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2016 Season Preview – Nicotra Racing Aiming for 7th Oswego Supermodified Title in 10 Years

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Otto pulls the Nicotra Racing #7 pitside during Oswego Speedway's May 7 open practice session (Bill Taylor photo)
Otto pulls the Nicotra Racing #7 pitside during Oswego Speedway’s May 7 open practice session (Bill Taylor photo)

Otto Sitterly and the John Nicotra Racing team are ready for their 10th season together at Oswego Speedway when the gates open on the 2016 season Saturday, May 14.

Sitterly will be attempting to win his record-breaking eighth Novelis Supermodified track championship this year while team drivers Davey Hamilton and Dave Shullick Jr. will once again make appearances in Nicotra machines throughout the year.

The Novelis Supermodified season will open with Sitterly and Indianapolis 500 veteran Hamilton driving the potent Nicotra Racing Hawk Jr. Chassis supermodifieds.

Sitterly will pilot his familiar G&I Homes / Riccelli Northern / Royal Purple #7, which he raced to Jim Shampine Memorial and Mr. Supermodified feature wins last year, while Hamilton will drive a reworked Nicotra #6 in the opener, which over the winter has been converted to replicate the 7 with the “old-style” Hawk Jr. front suspension setup.

The team’s third supermodified – the #2 driven by Ohio’s Dave Shullick Jr. – will still be in the shop when the season opens. Hawk Jr. Chassis is working to convert the car to the independent front suspension with hopes of a debut at the Jim Shampine Memorial on May 28.

Otto Sitterly at speed in 2016 (Bill Taylor photo)
Otto Sitterly at speed in 2016 (Bill Taylor photo)

“We’re very happy with the performance of the 7 last year and until we know what we’re up against with the new independent cars, I wanted to stay with what’s proven,” Nicotra stated. “Otto and his guys changed the 6 to be identical to the 7 with the old-style Hawk front-end on the new-style chassis, and Davey and Otto will field those cars at the opener. The 2 has been dropped off at Hawk’s shop to be converted to IFS, and in a perfect world we’d like to test that car before the Shampine race and see what we have. Otto will have his choice and DJ (Shullick) will drive the other car at the Shampine Memorial.”

Nicotra offered his thoughts on the independent front suspension once again being legal at Oswego in 2016.

“I definitely think it will change the class,” Nicotra said regarding the legalization of the IFS. “Before it’s over I believe the independent will be the way to go. That being said, just having an IFS car is not the ‘end all.’ Teams need to have their entire program together to challenge. A good team with a straight-axle car will still be able to run well, I don’t think there is any doubting that. But I think, maybe sooner than later, the independent will be the way to go non-winged at Oswego.”

Nicotra added that if the 2 car is noticeably faster with the IFS setup, he will begin making plans to have the 6 and 7 cars converted to IFS as soon as possible.

In some exciting off-track news, Nicotra Racing is pleased to welcome Royal Purple Synthetic Oil as a primary sponsor of the team in 2016. Royal Purple joins G&I Homes and Riccelli Northern as primary sponsors of the three Nicotra Racing supermodifieds.

Royal Purple manufactures high performance lubricants for most automotive, industrial, marine, motorcycle and racing applications. It is considered the best synthetic motor oil by many end users.

“Welcome aboard to Royal Purple and we’re looking forward to keeping the Royal Purple name up front along with G&I Homes, Riccelli Northern and all our other great sponsors. We’re going to put in a solid effort all year in hopes of getting the championship that got away from us last year,” Nicotra added.

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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 now 25 regular-season Oswego feature races since their debut in 2007.

Nicotra Racing is proud to be sponsored by G&I Homes, Royal Purple Synthetic Oil, Riccelli Northern, 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 and Sunrise Growers.

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