The Nicotra Racing / Otto Sitterly team celebrate Classic win No. 5 for Otto and Nicotra's sixth overall (RJ Grela photo)
The Nicotra Racing / Otto Sitterly team celebrate Classic win No. 5 for Otto and Nicotra’s sixth overall (RJ Grela photo)

Oswego, N.Y. – Otto Sitterly, or “DesperOtto” as he’s been tagged this summer, wheeled his G&I Homes / Riccelli Northern / Corr/Pak Distributing-backed Nicotra Racing No. 7 Hawk Jr chassis to his fifth career victory in supermodified racing’s most prestigious event, the Budweiser International Classic 200 on Sunday, September 2 at Oswego Speedway.

Doug Didero and his new No. 3 super would emerge as Otto’s closest rival in this year’s 62nd annual edition of the Classic. Sitterly and Didero would trade the lead on multiple occasions after Otto initially took the lead from Michael Barnes on lap 53.

Didero would take the lead from Otto on lap 122 and pace the race for the next 55 laps. But Otto would stay directly behind Didero’s No. 3, staying patient and waiting for an opening.  He would find it with less than 20 laps to go.

The pair would race hard for several laps after a late-race restart. Otto would finally clear Didero for good on lap 186 and outlast a green-white-checkered finish when the race went into “overtime” after a wreck on lap 196. The Nicotra Racing 7 would have enough fuel to go the distance, allowing Otto to win his fifth career Classic and Nicotra Racing’s sixth overall, including Dave Shullick Jr.’s win in the Nicotra No. 2 in the 2017 version of the 200-lapper.

Otto detailed his battle with Didero and making the pass on the veteran driver.

“Once we got into heavy lap traffic, I was content to run in second behind (Didero),” Otto told Oswego Daily News’ Chris Porter. “I knew Didero wanted to lead, so I was content to let him. I was good with it when he went by me. He could pop the holes in lap traffic and I could ride behind him. I followed (Didero) for a while and I could see that our car was better than his and on one of the late restarts I knew it was time to go and I made my move. Once I got out front I could tell the car was very good and I knew someone would have to be going really good to drive around me.”

Sitterly races wheel to wheel with Doug Didero, who was Otto's main challenger (Jim Feeney photo)
Sitterly races wheel to wheel with Doug Didero, who was Otto’s main challenger (Jim Feeney photo)

Sitterly’s latest Classic triumph – his first since 2014 – concludes an Oswego Speedway supermodified season that Otto believes ranks as one of his best in his storied career at the lakeside oval.

“This season ranks up there pretty darn high,” Sitterly said. “People made a big deal that we didn’t win for two years, but we probably passed more cars than anyone during those two years, and we were right there in the points both seasons. Last year DJ (Shullick) had a great car and won a lot of races and at the end of the year I told him I was ready to go back and focus more on our program. I think this season shows why.”

Otto took a moment to thank a number of people important to making 2018 another wildly successful season.

“I have to thank the engine builder, Doug Holmes from Finger Lakes Machine. He does a hell of a job making great power and a real dependable engine. I have to thank (chassis builder) Joe Hawksby; he’s a life friend to me and a great asset to this team. Of course I have to thank John Nicotra Racing, and that entails a lot of people and they are all very devoted to this race team and they’ll do anything I ask of them,” Otto concluded.

Davey Hamilton and Dave Shullick Jr. completed a three-car John Nicotra Racing 2018 Classic effort that also saw Mike Lichty participate in qualifying Friday night in a fourth Nicotra entry, numbered 79 for the weekend. Parts were needed off the 79 Sunday to mend an issue with Hamilton’s No. 6, so the 79 would not see action in Sunday’s race program.

Hamilton qualified fourth and would race as high as third place before slipping to sixth late in the race. Shortly after losing fifth to Jeff Abold, the Boise, Idaho, native would find the outside wall in turn 3 just past lap 160. Hamilton’s day was done.

Defending Oswego track champion and Classic winner Shullick qualified the best of the Nicotra Racing cars Friday night. The Ohio driver would time second quick to Michael Barnes and run in the top five for over half the race. With the handling going away on his Futuri Media / Nicotra Racing No. 2, DJ would fall to the back half of the top 10 before making a late-race pit stop. With no improvement in the car’s handing, Shullick would retire his ride early and get credited with 16th place in the final rundown.

Sitterly’s fifth International Classic crown gives him 42 career Oswego feature wins, moving him into sole possession of fifth place in the speedway’s all-time win list, behind only Jim Shampine, Bentley Warren, Ed Bellinger Jr. and Joe Gosek. He was tied with legend Nolan Swift at 41 wins before Sunday’s Classic triumph.

John Nicotra now has 43 Oswego feature wins, bringing him to a tie with Bellinger Racing for second on the all-time Oswego Car Owner win list.

Sitterly and the Nicotra team are planning on racing the Star Classic 150 at New Hampshire’s Star Speedway this Saturday, September 7.

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 six Budweiser International Classic 200s, eight Oswego Supermodified track championships, three Mr. Supermodified races and currently 43 total Oswego feature races since their debut in 2007 – Otto Sitterly (33); 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.

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