Oswego Speedway Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Inductions Conclude 2014 Season
By Carol Haynes
OSWEGO, NY (November 3, 2014) – With the Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center in Oswego providing the elegant backdrop, the Oswego Speedway closed out a very successful season of racing Saturday, Nov. 1, by honoring the outstanding achievers of 2014.
Otto Sitterly entered into the record book elite level having won his seventh Novelis Supermodified Oswego Track Championship, while Andrew Schartner made his weekly trips from North Carolina worthwhile as he earned his first-ever PathFinder Bank SBS Track title.
Many other awards filled the night agenda, including the induction of drivers Dave Shullick Sr. and Jimmy Winks, Ed Cloce, Special Achievement as modified and supermodified car owner, Ed Czirr Oswego employee, and the famous Norm Hagen-Lyle Howard team as supermodified car owners, into the prestigious Mitchell’s Speedway Press Hall of Fame.
The program began with several annual awards honoring people for their special contributions to the Oswego Speedway. The 2014 Ed Clark Spirit Award went to Safety Crewman Mike Cook. The Lois Matczak Woman of the Year Award went to Linda Samuels of the Lavery 22 team. The Oswego Speedway Recognition Award went to Don Gioia, of Burke’s Home Center, for his dedication and hard work at the racetrack in his free time.
Each year the Mitchell’s Speedway Press Hall of Fame committee meets to choose people who have made outstanding contributions to the Oswego Speedway in the past. Dave Shullick Sr. and the late Jimmy Winks were honored for their prowess as drivers during their Oswego careers. Shullick acknowledged his family’s love of Oswego Speedway over the years of his competition, his proud achievements in Classic races and how his son Dave Jr. now is delving into the racing at Oswego. Jim Winks wife Debbie, along with daughter Cindee and granddaughter Jillian James West, accepted the award for Winks and indicated what a great honor it was to have him recognized by a great racetrack such as Oswego and the Hall of Fame.
Norm and Marg Mackereth, and Bernard and Jean Howard accepted the Hall of Fame Inductee plaque for the famous Hagen-Howard race team that Mackereth had driven for many years. Mackereth commented that Hagen would have been thankful of all the support of the people in attendance and the fans over the years. Speaking for the Howards, Marg Mackereth said that their Canadian family would not have been able to stay racing at Oswego if it had not been for the kindness of the Howards who they considered to be their American family from Fulton over the years.
Eric Czirr and daughter Lisa represented their father Ed who was a longtime mainstay in the scoring tower at Oswego and instrumental in setting up the individual scoring efforts each year at the International Classic.
Potsdam, NY’s Ed Cloce was recognized for his longtime car ownership at Oswego of the famed Hemi-Cuda modified driven by the likes of Guy Chartrand, Jim Shampine and Brian Ross and more recently by his son Tom’s continuation of the family participation in Oswego racing. Cloce also fielded a supermodified, the Hemi-Hawk, which was driven by several drivers including Chartrand, Mark Letcher and Merv Treichler.
The Eagles Fan Club recognized Paul Conzone of the Oswego Safety Crew with their Jim Shampine Memorial Award. The Eagles Tony White Memorial award went to longtime SBS competitor Mike Bond. In addition the Eagles presented checks to members of the top ten in the racing divisions, plus 17 other drivers in each who were Eagles members.
The Jake’s Automotive SBS Car Owner of the Year award, a gift certificate, went to Won Four Racing, Doug Soucy and Dwayne Heroth owners, Kreig Heroth driver. The Jake’s Automotive Supermodified Car Owner of the Year was presented to Maine’s Ken Locke who traveled back and forth each race week to campaign the 37 super with Randy Ritskes aboard. The team finished an admirable third in points in their first year together.
Jake’s Automotive also sponsored Crew of the Year honors for both divisions with Losurdo Racing taking the award in the SBS division and Gruel Racing taking the Supermodified award.
One last award individual award was the Turning Stone Casino Favorite Driver award which was voted upon by the fans, went to Michael Barnes of the Syrell 08. Barnes received a 2015 season’s pit pass along with his plaque.
Ron Tascarella, Senior Vice President / Chief Credit Officer of PathFinder Bank spoke briefly on the bank’s long and continued sponsorship of the SBS class and awarded SBS champion Andrew Schartner with a $2000 check and championship jacket. Schartner spoke of his six-year efforts to gain his first career championship and thanked his family, his crew, his competitors and how honored he was to be able to travel from Charlotte, NC each week to compete at the Oswego Speedway.
Oswego High School student Camden Proud earned the Oswego Speedway Butler Disposal Rookie of the Year award by finishing third in the points. Proud was ecstatic and exuberant at his first-year racing achievements while still in high school. “It you told me at the beginning of the season that I’d be standing here on the podium on November 1, I wouldn’t have believe you!”
The second through tenth PathFinder Bank SBS drivers in order were Kreig Heroth, Anthony Losurdo (a classmate of Camden Proud’s and also the recipient of the Most Improved Driver award), Jack Patrick, Jason Simmons, Jay Andrews, Barry Kingsley, Michael Bruce, Dan Abt and Josh Kerr.
The last awards went to the top ten in the Novelis Supermodified division. Novelis representative Tom Salvador also spoke of the Novelis commitment to the Oswego Speedway and its supermodified division in the past and how it will continue into the future. Novelis Oswego has recently embarked onto the automotive scene as provider of aluminum to be used in truck and car bodies. The second through tenth Hoosier Tire – Carr/Pak point getters were David Gruel, Randy Ritskes, David Danzer, Pat Lavery, Joey Payne, Joe Gosek, Michael Barnes, Tim Devendorf and Michael Muldoon.
Oswego, NY’s Michael Barbera was recipient of the ND Tech Shock Dyno Supermodified Rookie of the Year honors, which included a $400 gift certificate courtesy of the title sponsor.
Otto Sitterly stood on the podium for the third consecutive and seventh time overall as Novelis Supermodified Track Champion. He joins Bentley Warren and Jimmy Shampine as the only others to have reached the 7-time plateau. Otto acknowledged that it has been an amazing 8-year run for he and car owner John Nicotra.
“Eight years ago John asked me just to help set up a car for Davey Hamilton and we’re still going strong. We all have a passion for racing and winning, said the Canajoharie, NY driver, “And I want to thank John for giving me this opportunity. We’ve established a friendship and partnership over the years. And, now we look forward to bring Dave Shullick Jr. into that team. We’re looking for a win for Shoe II in a non-wing super in 2015 and for me to win a winged show. It should be another fun year.”
Oswego Speedway’s Public Relations Specialist Dan Kapuscinski was on the podium as master of ceremonies for the night with former Oswego Speedway co-owner Romey Caruso providing the invocation. Kapuscinski also put together the great and oft-times poignant videos that accompanied all the presentations and viewed from large screens throughout the facility. Debbie Bond was recognized for her work organizing the banquet and Designs of Elegance of Pulaski and Central Square provided the beautiful table arrangements. Ron Gray’s Millennium Music entertained the attendees at the completion of the ceremonies. The many loyal sponsors that provided support throughout the years were recognized.
Videos of the night’s activities will be available online shortly. Check www, oswegospeedway.com for details.
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.