Mike Bruce Runs Away with Fifth Pathfinder Bank SBS Victory
Story By: Camden Proud/Oswego Speedway
Photos By: Chris Burgess/RacersGuide.com
OSWEGO, NY (August 6, 2017) – Pathfinder Bank SBS veteran Mike Bruce has found himself caught in the middle of more bad luck this year than perhaps any other driver at the Oswego Speedway. Last night all of that changed when the driver of the Bruce Racing double deuce picked up his fifth career SBS triumph at the ‘Steel Palace’ after starting in the pole position and holding off good friend Cameron Rowe for victory.
Bruce and Rowe led the 18 car field to green, but there were problems right away as the 8 of Josh Kerr and 87 of Matt Magner got together in turn one. Everyone was able to make it through, but both Magner and Kerr were sent tail side for bringing out the yellow.
On the original restart, Bruce tried to begin his charge away from Rowe, but he didn’t get too far, as the many year veteran of the division in Rowe stayed right with the No. 22 for all thirty circuits as the front three of Bruce, Rowe and third place starter Kreig Heroth remained nose to tail.
Further back, sixth, seventh and ninth place point championship leaders Andrew Schartner, Dave Cliff and Camden Proud began their march through the field, avoiding the first lap accident before all three found their way by the No. 91 of fourth place starting Barry Kingsley to work into positions four, five and six.
Despite a caution at the halfway point for Rookie of the Year contender Tony Pisa which many assumed may have shaken the field up, the always competitive and even Small Blocks remained just that, and Bruce was able to hold off the Rowe No. 77 for his first Oswego victory since May 21st of last season.
At the bottom of the top ten, Mike Bond, another driver who narrowly missed the first lap crash, attempted to reel in Cliff and Proud to battle inside the top five, but was unable to do so while Dalton Doyle, Jack Patrick and Kingsley diced it out for the remaining three spots in the top ten.
‘Mr. SBS’ Jesse Bearup finished in 11th place while Matt Magner recovered from the first lap crash to finish 12th. Greg O’Connor and Josh Kerr filled out the running order to finish 13th and 14th. Cameron Black, Pisa and Mark Castiglia were all pitside before the checkered flag dropped.
After a nightmare season, which nearly went away with a ‘Mr. SBS’ crown two weeks earlier before a late race crash, Bruce’s win last night also came as his very first top ten finish of 2017, surprising for a driver who boasts 28 career top five finishes. The 25 year-old, who is the president of the new Lighthouse Lanes Small Block Supermodified Traveling Series, was thrilled to finally produce a good result for his family team in a season clouded by some of the worst luck of the Oswego driver’s career.
“We are excited to finally get this win even though it came from starting on the front row,” Bruce said. “Just to finally have a good race, my first one of the season, feels nice. It’s been a long, miserable year for us with a lot of time and money gone into both cars and to run the way we have been is pretty depressing, so it’s nice to finally get to victory lane. I can’t thank my Dad, brother, and Carlee (Heagerty) enough for all the help and support. Cameron Rowe has also been a huge help the last couple months trying to help me figure this car out again. It’s funny how it went from being a top three car every week last year to barely able to get out of it’s own way this year. Racing is such a crazy sport and the stuff racers and owners do just to gain another tenth is amazing. I want to also give a shoutout to my longtime sponsors Woodchuck Saloon and Millenium Music for their constant support to get me here. We will enjoy this one.”
Rowe, a four time winner at the speedway who was in the runner up spot one race prior with Bruce the leader, experienced quite the familiar sight last Saturday night with the back bumper of the No. 22 once again right in front of him. Unfortunately, in the running of ‘Mr. SBS’, the two cars ended up coming together, ending both of their chances at victory. Fortunately, both longtime Oswego shoes were able to turn it around as they each returned to the podium one week later.
“The car was good,” Rowe commented. “It.was better on the longer runs and Mike (Bruce’s) car was better on the restarts .I was faster just not in the right spots on the track and with (Kreig) Heroth that tight to me I couldn’t set up the pass without exposing the bottom. The car was just a hair tight in the center. Mike ran a good race and a good line and was deserving of the win.”
Joining in Rowe’s thoughts was third place Heroth, who has been solid all year in his sharp No. 04 machine. The 2012 series champion scored his second podium and third top five of the season, holding off Schartner and Cliff to finish in the third spot but unable to have just enough to get by either Rowe or Bruce.
“We had a solid night. Our Dick Myers 04 had a lot of speed,” said Heroth. “As we went through the feature, the car didn’t change how we expected it to, but we were still able to keep up with the top two. Unfortunately we just didn’t have quite enough grip to get by them. Looking forward to the last two regular shows and hoping to finish strong.”
Dalton Doyle was awarded the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger award for his eighth place effort, Bruce was the Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader Award recipient after leading for all 30 circuits, and Schartner was the White’s Car Care ‘4th Place’ Award Winner.
The speedway returns to action next Saturday night, August 12 when CNY CPR and Oswego County Today present ‘Twin 20’s’ for the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supers and a 50-lap main for the Novelis Supermodifieds. All of the action will get underway at 6:45pm. Tickets can be purchased at the speedway box office or at the gate for only $17. For further ticketing information, please phone (315)-342-0646.-
For more information on Oswego Speedway visit online at www.oswegospeedway.com, follow on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway, or like on Facebook at facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.
August 5, 2017
Pathfinder Bank SBS BOX SCORE
Feature (30-laps): 1. 22 Mike Bruce, 2. 77 Cameron Rowe, 3. 04 Kreig Heroth, 4. 18 Andrew Schartner, 5. 50 Dave Cliff, 6. 54 Camden Proud, 7. 74 Mike Bond, 8. 01 Dalton Doyle, 9. 9 Jack Patrick, 10. 91 Barry Kingsley, 11. 37 Jesse Bearup, 12. 87 Matt Magner, 13. 90 Greg O’Connor, 14. 8 Josh Kerr, 15. 23 Cameron Black, 16. 89 Tony Pisa, 17. 69 Mark Castiglia
Heat 1 (10-laps): 1. 9 Jack Patrick, 2. 74 Mike Bond, 3. 01 Dalton Doyle, 4. 87 Matt Magner, 5, 37 Jesse Bearup, 6. 89 Tony Pisa
Heat 2 (10-laps): 1. 8 Josh Kerr, 2. 50 Dave Cliff, 3. 04 Kreig Heroth, 4. 91 Barry Kingsley, 5. 69 Mark Castiglia, 6. 23 Cameron Black
Heat 3 (10-laps): 1. Andrew Schartner, 2. 22 Mike Bruce, 3 77 Cameron Black, 4. 54 Camden Proud, 5. 90 Greg O’Connor
Timed Hot Laps: 1. 87 Matt Magner – 18,955, 2. 54 Camden Proud – 19.057, 3. 04 Kreig Heroth – 19.067, 4. 01 Dalton Doyle – 19.080, 5. 77 Cameron Rowe – 19.098, 6. 50 Dave Cliff – 19.171, 7. 74 Mike Bond – 19.177, 8. 18 Andrew Schartner – 19.163, 9. 69 Mark Castiglia – 19.183, 10. 37 Jesse Bearup – 19.195, 11. 90 Greg O’Connor, 12. 91 Barry Kingsley – 19.318, 13. 9 Jack Patrick, 14. 22 Mike Bruce – 19.353, 15. 8 Josh Kerr – 19.521, 16. 89 Tony Pisa – 19.729
D&S Landscaping Hard Charger: 01 – Dalton Doyle
Sherwood Racing Wheels Lap Leader Award: 22 – Mike Bruce
White’s Car Care 4th Place Award: 18 – Andrew Schartner