By Carol D. Haynes; photos by Jim Feeney
OSWEGO, N.Y. — The MSS/ISMA/Oswego Winged Challenge #2 saw another exciting battle to the finish with second generation driver Mike Ordway Jr. working his way up from a fifth starting spot to challenge Trent Stephens, winner of Winged Challenge #1 on June 4 at the Oswego Speedway. The win was a career first at Oswego for Ordway after over a decade of trying.
Trent Stephens, who drew the top starting spot, and Tyler Thompson brought the field down to the green. Yellow flew quickly on lap 5, slowing the field, when the 22 of Mike McVetta came into the pits as a fire had erupted on the car. The track safety crew was on the scene hosing down the 22. McVetta, was the second place finisher to Stephens in the first Winged Challenge and had high hopes of finishing well at this event also.
Ordway faced some formidable foes on his way to the win, as Canadian Mike Lichty was doing his best to challenge Stephens as well. Lichty was able to get alongside Stephens as Ordway Jr. was on the move. On lap 15 the 61 of Ordway had gotten by Lichty for second with Rich Reid, Otto Sitterly, Kyle Edwards and Johnny Benson Jr., among the contenders for the $6,000 to win prize for the 50 lapper.
At the lap 20 mark, it was still Stephens in front trailed closely by Ordway, Lichty, Reid, Sitterly, Michael Barnes, Johnny Benson Jr. and Tyler Thompson, as the rapid pace continued in high gear.
By lap 30, Ordway, looking for a first career Oswego Speedway win and a big $6,000 prize, was getting ready to pounce on leader Stephens’ 19. Two laps later the lead belonged to Ordway as he came down the front straight ahead of the Stephens’s car.
Yellow fell on lap 37 for the Reid 55 and some drama ensued when leader Ordway slowed in turn two and stopped because the Maine driver detected the presence of some possible oil leakage. He was pushed into the front area where the safety crew checked the 61’s problem. It was determined that the problem was not serious for the car to continue and Ordway resumed his lead spot.
With only 14 laps remaining, things began to heat up again as Ordway felt Stephens hot on his tail, with Reid, Lichty, Barnes, Sitterly, Benson, Thompson, and Edwards ready to move as Ordway contended with Stephens, who was back on the chase. But close behind were Barnes, Sitterly, Edwards, Benson, Lichty, Thompson, with Connors and Sammut giving it their all.
As the checkered flags were ready to fly it was Ordway, Stephens and Barnes in the top three followed closely by Sitterly and Edwards to round out the top five. Ordway Jr., now joins his father in the Oswego $1,000 Club with Mike Sr. holding 30 wins over his career.
The final event in the three race Winged Challenge concludes on August 13 at the Oswego Speedway with a $15,000 point award going to the top 10 in points at the end.
The feature win completed a dominating night for Ordway after winning his heat race and setting a new Oswego track record in qualifying with a quick time of 14.611.