The 2015 Budweiser International Classic 200 Entries Previewed
by Danny Kapuscinski
Note: Because of the length of the original release, we have broken into two parts. Today we look at drivers with car numbers 00-50.
OSWEGO, NY (August 25, 2015) – As preparations continue for the 59th running of the Budweiser International Classic 200 on Sunday, September 6, a healthy list of supermodified veterans and newcomers are looking to make their mark on the ‘Steel Palace’ come Labor Day Weekend.
- * 00 – Joe Gosek (Oswego, NY): A three-time champion of the International Classic in 1991, 1992, and 2002 – Joe Gosek has had an up and down season through 2015. Driving both his own No. 00 and a machine owned by John Nicotra this season, Gosek has mustered four top five finishes on the year. Gosek will return to the wheel of his own machine for the Classic and hopes to be in contention to score another top five run, as he did in 2014. Once Gosek qualifies for the 200, it will mark his 36th consecutive Classic drive.
- 01 – Dan Connors Jr. (Oswego, NY): Dan Connors Jr. will be a driver to watch come Classic Weekend as he continues to work the bugs out of a freshly reconstructed machine, redesigned by Hawk Jr. Fabrication. Battling some health issues in recent weeks, Connors has not been at wheel for quite some time, but the new orange Connors machine will no doubt have speed if Connors is up to the task. Still in search of his first career victory at Oswego, Connors has all the tools necessary to give the No. 01 a top five drive in the International Classic.
- 02 – Brandon Bellinger (Fulton, NY): Brandon Bellinger joined his grandfather Ed Sr. and father Ed Jr. as feature winners at Oswego Speedway this season, behind the wheel of the patented number 02. New found speed befell the Bellinger crew at the midway point of the season and since that time Bellinger has been a threat week in and week out. Renewed confidence and a seventh place finish in last year’s 200 has Bellinger primed for a top five battle in this year’s International Classic.
- 05 – Jeff Abold (Baldwinsville, NY): Showing the same veteran abilities of his track champion father Pat, Jeff Abold fired a shot across the bow of the Novelis Supermodified division in 2015 driving his home-built No. 05 racer. Sitting seventh in the series standings heading to Classic, Abold has eight top ten finishes this season, tied with championship hopefuls Otto Sitterly and Bob Bond. While the number 05 may not have front row speed, the Abold team has proven that reliability and a heady driver are what it takes to compete weekly in the supermodified division. In many people’s eyes Abold, who took third in his first International Classic back in 2007, is a podium pick and potential upset winner of this year’s 200.
- 06 – Dave Cliff (Oswego, NY): Dave Cliff was initially registered to compete with his family owned number 06 Gnomey Racing supermodified in the 59th annual International Classic, but recent developments have placed the former SBS track champion in the Danzer Racing No. 72 Supermodified. With Cliff piloting the No. 72, the No. 06 will be kept solely as a back-up ride for Cliff should the No. 72 or No. 52 of Danzer run into issues.
- * 0 – Tim Snyder (Northfield, NH): Tim Snyder’s first career Supermodified victory came in the Budweiser International Classic 200 back in 2001 and Snyder would no doubt like to relive that glory in 2015. Showing great speed at times this season; Snyder ranks 10th in the Speedway’s driver standings with five top ten finishes. A ninth place finish in the 2014 International Classic proves Snyder still has his long distance prowess, and if the ‘Zero Hero’ can again go the distance, he will no doubt be there again.
- 1 – Shawn Muldoon (Oswego, NY): A former Oswego Speedway Novelis Supermodified track champion, Shawn Muldoon has been at the Oswego Speedway twice in 2015. Firing issues plagued the team their first night out and on the second night Brian Sobus drove the machine in the main event after developing issues with his supermodified. Muldoon missed the cut for the Classic one year ago by only one place and hopes to rebound this season, putting his ride into the Classic for the first time in two years.
- 2 – Dave Shullick Jr. (North Ridgeville, OH): The current International Supermodified Association point leader and defending champion of the Bud Light ISMA SuperNationals, Dave Shullick Jr. will once again drive out of the John Nicotra Racing stables in 2015. Shullick has competed in non-wing action at the Big O a couple of times this season in his brand new Hawk Supermodified, with limited results. Nicotra and Shullick hope that Classic Weekend will be their peak performance with Shullick battling teammates Sitterly and Davey Hamilton for victory. Shullick took 18th in the 2014 running of the Classic.
- 5 – Tim Devendorf (Brewerton, NY): Tim Devendorf has campaigned a new Hawk Jr. Chassis in 2015 and showed tremendous speed at times. Riding twelfth in the current driver standings with three top five finishes this season, Devendorf hopes to crack the Fast 14 qualifiers this year and keep himself in a top ten battle all day long throughout the 200. A steady drive will see Devendorf as a lock in the top ten at day’s end, with a top five run certainly in the cards. Devendorf ended his 2014 Classic in 19th, just behind Shullick, Jr..
- *6 – Davey Hamilton (Boise, ID): The winner of the 1997 International Classic driving for Mike Muldoon, Davey Hamilton has knocked on the door step of victory yet again several times in the Classic, driving for John Nicotra. Hamilton took second in 2012, battled up front all day in 2013 before his rear wing came apart, and finished third in 2014. Despite only competing at the Speedway once this season back on May 9 with a dismal 19th place effort, Hamilton will be one of a handful of drivers with a sure shot at victory in the 200 come Sunday, September 6.
- *7 – Otto Sitterly (Canajoharie, NY): One of the other drivers with a sure shot at victory in the 59th International Classic is the defending champion and four-time winner of the great race, Otto Sitterly. Taking top honors in 2009, 2011, 2012, and 2014 – Sitterly has five Novelis Supermodified wins at Oswego this season and may very well be the odds on favorite for another back to back triumph in the 200. Sitterly has made his career on big time wins at Oswego and a fifth Classic title would tie him with the legendary Ed Bellinger Jr. all-time.
- 9 – Stephen Gioia III (Oswego, NY): The second generation Gioia driver, Stephen Gioia III has been a weekly fixture at Oswego this season but has struggled to come up with the results he would like in 2015. In a car built by his father Steve Jr., the winner of the 1976 International Classic, Gioia has shown glimpses of speed in the No. 9 and hopes to see it return on Labor Day Weekend. Gioia will likely be a second round qualifier come Sunday and will look to better on his performance in the 2014 Classic which saw him complete just four circuits, in 34th place.
- ® 11 – Aric Iosue (Oswego, NY): One of the rookie competitors this season looking to make his first start in the Classic is ‘The Flying Pharmacist’, Aric Iosue. A longtime supermodified crewman, Iosue strapped the helmet on in competition for the first time in 2015 and has shown his share of great speed in the No. 11 this season. Iosue finished sixth in the Summer championship back in July and has been in the 16-second bracket several times during the regular season. Driving the same car that took Bobby Santos III to a fourth place finish in the 2014 Classic, Iosue should time into the field without issue on Sunday afternoon.
- 15 – Michael Muldoon (Baldwinsville, NY): Joining Brandon Bellinger as a first time winner in 2015, Michael Muldoon carries two main event wins into the 59th annual Classic, driving for his father Mike. Showing tremendous speed all year-long, Muldoon should be in for a Fast 14 qualifying spot, and based on his feature runs this season, another driver with a look at victory in the 200. Muldoon took tenth in last year’s edition of the great race.
- 21 – Kody Graham (Liverpool, NY): For the second year in a row, Kody Graham won the last Novelis Supermodified main event of the season prior to the International Classic. Graham hopes that he can back that up with yet another front row qualifying spot for the 200 in the No. 21. Showing front row speed all year-long, Graham is fifth in Oswego’s driver standings, and seems to have put all the pieces in place for a run at victory in the 2015 Classic. Since the newer Xtreme chassis debuted a few years back, reliability has been the question in the 200, but if the ride goes the distance, Graham will battle in the top five.
- 22 – Pat Lavery (Oswego, NY): Pat Lavery may have been the toast of the town in last year’s Classic, pitting for a new left rear tire and charging back through the pack for a career best second place run in the 200. Lavery has not been in contention for victory so far in 2015, but a well-paced racecar and smart driving has Lavery sixth in the driver standings, again listed as a favorite in the Classic. Chatter in the pit area has Lavery again tabbed for another pit stop in 2015, and if so, keep an eye on the No. 22 again working through the field with a podium finish in sight.
- ®23 – Mike McVetta (Wellington, OH): Joining Aric Iosue as a rookie contender in 2015 is Ohio winged Supermodified veteran, Mike McVetta. McVetta, a NASA engineer who builds his own racecars, has come to the Oswego Classic for years as a fan and will finally give the 200 a go in 2015. McVetta has an ISMA and MSA Supermodified victory this season, each at Lorain County Speedway in Ohio. In a racecar that has never competed without a wing, McVetta will hope that all the pieces of the puzzle come into place on Sunday afternoon.
Come back tomorrow for a preview of car numbers 24-99, Jerry Curran to Joey Payne and a list of other potential entrants for the 59th Annual International Classic 200.
To purchase tickets for Budweiser International Classic Weekend and the 59th annual Budweiser International Classic 200, call the Oswego Speedway box office today at (315) 342-0646.
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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.