By CAROL D. HAYNES
OSWEGO, NY – The Lake Ontario Event and Conference Center hosted the annual Oswego Speedway Awards Banquet and Hall of Fame Saturday night where award winners and Hall of Fame Inductees were recognized. The MC for the evening was Steve Quonce of the Oswego Safety Crew.
The Hall of Fame Inductees honored were Tim and Denny Snyder, driver and owner of the Snyder Racing Novelis Supermodified #0 team, competitors at the Oswego Speedway for the past 25 years. The Snyder team had picked up ten features and a Budweiser Int’l Classic win over the years. There were hints that while the team is not retiring by any means, that there may be a new pilot for the car next season.
Pathfinder Bank SBS car owner Tom Aaserud of Crow Motorsports, who has had some very successful drivers over the years including the likes of Dave Gruel, Russ Brown, Kreig Heroth and most recently Andrew Schartner, was inducted.
Oswego Speedway employee Dave Rice, who has been the basic keeper and provider of all the statistics at the track and has logged in over the many years. His work traces back to the beginning of racing at the Speedway. Rice compiled statistics from the early years through hours of research. Since he took over as the Oswego Speedway statistician, Dave has compiled lists of all races run dividing the information into different categories such as win lists, top 5 and 10 finishes.
Longtime sponsor of the Oswego Speedway pace vehicles, Burritt Motors, was the final inductee of the evening. Over many years, Dick, Chris and now Rich Burritt have not only provided the speedway with a vehicle to lead the race fields, they have also sponsored golf tournaments, nights of racing and special awards such as the fastest front row at the Budweiser International Classic.
Moving to the 2018 Oswego Speedway awards, the first presentation that took place was the Ed Clark Safety Crew Spirit Award, which was given to Kevin Holliday. The entire group of Oswego Safety crewmembers on hand gathered to present the award.
The Oswego Speedway Recognition award went to long time race scorers Robin Delaney and his wife Janet who have gone through the hand scoring days to the current use of the more modern transponders. Janet still uses the hand method as a backup to the technology.
The Matczak Woman of the Year award was awarded to Mackenzie Coleman, who represents the Oswego Speedway not only as trophy girl, but also as an avid promoter and ambassador of the track and racing in general. Coleman sent a recorded acceptance from the racing taking place in Charlotte, NC.
The Oswego Speedway Rookie of the Year honors went to Josh Sokolic in the Pathfinder Bank SBS division, finishing thirteenth in points and to Tyler Thompson, for his second such award of the day, in the Novelis Supermodified Division where he finished an admirable eight in points. Thompson was also named Rookie of the Year in the ISMA organization, quite a feat by the teenager.
Mark Castiglia was honored with the Pathfinder Bank Car Owner of the year. Castiglia fielded cars for the 2018 Champion Anthony Losurdo and those driven by Dave LaTulip and Dan Kapuscinski during the season.
The Novelis Car Owner of the Year was pretty much a given as John Nicotra was presented that award as owner of the cars of 2018 Champion Otto Sitterly and second place finisher Dave Shullick Jr. Those two drivers accumulated eight feature wins during the season, with Sitterly picking up an exciting Budweiser Classic 200 win.
The Jake’s Automotive Crew of the Year award went to the Ray Hedger-Russ Brown team, which finished second in the Pathfinder Bank SBS points.
The Novelis Supermodified Chris Osetek-Keith Shampine number 55 team was presented with the Crew of the Year Award for their third place finish in the final point standings. The team, which travels from North Carolina each race night, put in a lot of miles and hard work to achieve that spot.
Lou LeVea Jr. accepted the Novelis Most Improved Driver Award for his tenth place point standings in the Narramore-owned 83, while Dave LaTulip, driving for car owner Mark Castiglia, picked up the Pathfinder Bank SBS Most Improved Driver Award in that division. LaTulip, after a short hiatus from racing, came back this year to finish 12th in points, and logging one feature win along the way.
The newly reorganized and regenerated Eagles Fan Club presented three awards as introduced by Eagles leader Eric Syrell. The newly named Pullen’s Plumbing Tony White Memorial award went to Barry Kingsley, driver of the SBS 91, who finished tenth in points. The Total Seal Joe Paeno Memorial award went to Craig Soper and in an emotional presentation, the annual Jim Shampine Memorial award was issued posthumously to Bob Smith, a long time Joe Gosek crewman, who passed away earlier this year. “Smitty’s” son Cole, also a member of the Gosek crew, accepted for his late father.
The top ten Pathfinder Bank SBS drivers were honored. Each of the top three had Thomas race videos to accompany their season’s accomplishments. Dan Phillips of Pathfinder Bank was on hand to present the awards to champion Anthony Losurdo, Russ Brown, Mike Bond, Dave Cliff, Dalton Doyle, Jack Patrick, Dan Kapuscinski, Cameron Rowe and Barry Kingsley. The championship was Losurdo’s first such honor. He accrued two feature wins during his run for the title.
Kevin Shutt of Novelis spoke briefly about the company’s sponsorship of the supermodified division and the recycling of aluminum cans effort, which takes place during the season, which is important to the overall recycling program. Each year the Oswego Speedway brings in hundred of thousands of cans to recycle and the fans bringing them in are presented with various speedway tickets, a beneficial arrangement to both entities and the environment as well.
Kevin then presented each of the Novelis Supermodified top ten their awards. 2018 Otto Sitterly spoke briefly of his 8-time record breaking championship run acknowledging his car owner John Nicotra, his crew and family as well. Sitterly also called up Anthony Losurdo, Tyler Thompson and Josh Sokolic to the podium and introduced them as the “future” of Oswego racing, which brought a round of applause from the banquet crowd. Sitterly had 3 feature wins this season, one of which was the Mr. Novelis Supermodified win, a win fifth win of the Budweiser International Classic and an record-breaking eighth supermodified championship.
Dave Shullick Jr., former champion and Classic winner, had four feature wins. finishing second in the Nicotra number 2. Keith Shampine, Michael Barnes (3 wins and winner once again of the Turning Stone Casino sponsored Favorite Driver Contest}, Aric Iosue, Dave Danzer, Brandon Bellinger, Tyler Thompson, Dave Gruel and Lou LeVea Jr. finished up the top ten presentations, with videos from the season also presented for the top three.
Millennium Music by Ron Gray provided the post-award activities.
Paul Conzone of the Oswego Speedway Safety crew, as head of the banquet committee, was thanked along with his assistants, on a job well done. The banquet videos by Matt Thomas of Thomas Video were announced as being put on YouTube for viewing for those who may have missed the program. Those videos and others are also offered for sale on the Thomas Video website.