— photos by Alex Borland
John Nicotra Racing driver Dave Shullick Jr. of North Ridgeville, Ohio, is one step closer to his first and Nicotra Racing’s seventh Novels Supermodified Oswego Speedway track championship after another strong top-three run in the 50-lap feature Saturday night, August 12.
Shullick would start the 21-car field in the seventh position and advance to second before the checkers waved. His teammate and chief mechanic Otto Sitterly would start alongside DJ in the fourth row and move up to finish third.
DJ’s runner-up result was another close one as he and his Royal Purple / G&I Homes / Riccelli Northern-backed No. 2 dogged eventual winner Brandon Bellinger for the final 11 circuits after a late-race caution. Shullick, who had made competitive passes on the likes of Joe Gosek, Joey Payne, Dan Connors and teammate Sitterly to get into second, looked to have the fastest car on the track for most of the contest, but wouldn’t be able to make it around Bellinger before the race’s end.
“We had a really good car, that’s for sure,” Shullick offered. “That late race caution actually hurt us a little when I was trying to get to Brandon (Bellinger). It was a good night and I’m looking forward to the season championship next weekend.”
While Sitterly was finally able to work back by Connors to the third spot on lap 43, he did not have enough to reel in race leaders Bellinger and Shullick.
“We had a very solid car going into the night,” Sitterly said. “Come heat race time we had a problem with a wheel leaking and we chased that situation for the rest of the night. All in all for the team it was a good night, basically the 2 and 7 just have to show up next week to accomplish one and two in the championship so we are very happy about that.”
Otto had another solid top-five run with his Royal Purple / Nicotra Racing No. 7, advancing five positions to net his sixth top-five finish of the year. Only DJ and Gosek have more top-five finishes this year than Otto.
While not officially clinched, for all intents and purposes Shullick will only need to show up and start the feature in order to win his first Oswego track championship in his first-ever year competing full time at the Steel Palace. The two-time and defending ISMA champion will enter the final points night with a comfortable 61.5-point lead over Otto.
Sitterly is solid in the second position with a 29.5-point advantage over third-place Keith Shampine. A good night for Otto should make for a 1-2 sweep for Nicotra Racing in the 2017 Oswego Supermodified championship.
The 2017 Oswego regular season will conclude with $5 Admission Championship night this Saturday, August 19. Budweiser International Classic weekend September 1-3 will wrap up the 2017 Oswego Speedway and Nicotra Racing season.
John Nicotra Racing is a Supermodified race team owned by John Nicotra and maintained by driver and chief mechanic Otto Sitterly. Nicotra Racing is based in Homestead, Fla., and Canajoharie, N.Y., and has won four International Classic 200s, six Oswego Supermodified track championships and currently 33 total Oswego feature races since their debut in 2007 – Otto Sitterly (28); DJ Shullick (4); Davey Hamilton (1).
Nicotra Racing is proud to be sponsored by G&I Homes, Riccelli Northern, Royal Purple Synthetic Oil, 5 Brothers Produce, Burnac Produce Limited, Provincial Fruit Co., Flavor First, Georgia Crate & Basket, Rite-Pak Produce, Quality First Produce, Sam Accursio Farms, Ritz-Craft Homes, Torbert Farms, Elite Harvesting, Green Bean Packers, Housby and Sunrise Growers.