CANAJOHARIE, N.Y. — Nine-time Oswego Speedway Supermodified champion Otto Sitterly and the John Nicotra Racing team put together another outstanding year in 2022 and walked away from the Sept. 17 Bob Webber Sr. Memorial Classic / International Supermodified Association season closer at New Hampshire’s Star Speedway as ISMA series champions for the second straight year.
The championship marked Nicotra and Sitterly’s second consecutive in ISMA in their first two years following the series.
Armed with their potent No. 7 Bodnar chassis, the Nicotra team entered the 2022 campaign with their winged big block supermodified program as the primary focus. After more than a decade of campaigning weekly in Oswego’s Novelis Supermodified division, the New York-based team switched gears in 2022 and for the first time would not run the full Oswego schedule.
Sitterly and crew members Dan Canipe, Joe Peri and Tom Scholl took their show to the road, hitting each of the eight ISMA races plus a number of Midwest Supermodified Series (MSS) shows.
Otto opened the year with a May 14 MSS win at Lorain Raceway Park in Ohio and would pick up another MSS feature June 18 at Lorain on the way to a second-place finish in the series standings to Kyle Edwards.
Sitterly opened ISMA on the downside with a P9 finish in the first Oswego Winged Super Challenge June 4. ISMA returned to Oswego July 9 for Round 2 of the Oswego Challenge and Sitterly scored his first top 5 of the series with a P4 result.
Otto challenged eventual winner Edwards late in the Berlin Raceway ISMA 40-lapper Friday, July 15 before dropping out with fuel problems on lap 29. He’d finish fifth in the Saturday Berlin 60-lap feature for his second top 5 of the tour.
The Canajoharie, N.Y., veteran would finally break into ISMA’s win circle on July 29 with his third win of the year in Ohio, this time at Sandusky Speedway in the Friday Fast 40 during Hy-Miler Nationals weekend.
The next night’s Hy-Miler Nationals 100 would see one of the best races of the year and a preview of the season-ending championship battle. The Nicotra 7 and Booth 61 would go head to head in the late stages of the prestigious race with Ordway holding off Sitterly on a pair of late-race restarts to deny Otto of his first Hy-Miler.
A second-place finish to Ordway August 13 in Oswego’s Winged Super Challenge closer placed Otto within striking distance of the Maine racer with two races remaining. Ordway, who now had four feature wins in seven starts, also had two finishes outside the top 15 in June at Oswego and the Friday night 40-lapper at Berlin.
When Claremont Speedway’s August ISMA race was cancelled, that meant only the September Star Classic would remain to decide the championship.
Unlike 2021, when Otto entered the ISMA season finale with a formidable points lead, the Nicotra team had to make up a 23-point deficit at the New England Classic to Ordway and Booth.
Sitterly would set a new Star Speedway track record in qualifying and gain some points on Ordway before the 125-lap feature. He’d start up front and jump out to an early lead, gaining more points on his rival with ISMA awarding five points for leading a lap. Sitterly would lose the lead to Dan Bowes and Jeff Abold on an early-race restart, and he’d go on to battle a tight racecar to a P4 finish behind Abold, Bowes and Ben Seitz. However, Ordway only managed a P7 to give the Nicotra-Sitterly team a 7-point advantage in the final standings and their second ISMA title in two years.
“It’s pretty neat,” Otto told ISMA reporter Kevin Rice. “In the race we just missed on our tire stagger substantially. I knew I just had to ride it out and see where the car fell at the end. We just weren’t that good. We had a very fast car early. The same thing happened two years ago here, but the total opposite. We got really loose. Today we were just extremely tight and burned the right front tire off in the first half.
“I feel bad for Mike (Ordway). I’ve lost a championship twice before in the last race of the season, late in the feature. One year it was three points we lost by, so it was a pain. I’m not sure when our next race will be. We’ll figure something out. We’re done for this year. I want to thank Nicotra Racing and this great crew, and all our sponsors for the support.”
Pennsylvania’s Alison Sload was tapped to wheel the team’s primary Oswego car, the former No. 7 “Black Betty” Hawk Jr. super which was renumbered 39 for Sload. The female open-wheel standout ran a number of Oswego shows and came away with a best finish of second in the July 2 Grand Prix 75-lapper. After engine problems during International Classic qualifying, she’d start shotgun on the 25-car field in the Budweiser Classic 200, and get involved in a backstretch wreck with Lou Levea Jr. while advancing through the field during the early stages of the race.
Sitterly made his one and only Novelis Oswego Supermodified start in the Bud Classic 200, where he was aiming for a sixth career Labor Day win at the Steel Palace. He was looking good until just past halfway, when a mechanical failure sent his familiar Nicotra blue Hawk Jr 7 into the Turn 1 wall while leading the race. Sitterly would be credited with a P17 result and the $1,000 Insigner Halfway Leader Bonus.
In total, Nicotra Racing won 3 features in 2022 and netted 12 top-five finishes (11 winged and 1 Oswego) in 20 feature starts.
The team now has 53 supermodified wins — 48 at Oswego and 5 winged.
John Nicotra Racing is a Supermodified race team owned by John Nicotra of Oswego, N.Y., with drivers Otto Sitterly, Alison Sload and Davey Hamilton. Since our team’s debut in 2007, Nicotra Racing and has won six Budweiser International Classic 200s, nine Oswego Supermodified track championships, three Mr. Supermodified races, nine Jim Shampine Memorials and 53 total big block supermodified feature races – 48 at Oswego Speedway (Otto Sitterly (36); Dave Shullick Jr. (9); Alison Sload (2); Davey Hamilton (1)) and 5 winged races all with Sitterly at Lee USA (1 – ISMA), Sandusky (1 – ISMA), Jennerstown (1 – ISMA) and Lorain (2 – MSS).
Nicotra Racing is proud to be sponsored by Riccelli Northern, CORR/PAK Merchandising, Peaceful Living Home Sales, Flip Electronics, Fatheadz Eyewear, 5 Brothers Produce, Burnac Produce Ltd, Torbert Farms, Georgia Crate & Basket, Rite-Pak Produce and Elite Harvesting.
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