OSWEGO, N.Y. — Audio and story by Senior Editor Tom Baker for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online — Photo courtesy Anthony Losurdo —
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of a Saturday night short track race for the local fans who attend is when one of their “hometown heroes” is succeeding. Some tracks have more of those scenarios than others.
Oswego Speedway has always had a strong contingent of drivers from the “Port City” competing against those from outside the immediate area in the Supermodified division. With the addition of the Small Block Supermodified class over 20 years ago, that number has multiplied.
Recently, the success of the 1/8-mile dirt track known as the Oswego Kartway, located just outside the back straightaway of the “big track” has even further increased the odds that you can race karts on a Friday night and eventually come out of the grandstand to race on the famed “Fast 5/8-mile” asphalt oval track on Saturday.
Such has been the case for one young man they call “Hawk”.
Anthony Losurdo, 17, grew up around the track like so many other young Oswego residents do. He raced karts at the Kartway, where his father Jim is the Race Director. He dreamed of getting his chance to suit up and take on the big boy track.
In late 2012, that opportunity came knocking. He ran the last few races of the year in an older car owned by his family, giving him a chance to get his feet wet in the deep end of the pool, so to speak.
Then, for 2013 he strapped into a brand new FFB Chassis, which was a partnership with Carlee Heagerty, and showed great promise in his first full season.
“I learned a lot that year,” Anthony recalled. “It was so different going from the kart track to the big track, and I had to get used to the speed and the driving style that was needed in the Small Block. The car I had in 2012 was older. Getting in the new car helped a lot.” Anthony showed improvement through the season, scoring his first top five finish about midway through, gaining confidence each week.
For the 2014 season, the Losurdos took care of their own car on a smaller-than-most budget. Anthony knew he had to be careful, because one bad wreck could put him out of action for a while. Nonetheless, he earned the respect of his fellow competitors and found victory lane in the process.
“I was tentative at times in 2013 when I should have been more aggressive,” he says. “It wasn’t just because I didn’t want to wreck the car. I just really hadn’t yet gained all the confidence I needed to have in order to be able to race with the best in class like Mike Bond and Andrew Schartner and Russ Brown. Those guys are champions and there are a lot of really competitive racers who’d been doing it for a while. I was a kid from go karts on a small budget trying to learn something new every week. Last year in 2014, I feel like I came a long way and earned a lot of respect, but there’s still plenty of room for improvement.”
While Losurdo was learning last year, he got his first feature win in June (a popular one, scored when he passed fellow OHS Student Camden Proud on a late restart to take the checkers) and then got another one later in the year when Alex Hoag spun leader Andrew Schartner on the final lap.
The teenager ultimately wound up third behind Schartner and Kreig Heroth in the championship standings.
“I couldn’t have really asked for any more out of last season than that,” Anthony said. “To get my first wins and third in points was amazing. I can’t thank my Dad and everyone who has made it possible for me to get to this point enough, because it takes a lot of money and a lot of hard work to race, and I know how much sacrifice is involved.”
After a successful 2014 season, Christmas came a little early for Anthony, as he was given an offer to drive for Denise Merrill and the potent Four Sevens Racing team in 2015.
The announcement was made that “Hawk” would team with Championship Small Block Supermodified racer Mike Bond in a brand new FFB Chassis in an effort to run for the track championship, and would have all the resources he needed at his disposal to be successful, including Bond as a mentor.
Listen to more of Anthony’s thoughts on his career, the upcoming season, and his advice for drivers following in his footsteps transitioning from go-karts to the SBS division by clicking below: