Otto Sitterly celebrated the first ISMA Winged Supermodified racing championship of his career on the same stage where he began the work each week to achieve it.
Sitterly, his team of fellow mechanics and No. 7 car owner John Nicotra recently received their year-end ISMA awards at the standout driver Oswego Speedway’s personal garage in Canajoharie to account for the absence of a traditional banquet.
Sitterly won the series points title last September and hosted new ISMA President Dan Soule on March 26 to accept the slew of prizes earned by the team in its first full season on the circuit.
“I have a really good group of guys that follow me and ride around, and it was good for everybody, not just me, but all those guys are really excited about it,” Sitterly said of the honors.
“I think for everyone who was involved, bringing it into the store was a very nice thing to do,” he added. “It was great to have everyone in the store to do that right where it all happens.”
Sitterly, who has won a record nine track championships at Oswego since being paired with Nicotra in 2007, was officially crowned ISMA Drivers’ Champion and selected Mechanic of the Year for the 2021 season.
His team was named Crew of the Year, while Nicotra was awarded Car Owner of the Year and the Jim Soule Award. Sitterly and Nicotra each received trophies, while team members including Joe Peri, Tom Shoull, Dan Knipe Sr. and Danny Knipe received jackets.
They accepted the loot while surrounded by memorabilia and other awards from Sitterly’s racing career decorated with banners, plaques, large paper checks and trophies scattered everywhere along with racing parts and frames from cars that were being tweaked for the upcoming season. .
“It was really cool because you look around and all those achievements are on the wall, the different things that Otto has won along the way, championships and classic wins in Oswego, there are a lot of memories from that garage, so to have it done there is great. Nicotra said.
Sitterly, who previously ran occasional shows for ISMA before making the jump to full time last year, credited Jim Bodnar with building a strong car and helping guide his success along the way.
“The car has notes, and every track I went to, I could call Jim and he was like a notebook for that car and the different tracks, so that never ensures anything, but it was a really nice thing to have. that resource is just a phone call away each week,” Sitterly said. “The car had a great history.”
Sitterly edged out second place Ben Seitz and Chris Perley in third to claim the top spot in the drivers’ standings with 1,647 points.
He won two of the last four series races last fall to claim the elusive title, stating he transitioned in search of a new challenge to conquer.
“It all came down to Otto’s never-give-up attitude about working on the car from the moment we hit the track to the moment we loaded up to go home,” Nicotra said. “He and his team are constantly tweaking it, trying to make it better and better.”
Sitterly and Nicotra confirmed their intentions to focus on defending the ISMA title for the upcoming season which begins in June. Sitterly said he sees the expected return of Canadian competitors limited by COVID-19 travel restrictions last year as a further test in their second full year on tour.
Sitterly and Nicotra intend to continue working on the No. 39 car for teammate Alison Sload to compete on a limited schedule at Oswego Speedway.
Nicotra said they will also keep an Oswego-ready car in case Sitterly changes plans or decides to enter the annual Oswego Classic, which he has won five times, most recently in 2018.
“If he wants to get up and run down the road, we’ll have a car, but right now we’re taking it one week at a time and right now we’re concentrating on the (ISMA) deal with Otto. Nicotra said.