43rd Oswego Career Victory for Veteran Joe Gosek
OSWEGO, NY (July 6, 2014) – Oswego Speedway and Novelis Supermodified veteran Joe Gosek stood tall in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane Saturday night in front of a stout Fourth of July Weekend crowd, letting all in attendance know that the ‘Double O’ Joe is still alive and well at “The Home of the Supermodifieds.”
In a season in which Gosek had yet to claim a top five finish heading into the month of July, the driver of the Burke’s Home Centers No. 00 roared to life and dominated the Grand Prix 75-lap main event presented by Canale Insurance, Fleet Pride, and Seminis, cruising to his 43rd career main event win and his fourth triumph in the Fourth of July Weekend special adding to his victories in 1990, 2003, and 2004.
Starting from the outside of the front row, Gosek led all 75-circuits holding off late charges from weekend favorites Bob Bond and Michael Barnes, each driving new Hawk chassis, to claim his first Speedway victory since August 18, 2012.
Joey Payne and championship contender Dave Gruel completed the top five positions in Saturday night’s main event.
Gosek Unsure About Winning-
Gosek’s dominating run did not go without its share of drama, after building a large lead on the field, the Gosek No. 00 faltered out of the fourth turn on lap 58, nearly handing the lead over to Kody Graham.
“I thought I had a flat tire or something,” said Gosek in Turning Stone Resort Casino Victory Lane. “I must have run into some oil or something, because it felt like the left rear wheel was going to fall right off it. But I waited and it took off again when I got back on it, fortunately I had a big enough lead there.”
With a massive crowd of well-wishers and fans in victory lane, Gosek was full of emotion after pulling off yet another Speedway victory in a career dating back to 1979.
“I don’t know, I didn’t know if I was ever going to get here (victory lane) again,” said Gosek. “I was beginning to think I forgot how to drive or something. We just really haven’t had the car to compete with last year or this year, and I guess there is a saying you never give up and we scratched and clawed late into today, but we did make some positive gains. I just have to thank all my sponsors, my crew, my wife.”
Gosek’s 43rd career victory was dedicated to the memory of two very close friends, who each passed away during the off-season.
“To my buddies Pete Thomas and Tony Osetek, this one is for you,” said Gosek.
Jerry Curran, Pat Lavery, Lou LeVea Sr., Bobby Haynes Jr., and Lou LeVe Jr. finished the top ten positions.
All 25 of the Novelis Supermodifieds in the pit area Saturday night started the Grand Prix finale with Brandon Bellinger and Gosek leading the field to the Cam’s NY Pizzeria green flag.
Gosek, who spent the last moments before the main event went green at the Speedway’s scales searching for a winning setup, blasted to the point in the No. 00 pulling Pat Lavery, Kody Graham, and Gruel along with him.
Gosek checked out in front early, but quickly found himself in lapped traffic by lap 13. Once in traffic, Graham was able to muscle passed Lavery for second, then began to chase down Gosek for the lead.
The races first caution flag waved on lap 16 for Bellinger, who had a flat tire and stopped on the back stretch. With the field now pacing under caution, current Speedway point leader Otto Sitterly dove to pit lane with the No. 7 while running sixth with a broken rocker arm, handing the six-time champion a DNF and an 18th place finish.
The restart order showed Gosek in the lead ahead of Graham, Lavery, Gruel, Bond, Barnes, Keith Shampine, Payne, Michael Muldoon, and Jerry Curran.
Further back, defending Budweiser International Classic champion Bond was on the march in the No. 47. At lap 37 Bond was able to move by Gruel for fourth with Gosek, Graham, and Lavery now in his sights.
Just one lap later Muldoon looped the No. 51 in turn three to slow the pace one more time. Muldoon re-fired and joined the field at the tail side of the pack.
On the following restart Gosek again was able to drive away in the lead ahead of Graham, Lavery, Bond, Barnes, Gruel, Payne, and Curran.
By lap 41 Gosek had built a comfortable lead, but again caught traffic around lap 57 giving Graham a shot in the No. 90.
On the 58th circuit, Gosek bobbled badly out of the fourth corner. The Indianapolis 500 veteran slowed dramatically, nearly pulling to pit lane with apparent issues in the left rear of the car, however Gosek determined that the machine was fit to continue and carried on, firing back to life
Just as it looked like Graham would inherit the lead, Gosek again charged away out front, trying to chase down his first checkered flag in nearly two years.
With Gosek riding comfortably in the lead, Bond was again on the move in the No. 47 from tenth starting place.
Bond slid by Lavery for third on lap 59 and only five laps later took advantage of a lapped car, going three wide underneath Graham for second on the front stretch.
Bond and Graham then brushed wheels in the first corner, with Graham moving way up the race track. By the time Graham got to the second corner, his car was sideways leaving Lavery nowhere to go in the No. 22. Lavery collided with the Graham No. 90, riding up and on top of the machine on the back stretch to bring out the yellow.
Each driver was ok, however Graham was done for the night due to left side damage. Lavery was able to continue after being hooked to the pits and returned to finish seventh place in the No. 22.
Gosek now had to deal with the new generation Hawk machines of Bond and Barnes on the restart ahead of Payne, Gruel, and Curran.
However, Muldoon again ran into trouble, spinning in turn four which resulted in a red flag for refueling with only 10-laps to go.
After the red flag, Gosek brought the field back to green, then charged off to take the Grand Prix win with little to no pressure, winning by nearly a full second over Bond and some four seconds over Barnes.
Bond & Barnes Comments-
Bond, who is competing in limited schedule at the Speedway in 2014, talked with infield announcer Keith Zehr.
“I just couldn’t quite stay with him (Gosek) at the end,” said Bond. “He was a bit better and Joe ran a great race, I just couldn’t quite get him tonight.”
Barnes, who had won main events at the Speedway in back to back weeks before, had to settle for third on this night.
“I wish tonight would have been a 35-lapper, we were pretty bad,” said Barnes. “We missed the setup a bit and we were just way too loose. We were ok until about lap 20, but we didn’t get the breaks we had got before on the starts the last two weeks, and we just got too loose there.”
Shampine, Barnes, and Graham claimed Shell Shock Custom Helmet Paint Heat Race Challenge victories.
Lou LeVea Sr. was the Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer Recipient and collected $100 from Grossman St. Amour CPAs in memory of Supermodified car owner Darcey Kerfien.
Bobby Haynes Jr., who was initially announced as the Up & Comer recipient as well due to a scoring malfunction, started the main from 17th position and finished 9th to claim the Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger Award.
Gosek lead the most laps for the Radical Racegear Lap Leader Award.
Howard Page returned to the Speedway after a several year absence with a brand new Page Chassis No. 18 Supermodified. Page spent most of the evening shaking down the new racer, running just two laps in the main event.
Championship contender David Danzer debuted his brand new Hawk Supermodified chassis No. 52 on Saturday, and looked to run away with his qualifying heat until oil pump issues sidelined the machine. Danzer was able to start the main event but ran just one lap before heading to the pit area.
Grand Prix Night & Christmas in July
Presented by Canale Insurance – Fleet Pride – Seminis
Saturday, July 5th, 2014
Novelis Supermodified Grand Prix (75-laps): 1. 00 – JOE GOSEK, 2. 47 – Bob Bond, 3. 68 – Michael Barnes, 4. 99 – Joey Payne, 5. 50 – Dave Gruel, 6. 24 – Jerry Curran, 7. 22 – Pat Lavery, 8. 66 – Lou LeVea Sr, 9. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr, 10. 83 – Lou LeVea Jr, 11. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 12. 51 – Michael Muldoon, 13. 90 – Kody Graham, 14. 5 – Tim Devendorf, 15. 55 – Keith Shampine, 16. 01 – Dan Connors Jr., 17. 05 – Jeff Abold, 18. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 19. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 20. 37 – Randy Ritskes, 21. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 22. 3 – Brian Sweeney, 23. 18 – Howard Page, 24. 52 – David Danzer, 25. 0 – Tim Snyder
Lighthouse Lanes Hard Charger: #44 Bobby Haynes Jr.
Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer: #66 Lou LeVea Sr. ($100 from Grossman St. Amour CPAs in Memory of Darcey Kerfien)
Radical Racegear Lap Leader: #00 Joe Gosek
Heat #1 (12-laps): 1. 55 – Keith Shampine, 2. 47 – Bob Bond, 3. 99 – Joey Payne, 4. 7 – Otto Sitterly, 5. 51 – Michael Muldoon, 6. 83 – Lou LeVea Jr., 7. 9 – Stephen Gioia III, 8. 52 – David Danzer, 9. 18 – Howard Page
Heat #2 (12-laps): 1. 68 – Michael Barnes, 2. 02 – Brandon Bellinger, 3. 37 – Randy Ritskes, 4. 22 – Pat Lavery, 5. 05 – Jeff Abold, 6. 44 – Bobby Haynes Jr., 7. 56 – Hal LaTulip, 8. 3 – Brian Sweeney
Heat #3 (12-laps): 1. 90 – Kody Graham, 2. 00 – Joe Gosek, 3. 50 – Dave Gruel, 4. 24 – Jerry Curran, 5. 66 – Lou LeVea Sr., 6. 5 – tim Devendorf, 7. 0 – Tim Snyder, 8. 01 – Dan Connors Jr.