CHRIS PERLEY CLAIMS CAREER-THIRD ISMA WIN AT SEEKONK
By Carol D. Haynes
Seekonk, Mass. – Saturday at Seekonk fans witnessed a classic battle of speed and skill as Chris Perley and Russ Wood played cat and mouse with the lead during the ISMA 75. The “Cement Palace” helped put on the show as Perley and Wood swapped the top spot back and forth in the last half of the event. Wood took the lead from Kyle Carpenter on lap 20 but Perley, working from an 11th starting spot came up to challenge just after a lap 34 yellow. Perley got by on lap 54. Wood got him back on lap 61. Perley retook the lead on lap 70 with Russ chasing him under the checkereds looking for one more pass. For Perley, it was his third win in seven ISMA appearances at the third-mile banked oval.
Said Chris in victory lane, “This place is awesome. We decided we weren’t going to do anything with the car. We’ve won with it before. We were all standing around earlier, staring at the car wondering what was going on. Other cars were fast and we were not. We decided that we might be over-engineering ourselves and to just leave it alone. We decided to do what we did two years ago and won. And that’s what we did. It was a great to race with Russ like that. I think this is like the second really good race I’ve had with Russ and both were on short track. He was good and he didn’t give up. Neither did I. It was a good race for the fans. When he went back by me I didn’t know if I was going to get him back. The race came to us. I think Seekonk right now is one of the best race tracks to show what supers can do because there is just enough room out there to really have a blast. You can still get through the lap traffic. It makes it fun!”
Perley attributed his win to his powerplant. “Our motor brought us here tonight thanks to Ricky and R&R Engines. He always builds us a stout motor. I have an awesome crew that never gives up on me or the car or the car owner. Also thanks to Shea Concrete – Ed Shea’s here today. Glad to bring this one home for ya … and to Perley’s Marina for giving me the day off and everyone else who makes this car and team go.”
Russ Wood was happy with his run also “It was a decent race. My car was neutral in the beginning. I knew I might be in trouble at the end if someone challenged me. I was getting looser and looser. I could run fast alone but when I tried to pass cars I was getting loose. I couldn’t maneuver good around lap cars. Chris got me. I knew on the restart before when my tires cooled down they were really good for five laps or so. I gave Chris a shot and hoped I could hold him off. But he just overpowered us. It was his race but second’s not too bad.”
Possibly the happiest with position was Dave McKnight who had to make a pit stop for a blown tire and was able to work his way back up to third in the latter stages of the race. : “What a run. We’ve struggled the first three races. But the guys have been strong. We worked away at it today. Unfortunately we blew a tire and that really put us out of the running. My hats off to the Lucas Oil-Patco Transportation racing team. They did a great job to get us in and out of the pits in time not to lose a lap. And, then to drive back to third. I know we had more for Russell but there just wasn’t enough laps. We’ll take the third and build on it and see what happens at the next show.”
A welcome breeze blew away some of the intense heat at the Seekonk Speedway as twenty-five ISMA supers sat in the hot asphalt pit. Kyle Carpenter, still bruised and sore from a bout with the wall at Toledo, took up the lead on the green while Justin Belfiore, who also had a major rebuild from Jennerstown, followed.
Yellow fell on lap 9 for a quick spin by John Payne while Matt Seavey took a pitstop. Both rejoined the field.
Carpenter put the Lane 9, whose crew put in some long hours during the week reassembling the badly damaged car, well out in front. Now chasing Carpenter were Mark Sammut, Belfiore, Wood and McKnight.
Wood was into third by lap 13 while Chris Perley moved into the fifth spot behind McKnight. Russ put the 29 by first Sammut and then Carpenter to take the lead on lap 20 and off he went. Perley was still lurking behind Carpenter and Sammut when the yellow fell on lap 34 for McKnight who had blown a tire. Miraculously, while the lineup was straightened out, McKnight’s crew got him a new shoe and back into the fray.
Wood had his own teammate, Pat Abold, who was down to the leader, as a cushion when the race resumed, but Perley’s car was coming to life and he was into second by lap 37. Mark Sammut’s good run ended on lap 38 as he slid into the infield but caused no flag to drop.
For the next 35 laps Wood and Perley diced out front as Carpenter, Rick Wentworth – the 2004 winner at Seekonk, Joe Petro, and Scott Martel did some dicing of their own just behind. On the move from the rear was McKnight who was ninth behind Scott Martel and Lou Cicconi by lap 43.
The 5 of Vern Romanoski slowed the action on lap 58 with a brush of the wall, bringing out the last flag. Pat Abold, winner of the last two ISMA features, had to take the 26 in here as did Randy Ritskes who joined Dave Trytek in the pits.
The shootout began on the green as Wood closed on leader Perley. Back and forth they went, threading their way through traffic, passing each other a couple times in one lap before Wood took back over on lap 61. But Perley didn’t give up and nine laps later he reclaimed the point and went on to the victory. Wood settled for a close second while McKnight, Petro and Wentworth formed the top five.
Petro, claiming his third top five in four races continued to be pleased. “Another top five feels really good. The car wasn’t as perfect as it has been but this track got pretty loose. I have to thank my dad for staying with me in the garage all these years. I guess it’s finally paying off. As long as we can stay in the top five maybe we can get that win. The traffic was a killer but actually it was good for me. Scotty must have tried me seven or eight times and I was using lap traffic to keep him behind me. For once in my life I wasn’t the guy being used. “
Ricky Wentworth brought his 10 home in fifth after getting by Kyle Carpenter on lap 68. “It was a hot day and traffic was tough. It was still fun to race out there for such long stretches. Seekonk is fast. It’s a good place to race.”
Martel, Fornoro, Joey Payne, Carpenter and Cicconi were top ten.
SUMMARY - ISMA Lucas Oil-Helping Hands of America Series
EVENT #4 - Seekonk Speedway - 6/25/05
Heat 1: Dave McKnight, Matt Seavey, Rick Wentworth, Randy Ritskes, Joey Payne, Mike Badessa, Dave Trytek, Vern Romanoski
Heat 2: Russ Wood, Nokie Fornoro, Mark Sammut, Kyle Carpenter, Jon McKennedy, Jamie Letcher, Bob Timmons Sr, Bobby Haynes Jr.
Heat 3: Joe Petro, Pat Abold, Justin Belfiore, Chris Perley, Scott Martel, Lou Cicconi, Doug Saunier, Randy Wimert, Johnny Payne
ISMA 75: 1. Chris Perley (11), 2. Russ Wood (29), 3. Dave McKnight (94), 4. Joe Petro (33),5. Rick Wentworth (10), 6. Scott Martel (97), 7. Nokie Fornoro (32), 8. Joey Payne (4),9. Kyle Carpenter (9), 10. Lou Cicconi (75), 11. Doug Saunier (84), 12. Jon McKennedy (79),13. Jamie Letcher (58), 14. Pat Abold (26), 15. Matt Seavey (66), 16. Bobby Haynes Jr. (44),17. Mike Badessa (6), 18. Randy Wimert (60), 19. Randy Ritskes (88), 20. Vern Romanoski (5),21. Dave Trytek (35), 22. Mark Sammut (78), 23. Bob Timmons Sr. (13), 24. Justin Belfiore (8),25. Johnny Payne (67).