1962 Budweiser International Classic
OSWEGO, NY (August 4, 2014) – As the countdown officially begins toward the 58th annual Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway on Sunday, August 31, we look back at the Top 30 moments in International Classic history, with the assistance of George Caruso’s 50 Most Memorable Moments of the International Classic.’
With 27 days remaining until the International Classic, the countdown continues with No. 27, looking back on the infamous 45 car consolation race prior to the 1962 International Classic.
With the dawn of the Supermodified age at Oswego Speedway in the early 1960’s, word quickly spread around the Midwest and Canada that the rich International Classic was easy pickings for experienced Supermodified teams of the day, as the Speedway’s local competitors had very little Supermodified knowledge.
As a result it was deemed that the Oswego contingent was no match for the Supermodified aces of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, and Toronto. Teams from these surrounding areas came in droves to Oswego in 1962 in search of the rich Classic purse that had been raised to $15,000 total with $3,000 going the Classic champion.
A record 72 cars showed for the one day International Classic event, with 24 cars qualifying through time trials.
With three cars being declared out for the night after time trials, 45 cars remained to take on one consolation event to fill the rest of the ’62 Classic starting field.
In an effort to ‘stay on schedule’ track officials opted to run only one consi, instead of splitting the field in two. The results would be disastrous.
The race was green flagged, followed quickly by a red flag, as cars began crashing at the start/finish line all the way into the first turn.
Billy Blum, driving the Sam Virgo C47, had eventually worked his way into the lead of the enduro style consolation, but on one of several restarts Blum jumped the green flag of starter Clyde Rowlee.
The furious and frustrated Rowlee did not wait for Blum to get back to his original starting spot and threw the green flag the next time the field came by.
Blum and car owner Virgo protested the result at the conclusion of the one hour plus consolation, but did not get the result they were looking for. The large Classic crowd booed vehemently in total support of Blum and Virgo, as they were not allowed to run the Classic.
Norm Healy went on to be declared the winner of the infamous 45 car consi.
A consolation of that magnitude has never again been attempted at Oswego Speedway.
Dave Paul, of Berrien Springs, Michigan, would go on to claim victory in the 1962 International Classic after battling two-time Indianapolis 500 champion Gordon Johncock.
Johncock, who started on the outside of the front row, would have to settle for fourth in the Classic trailing Paul, Dick Good, and Nolan Swift across the stripe.
Nellie Ward, Harry Jones, Ronnie Wallace, Al Smith, John McRae, and Wayne McGuire filled the top ten runners in the ’62 International.
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About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mile semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full-blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.