Nicotra Team Preps For Oswego Campaign
OSWEGO, N.Y. — John Nicotra Racing is ready for its eighth season racing supermodifieds at Oswego Speedway with drivers Otto Sitterly, Davey Hamilton and now Dave Shullick Jr.
Operating out of Sitterly’s shop in Canajoharie, N.Y., the team will be looking to add to its accomplishments. Since debuting in 2007, Sitterly has raced a Nicotra-owned Hawk Jr. chassis to five Oswego Novelis Supermodified track championships, three Budweiser International Classic 200 triumphs and 17 regular-season feature wins, including four Jim Shampine Memorial crowns.
Hamilton, who also has raced with Nicotra since the inaugural ’07 campaign, won his first Oswego main event for his longtime friend and car owner in last year’s season opener.
Nicotra took a break from managing his green-bean farming business in Homestead, Fla., to talk about the upcoming campaign.
“Of course we’re looking forward to (the year) with this being our eighth year with Otto,” Nicotra said. “We’re working hard to keep Otto in the hunt for another track championship, and we have plans to run Davey (Hamilton) and D.J. (Shullick) on different nights throughout the season.”
Nicotra says the team will open the Oswego season May 10 with both Sitterly and Hamilton behind the wheel of his Hawk Jr. chassis.
“Davey will be in his No. 6 for the opener and after testing Otto will choose between the new-style No. 2 and his No. 7. The 7 is all brand new, basically everything other than the frame itself, and Otto and the team have done a lot of work to the 2 and we’re optimistic it will be Otto’s primary car in 2014. But we’ll wait and see how testing goes,” Nicotra said.
Following the opener, Oswego fans will see Shullick make his return to non-wing competition to run a Nicotra car in the Jim Shampine Memorial event Memorial Day weekend. Looking ahead to the rest of the year, Nicotra says the only time fans will see a pair of his blue supers at the track will be for extra-distance races.
“We’re not interested in running two cars in anything but 75-lappers this year,” Nicotra said. “It’s very hard to run a regular 50-lapper without a good handicap and I think most people know that. If it’s a 75-lapper you may see Otto and either Davey or DJ run; if it’s a regular race it will be just Otto out there. Of course, Classic we’ll aim to run all three cars, depending on how the season goes.”
Sitterly discussed what’s been going on at his Canajoharie shop this winter.
“We’ve made some changes with the new car,” he explained. “We went through it and freshened it up and put our own little twists on it in some places; changes we hope will improve the car and make it a little different than all the other new Hawk cars.
“Regarding the No. 7, I took that down to the bare frame. It has a new rear end, a completely rebuilt front end, and honestly, almost everything is new on it now,” he continued. “The latter part of last year, I just felt like it wasn’t handling quite right. Something was just a little bit off, and that’s why I opted to run Davey’s car in the last September race. We’re hoping the work we’ve done will straighten those small issues out. It looks like it will be really tough out there this year so we need to keep working hard.”