OSWEGO, N.Y. — Nobody at Thursday night’s Kasey Kahne Steel Palace Classic could recall the last time Oswego Speedway announcer Roy Sova had to urge fans to “slide together so the rest of the fans can sit down.”
But the huge crowd will recall Brian Tyler’s flag-to-flag run to become the first USAC Silver Crown winner at Oswego since Mario Andretti prevailed more than 40 years ago, even though he may not have had the fastest car.
Tyler got the jump on fast-timer Tracy Hines’s Tony Stewart/Bass Pro Beast on the initial break and held off all comers in his Team Six-R/Fatheadz Sunglasses Beast Toyota, leading Josh Wise, Jay Drake, Kody Swanson and A.J. Fike to the stripe despite a number of restarts that brought him back to the pack.
“I knew if I could get him into one, I could hold him off,” said Tyler of Hines. “But if he got me I wouldn’t have been able to get by. You have to be way faster here to pass anybody. I didn’t know if I was going to like this place at first, but I’m getting to like it a lot.”
Hines, the other star of the show, was less pleased, as he got turned around on a lap-55 restart when Wise dove inside him trying to grab second. Hines restarted at the rear of the field and charged back to finish eighth on the half-mile asphalt oval.
“He didn’t give me any room and I had the spot,” said Hines. “My car didn’t take off good and his right front got into my left rear, so he wasn’t in there. Luckily, we’d freed the car up on the red and I could get some spots back, though eighth doesn’t pay that much.”
“I could have gone under him and bumped him, but I wouldn’t do that,” countered Wise. “I was wheel to wheel with Tracy and just needed another six inches there by the inside steel wall. This place has a lot of character, with the steel walls and the rough surface. You can’t begin to remember where all the bumps are and it’s tough racing.”
Brian Sobus edged Russ Brown and Dave Gruel in the companion small-block supermodified feature while big-block supermodified kingpin Otto Sitterly and Kahne wowed the crowd with a 12-lap duel just before the USAC feature.
“That’s a lot different,” offered Kahne after his first run in an offset super. “There’s a lot of downforce. The engine is way on the left and the tires are huge. These things are fun to drive.”
Qualifications: 1. Tracy Hines, Stewart 22, 17.905; 2. Brian Tyler, Team Six-R 21, 17.968; 3. Josh Wise, Edwards/RE 199, 18.053; 4. Shane Hmiel, RW 17, 18.058; 5. Jay Drake, Rev 1 8, 18.193; 6. A.J. Fike, RFMS 32, 18.212; 7. Kasey Kahne, Zarounian 67, 18.228; 8. Tyler Walker, Racing Team 23, 18.249; 9. Ryan Smith, S & S 155, 18.272; 10. Kody Swanson, Team Six-R 19, 18.272; 11. Mike Lichty, Lichty 94, 18.280; 12. Zach Daum, Daum 50, 18.288; 13. Bud Kaeding, BK 29, 18.332; 14. Cameron Dodson, Edwards/RE 991, 18.353; 15. Ryan Newman, Bowman/Canine 11, 18.368; 16. Eric Gordon, Bowman/Canine 2, 18.378; 17. Jerry Coons, Jr., RW 27, 18.380; 18. Jacob Wilson, WBR/Team 6R 07, 18.384; 19. Levi Jones, Stewart 10, 18.493; 20. Bobby East, Klatt 6, 18.525; 21. Bobby Santos III, Santos 98, 18.536; 22. Russ Gamester, Gamester 51, 18.705; 23. Brad Armstrong, Armstrong 08, 18.774; 24. Davey Hamilton, Paternoster 41, 19.003; 25. Coleman Gullick, Deuel 114, no time; 26. Dakoda Armstrong, East 9, no time.
Feature (100 laps): Tyler, Wise, Drake, Swanson, Fike, Smith, Walker, Hines, Hmiel, Kaeding, Newman, Dodson, Coons, Wilson, Jones, Gordon, Santos, Gamester, East, Kahne, Hamilton, Armstrong, Lichty, Daum, Gullick.