The John Nicotra Racing supermodified team debuted at Oswego Speedway in 2007 with an up-and-coming Canajoharie, N.Y., racer named Otto Sitterly. The former Limited (SBS) Supermodified standout and 2006 Oswego Supermodified track champion would be tabbed the new team's primary driver as well as chief mechanic maintaining the two new Hawk Jr Chassis No. 6 and No. 7 supers.
Success for the new Nicotra-Sitterly pair wasn't immediate. Despite being shut out of victory lane in 2007, the Sitterly and Nicotra combination did seem to work well, as evidenced by a consistent string of top-five finishes and a fifth-place finish in the final Oswego super point standings. Otto's best run of the season would come in the '07 International Classic, in which he finished second to Greg Furlong.
IndyCar and supermodified veteran Davey Hamilton, a native of Boise, Idaho and longtime John Nicotra friend, began joining the Nicotra team on a part-time basis in 2007, as well. Hamilton would race a Nicotra super part time at Oswego through the 2016 season. The pair captured one Oswego feature win together on opening night May 11, 2013.
Nicotra Racing began to hit their stride in 2008. Otto put together a very consistent season, capturing his first feature win behind the wheel of a blue Nicotra machine in the May 19 opening day show for the non-wing supers and he would go on to win the team’s first Novelis Supermodified Oswego track championship by 30 points over Pat Lavery. Including his May 10 victory, Sitterly rounded up six top-five finishes. Hamilton led the Nicotra team in the Classic, finishing fourth.
The Nicotra team’s breakout year came in 2009. Sitterly would win two regular-season races, including his first Jim Shampine Memorial on Memorial Day weekend, and he'd capture the team’s second straight Oswego track championship.
While another championship was important to the third-year team, the highlight of the campaign was clearly Sitterly and Nicotra’s first Budweiser International Classic 200 win Labor Day weekend. In a lengthened race that would go to 207 laps, Otto passed defending Classic winner Doug Didero late in the race and from there would cruise to his first win in the popular Labor Day event.
In 2010 Sitterly opened the year with four straight feature wins, including a second straight Shampine Memorial victory. He'd also finish second three straight weeks between July 17 and August 7, and go on to win Nicotra Racing’s third consecutive Oswego track championship.
Otto led much of the 2010 Classic but a late-race incident relegated him to a P9 finish. Hamilton would finish podium in the Classic with a fine third-place result.
Otto Sitterly added more success to Nicotra Racing’s resume in 2011. Sitterly would win three features in ’11 but finish third to Joe Gosek and Randy Ritskes in the final points. Otto would win the season’s ultimate prize - the 2011 International Classic - with a last-lap pass on teammate Mike Lichty to win his second Classic. Lichty held on for second to make it a Nicotra Racing one-two finish.
Nicotra Racing enjoyed another terrific season in 2012. Otto kicked off the season in fine fashion, winning the May 5 opening day show and backing it up with the team’s third Shampine Memorial on May 26 on his way to another Oswego track championship, which would mark Nicotra’s fourth and Otto’s fifth overall.
On Labor Day weekend Sitterly notched the team’s third International Classic 200 triumph in a second consecutive Nicotra Racing one-two Classic finish. This time Otto crossed the stripe ahead of teammate Davey Hamilton.
Hamilton gave Nicotra his first Oswego feature win with a driver other than Sitterly on opening day 2013. While Otto was involved in an accident, Davey raced off to his first Oswego win since the 1997 Classic. Otto finished P2 to Bob Bond in the International Classic 200.
Two weeks later Otto wrapped up Nicotra Racing’s fifth Oswego Supermodified track championship and his sixth overall. In yet another points race that went to the wire, Sitterly entered the last night of the season ahead of Joe Gosek by only 11 markers and won the championship by only 13 points.
2014 was another big season for Sitterly and the Nicotra team. Following a P2 finish in the Oswego season opener, Sitterly drove to his sixth Shampine Memorial victory, which surprisingly, would be Otto’s only regular-season win of the year.
The next time Sitterly would visit Victory Lane was the International Classic in a dominating run in the 200-lap grind. The Classic win was the fourth of Otto’s now legendary Oswego career. Two weeks later Otto finished second in the Race of Champions season closer, which netted him the Oswego Supermodified track championship – his seventh and Nicotra’s sixth – by a 43-point margin over Dave Gruel.
Sitterly won seven Supermodified races in 2015, including his seventh Shampine Memorial and the Mr. Supermodified feature in a thriller over Michael Barnes and Ray Graham, but he did not win the Oswego Speedway track championship or International Classic 200.
Sitterly spun out while leading the Classic with less than 10 laps to go and then was involved in an accident trying to make it back to the front in the closing laps. Despite Sitterly's disappointment, Nicotra Racing did have success in the Classic. Hamilton and team newcomer Dave Shullick Jr. would place fourth and fifth in the race.
Two weeks later, Otto would enter Track Championship night 12.5 points behind Classic winner Bob Bond. Otto won the night’s main event for his sixth regular-season victory of the season, but Bond finished second, which was enough for him to win the points by a mere 4 markers over Otto.
The other highlight of 2015 was Otto’s first-ever ISMA win in the King of Wings event at Oswego. Sitterly drove the backup Bodnar / Shullick super to the win over future Nicotra driver Alison Sload.
In a big surprise, the 2016 season would mark the first time since the team's inaugural 2007 campaign that a Nicotra team car did not visit victory lane. Sitterly nor team drivers Hamilton or Shullick would crack victory. The closest Otto would come was the May 14 opening day show where he finished second to the year's eventual track champion Michael Barnes.
While not a victory, the team did have a strong Classic with Otto finishing third and Shullick fourth behind winner Jeff Abold and Barnes. Albeit good results, Shullick was devastated after his Nicotra 2 ran out of fuel on lap 198 after leading most of the second half of the 200-lapper.
The 2017 Oswego Speedway racing season was one of the finest yet for John Nicotra Racing. Led by Otto Sitterly and now new "full-time" team driver Dave Shullick Jr. of North Ridgeville, Ohio, the team accomplished another dream season.
Shullick and Sitterly would lead the way in the 11-race Novelis Supermodified points championship with Shullick riding four feature wins to his first Oswego track championship and our team's seventh championship overall. DJ's closest competitor in the 2017 points chase was his teammate, Sitterly, who accomplished seven top-five finishes on his way to finishing second in the final standings.
Shullick would close out the year with a win in the Budweiser International Classic 200. DJ's Classic win - his first - marked Nicotra Racing's fifth in the famed event and the first time the team had won the Classic with a driver other than Otto.
The 2018 regular season was unprecedented for the Nicotra team. Between Otto and DJ, the team won nine of 13 features - four for Shullick and five for Otto. While DJ started the season faster - winning on opening day and scoring his four wins by mid-July - Otto would hit on something around the midpoint of the season and dominate the second half of the summer. He'd win on July 7 and July 21 before closing out the season with three straight wins - the final two points races in August and the Bud Classic.
Sitterly's return to victory lane in the 2018 Classic 200 was a convincing win. Otto's main challenger was Doug Didero, who would run close to the Nicotra No. 7 throughout the second half of the race. In the end, Otto triumphed for his fifth Classic win and Nicotra Racing's sixth overall, including Shullick's victory in 2017.
Nicotra Racing would finish one-two in the final Novelis Supermodified point standings for the second year in a row. This time, Otto would win his eighth track championship over DJ to surpass Jim Shampine on the all-time Oswego Supermodified championship list.
The Oswego Speedway Novelis Supermodified division would take a drastic change in 2019 with the new single-element "small wing" aero package instead of the full-body, three-element wing rear tail section.
While Nicotra Racing didn't dominate like 2018, Otto still won the track championship - his ninth overall - and he was the only driver to win more than one feature on the season. Sitterly would win twice while 10 other drivers would win once.
One of those drivers to win once was Nicotra Racing newcomer Alison Sload, who joined the team in the winter of 2018-2019 to pilot a blue No. 39 Hawk Jr chassis. Sload, a Pennsylvania native, immediately put the car in victory lane on opening day in the second leg of the Shampine Memorial 50. The day was a big one for Nicotra as Otto won the first Shampine Memorial before Sload scored her surprise win in the nightcap.
Sitterly would win his second and final race of the season on June 22, which would mark Nicotra Racing's 46th Oswego Supermodified feature win (second all time to Jim Shampine).
Sitterly rode consistency, including nine top-fives and 12 top-10s in 12 starts, to his ninth title. This championship would break a record with track legend Nolan Swift, who won eight Oswego track title between modifieds and supers in the 1950s, '60s and '70s.
Sload's impressive rookie season would end up with three top-five results and a strong fifth-place finish in the final points.
Classic was a rare disappoint this year as Otto dropped out with a broken transfer arm while running in the top five. He'd finish 16th. Alison led the way with an eighth-place finish despite running out of fuel during the last few laps of the 200. This would mark the first time in the team's existence that a Nicotra car did not finish top four in the Classic.
These seasons would see Sitterly and Nicotra team split their focus between Oswego and the ISMA Supermodified Series trail.
In 2021, Sitterly and Sload would run the full Oswego schedule and come away with second- (Otto) and seventh- (Alison) place finishes in the final Novelis Supermodified point standings. Each driver would notch one feature win on the season.
While Otto continued to run Oswego, he'd make more appearances on the winged super circuit than ever before. By the end of the summer, he was in the hunt for an ISMA championship and it ended up working out as he'd get hot late in the season.
Wheeling a potent No. 7 Bodnar chassis, Otto won his second career ISMA feature at New Hampshire's Lee USA Speedway in August 2021 and followed it up with his third career win at Pa.'s Jennerstown Speedway in September. The wins, coupled with consistent finishes throughout the rest of the ISMA series, were enough to garner him and Nicotra a surprise ISMA championship by a fairly wide margin.
Sitterly would come back in 2022 semi-retired from Oswego's Novelis Super competition and once again ready to tackle the full ISMA tour with the Nicotra-owned Bodnar machine. He opened the year with a Midwest Supermodified Series feature win at Lorain Speedway in Northeast Ohio before shifting his focus to ISMA. He'd notch one ISMA win on the season —coming in July at Sandusky Speedway's Hy-Miler Fast 40.
Once again it was consistency that spelled the season for Otto. In a short eight-race series, Otto finished outside the top five only twice, and he finished inside the top 10 in every feature. While Mike Ordway Jr. won four of the eight races, the Sitterly and Nicotra team was the most consistent, resulting in a second consecutive ISMA championship by a mere 7-point margin over the Ordway Jr. / Clyde Booth No. 61.
On the Oswego front, Sload ran a partial season in the Novelis Super division. She'd claim one top-five result and two top-10s in only a handful of starts.
Both Sload and Sitterly entered the Budweiser International Classic 200 Labor Day weekend. Luck was not on the Nicotra team's side, as Sload would fall victim to an early-race crash while Otto would suffer a left-front wheel bearing mechanical failure just past halfway while leading the endurance race. The Nicotra No. 7 slammed the Turn 1 wall, and the race for both team cars was over early. Otto would later state he felt he had a car to win his sixth career Bud Classic.
Two ISMA / MSS Oswego Speedway Supermodified Challenge feature wins for Otto Sitterly and a P2 finish for Alison Sload in the Budweiser International Classic 200 topped the highlights of Nicotra Racing's 2023 racing season.
Our team did not slow down a bit in 2023. Alison Sload ran the full Novelis Supermodified schedule at Oswego, while Otto Sitterly once again followed the entire ISMA / MSS tour, which was merged into one series for the first time in '23.
In all, Nicotra Racing fielded at least one supermodified in 19 nights of racing on the year.
Sitterly would head into the final race of the ISMA / MSS tour at Evans Mills Raceway Park with a shot at the championship, but a rare DNF would relegate the team to a P3 finish in the final standings and end our two-year streak of championships on the ISMA tour.
Sload put together a solid season at the Steel Palace with four top-five feature results in nine races on her way to a P5 finish in the final Novelis Supermodified standings. A super impressive runner-up drive in the Bud Classic gave Sload her first podium in the famous 200-lap race and capped a successful year for the Pennsylvania open-wheel standout.
To read a complete recap on our 2023 campaign, CLICK HERE!