding out the top ten. Schartner was steadily advancing, now sitting in 11th.
Once again Andrews and Bond pulled away from the third through sixth place cars, and with 30 laps left it appeared that it might be a two car race for the win if nothing happened to either of the leaders. The battle for third through sixth was a hotly contested one as Hoag was desperately trying to fend off the challenges of Patrick, Bruce and Heroth.
Finally, on lap 50, Bruce took over the fourth spot and Heroth followed him by Patrick to take fifth as the Patrick No. 9 fell back to sixth. Bruce began challenging Hoag for third as Heroth laid waiting to strike if either of them faultered.
Up front, Bond was working the outside of Andrews, but J.J. still had enough race car to hold him off. The battle was slowed on lap 56 as Dalton Doyle spun out on the backstretch.
The No. 93 of Andrews was still the only leader of the race, but Mike Bond was turning up the wick with less than 20 laps to go. Hoag, Bruce and Heroth ran third through fifth for the restart, while Patrick, Kerr, Danny Abt, Bryan Haynes and Jesse Bearup rounded out the top ten. Schartner was still 11th.
Yellow fever was rampant in this 75-lap affair, and it struck again on lap 57 when Bryan Haynes tried to make an inside move on Danny Abt going into turn three and the pair touched, sending both spinning and Abt into the third turn outside foam safety blocks.
Abt and Haynes were both able to continue, albeit with damage, but Rob Pullen got caught up in the incident and had to be hooked off the track. This moved Bearup to 8th, Schartner 9th and LaTulip 10th for the restart behind Andrews, Bond, Hoag, Bruce, Heroth, Patrick and Kerr.
The final 15 laps saw Bond run two to three car lengths off leader Andrews as fourth place Bruce was still battling hard with Hoag trying to take over third. That battle also saw the fourth through seventh place cars all in a pack as they looked for room inside and outside.
Schartner passed Bearup for 10th with two laps to go, and one lap later the leaders closed in to lap the No. 91 of Barry Kingsley, who was going slowly. Bond tried to go underneath Kingsley but there was no room, and he caught a wheel, ending up in the inside wall!
With a green, white, checkered looming, Andrews now led Hoag, Heroth, Bruce and Patrick. Andrews got a tremendous restart and stretched a couple of car lengths as the white flag was now displayed.
Hoag tried valiantly to close in but at the checkers it was Andrews leading every lap for the win! Hoag finished second with Heroth third, Bruce fourth and Patrick rounding out the top five. Josh Kerr came across the line in sixth followed by Schartner, Bearup, LaTulip and Jason Simmons in the top ten.
SBS CLASSIC FINISH:
93 – J.J. Andrews
73 – Alex Hoag
04 – Kreig Heroth
9 – Jack Patrick
8 – Josh Kerr
18 – Andrew Schartner
02 – Jesse Bearup
27- Dave LaTulip
98 – Jason Simmons
76 – Scott Shafer
86 – Bryan Haynes
57 – Danny Abt
3 – Chris Proud
74 – Mike Bond
91 – Barry Kingsley
99 – Dennis Rupert
47 – Jon Tesoriero
21 – Rob Pullen
6 – Dalton Doyle
2 – Matt Magner
SBS Consi Finish – Bearup, Bruce, Castiglia, Haynes, Rupert, Tesoreiro, Schafer, Doyle. DNQ – O’Connor, LaTulip, Barbeau and Connell
SBS Classic 75 Audio:
Winner of the 2014 SBS Class 75- JJ Andrews
Winning Car Owner of the SBS Classic 75- Jason Simmons, Owner/Driver Team Tapout
2nd Place Finisher in the SBS Classic 75- Alex Hoag
3rd Place Finisher in the SBS Classic 75- Kreig Heroth
Russ Brown- New Track Record