OSWEGO — Heavy afternoon rain that caused racing cancellations throughout much of the state on Saturday couldn’t damper a history-making track championship night at Oswego Speedway.
Otto Sitterly secured his record ninth Novelis Supermodified points championship in Oswego Speedway’s premiere class, while 21-year-old Scriba native Anthony Losurdo became the first driver in 47 years to win the track title for two separate divisions in the same year.
Sitterly finished eighth in Saturday’s Novelis Supermodified feature, which was won by Keith Shampine, to repeat as the track champion and capture his ninth title overall, moving past track icon Nolan Swift for sole possession of first on the all-time list.
Losurdo, meanwhile, maintained his points edge in the Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supermodified series and the first-year 350 Supermodified division with a pair of top-four feature finishes to claim the season crown in each class. He became the first double-champion at Oswego since area legend Jim Shampine won both the modified and supermodified divisions in 1972.
Saturday’s races capped off the season points series for all three divisions but racing will resume at Oswego with the 63rd annual Bud Classic Weekend from Aug. 30-Sept. 1, and Super Dirt Week will return to the track from Oct. 9-13.
Sitterly and his No. 7 car will be among the favorites in the Bud Classic field after Saturday’s unprecedented achievement, which the Canajoharie native credited to his devoted crew and overall team at John Nicotra Racing.
“It means a lot to me but it means a lot to this race team,” Sitterly said. “There is a lot involved behind the scenes of course for a three-car team, and the guys have been great. I’ve been sick this week, and the guys came over on their own, and they’re from all over the state and they all have other jobs, and they were here multiple nights. I know one night in particular they were there until 1 a.m., so I really owe them and this championship is about Nicotra Racing, not just one man.”
Sitterly won two features en route to his ninth points title — finishing as the only Novelis Supermodified driver with multiple feature wins this year — and registered two second-place finishes along with a trio of third-place showings. He finished eighth or better in all 11 features held at the 5/8-mile paved oval this season.
Sitterly now ranks ahead of Swift after tying him for the all-time mark with his eighth track title last season. He also surpassed Bentley Warren and Jim Shampine last year, who are tied for third on the career list with seven supermodified titles apiece.
“It’s pretty cool, but we’re here to compete each week so it’s not like I sit and think about those things, maybe in the offseason you’ll reflect on things more,” Sitterly said. “I met Swifty when he was still here, he would come to the speedway now and again, so it’s definitely cool to be mentioned with names like Swift, Shampine, and Warren. It’s definitely cool stuff.”
For Losurdo, Saturday provided the exclamation point to an indelible campaign at the track where he grew up attending races. He won his second straight Pathfinder Bank Small Block Supermodified season championship by placing fourth in the final feature of the year that was won by Greg O’Connor.
Losurdo also finished third in the 350 Supermodified feature, behind winner Stephen Duphily and second-place Barry Kingsley, which was enough to maintain his first-place points standing and capture the inaugural title of the startup division.
“It’s been a lot of fun, I’m definitely happy to win both divisions,” Losurdo said. “The SBS (Small Block Supermodified) was a repeat for us, and I was almost tearing up in victory lane. I think this one meant more to me than the last one.”
He added: “It’s an awesome feeling and I have to thank all my guys, they thrash on these race cars and without them, I would be up in turn four of the grandstands watching. I definitely got to thank those guys and my sponsors, it’s a huge accomplishment for me.”
Losurdo won five SBS features and one 350 supermodified feature this season, and on July 6, he became the first Oswego Speedway driver since Jack Murphy in 1957 to win two features in two separate divisions on the same night.
Losurdo is eager to see the 350 division return next season after a debut year that often featured four or six drivers each week, with a maximum field of eight.
“I know we didn’t have the most cars in the 350 field every week but we’re starting to get some more support from the New England guys, and there are a couple local people getting into it,” Losurdo said. “So it was definitely a good year for the 350s, and with the SBS division, I think it’s as competitive as ever. All the cars are so even out there, I started eighth (Saturday) and raced my butt off to get up to fourth.”
The 63rd annual Classic Weekend is scheduled to begin with time trials for the Budweiser International Classic 200 on Aug. 30. The following day will be highlighted by a $12,000 to win NASCAR Whelen ISMA Supermodified 150-lap feature.
The 63rd Budweiser International Classic 200 for Novelis Supermodifieds is scheduled for Sept. 1. Classic Sunday will also feature the 28th annual Bud Light Classic for Pathfinder Bank SBS and the second-ever 350 Supermodified Classic, which will run 75 and 35 laps, respectively.