Oswego, N.Y. – With a track championship on the line, Otto Sitterly and John Nicotra Racing once again rose to the occasion at Oswego Speedway Saturday, August 18 with Sitterly driving to another dominating feature win – his fourth of the 2018 season – and wrapping up his eighth career Oswego Supermodified championship to break a tie with speedway legends Jim Shampine and Bentley Warren.
The 2018 version of “Championship Night” capped one of Otto’s most dominating and impressive seasons at The Steel Palace. After opening the season May 26 with third and fourth-place finishes in the Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50’s, “DesperOtto” would start the month of June with a second-place finish to fellow Nicotra Racing driver Dave Shullick Jr. on June 9.
Otto was on his way to his first win of the season in the first Twin 35-lap feature on June 16 when contact with Shullick would relegate him to an eighth-place result. He’d rebound for a third-place finish in the Twin 35 nightcap later that evening.
Sitterly would return June 30 to drive his G&I Homes / Riccelli Northern / CorrPak / Nicotra Racing No. 7 to third in the June 30 Grand Prix 75-lapper. Now in the points lead, Sitterly was still in search of his first feature win since September 2015.
Sitterly’s elusive first win in nearly three years would finally come July 7 with Otto fending off late-race challenges from Shullick to win the 50-lapper. The team’s second and final setback of the season would come a week later on July 14 with Otto challenging Keith Shampine for second place when the pair made contact and Otto ending up in the wall and retired from the 50-lap main. The race would mark the only time Sitterly would finish outside the top 10 all season.
Otto would rebound Saturday, July 21 with a dominating performance in the Mr. Supermodified 75. Sitterly would drive to his second win of the year in the prestigious mid-summer event, which was good for a $10,000 payday. The win was Nicotra Racing’s third Mr. Super victory and Otto’s fourth.
The Mr. Super victory would kick off an astounding stretch for Otto and the Nicotra 7 which would see him finish either first or second in the season’s final four races.
On Retro Night August 4, Sitterly made a late-race pass on both Shullick and Shampine to go from fourth to second on the second-to-last lap of the 45-lap main.
The following week, Otto would all-but clinch his eighth track title with a last-lap pass on Doug Didero to win his third race of the season on August 11. He’d return this past Saturday to score his fourth win of the year in dominating fashion over Aric Iosue and Joe Gosek to capture his eighth career track championship dating back to his first title in 2006, which was the last year he drove his own No. 79.
“Everybody works so hard,” Otto commented in victory lane. “I think eight times for this crew speaks for itself. I also want to thank every fan that comes here because whether they support me or don’t, they come here every week and support this race track. I’m also thinking of Jim Shampine and Bentley Warren. I’ve got a lot of respect for both of them and just to have my name pronounced in the same sentence as those two is pretty humbling.”
Sitterly’s win gives him 41 career Oswego supermodified feature triumphs, now tied for fifth all time with Nolan Swift.
The 2018 regular season saw Otto lead all drivers with 10 top-five finishes in 12 starts. He’d finish in the top 10 in 11 of 12 races, capture the Hard Charger award five times and win seven out of 10 heat races.
North Ridgeville, Ohio’s Dave Shullick Jr. put together another strong season driving for Nicotra Racing in the Futuri Media / G&I Homes / Nicotra Racing No. 2. Shullick, the defending track champion and International Classic 200 winner, would move from Sitterly’s camp to team with longtime Oswego crew chief and fabricator Jim Paternoster. The pair found immediate success with a win in the first leg of the Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50’s followed by a second win of the year on June 9.
Shullick would add two more wins – coming in the June 30 Grand Prix 75 and July 14 – but three finishes outside the top 10 (the second Shampine Memorial 50 and both Twin 35’s on June 16) would prove to be a major blow to Shullick’s effort to repeat as Oswego track champion.
However, he’d recover nicely, entering Championship Night a close fourth in the points and finishing fourth in the feature to catapult over Shampine and Michael Barnes to take second in the final standings and help Nicotra Racing sweep the top-two spots in Oswego points for the second year in a row.
One race remains in the 2018 Oswego Speedway season with the International Classic 200 set for Saturday, September 2. Nicotra Racing will be looking for its sixth Classic win with Otto trying for his fifth Classic and DJ looking for his second in a row. Davey Hamilton will also be in action as he tries for his second Classic win and first since 1997.
John Nicotra Racing is a Supermodified race team owned by John Nicotra with drivers Otto Sitterly, Dave Shullick Jr. and Davey Hamilton. Since our team’s debut in 2007, Nicotra Racing and has won five Budweiser International Classic 200s, eight Oswego Supermodified track championships, three Mr. Supermodified races and currently 42 total Oswego feature races since their debut in 2007 – Otto Sitterly (32); Dave Shullick Jr. (9); Davey Hamilton (1).
Nicotra Racing is proud to be sponsored by G&I Homes, Riccelli Northern, CORR/PAK Merchandising, 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, Futuri Media and Sunrise Growers.