Cliff & Doyle Grab Oswego Wins, LaFave Escapes Horrific Fire
June 23, 2019
Dave Cliff pocketed his second SBS feature win of the season, while Dalton Doyle’s debut in the 350 super class came with a victory. Avoiding multiple jingles around him early on, Cliff would end up out-dragging Cameron Rowe on a late-race restart to take command and eventually the win. The victory was Cliff’s second of the season, 17th of his SBS career. Only Russ Brown (19) and Mike Bond (42) have more feature wins in the division.
Listen to – Dave Cliff
In the new 350 supermodified class, Doyle would bring his No. 08 out for the first time in 2019. Overcoming numerous bugs and maiden voyage obstacles, Doyle would take the lead away from Vern LaFave on the second lap of the race. He would then survive multiple bids for his lead by LaFave to secure the win.
Listen to – Dalton Doyle
One of LaFave’s outside jaunts occurred just after the checkered flag had fallen as the two cars raced across the finish line. LaFave’s No. 97 appeared to have brushed wheels with Doyle’s No. 08, sending his No. 97 head-on into the first-turn wall. The car would burst into flames upon impact and a massive fire erupted as Oswego’s safety crew members descended upon the scene.
With car fully engulfed – driver’s compartment included, LaFave managed to pull himself out of the cockpit, but not completely off of the car. Safety crew members would pull him away while the car continued to burn. As the fire was being extinguished, the safety crew – many of which are made up Oswego City firemen, tended to LeFave until an ambulance arrive. LeFave was conscious and alert and was taken to a Syracuse hospital with what the Speedway described as non-life threatening injuries.
Oswego Speedway safety crewman, Mark Kapuscinski described what his crew encountered.
Listen to – Mark Kapuscinski
Greg O’Connor and Rowe led the field to begin the 30-lap SBS feature event. O’Connor would take command early, bringing David LaTulip, Rowe, Mike Bruce and Anthony Losurdo across the line to complete lap No. 1. Losurdo was on the move early, taking over fourth after doing battle with Bruce for a trio of laps.
By the 10th lap, O’Connor and LaTulip held three lengths over Rowe. Losurdo, Brad Haynes, Bruce and Cliff raced tightly behind Rowe’s No. 77. LaTulip would begin to challenge O’Connor just past the halfway point. However, the race’s first cation flag would fly after Bruce spun his No. 04 while doing battle with the Haynes No. 88.
With 18 laps in the books, O’Connor led LaTulip, Rowe, Losurdo and Haynes. Cliff, Josh Sokolic, Travis Bartlett, Steve Flack and James Babcock filled out the top 10.
Photos – Jim Feeney
Vern LaFave (97) looks to the outside of Dalton Doyle (08) in the closing laps of the 350 feature - Photo: Jim Feeney
The 97 burst into flames as soon as it hit the outside wall. LaFave is still in the car - Photo: Jim Feeney
The fire quickly spread as the track safety crew made its way to the scene - Photo: Jim Feeney
LaFave was able to exit the cockpit on his own, but needed assistance to move away from the fire - Photo: Jim Feeney
With LaFave out of the car, the safety crew could fully focus on the fire - Photo: Jim Feeney
Dalton Doyle and crew celebrate their first 350 supermodified feature win - Photo: Jim Feeney
Dalton Doyle poses in victory lane at Oswego - Photo: Jim Feeney
Greg O'Connor (90) fights to hold off the Mark Castiglia-owned cars of David LaTulip (27) and Anthony Losurdo (1) - Photo: Jim Feeney
Brad Haynes (88) chases Mike Bruce (04) and Cameron Rowe (77) through turns one and two - Photo: Jim Feeney
Dave Cliff (50) would make his way around Cameron Rowe (77) in the late stages of the race to earn the win - Photo: Jim Feeney
Top 3 SBS finishers - Dave Cliff (center), Anthony Losurdo (left) and Mike Bruce (right) - Photo: Jim Feeney
Dave Cliff poses in victory lane at Oswego - Photo: Jim Feeney
Losurdo would use the double-file restart to take third away from Rowe. He would then swing to the inside and take second away from LaTulip. Losurdo would have 10 laps to get around O’Connor’s No. 90. However, a yellow flag for Flack’s spun No. 32 put Losurdo alongside O’Connor on the next restart. The lead duo would take the green flag and race three quarters of the way around before banging wheels and spinning in turn No. 4. Third-place running LaTulip and Travis Bartlett’s No. 03 would be collected in the incident, each exiting the racing surface via the hook.
Rowe would suddenly find himself in the lead, with opening night winner, Cliff, joining him in the front row on the ensuing restart. Cliff would cruise around the outside of Rowe at the drop of the green, but before things could get rolling, contact between the Haynes No. 88 and Bruce No. 04 ceased the action.
Again, Cliff would go with the outside move as the green flag waved. Rowe would fight back down low, but slip up just enough to tag Cliff’s No. 50. Cliff would hang on, but temporarily lose the lead back to Rowe. However, he would quickly regain control and take command.
Cliff would run away, taking the checkered flag by a dozen lengths. Losurdo would rebound from the O’Connor incident to finish in second, while Bruce fought his way back to third.
Listen to – Mike Bruce (2 parts)
Grabbing fourth, Rowe earned his second top-five finish of the season.
Listen to – Cameron Rowe
Sokolic would drive his No. 26 to its third top-five run this year.
Listen to – Josh Sokolic
O’Connor would land his No. 90 in sixth.
Listen to – Greg O’Connor
Barry Kingsley and LaFave led the growing 350 supermodified division to the green to start their 25-lap main event. Having started fourth, Doyle was quick to pounce on LaFave’s No. 97 for the lead. LaFave would stay with Doyle’s No. 08, but the two drivers would quickly move away from the rest of the field.
LaFave would venture a few outside looks on laps eight and nine, but seemed to settle in behind Doyle until the final 6 circuits. He’d close up again on the 19th lap and continue a series of outside bids heading into the first and third turns. Lap after lap, LaFave would pull up to Doyle’s rear bumper and dive to the outside of the No. 08 at the end of the straightaways. He’d pull alongside the race leader through the turns, but wouldn’t be able to make anything stick heading off of the corners.
Finally, as the checkered flag dropped, LaFave appeared to attempt the same move, but the two cars would make slight contact. The No. 97 shot to the outside and directly into the wall. He would be credited with finishing in second. Last week’s feature winner, John Burke, came across the line in third. Kingsley, Bruce and Losurdo filled out the finishing order.
Pathfinder Bank SBS 30: 1. Dave Cliff (50), 2. Anthony Losurdo (1), 3. Mike Bruce (04), 4. Cameron Rowe (77), 5. Josh Sokolic (26), 6. Greg O’Connor (90), 7. James Babcock (15), 8. Steve Flack (32), 9. Dave LaTulip (27), 10. Brad Haynes (88), 11. Travis Bartlett (03), 12. Russ Barlett (02)
Chris Porter is a motorsports journalist whose reporting has been published in multiple print and online media sources since 2004.
Chris has primarily covered Oswego Speedway, ISMA and other asphalt auto racing in upstate New York.