Tyler Thompson scored the biggest win of his young career over the holiday weekend, taking the 63rd Budweiser International Classic at Oswego Speedway.
The 17-year old pilot, only two months removed from his high school commencement ceremonies, is the youngest winner of the event.
Thompson rolled off fifth, but needed just 11 laps to secure the point. From there, he was in control of the race, leading 189 of the 200 laps.
After passing pole-sitter Brandon Bellinger for the lead, Dave Shullick Jr., Otto Sitterly, Michael Barnes and Jeff Abold emerged as Thompson’s top threats. As each would close, Thompson would find a little spare speed in turn, establishing a more significant gap to the rest of the field.
Shullick Jr., the eventual runner-up, took a few shots at Thompson on the heels of several restarts, but had no luck. Sitterly suffered a suspension problem with 10 circuits remaining, dropping out while running third.
Michael Barnes, Jeff Abold and Doug Didero rounded out the top five.
With new rules and wing configurations in place, pit crews were working calculators to determine if the aerodynamic combination came at the cost of fuel economy. Several teams opted to pit and take on fresh tires and fuel. After taking the checkers, Thompson’s engine stumbled, and he coasted to victory lane without any fuel left.
In the Small Block Supermodified main, Mike Bond scored his fourth Bud Light Classic 75 victory, outlasting Anthony Losurdo and Dave Cliff.
Jeffrey Battle won the 35-lap 350 Supermodified main, his first career victory at Oswego. Stephen Duphily and Rich Eaton joined him on the podium.
Mike Lichty triumphed in the ISMA Supermodified Jack Murphy Memorial. Tim Jedrzejek was on the pole and Lichty 11th on the starting grid. Jedrzejek had a mammoth lead erased during a red flag. The regrouping of the field allowed Lichty to strike, and he led most of the second half of the race. Jedrzejek was second ahead of Trent Stephens, Ben Seitz and Kyle Edwards.
Jason Bonsignore won the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour portion of the weekend. He chased Rob Summers for a large portion of the race, and finally took command on lap 65. When Tyler Rypkema spun on lap 99, Bonsignore darted pitside for fuel and tires, and he came out of the pits first after service. Bonsignore fell in line third overall, chasing Patrick Emerling and Tommy Catalano. By the time the green flew and the field was exiting the second turn, Bonsignore was leading again. Matt Hirschman challenged late, but Bonsignore held strong to win. Hirschman and Ron Silk wound up second and third, respectively.
The Dave London Memorial saw a record number of entries attempt to qualify for the 30-car grid. Jimmy Steffenhagen prevailed in the feature, securing the lead after Andy Cryan was spun from the lead on a restart. A green-white-checkers finish played out in Steffehagen’s favor. Joel Gleason and Zach Willis followed.
Super DIRTcar Series
Kenny Tremont won his sixth Mr. DIRT Track USA championship, and second in a row, when the tour visited Lebanon Valley Speedway Saturday.
Tremont slipped past race-long leader Ronnie Johnson with just 10 laps remaining in the 101-lap grind. The win paid $25,000 and served as a NAPA Super DIRT Week qualifier. Johnson rode to second ahead of fellow front-row starter Brett Hearn.
The win also secured Tremont his 14th Lebanon Valley track championship.
The tour was rained out at Utica-Rome Speedway Sunday night, before competing at Weedsport Speedway Monday. That race ended too late to be included with this column.
The Super DIRTcar Series goes to Quebec for races at Autodrome Granby and RPM Speedway Friday and Saturday.
Empire Super Sprints
The Empire Super Sprints also were rained out at Utica-Rome Sunday and raced at Weedsport Monday. Prior to that, three features were contested Friday and Saturday night.
On Friday at Brewerton Speedway, Jonathan Preston topped Billy VanInwegen and Danny Varin in the regularly scheduled ESS main. Preston appeared to be onto something, as he doubled up by winning the event that was rained out in the middle of August. This time, Matt Tanner and Jeff Cook joined him on the podium.
On Saturday at Fulton Speedway, Jason Barney registered the victory over Steve Poirier. Preston logged a third straight podium showing.
The ESS races at Can-Am Speedway Friday before holding a non-points event Saturday, part of Land of Legends Raceway’s New York Nationals.
Larry Wight locked up his second Modified championship of the weekend without being on hand. Ronnie Davis III won the feature over Tim Sears and Tom Sears. Wight, who was racing in the Mr. DIRT Track USA event at Lebanon Valley, won the division title by a single point over Tim Sears Jr.
Amy Holland (Sportsman), Chris Mackey (Sportsman), Bret Belden (Late Models) and Richard Murtaugh (Novice Sportsman) also won features. Jackson Gill took the Sportsman track championship, while Chad Homan finished off his title run in the Late Models.
Fulton will be dormant until the 34th annual Outlaw 200 festivities Oct. 4-5.
Matt Sheppard concluded his run to the Modified championship with his 10th victory of the year. Sheppard took the lead on lap 18, patrolling the inside line, and withstood two late caution periods with Justin Wright on his bumper. Jim LaRock raced to third.
Chris Silvers took the lead from Stacy Jackson following a late caution period, upsetting Jackson’s bid for his first American Racer Sportsman victory. The win was Silver’s first, and came in the makeup feature, a prelude to the season finale to be contested later Friday. Entering the night, five different chauffeurs had a mathematical chance at the division title.
Brian Fish, the leader in points, suffered a flat and drew the caution that foiled Jackson’s run. Jimmy Zacharias was third.
In the regular feature, Fish started on the front row and secured his fourth win of the year to sew up the season championship. Todd Hayward was next, followed by Karl Comfort.
Steve Gray won his third Hoosier Tire Sportsman feature of the season, cementing his division championship. Gray started in the fourth row. Will Shields and Andrew Smith also made it to the podium.
Glen Whritenour won a double-points Street Stock feature, securing his sixth win in the division this year and doing what he could to chew up the points gap between himself and leader Dylan Cecce. However, Cecce’s seventh-place finish was enough to clinch the title.
Quinn Sutherland and CJ Guererri followed Whritenour in Friday’s race.
The IMCA division contested two features, including a makeup event. Brandon Smith won his fifth feature in the division, topping Rich Karlnoski and Bruce Tinsley. Brad Smith rallied to win the latter main and secure the division’s points crown. Rodney Morgan and Spaulding filled out the top three in the regular feature.
Adam Austin collected the 4-Cylinder checkers, his eighth victory, and defended his 2018 division championship. Scott Lehman Jr. and Jeremy Bunn joined Austin on the podium.
Bruce Kinner collected the Hobby Stock checkers, leaping from fourth on the initial green to lead. Jason Clugstone and Wayne Ellison followed at the finish line. Marc Minutolo’s fifth place was good enough to nail down a second consecutive points title.
Blake Parsons captured the Youth 4-Cylinder feature. Steve Perkins III won the division title.
Outlaw returns to action Sept. 20-21 with the Fall Nationals.
Larry Wight took his second win of the year and locked up the Modified season championship. Tim Sears Jr. was leading the points chase going into the night, but suffered ignition trouble on lap 10, opening the door for Wight to steal the title.
Zach Sobotka (DIRTcar Sportsman) and Clayton Brewer (Mod Lites) won in other classes.
Land of Legends Raceway
The track at the Ontario County Fairgrounds reopens this weekend for the New York Nationals.
The 360 Sprint, CRSA Sprint and the Les Whyte Top Gun Street Stock Shootout races are Friday, while the 360s, CRSA Sprints and a 50-lap Sportsman event are slated for Saturday.
Sept. 8 has been reserved as a rain date.