The T.E.A.L. movement in Oswego County was the biggest winner last Saturday at Oswego Speedway.
The 5/8-mile paved oval famously dubbed “The Steel Palace,” hosted its sixth annual Teal Palace Night to support ovarian cancer research and awareness.
The annual event — initially inspired and spearheaded by longtime track patron Mary Gosek before she died from the disease in 2017 — was held in conjunction with the $10,000 Mr. Novelis Supermodified 75-lap feature, which was won by Dave Gruel.
Race attendees were encouraged to wear teal-colored T-shirts to raise awareness of the disease and support the mission of T.E.A.L., which stands for “Tell Every Amazing Lady,” about the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, often referred to as a silent killer because there is no early detection.
The track held raffles for driver merchandise and memorabilia, along with separate drawings for tickets to Oswego Speedway’s annual Classic Weekend, the Daytona 500 and the Indianapolis 500.
Proceeds were donated to Peaceful Remedies — a non-profit organization in Oswego launched by Mary Gosek to help people suffering from life-altering diseases — along with the Syracuse-based ovarian cancer research charity, Hope for Heather.
Several former members of the Oswego Speedway community that fell victim to the disease were recognized during an emotional tribute between races.
“We encourage the fans to wear teal every year and all the families of people who are battling ovarian cancer right now or have survived it or lost somebody to it, it really means a lot to them and it means a lot to us,” Oswego Speedway public relations director Camden Proud said.
“Just here at Oswego Speedway we’ve lost quite a few people to ovarian cancer in recent years,” he added. “It was a special night to a lot of people and we want to thank the fans for their involvement in it.”
Mary Gosek was the wife of Oswego State national champion men’s hockey coach, Ed Gosek, and the sister-in-law of Oswego Speedway icon of nearly four decades, Joe Gosek. She was a longtime Oswego Speedway supporter and her regular seat in the grandstands has been permanently painted teal in her honor.
Mary Gosek was a strong advocate for raising awareness about the disease during her battle and helped to inspire the annual Teal Walk at Oswego State University, along with an annual teal-themed games for the Lakers men’s and women’s hockey teams, which has since carried over to various other athletic programs at the institution.
The Syracuse Crunch pro hockey team has also held a T.E.A.L. fundraiser in recent years in coordination with Hope for Heather.
“Mary (Gosek) just spearheaded the effort while she was sick and battling the disease, and then her sisters and other people in the community have kept it going,” said Ed Gosek, the Oswego State men’s hockey coach since 2003 who used to work on the pit crew for his brother and Oswego Speedway Hall of Fame driver, Joe Gosek.
“I think it is serving its purpose of raising awareness, and I think more and more women are aware of the symptoms of ovarian cancer because of it, especially younger women,” he added. “Before it happened to (Mary), I didn’t know that much about it, and I think these are all great ways to continue to raise awareness and to help others, trying to make some positives out of an awful situation.”
Joe Gosek finished sixth in the 33rd annual Mr. Novelis Supermodified feature to cap off the night. Gruel claimed the victory and the $10,000 purse on his 37th birthday after holding off second-place Dave Danzer in the closing laps, while Otto Sitterly, Tyler Thompson, and Dave Shullick Jr. rounded out the top five.
Oswego Speedway is off this weekend and will resume the season with its annual Retro Night on Aug. 3.