Sunday, July 22, 2018

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17

By CAMDEN PROUD

 

For nearly ten years, Steve Buske has been a dedicated car owner at Oswego Speedway for three different drivers including Michael Barnes, Jack Patrick, and his full-time campaigner for the past several seasons; ‘Big Dog’ Lou LeVea Sr.

Ahead of the 2018 season, which will see Buske Racing return to the track on a regular basis, Buske made the biggest equipment upgrade of his career when he purchased the former Graham Racing No. 90 Supermodfied this past week.

“We are pretty excited for this season, this will be our best shot at running up front,” Buske commented. “This is a major improvement for my team as we move forward this year and for years to come.”

Buske is not only a car owner, but a car builder as well. He has built a handful of new aero style Supermodifieds during his Oswego days that have since been sold. Also part of the Buske Racing stable are the one-time Kerfein Racing Supers formerly driven by Bob Goutermout. Each of the Kerfein cars are Page Chassis and one is already up for sale. This particular car has many wins including a Mr. Supermodified title with Goutermout as the driver. The newer of the two cars will be back in action this season.

“We will be starting the season with the newer of our two Page Chassis cars as of right now,” Buske explained. “It has a new Morrison Performance engine that was completed late before last Classic Weekend. Friday was a wash because we were breaking in the motor but I think we had some speed in the wing show Saturday and raised some eyebrows. We would’ve had a real good run if it wasn’t for fuel issues. We had a good car in the 200 as well, but we retired with steering problems.”

With Buske Racing upgrading, Graham Racing is now down to just two cars remaining for sale, including the track record holding No. 12 last driven by Pat Lavery along with the No. 91 machine most recently piloted by Tim Jedrzejek. Team Tapout Racing has purchased the John Colloca built No. 21 for a full-time campaign with rookie Tyler Thompson this season while Iosue Racing purchased the Booth built No. 11 for Aric Iosue’s full-time Supermodified return. Buske’s deal for LeVea Sr. just adds to the list of shake ups.

“This will be my ninth year owning cars. There’s been a lot going on this offseason and it’s nice to join the trend and be able to finally upgrade,” stated Buske. “We have gone all in on selling everything we’ve had for the past several years to make this happen. This all started for me back in 2009 when Chris Osetek and I put a car together and came out with Mike (Barnes) driving so I’ve been doing it a long time. When you do it for that long you collect a lot of things and therefore have a lot of things you can sell too.”

It’s certainly been a work in progress to allow Steve to gather the funds to purchase the potent No. 90 Xtreme Chassis, which has been driven by both Ray Graham and his son Kody to several Supermodified feature wins. The car will be under power with a brand new engine from Morrison Performance as well, making for a rather stout combination for Buske and team.

“In an effort to upgrade we have sold two cars, an older motor, and many parts in the offseason,” Buske noted. “This had some people thinking that we were getting out of racing, but that is not the case. The sale of all this was necessary for my low dollar team to move forward with another new car. We have a new engine going together at Morrison’s and it should be done really soon. Without Ray working with us this probably wouldn’t be possible.”

Don’t expect the Xtreme car to hit the track right away, however, as Buske wants to make sure everything is completely set to go before the former No. 90 gets up to speed with LeVea at the controls. There will be several adjustments that both car owner and driver will need to prepare for.

“The car will not be out until we have time to sit down and learn it, blueprint it and have enough spares and notes on it,” Buske added. “We will be testing with it before we even race it and hopefully that will come about mid-season. My team has supported Oswego for years on a very small budget and we’ve managed to make the most out of what we had. This is why we have decided it’s time to swing for the fence. We are better than we have finished.”

The LeVea family has been competing at Oswego for over two decades dating back to Lou Sr’s days in the Super Stock division. Now, both Lou LeVea Sr. and his son ‘Little Dog’ Lou LeVea Jr. compete side by side together in the Novelis Supermodifieds.

LeVea Sr. is a two-time Super Stock Track Champion and feature winner five times over. After several successful seasons in the Super Stocks, LeVea then made the move up to the  Small Block Supermodified division where he won three more main events to push his career total at Oswego to eight.

In 2008, the Fulton native made his Supermodified debut with Coon-France Racing, putting together several strong runs including racing for the win in the $10,000 to win Mr. Novelis Supermodified event only to run out of fuel. Despite the heartbreak, LeVea finished 11th in the International Classic and won the Rookie of the Year title, catching the eye of Buske and stepping into his new machine for the 2010 International Classic. LeVea Sr. hasn’t gone anywhere since, bringing home several top ten runs for Buske’s low dollar team over the course of the past eight seasons.

“I’m looking forward to running this car,” LeVea said. “The ultimate goal is to win. First is good solid top ten runs or better. I would love a top ten time trial for the Classic. Thanks to my car owner Steve (Buske) and our sponsors Buske Collision, Big Foot Graphics and Doty Contracting for making this happen. We would be more than happy to hear from anyone willing to help us out in our effort to move forward in being a contender each week.”

Buske and LeVea will begin their 2018 campaign at Oswego at the track’s 68th annual Opening Day set to take place on Saturday, May 26. The program will feature Jim Shampine Memorial Twin 50’s for the Novelis Supermodifieds along with a 35-lap Tony White Memorial main event for the Pathfinder Bank SBS division.

For more information on Oswego Speedway, be sure to visit online at OswegoSpeedway.com. You can also FOLLOW on Twitter @OswegoSpeedway or LIKE on Facebook at Facebook.com/OswegoSpeedway.

About Oswego Speedway: Oswego Speedway, a sports entertainment company, is a 5/8 mille semi-banked pavement racing oval located off the shores of Lake Ontario in scenic Oswego, NY. Oswego Speedway has been a continuously run weekly racing venue since August, 1951. The premier open-wheel pavement short track cars in the world, Supermodifieds, run weekly at Oswego Speedway making Oswego the only weekly Supermodified racing venue in the world. The Small Block Supermodifieds accompany the full blown Supers on a weekly Saturday night schedule which runs from May through September. Oswego Speedway is mentioned in racing circles as the “Indy of the East,” as no fewer than a dozen past and present competitors have competed at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway including Mario Andretti, arguably the greatest driver of all time, two-time Indy 500 champion Gordon Johncock, along with former International Classic Champions Bentley Warren, Joe Gosek, and Davey Hamilton.

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