Sweet as Candy -Andy Schartner-Rebounds With Feature Win at Oswego
Published by admin under Oswego Speedway,Supermodified News
By – Chris Porter
Photo – Brian Sweeney
Weedsport’s Andrew Schartner took the checkered flag in the small block supermodified (SBS) feature Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. Driving the Crow Motorsports No. 18, Schartner bounced back from last week’s disappointing 14th-place finish to earn the 30-lap main event. After taking the lead away from Oswego’s Mark Castiglia on lap No. 4, Schartner survived an entourage of caution flags and a lightning quick David Cliff to earn his third career SBS feature win.
Andrew Schartner stands atop his triumphant SBS No. 18
“We were mediocre at the beginning, right when we took the green,” Schartner said. “The car really came alive. They say I was pulling the 06 at the middle of the race, but all of a sudden it just went sour. I don’t know if I used up the right rear or what happened. But I felt like I was at Brewerton again, getting out of corners. It was a handful. He started reeling me in, I guess. At that point I went into complete defensive mode. I made one mistake last year when someone got under me. I was running only a lane off the bottom. That wasn’t going to happen again.”
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Castiglia was able to wrestle the initial lead away from Schartner as the duo led the 21-car field to the green flag to start the race. Bill Moore, Jason Simmons and Stan Gates filled out the top five as the field successfully completed lap No. 1. However, on the third lap, Schartner found enough room on Castiglia’s left side to make the pass for the lead as the two headed into the first turn.
It was a precautionary yellow on lap No. 5 that set off an ugly opening portion of the race. On the ensuing restart, a chain-reaction wreck on the backstretch – set off by contact near the front – damaged a slew of contenders.
Chris Proud’s No. 50 appeared to have gotten the worst of it, suffering severe front-end damage. Proud, Simmons and Tim Barbeau all exited the racing surface via the hook. Moore, Mike Bond, and last week’s race winner, Steve Abt, were involved as well.
On the restart, Bond tangled with Lou LeVea, Jr. on the backstretch. Shortly following that restart, Kreig Heroth, Chris Tedd, Brian Osetek and Abt all gathered in turn No. 1. Abt and Heroth both needed a tow, while Tedd and Osetek were able to drive away.
Minus five starters, the field took the green once again. Schartner led Castiglia, Cliff, Gates and Brian Sobus. Barry Kingsley, Guard Nearbin, Mike Bruce, Osetek and Bond filled out the top 10.
As Schartner began to ease away, Cliff went to work on Gates. By the seventh lap, Cliff’s No. 06 had moved underneath Castiglia’s No. 90. Soon after, Gates followed with Sobus mirroring the pass one lap later.
Once Sobus took fourth away from Gates, he and Cliff set sail for the race leader. However, another multi-car caution in turn No. 1 slowed the action.
With 14 laps in the books, Schartner led the lead trio away from their chasers on the restart. Initially, the No. 18 looked solid up front, but soon the lead three were running nose to tail. Cliff, who turned in the quickest lap times in both his qualifying heat race and in the main event, began working on the inside of the race leader.
Cliff was relentless with left-side looks. He could slip under Schartner as the two would race out of turns two and four, but couldn’t beat the No. 18 into turns one and three.
Looking to the low side again, Cliff nearly broke loose as the three raced off of turn No. 4. Sobus nearly stole the runner-up spot away, but Cliff was able to rebound. Schartner continued to hug the rail and hope he could beat the No. 06 to the end of the straightaways.
With five trips to go, Cliff had another solid look under Schartner off the fourth turn, but the leader edged him into the first turn once again. Cliff finally gave it a go on the outside on the white flag lap, but to no avail. Schartner’s escape was complete, freed by the checkered flag.
Schartner celebrates in victory lane
A small block supermodified is a very difficult machine to drive, if you‘re going fast. People wreck them every week. Constantly.But every now and then, some young whippersnapper jumps into a fast car, and makes it look easy. They just get in, step on the gas, and look at us like we’re crazy when we marvel at their ease in cracking twenty seconds. “What’s the big deal?”, they think. “You just have to roll it through the turns.” Or “we’ve been working on some new setups that I’ve been thinking about.” “No, I just drove it,” they say unassumingly. Like it’s nothing. Like people racing for 10 or more years try to do, often without success.I have extreme envy when it comes so easy for people to do something that I, and many others, would give a kidney to be able to do. It’s a little sickening, if you think about it. I’ve spent thousands of dollars, alienated friends and family members, begged friends for help, wracked my brain, took years off of my life due to stress, and got myself injured trying to do what this young man did in just a half season.(For clarification, I’m not totally unsuccessful. I have won a feature at Oswego Speedway in 2001, and four other features at Evans Mills, Spencer, and Adirondack Speedway. But the pursuit of one more moment of glory at Oswego nearly drove me nuts.)
Here’s what I wrote about Andrew Schartner back in June, when he almost nailed a win, in only his fourth feature as a small block supermodified driver: “I had my doubts. You don’t just hop into a small block supermodified and know how to do it. Especially when you’re a young racer and most of your experience is behind the wheel of a dirt car. Plus, he wasn’t able to attend the pre-season open practice, OR a track rental the following week to start learning how to drive a pavement car. “That kid won’t crack 20 seconds before July,” a crotchety old driver / columnist scoffed. “These cars take a lot of seat time. What’s Tom thinking of?”
Andrew Schartner proved me wrong - In a big way. In just his fourth feature ever in Tom Aaserud’s small block super, the rookie came very close to winning a feature. After fighting off Stan Gates on lap two, Schartner went on to lead the next 27 laps of a 30-lap feature. He drove an excellent line, turned great times, and only a bonsai move by a Hall of Famer cost him the win. I hereby eat my words. This kid’s got some natural ability, great equipment, excellent teachers, and a great future behind a steering wheel. Wherever that takes him. Great find, Tom!”I’m very impressed by this young man. The way he carries himself. The way he drives. The way he wins. True SuperStar material. PLEASE savor what you have, young man. Enjoy this win, and the other ones that are surely behind it. Many of the drivers in your division would kill or die to be in your situation, or in that ride. You are worthy.
And that’s why I’ve chosen Andrew Schartner as this week’s SuperStar of the Week!
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