OSWEGO — Dave Cliff took advantage of a late restart to drive around Anthony Losurdo for his third Pathfinder Bank Small-Block Supers feature victory of the season on Saturday at Oswego Speedway.
Several caution flags, including one before the first lap was completed, marred the 30-lap main event. Mike Bruce’s car climbed over the top of David LaTulip’s car going down the backstretch, causing significant damage to the LaTulip’s No. 27 car.
On the second original start, it was a family affair on the front row as Russ Bartlett and nephew Travis Bartlett brought the field to green. Things went smoother this time, and it was Russ Bartlett who took the early lead piloting his recent acquisition, the former Tyler Shullick No. 67.
Almost immediately, Travis Bartlett experienced problems in the No. 03, dropping back through the field up high and allowing the dominant inside row of Greg O’Connor, Josh Sokolic, Anthony Losurdo, and Andrew Schartner all to slip underneath.
One lap later, Travis Bartlett’s frustrating start took a turn for the worse as he looped it out of turn 2 with apparent mechanical issues. Just prior to the spin, Losurdo had found a lane under Sokolic for third, but shortly thereafter blew the power steering on his No. 1.
Following a cleanup on the backstretch and a quick check of Losurdo’s car, the points leader was able to keep his position behind leaders Russ Bartlett and O’Connor with Sokolic, Schartner, Cliff, Bruce, and Cameron Rowe all in tow.
The double-file restart with two laps in brought O’Connor to Russ Bartlett’s outside, and that did not pan out for O’Connor, who immediately lost four spots to Losurdo, Schartner, Cliff, and Bruce. Sokolic also got way out of shape, losing several positions in his No. 26.
When the field finally made it through the first five circuits, it was still Russ Bartlett out front, but he was now feeling pressure from Losurdo, Schartner, and Cliff. Meanwhile, battling several car lengths behind the front four were Bruce, O’Connor, Rowe, Brad Haynes, and LaTulip.
Just as the lap board showed five laps completed, Losurdo made his move under Bartlett to take the lead going into turn 1.
The next car to make a move was Cliff, who went low under Schartner on lap 7. This pair battled side by side for over a lap before the inside lane finally prevailed, moving Cliff into the third spot right behind Russ Bartlett.
When Cliff tagged Russ Bartlett in the tail looking for second two laps later, this created a parking lot in turn 1. The list of driver involved included Russ Bartlett, Cliff, O’Connor, Haynes, LaTulip, Rowe, and Sokolic. With the exception of O’Connor, all seven cars were able to drive away. Russ Bartlett and Cliff had to surrender the second and third positions because of the contact that brought out the initial caution.
The new top five consisted of Losurdo, Schartner, Bruce, Rowe, and Haynes. Losurdo and Schartner led the field back to green with nine laps in the record books. Schartner hung tough on the high side of Losurdo, but that hole closed very quickly coming out of turn 2, causing the two cars to brush wheels. This contact sent the No. 18 of Schartner into the backstretch wall with tremendous force.
Schartner’s ride lost the right front tire on impact and sustained heavy damage, but the driver was uninjured. Losurdo and his racecar were also able to drive away unharmed. Three other drivers were collected in the melee including Rowe, who wound up out for the night.
With 20 laps remaining, Losurdo was in front followed by Bruce, Haynes, LaTulip, and Stephen Flack.
On the restart, Losurdo took off and built a huge lead over Bruce and Haynes, who soon had company in the form of Dave Cliff. Cliff had come from eighth to fifth and had actually rolled the outside groove around both Bartlett and LaTulip to do so.
The next driver to be passed by Cliff was Haynes. Cliff made a bold move to the inside and took third on lap 17. It took the No. 50 car less than half a lap to reel in runner-up Bruce.
With 11 laps to go, Cliff got under Bruce going down the frontstretch. On the next circuit, LaTulip made contact with Haynes while working him over for third, causing the No. 27 of LaTulip to spin and bring out a caution flag.
This set up a double-file restart with 10 laps to go. The cars of Losurdo and Cliff — the two fastest cars all season long — restarted side by side.
Bruce spun the RBI Racing No. 04 on the first restart attempt. The second try at the restart saw Cliff rocket around the outside of Losurdo to take the race lead. Bringing the fans to their feet, Cliff cleared the No. 1 car going into turn 1, and from there it was all over.
In the final ten laps, Cliff pulled away from Losurdo for the win. Haynes, Russ Bartlett, and Bruce completed the top five.
Bruce drove from 14th to fifth for the D&S Landscaping Hard Charger Award. Haynes earned the Lighthouse Lanes Up & Comer Award, and Russ Bartlett was recipient of the White’s Car Care Fourth Place Award.
Just two events remain in Oswego Speedway’s Road to the Championship, with U-Pull U-Save Family Night up next on Saturday. The Novelis Supermodifieds, Pathfinder Bank SBS, and 350 Supers will all be in action.
• Joshua Sokolic and Andrew Schartner won 10-lap SBS heats.
• Anthony Losurdo turned in the fastest lap time during group time trials. His time was 18.657 seconds. He was followed by Dave Cliff (18.860) and Mike Bruce (18.895).
SBS feature (30 laps): 1. Dave Cliff (50), 2. Anthony Losurdo (1), 3. Brad Haynes (88), 4. Russ Bartlett (02), 5. Mike Bruce (04), 6. Joshua Sokolic (26), 7. Stephen Flack (32), 8. Ken Moody Jr. (01), 9. David LaTulip (27), 10. James Babcock (15), 11. Andrew Schartner (18), 12. Greg O’Connor (90), 13. Cameron Rowe (77), 14. Travis Bartlett (03).