CHRIS PERLEY CAPS SEASON WITH EXCITING DUEL TO FINISH WITH MIKE ORDWAY AT THOMPSON ISMA FINALE
By Carol D. Haynes
Photos by Jim Feeney
Thompson, CT – Chris Perley said after pretty much clinching his second straight ISMA title at Seekonk that he was going to Thompson to have fun. And, that’s just what he did as he and Mike Ordway put on a breathtaking battle for almost the entire 50 laps of the ISMA portion of the World Series of Racing. The win was Perley’s fifth and capped an incredible season. On his was to the title, Perley combined five firsts with two seconds, two thirds, three fourths and four sixth place finishes. A 19th at Toledo Speedway in June was his one and only venture out of the top ten. Chris’, car owner Vic Miller and crew were all smiles in victory lane as the Rowley Rocket grinned the widest and said “It was a blast. I had so much fun racing with Mike I just wanted to do it again. I honestly didn’t know if we’d get him. We were so close; so even. It took me a few laps to get wound up every time. We passed him once and of course I picked the wrong lane and he got me back. But, it made it more fun to race at him again. A little traffic helped me out the second time. I don’t know what to say. To win really caps off two championships in a row and to win another one at Thompson is awesome. I really want to thank our sponsors Lucas Oil and Helping Hands for supporting the organization this year. And, then I can’t say enough for my car owner, my crew, my family and my sponsors – Shea Concrete – Ed Shea just bought me a new helmet after my Oswego crash - R&R Engines, New England Motor Racing Supply, Perley’s Marina, Barrett Transportation, Hardy Transportation, and Jack Cook Enterprises. I really couldn’t have done it without all of them!”
Mike Ordway, who grabbed the lead on lap one, shared Perley’s sentiments about having a good time. “It was a good race. It’s always fun racing that hard with Chris and Justin. The car was good. It’s the best it’s been in a long time. We’ll take it. I’m happy.”
And, finishing up the trio at the finish line was Justin Belfiore whose luck was on the good side for a change. The driver of the D&G Modular number 8 said, “We didn’t have anything for the two in front of us, but we were pretty determined to run in the top three. I’m just happy with a finish. The last two weeks have been pretty crazy so I’ll take this into the winter and try to start up next year where we left off.”
Twenty-nine supermodifieds added to the over 400-car total at the 31st annual Thompson World Series and with ten different winners in sixteen races, the ISMA 50 was anybody’s ballgame. Mike Ordway charged past polesitter Ted Christopher in the Budnick 88 to take the early lead of the race with Scott Martel taking over second one lap later.
Yellow flew on lap 3 for a hard hit into the wall by Kyle Carpenter in the Lane 97. Another short yellow followed two laps later when Matt Seavey’s 66 stopped on the backstretch.
Ordway and Martel took off on the second restart with Jamie Timmons right behind. Perley, who started ninth, was up behind Bentley Warren on lap 6 and took over Warren’s third place spot on lap seven while Timmons dropped back one also. Martel lost his second spot to Perley on lap 7. Warren, Timmons, Belfiore, Santos and Christopher were going at it as Pat Abold and Russ Wood moved forward. Another quick car making his way forward was the 75 of Lou Cicconi.
On lap ten, it was clear that the Ordway-Perley battle out front was the one to watch. Back and forth, wheel to wheel, side by side, the 61 and 11 came off the turns and down the ultra quick Thompson straights. Ordway was still in command when yellow flew on lap 21 for a tangle between Rick Wentworth and Joey Payne. On this restart, Cicconi had the misfortune of being called for jumping the start and on the next flag, he pitted when the 67 of John Payne and the 5 of Vern Romanoski did 360’s off turn two.
Perley and Ordway stayed bunched together for only a few laps before pulling away. Belfiore had moved into second past Martel on lap 24 but Ordway and Perley were already out of reach.
Another yellow came on lap 27, to allow Belfiore to close the gap when the 07 of Mike Badessa spun. Nokie Fornoro pulled the 32 pit side at this juncture also.
This stop marked the end of the opportunities to catch the dueling front runners as green prevailed to the finish. Perley tacked his 11 on the back end of Ordway on the straightaways and then tried first low and then high on each corner. A lap 37 attempt at the outside almost got Perley a little out of shape. His next attempt at Ordway was low off turn two. This pass only stuck for one lap, however, as Ordway chose the right way around a lap car to retake the point on lap 40.
More traffic approached the pair on lap 43 and a hair-raising pass under Ryan Coniam’s 74 gave Perley the lead for good as Ordway tried the high road around the young Canadian.
Over the last seven laps, Perley looked like a winner, pulling slightly away from Ordway’s pressure. Belfiore ran alone in third as teammates Russ Wood and Pat Abold held off Dave McKnight, Scott Martel, Bobby Santos and Bentley Warren.
Perley crossed under the checkers several car lengths ahead of Ordway who was more distant from Belfiore. Abold took fourth with Wood fifth. McKnight, Martel, Santos, Warren and Ted Christopher rounded out the top ten. Christopher, who had jumped out of a Sunoco Modified into the super, jumped again from the super into a Featherlite Mod in what was business as usual for the Plainville, CT hotshoe.
Tickets for the ISMA Awards Banquet at Turning Stone Casino on Nov. 6 are now on sale.
Event 17 - Lucas Oil/Helping Hands of America ISMA Super Series
Heat 1: Bentley Warren, Bobby Santos III, Scott Martel, Joey Payne, Joe Gosek, Mike Lichty, Jennifer Chesbro, Matt Seavey, Jamie Letcher, Todd Stowell
Heat 2: Ted Christopher, Jamie Timmons, Nokie Fornoro, Jon Gambuti, Mark Sammut, Ryan Coniam, John Payne, Mike Badessa, Lou Cicconi
Heat 3: Mike Ordway, Justin Belfiore, Chris Perley, Russ Wood, Rick Wentworth, Kyle Carpenter, Vern Romanoski, Dave McKnight, Randy Wimert
Feature: 1. Chris Perley (11), 2. Mike Ordway (61), 3. Justin Belfiore (8), 4. Pat Abold (26), 5. Russ Wood (29), 6. Dave McKnight (94), 7. Scott Martel (14), 8. Bobby Santos (9),9. Bentley Warren (25), 10. Ted Christopher (88), 11. Jamie Letcher (58), 12. Mark Sammut (78),13. Vern Romanoski (5), 14. Ryan Coniam (74), 15. John Payne (67), 16. Jamie Timmons (27),17. Joe Gosek (86), 18. Jen Chesbro (33), 19. Mike Badessa (07), 20. Nokie Fornoro (32),21. Lou Cicconi (75), 22. Rick Wentworth (10), 23. Jon Gambuti (15), 24. Joey Payne (4),25. Todd Stowell (89), 26. Matt Seavey (66), 27. Mike Lichty (84), 28. Kyle Carpenter, (97),29. Randy Wimert (60).