Jeff Abold Wins, ‘The Shoe 2’ Takes the Championship
Story By: Camden Proud/Oswego Speedway
Photos By: Chris Burgess/RacersGuide.com
OSWEGO, NY (August 20, 2017) – After coming oh so very close just two weeks earlier on ‘Retro Night,’ Jeff Abold picked up the third Novelis Supermodified victory of his career while Dave Shullick Jr. was crowned track champion this past weekend at Oswego Speedway.
Abold, the defending Budweiser International Classic 200 champion, picked up his first career victory on Twin 35 night of last season and showed shades of his father Pat last night, lapping cars with ease and diving in and out of traffic to keep 2016 track champion Michael Barnes at bay for the final five circuits of the event.
Both Jeff and Pat were all smiles in victory lane as the driver of the A&P Auto Parts No. 05 was able to score a popular victory on $5 Admission Track Championship Night presented by Bosco’s and U-Pull U-Save.
“It feels good, the car was setup almost perfect tonight and I have to give a hats off to my Dad for working so hard this season,” Abold said. “We have struggled from the get go, but the last three or four weeks or so I have been able to hit my stride and it’s the right time of the season to start running up front. It was a long green flag run and I knew I had (Michael) Barnes and Otto (Sitterly) coming so I just tried to focus on what was ahead of myself and win the race by getting through those lapped cars. The entire field did a great job tonight and there was a lot of battles everywhere, so hats off to everyone, I think we put on a pretty good show tonight. I want to thank my team for a great night and the best way possible to end the regular season along with my sponsors A & P Auto Parts, CNY CPR, Dave’s Body Shop and Trucks R Us for their support. Hopefully we can carry some of this momentum right into the Classic.”
The driver of the Syrell Racing No. 68, Barnes put on an absolute spectacle in this event just one year earlier as he drove from last to first to score the 2016 Novelis Supermodified Track Championship. ‘The Hustler’ started fourth, fell to sixth, then pulled right up to Abold’s back bumper for the lead in the final three circuits of the 50-lap main event, but was unable to offer any sort of challenge to get by the second generation driver from Oswego. Going winless in the regular season, Barnes was not quite satisfied with his effort.
“I didn’t think I had any chance to get by Jeff (Abold),” Barnes commented. “The tires we have used this year are terrible, it really makes the racing difficult. I really don’t have anything good to say about it, but I just want to thank my team for all the hard work along with my sponsors John Costello, Furdi’s and everyone who helps on this car.”
While Sitterly was the fastest car on the track all night long in his Nicotra Racing No. 7, soaring to a dominant heat win while clocking off laps in the 16.4 second bracket, ‘seven time’ started back in the tenth spot and despite getting by Joe Gosek, Brian Sobus, Shullick, Jeff West, Dave Gruel, Tim Snyder and Dan Connors Jr. in perhaps his best performance of the season, time ran out at the end of the night for Otto to manage his first victory since September of 2015. Now, all of Sitterly’s attention shifts to the Budweiser International Classic 200, although he was able to grab his first career championship as chief mechanic on teammate Shullick’s No. 2.
“I think we had enough left in the car to get to those guys, but everyone was so good tonight,” Sitterly said. “Lots of lapped traffic, so that made things challenging up front, but it was a really fun race to run, lots of battling with the lapped cars. At points there was like four of us that caught right up to the leaders in traffic so that made things interesting, but it was a really good race and I want to congratulate (Jeff Abold) on the win and of course my teammate DJ (Shullick) on his first track championship.
This past weekend’s Novelis Supermodified season championship was lead to the green by Connors and Snyder, and it was Connors jumping out in front with his No. 01 to lead the first two laps before the lone Canale Insurance and Accounting yellow flag of the race was waved on lap 3 for Guard Nearbin, who had a parts failure on his No. 78, as he was sitting sideways in between turns three and four.
This set up the only restart of the main event and it then became apparent that the lead for Connors would be short lived, as it didn’t take Abold long at all to get by Barnes, Gruel, and Snyder after starting in the fifth spot, to take the lead away just before the completion of lap 10.
With ten laps complete, Abold got out front, but Barnes was on the move after falling back to sixth, working to the inside of Gruel, Snyder and Connors to take the runner up spot, but this did not mean he was anywhere close to the leader, as Abold has already put quite a gap between he and Barnes after just a handful of laps out front.
On lap 15, Abold and Barnes began their race away from the field, but team Nicotra was on a mission, as Shullick, who clinched the track championship simply by taking the green flag, decided he had a race to run, working over West, Gruel, Snyder, and Connors to move into third, while Sitterly was making even more of a charge, driving the No. 7 from tenth to fifth in just fifteen laps.
Two laps later, Shullick put the move on Connors to take the third spot with teammate Sitterly in toe, but it wasn’t until lap 42 that Otto was able to outfox his teammate in traffic to take the third spot, while DJ fell to fourth.
Further back in the field, ninth starting Gosek showed just why he has more top ten finishes than anyone this season, as he followed the Nicotra Blue right up through the field, moving into fifth just prior to the halfway point for what would eventually be his tenth top five finish of the season.
At halfway, Abold still had a comfortable lead over Barnes, Shullick, Sitterly, Gosek, a hard charging Bobby Bond in sixth, Connors, Snyder, Keith Shampine, and West.
It was when the homebuilt of 05 Abold reached heavy traffic that things got, very, very interesting up front with about fifteen laps to go, as Jeff was able to lap up to eighth place West, who was making his second start in the Curran Racing No. 24.
With just ten laps remaining, Abold was faced with the challenge of lapping stout campaigners Gosselin, Sobus, Snyder, Connors and more and this allowed Barnes, Shullick, and eventually Sitterly to close, but Abold did exactly what he needed to do, not getting over-eager in traffic to keep his family ride straight. Although Barnes made things rather interesting with three laps remaining, pulling right in behind the No. 05, it was to no avail as Abold was able to hold him off.
Abold, Barnes and Sitterly lead the field as podium finishers, while track champion Shullick, Gosek, Bond, Shampine, West, Connors, and Snyder completed the top ten. Sobus, Gosselin, Rayvals and Iosue rounded out the field of cars running at the finish, while Lou LeVea Sr, Brandon Bellinger, Dave Gruel, Lou LeVea Jr, Hal LaTulip, Pat Lavery and Nearbin completed the finishing order of positions fourteen through twenty one.
Once again, Connors was awarded the Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer award, while SItterly was the Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger, advancing seven spots from tenth to third. Heat races were won by Sitterly, Shampine, and Snyder.
Shullick pulled into Turning Stone Resort Casino victory lane as track champion, becoming the first Supermodified driver in history to win championships at Oswego, as well as on the ISMA and MSA tours. Son of speedway feature winner Dave Shullick Sr, ‘The Shoe 2’ was able to do something his father never did; win an Oswego championship, becoming the first Ohio driver to do so since Todd Gibson in 1968, while the last time an out of state driver won the championship was in the case of Doug Didero back in 1996.
Unofficially, Sitterly, Shampine, Barnes, and Gosek rounded out the top five in the championship standings.
With the regular season in the books, Oswego Speedway returns to action with Bud Classic Week beginning Friday, September 1 with Pole Day time trials for the Novelis Supermodifieds and Pathfinder Bank SBS presented by Central NY Chevy Dealers before the 61st running of the Budweiser Internatoinal Classic 200 takes place on Sunday, September 3.
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Feature (50-laps): 1. 05 Jeff Abold, 2. 68 Michael Barnes, 3. 7 Otto Sitterly, 4. 2 Dave Shullick Jr, 5. 00 Joe Gosek, 6. 47 Bobby Bond, 7. 55 Keith Shampine, 8. 24 Jeff West, 9. 01 Dan Connors, 10. 0 Tim Snyder, 11. 79 Brian Sobus, 12. 77 Shaun Gosselin, 13. 94 Logan Rayvals, 14. 11 Aric Iosue, 15. 66 Lou LeVea Sr, 16. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 17. 50 Dave Gruel, 18. 83 Lou LeVea Jr,, 19. 56 Hal LaTulip, 20. 6 Pat Lavery, 21. 78 Guard Nearbin
Heat 1 (12-laps): 1. 7 Otto Sitterly, 2. 02 Brandon Bellinger, 3. 01 Dan Connors Jr, 4. 50 Dave Gruel, 5. 47 Bobby Bond, 6. 94 Logan Rayvals, 7. 66 Lou LeVea S
Heat 2 (12-laps): 1. 55 Keith Shampine, 2. 05 Jeff Abold, 3. 68 Michael Barnes, 4. 79 Brian Sobus, 5. 83 Lou LeVea Jr, 6. 78 Guard Nearbin, 7. 77 Shaun Gosselin
Heat 3 (12-laps): 1. 0 Tim Snyder, 2. 24 Jeff West, 3. 00 Joe Gosek, 4. Dave Shullick Jr, 5. 11 Aric Iosue, 6. 6 Pat Lavery, 7. 56 Hal LaTulip
Group Time Trials: 1. 55 Keith Shampine – 16.431, 2. 7 Otto Sitterly – 16.600, 3. 11 Aric Iosue – 16.655, 4. 68 Michael Barnes – 16.663, 5. 47 Bobby Bond – 16.681, 6. 2 Dave Shullick Jr – 16.687, 7. 05 Jeff Abold – 16.750, 8. 50 Dave Gruel – 16.796, 9. 00 Joe Gosek – 16.913, 10. 77 Shaun Gosselin – 16.919, 11. 6 Pat Lavery – 16.975, 12. 24 Jeff West – 17.025, 13. 79 Brian Sobus – 17.043, 14. 02 Brandon Bellinger – 17.071, 15. 94 Logan Rayvals – 17.129, 16. 0 Tim Snyder – 17.152, 17. 83 Lou LeVea Jr – 17.226, 18. 01 Dan Connors – 17.243, 19.66 Lou LeVea Jr – 17.690, 20. 78 Guard Nearbin – 18.728
Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger: 7 – Otto Sitterly
Lighthouse Lanes Up and Comer: 01 – Dan Connors Jr.
Brad Penn Oil Supermodified Heat Winners: Otto Sitterly, Keith Shampine, Tim Snyder