Sitterly Fights Through Field, Earns 44th Career Win
June 23, 2019
Defending Novelis supermodified track champion, Otto Sitterly became Oswego Speedway’s first repeat feature winner for the 2019 season on Saturday night. Coming from the 11th starting spot, Sitterly would capitalize on a late-race caution flag, enabling him to erase a half-lap deficit to Aric Iosue. A slight bobble by the race leader on the restart, would then allow Sitterly’s No. 7 to take command and earn the 44th feature win in his storied, Hall of Fame-bound career.
Listen to – Otto Sitterly
Lou LeVea, Jr. and Iosue led the field to the green to start the 50-lap big block supermodified main event. LeVea would nose out in front, but by the time the field rolled off of the fourth corner to complete its maiden lap, Iosue had assumed control. Logan Rayvals, Dave Danzer and Dan Connors filled out the front five.
Brandon Bellinger would race his No. 02 machine into the top five on the second lap and best Danzer for the fourth spot on his third trip around. Bellinger would find room under LeVea’s No. 83 on the 13th lap, moving into third. Up front, Iosue’s No. 11 had taken flight from the field.
As Sitterly made his way through the pack, Iosue would take a full straightaway advantage into the tail-end of the field. Heavier lapped traffic was just ahead as he looked to put as much distance between himself and his chasers as quick as possible.
Sitterly would conquer Dave Gruel and move into the top five on the 22nd lap. While Iosue carefully picked and chose his lanes through lapped traffic, Sitterly frantically scanned for paths to the front – taking fourth away from Danzer on the 27th lap and zeroing in on the second-place battle between Bellinger and Rayvals.
On the 32nd lap, Rayvals would slip high between turns three and four, allowing Bellinger and Sitterly to assume the second and third place positions. Half of a lap behind Iosue’s No. 11, Sitterly would take away the runner-up spot from Bellinger in the midst of lapped traffic. The black No. 7 would have a fairly clean track ahead of him, but Iosue’s lead appeared seemingly unreachable with just 10 rounds to go.
Photos – Jim Feeney
Brandon Bellinger (02) battles Dave Danzer (52) for fourth place early in the race - Photo: Jim Feeney
Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), Alison Sload (39) and Keith Shampine fight for position midway through the race - Photo: Jim Feeney
Half a lap behind race leader, Aric Iosue, Otto Sitterly (7) gets the best of Brandon Bellinger (02) behind the lapped car of Tim Snyder (0) - Photo: Jim Feeney
On the 44th lap, fifth-place running Logan Rayvals (94) spins in front of Dave Shullick (95) and Dave Gruel (50) - Photo: Jim Feeney
After a caution erased Aric Iosue's half-lap lead, Otto Sitterly (7) plans his attack on Iosue's No. 11 - Photo: Jim Feeney
Otto Sitterly and the John Nicotra team pose in victory lane at Oswego - Photo: Jim Feeney
Top 3 Novelis supermodified finishers - Otto Sitterly (center), Aric Iosue (right) and Brandon Bellinger (left) - Photo: Jim Feeney
However, the long green flag run would come to an end on the 43rd lap, when fifth-place running Rayvals and 10th-place running Connors summoned the caution flag in turn No. 2. Iosue’s half-lap lead was erased as Sitterly’s No. 7 would now be sitting on the No. 11’s rear bumper for the restart. Bellinger, Danzer and Dave Shullick, Jr. filled out the top behind the lead duo. Gruel, Joe Gosek, Alison Sload, Michael Barnes and Keith Shampine rounded out the top 10.
Sitterly would look to the high side of the Iosue at the drop of the green, but with empty results. Instead, it would be Iosue’s own doing that would open up the door for Sitterly to take command. As the leaders raced down the backstretch, Iosue’s No. 11 lost its grip for just a moment, allowing the John Nicotra-owned No. 7 to drive by and take command. Iosue would recover and not allow Sitterly to pull away. The two would begin racing away from the field until Shampine’s No. 55 stopped in turn No. 2, bringing out caution No. 2.
On the ensuing restart, Iosue’s No. 11 would have nothing for Sitterly’s No. 7. An early jump quickly put multiple lengths on the No. 11. That restart would be cut short as the yellow would fly for the final time after Gruel’s No. 50 piled into the third-turn foam.
Shullick would steal fourth from Danzer on the final restart, but the race leader would have no issue up front. Sitterly would cruise the final few trips to the checkered flag. Padding his championship points lead with career-win No. 44, Sitterly moved into a tie with Joe Gosek for fourth on the all-time supermodified feature win list.
Iosue would hold on for second place.
Listen to – Aric Iosue
Bellinger would earn his second top-five finish of the season, driving the No. 02 home in third place.
Listen to – Brandon Bellinger
Backing up last week’s feature win with a top-five, Shullick piloted the Chris Osetek-owned No. 95 to a fourth-place run.
Listen to – Dave Shullick, Jr.
Hanging out in the top five for nearly the entire race, Danzer came across the line in fifth.
Listen to – Dave Danzer
Likely driving her way into second place in the series points chase, Sload earned the Nicotra team a sixth-place finish.
Listen to – Alison Sload
Novelis Supermodified Feature (50): 1. Otto Sitterly (7), 2. Aric Iosue (11), 3. Brandon Bellinger (02), 4. Dave Shullick, Jr. (95), 5. Dave Danzer (52), 6. Alison Sload (39), 7. Michael Barnes (68), 8. Logan Rayvals (94), 9. Keith Shampine (55), 10. Jeff Abold (05), 11. Tim Snyder (0), 12. Lou LeVea, Jr. (83), 13. Jack Patrick (90), 14. Dave Gruel (50), 15. Joe Gosek (00), 16. Dan Connors (01), 17. Camden Proud (54), 18. Hal LaTulip (56)
Heat race wins went to Dan Connors, Tim Snyder and Dave Danzer.
*With a time of 15.918 seconds, Joe Gosek topped the charts in time-trials. Alison Sload (16.016) and Dave Gruel (16.029) completed the top three.
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.