By Carol D Haynes, ISMA PR; photo by Jim Feeney
OSWEGO, N.Y. — Mike Ordway Jr. and I talked on Sunday about his thoughts on his career winged supermodified win at Oswego Speedway in the Winged Challenge 2 the night before and what that win meant to him and what it meant to his future challenges.
Starting with the road to his first win, Mike replayed his day:
“We started out knowing we were pretty quick after practices and to set a new track record was pretty neat. To realize that in 71 years now that I’m the fastest guy to run around Oswego Speedway. Then I won the heat race and we had the redraw for the race. Trent (who is married to Mike’s sister Jess) won the pole and I drew fifth. I knew that we had a good enough car to get to the front if just everything stuck together and we could kind of get rid of some of the bad luck we had had in some testing recently, I knew we had a chance.
“It was good when I was able to get up there and race with Mike Lichty, who is a good friend of mine and who has helped me out tremendously over the past couple years, and he helped me out a ton on Saturday. It was great to be in the race with him and in the battle with Trent for the lead was pretty neat.”
And how did that first Oswego career win feel. It must have topped off that night.
“It certainly did top off the night. Honestly, it seemed like a long time coming especially to have grown up around the Oswego Speedway. And it wasn’t until recently that I told some people that I always felt that my career would be incomplete if I didn’t win at Oswego. But to finally win was much different than I expected. I always figured if I ever won at Oswego I’d be so drunk that my friends and wife would have to drive home. To be honest it wasn’t like that at all. It was kind all so surreal and I mean honestly I was sick to my stomach after the race with excitement and anxiety. I had 2 bottles of water and went back to the hotel, took a shower and went to bed. So much more different that I had expected. But it was certainly a career accomplishment for me.”
Is this one of your biggest accomplishment with Clyde and Susan Booth?
“One of the biggest. I would say for sure. We won two Hy-Milers for the supermodified triple crown and Dad had had success there. But as I say I look at Oswego Speedway as historic ground. And I’m as much of a fan as I am a driver. What gets me above all at Oswego is the guys who have won there before me. Just thinking about Jim Shampine, Richie Evans, Nolan Swift, my father, Bentley Warren, Pat Abold, Otto Sitterly, all of those guys had talked to those same grandstand over that same PA system for many years before I got to. That was always the big driving point as to why I wanted to win at Oswego – just because it’s like supermodified royalty has won there. I look at it as one of those places that so many of the various drivers have won at. I think any kid growing up around supermodifieds and racing supermodifieds, is that the one we all want to win ultimately is the big one on Labor Day Sunday. I tell people I’d love to have the opportunity to win that one, but to me this win is as good as that.”
How long have you been racing?
“I ran first year of ISMA in 2007 and then I ran part time in 2008 and 2009 and then I didn’t race ISMA until I started racing with Clyde in 2016. My actual racing career started in 350s in 2004 at Lee.”
Dad was a 30-time winner there…now it was your turn to win a big one.
“To be with Clyde and Susan Booth, knowing the history they have there at the Speedway, made it that much more special I guess. You know it was always tough racing for Clyde by being Mike Ordway’s kid and not being able to win the amount of races that they had won together. Honestly I don’t think I’m at or going to get to that level, but I think this is something that certainly means a lot to myself, my parents, and to Clyde and Susan . You know neither Dad nor Clyde had ever won a winged supermodified race at Oswego, so that is a first for both of them.”
What’s next for this season?
“We are going to Berlin this weekend and I believe one of the last times Clyde took a car to Berlin was the time Teddy Christopher won. It was 2012. And the second-to-last time ISMA ran there. I look forward to that to going back there. Teddy was a good friend of mine I talked him when I could when we were at races. Now to go back there and win would mean a lot to Clyde. We will run the two races there this week. If we get through those two races this week, we are going to put all of the focus on Saturday night at Sandusky . We’ll try to win that as it’s a big win in supermodifieds. Dad has won there and is part of the very small group who have won at Sandusky Hy-Miler, Oswego Classic and Star Classic and if we can, finish up at Claremont.
“A final comment on the Oswego win – I enjoy talking with Alison Sload who has two wins at Oswego and up until Saturday I didn’t have any. And now Alison has a new puppy, Marshal, which was at Oswego Saturday. Alison and Buddy called me Sunday morning trying to convince me that I should get a puppy because I won the race because Marshal was there. My wife Kelsey agrees!”