RUSS WOOD CLAIMS NUMBER TWO OF 2002 AT CAYUGA ISMA 50
By Tim Miller , Motorsport Writer ,The Hamilton Spectator; Carol D. Haynes, ISMA PR, contributed to this story
NELLES CORNERS, Ontario - The smell and thunder of big-block, open-wheeled, winged racing returned to Southern Ontario outside of Hamilton Saturday night for the second 2002 appearance of the ISMA Supermodifieds. The second of a two-race swing into Ontario, Canada found Russ Wood in victory lane for his second win of the 2002 ISMA season. Wood's win was worth $3,000 with his first win of the season coming at Toledo in June.
What appeared to be Scott Martel's race dissolved late in the 50-lapper, as Russ Wood of Pelham, N.H. just outpowered the pack in the later stages to win the event at Cayuga Speedway, the ninth on this year's ISMA tour.
"The car was awesome, said the 39-year old Wood, running one of Paul Dunigan's cars. . I was a little slow getting going, but once I got my thoughts together, and stepped on it, things went well. Tonight was great. I had a ball. It's fun when you win. "
Placing second was Martel of Bradford, MA. Taking third was Lou Cicconi of Aston, Pa. driving the fastest car on the track. Fourth was 2001 ISMA champ Dave McKnight of Brampton Ont., and Joe Gosek of Oswego, N.Y. took fifth.
Said Martel after his near photo finish with Cicconi, "We're happy. The car ran well. Maybe I ran a little too hard. But with these guys you have to run as hard as you can for 5 laps. That was my plan. McKnight made a challenge on the outside on that restart, I tried to fend him off up top and Russ appeared down low. I'm happy. We've had some tough luck lately. All in all to finish here in second place makes me really happy. Second's better than third and third's better than fourth and so on."
Cicconi, in turn, commented, "I was running a good race. I had a shot to win I thought and I ran out of fuel on the front tank. It was shy of what we calculated and it wouldn't switch tanks fast enough, so we stopped. We came from last and we don't know at this point if we got second or third. It looks like a photo finish. It was a real good, tough run. I enjoyed it.
These guys are good."
Pole-sitter Jim Shirey of Ohio paced the 22 starters for the first 10 laps, followed by Martel, Greg Furlong of Hannibal, N.Y., McKnight, and Wade Litt of Lyons, Ont.
But a lap later Martel took the point in his own machine, with Shirey, McKnight, Gosek, and Cicconi following. After Gosek and Cicconi got through some of the slower starters, they caught up to the front three.
When the second of five caution flags was displayed on lap 15 the top three were Martel, McKnight and Cicconi, but on the restart Cicconi ran out of fuel in one of his car's tanks, and by the time this had been remedied, he was running at the rear after losing many positions.
At the midway point Martel was well established on the point, followed by McKnight and Gosek. Meanwhile, the most famous name in Supermodified racing, Bentley Warren, had motored from his eighth starting spot to fifth.
At this stage of the race Cicconi drove like he stole his car, as he blasted through the pack, and was up to seventh on lap 25.
After a lap 35 restart, Wood just out-powered Martel and McKnight to take the lead, and built up a straight's length lead in the next five laps.
"What can I say," said McKnight after the battle for the lead. "Struggling day - struggling weekend. We lost the motor yesterday. We lost a motor this morning. We had no practice, no nothing. I think to finish fourth speaks highly of the Patco Racing in all. We did engines - a rear engine yesterday. The guys did a great job and to come away tonight with a top five is great. Hopefully we can get back on track now and get working towards another
championship. We're pleased we finished for a change and we'll move on to the next race from here. I got a good jump on Scotty there and it was wheel to wheel down the front straightaway. If Scotty had eased up a bit we would have both got in there pretty clean. That basically gave the win to Russ. Scotty pushed so far up the racetrack, I have to move up to leave some room to collect it and Russ went by us both. I know Russ was there the whole race. Don't know if he had enough to pass us, but when we made a mistake
like that, we just gave it to him. Hats off to Russ. He did a good job. It's my turn next."
While Wood enjoyed the lead, McKnight went after Martel, but couldn't get him, and Cicconi got by Warren. With five to go, Martel, McKnight, Cicconi, and Gosek followed Wood.
And on the last corner of the last lap, Cicconi made a valiant effort to take second from Martel, but lost out by less than a car length.
Taking sixth was Warren, of Kennebunkport, ME, in another Paul Dungian-owned car. Next was Greg Furlong, Joey Payne of Hawthorne, N.J. took eighth, Mark Sammut of London, Ont. placed ninth, and Brad Lichty of Innerkip, Ont, and owner of McKnight¹s car, finished 10th.
The Vic Miller entry blew a head gasket prior to qualifying at Cayuga, and the team replaced the engine before the feature. Driver Chris Perley started 19th, but the engine was skipping, and he was not competitive, placing 20th.
Cayuga's July 13 ISMA show saw the return of supermodified legend Bentley Warren who drove a Dunigan super numbered 7. The 61-year old Kennebunkport, ME resident will pilot this car on several occasions during the remainder of the season as his schedule allows.
Wood's 29 had a power steering leak in warmups which was found and repaired.
Another engine change was made in the McKnight car, and he enjoyed more success with his fourth-place finish from starting 18th.
Both Cayuga Speedway owners took to the track for the ISMA feature. Brad Lichty is a regular ISMA competitor, but Garry Evans of London, Ont., had not sat in a supermodified for eight years. Evans was out in the Steve Miller team car having some fun and trying
to stay out of the way, placing 19th.
Wade Litt returned to Cayuga track after a bad wreck there on June 30 in a Sunday exhibition match which included Tony Stewart.
The Soule Racing team made Cayuga after a late motor arrival kept them from Kawartha competition.
The major accident of the weekend occurred when the 27 of Jamie Timmons hit the wall hard on the back straight.
The next two events on the ISMA tour will be July 26/27 at Sandusky, Ohio.
The Supermodifieds return to Cayuga September 14 for the 19th race in the series.
CAYUGA SUMMARY- ISMA EVENT #9
Heat 1: Scott Martel, Joe Gosek, Jim Shirey, Joey Payne, Jamie Timmons, Ken Bell, Chris Perley (motor)
Heat 2: Lou Cicconi, Wade Litt, Howie Lane, Bentley Warren, Brad Lichty, Mark Sammut, Jennifer Chesbro, Garry Evans
Heat 3: Dave McKnight, Greg Furlong, Russ Wood, Eric Shirey, Jon Gambuti, Jamie Letcher, Dave Hosie
Feature 50: 1. Russ Wood (29), 2. Scott Martel (14), 3. Lou Cicconi (75), 4. Dave McKnight (94), 5. Joe Gosek (26), 6. Bentley Warren (7), 7. Greg Furlong (72F), 8. Joey Payne (9), 9. Mark Sammut (78), 10. Brad Lichty (84), 11. Jon Gambuti (88), 12. Eric Shirey (72s), 13. Ken Bell (32), 14. Jim Shirey (16), 15. Jen Chesbro (33), 16. Howie Lane (97), 17. Wade Litt (07), 18. Paul Hosie (3), 19. Garry Evans (76), 20. Chris Perley (11), 21 Jamie Timmons (27), 22. Jamie Letcher (58)