Aug. 19, 2005 – Lee USA (NOKIE FORNORO)


By Carol D. Haynes; photos by Jim Feeney

Lee, NH – It was just two years ago almost to the day that Dan Soule offered Nokie Fornoro a ride in the Soule Racing 32. He won that night at Lee USA. Friday night he repeated the feat in a race the late Ollie Silva would have been proud to be associated with. Only one yellow slowed the 75-lap Silva Memorial allowing an incredible battle for the win. In front of a large crowd, Fornoro diced back and forth with Scott Martel for the lead for many laps with Chris Perley joining the mix to make it more exciting. Nokie summed it up in victory lane.

“That was one wild race,” said Fornoro. “Working traffic is something an old-time driver Johnny Coy Sr taught me – always look ahead. Judge the traffic when you come to it. I had it judged pretty well. I’d like to say I had one hell of a race with Scott Martel. That’s one good racecar driver – him and Chris Perley. You don’t get much bite on this track anymore. It’s a little worn. I still love this racetrack. I’ve won quite a few races here and I’m very happy to win this one. We just had a good time here tonight.

“I’d just like to thank Ed Shea for his sponsorship tonight and Mike Jarret, who is my sponsor, Danny Soule, and my whole team because without them we can’t do it. I’d also like to thank every one of the people who turned out to watch tonight. Thanks for coming and supporting your local tracks. Without you we can’t do what we like to do.”

Chris Perley, who grabbed second spot from Scott Martel who had led almost half the race before Nokie got him in traffic, commented on the exciting race, “I’m just happy with another top three run. Second’s good; I wish I’d kept first when I got it. I honestly had no clue as to where we were. I didn’t know if I was second, third, fourth, fifth. I thought Joey Payne was still leading. You lose track of everybody in a race like this. You forget who you passed. It was a fun race. A good battle. The crew doesn’t give up. R&R Motors gives me awesome motors. I’d like to thank all my sponsors, especially Ed Shea. Sorry we couldn’t bring him a win tonight. Second’s the best I could do, but maybe we’ll get it next time. Maybe tomorrow.”

A somewhat deflated Scott Martel said after his hard efforts, “This was a tough one. I ran as hard as I possibly could. I hate to lose one like that. Coming from sixth and getting the lead; then leading a lot of it. It’s a home track, There were a lot of personal fans here tonight. It was a hard one to lose. Lee’s a little bullring and I’ve learned that it’s not always good to be the leader. Going into traffic, you make one wrong decision and someone like Nokie is right there to take advantage. That’s exactly what happened. I got him back that one time, then it just happened all over again. You don’t get a lot of chances with this group. I feel like I gave one away tonight, but that’s the way it goes.”

Joey Payne led the almost flawless 75-lap Silva Memorial race from the start with a 4-car tangle on lap 2 the only slowdown. Mark Sammut, catching a wheel, hit the cement while John Payne, Justin Belfiore and Mike Ordway Jr., in his first big block appearance, tangled in avoidance. None of the four continued.

In a race that lasted just over 27 minutes, the action became fast and furious. Payne set some torrid laps, but pulled pitside suddenly on lap 6 with apparent problems giving up the point to Joe Petro who took off looking for a possible first win. Closing in behind Petro was Scott Martel while Nokie Fornoro, Mike Lichty, Jon McKennedy, Chris Perley and Mike Ordway Sr. joined the fight.

Martel moved in on Petro, as his 33 appeared to be slowing and took the lead on lap 29. Fornoro got by Petro moments later.

Martel set sail, putting cars behind him as he looked for a hometown win. But, he couldn’t shake the persistent Fornoro who was well familiar with the Lee high banks from his midget days.

At halfway, Martel had stretched out his lead but Fornoro, Perley, Lichty, Petro, Wood, Ordway and McKennedy were not out of reach.

Masses of traffic greeted the hard-charging Martel and soon Fornoro and Perley closed in on the Bradford, Mass. driver. Fornoro made a move in traffic and took the lead from Scott on lap 44, but Martel took it right back.

The lead trio wove in and out of lap cars that were not slow by any means. It was one breathtaking lap after another as the race approached the finish.

Lap 53 saw Lou Cicconi, sparking intensely, exiting the track without a yellow.

On lap 67, the traffic master Fornoro, dove by Martel off turn four to steal Martel’s thunder. Nokie was safe now as the race wore down, but Martel had to contend with Chris Perley for second now and he lost that battle almost immediately. At the finish it was Fornoro, Perley, and Martel with some lap cars tucked in between Russ Wood and Mike Ordway Sr. in the top five.

Wood, who was slipping around, had a tough time passing. He said simply, “I was just skating around, picking off a few here and there. I was loose just like everybody else. We started ninth, ended up fourth and still in one piece for tomorrow. That’s not bad.”

Mike Ordway, who had been abandoned by lady luck in the past several races, was more than pleased with fifth in the fast-paced race. “It was a good race… I finished. That’s a first after the ways things have been going. We got a fifth and we can race tomorrow”

Kyle Carpenter, McKennedy, Randy Ritskes, Pat Abold and Mike Lichty topped the first ten. Fornoro also earned a guaranteed spot in the upcoming Oswego Speedway ISMA Super Nationals, Sept. 3.

ISMA runs at Oxford Plains on Sat., August 20.

Summary – Lee USA Speedway – Aug. 19, 2005
ISMA Lucas Oil-Helping Hands of America Super Series

Heat 1: Joey Payne, Joe Petro, Nokie Fornoro, Russ Wood, Dave McKnight, Kyle Carpenter, John Payne, Mike Badessa, Steve Knowlton

Heat 2: Mike Ordway Sr., Jon McKennedy, Scott Martel, Chris Perley, Bobby Haynes Jr., Matt Seavey, Randy Ritskes, Mike Ordway Jr., Jamie Letcher

Heat 3: Mark Sammut, Mike Lichty, Lou Cicconi, Pat Abold, Vern Romanoski, Justin Belfiore, Rick Wentworth, Joey Scanlon (dns)

Ollie Silva Memorial 75: 1. Nokie Fornoro (32), 2. Chris Perley (11), 3. J. Scott Martel (97),4. Russ Wood (29), 5. Mike Ordway Sr. (61), 6. Kyle Carpenter (9), 7. Jon McKennedy (79),8. Randy Ritskes (88), 9. Pat Abold (26), 10. Mike Lichty (10), 11. Rick Wentworth (10),12. Joe Petro (33), 13. Matt Seavey (66), 14. Dave McKnight (94), 15. Joey Scanlon (55),16. Jamie Letcher (58), 17. Vern Romanoski (5), 18. Bobby Haynes Jr. (44), 19. Lou Cicconi (75),20. Steve Knowlton (14), 21. Mike Badessa (6), 22. Joey Payne (4), 23. Mark Sammut (78),24. John Payne (67), 25. Justin Belfiore (8), 26. Mike Ordway Jr. (0).

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