OSWEGO, N.Y. — Ohio’s Dave Shullick Jr. joined his father as a winner of the Oswego Speedway Independence Grand Prix on Saturday, taking the lead on lap 50 and dominating the final third of the annual supermodified event.
The win was his third of the season in Oswego’s Novelis Supermodified class, extending his championship lead.
Mike Muldoon and Dave Gruel started on the front row and led the field to the green flag, with Muldoon speeding off to the early lead over Gruel, Joey Payne, Brandon Bellinger and Jeff Abold.
The front three stayed that way through lap five, when Joey Moriarty had a motor problem and slowed, bringing out the first yellow flag of the race.
When the green came back out, Nicotra Racing teammates Otto Sitterly and Shullick both passed Abold, as did Michael Barnes, shuffling Abold back to eighth while Muldoon continued to lead.
The battle in the first 20 laps became the race between Bellinger, Sitterly and Shullick for positions four through six, but that battle soon turned into the next yellow flag.
Sitterly had slid under and by Bellinger to take fourth on lap 15 at about the same time second-running Gruel suddenly slowed, causing Payne to check up hard.
Bellinger saw a hole on the inside going into turn three as Sitterly became momentarily caught up behind Payne, who had to check up because of Gruel momentarily bogging down ahead of him.
Sitterly tried to change lanes to clear Payne, but Bellinger was already alongside him and the pair collided, triggering a crash that put Barnes and Bellinger out for the night.
Muldoon took off on the restart and stretched his lead quickly over Gruel, Payne, Shullick and Danzer. Gruel’s car, which slowed prior to the yellow, was back up to speed and running strong.
Shullick blasted around Payne on lap 20 to take over third, while Muldoon had a full straightaway lead over a reduced field. Four laps later, Shullick was in second and closing in.
Running lap times in the 17.3 second range, Muldoon had a huge lead on Shullick at the 31st round, but Shullick was faster.
Lou LaVea Jr. brought out the yellow on lap 34 with a harmless spin in turn one, and on the restart, Shullick began pressuring Muldoon for the lead.
Shullick got to the inside on lap 44 as they closed on the lapped car of LaVea, but Muldoon held him off. The battle got more intense as Shullick tried to wrestle the lead away with continuous assaults on the bottom until he finally got the lead on lap 50, sending Muldoon back to second.
From there, Shullick simply drove away once he got out front, building a half-track lead over Muldoon by the time lap 61 of the scheduled 75 went on the board.
When the checkered flag flew it was Shullick with the win, lapping all but the top five cars.
It was a special win for Shullick, coming on the 35th anniversary of his father’s (Dave Shullick Sr.) Independence Grand Prix win in 1982.
“The car was great tonight,” Shullick said in victory lane. “We were very fortunate to get through that wreck. I may or may not have closed my eyes a little bit over there. Sometimes you need a little luck to make it through those ones and we had some luck tonight. I was a little free early on, but towards the end we pulled away and it ended up being pretty good.”
Muldoon finished second followed by Gruel, Abold and Joe Gosek.
Snyder, Dave Danzer, LaVea, Keith Shampine and Payne were the balance of the top 10.
The Novelis Supermodifieds return to action at Oswego on July 8, as part of Century 21 Galloway Realty and Helena Chemical Company Night at the ‘Steel Palace’.
Full race results can be viewed on the next page…