Galesburg, MI - Dave Shullick Jr. drove a great race Sunday to give his veteran racer dad a special Father's Day gift - a first ISMA win. At only 18 years of age, Shullick looked many years the wiser when he smoothly passed race leader Dave...
Galesburg, MI - Dave Shullick Jr. drove a great race Sunday to give his veteran racer dad a special Father's Day gift - a first ISMA win. At only 18 years of age, Shullick looked many years the wiser when he smoothly passed race leader Dave McKnight late in the 75-lapper to garner the win. Shullick Jr, many will remember, was denied his first-ever victory in 1999's Hy-Miler Nationals after his car failed tech. Everyone told him that night that he'd be back. Sunday he was.
McKnight, who had led since lap 25, was loosing ground toward race end and when he approached a lap car, Shullick seized the opportunity to close on the #94. On lap 72, "Shoe 2" put the #38 under McKnight to go on for the $3,200 win.
Said the young winner in victory lane. "The crew did it. I'll tell you the car was really good and that gave me the confidence to go out here today and do this well. The car was a little loose on restarts and McKnight would pull away from me a little bit. But, my car would get in deeper as the tires heated. I saw McKnight wag one time coming off and I ducked underneath him and the one time I spun the tires and almost spun out on the frontstretch. Then the next time I had just diamonded the corner and happened to slip at the same time and it worked out perfect. I think he was starting to loose the right rear. I could see that he was holding on for dear life. Our right rear stayed the same. It looked pretty good. Actually, it was my right front I was worried about. It wore down and I was starting to push, but it all worked out. I didn't even know for sure the race was over, it all happened so fast. I looked up and saw the checkered flag and said, no way. I kept racing for another lap. I still want to get the Nationals back. I felt bad last year, but I'm only 18 and have time. to do it again."
McKnight, who looked a bit dejected as his second ISMA win of the season was snatched from him in the waning laps said, "It got so tough to pass in the latter part of the race that the car went away there and the last couple restarts it never came back real good. We were just trying to hang on to maybe pick up the win, but I got a little loose coming off four and D.J. got under me. He got the win and the young kid deserved it. Hats off to him." Lou Cicconi, who mustered his way up to third said, "I tried. I'll tell you it was a really good race. For how close it was, it was real smooth. No bumping. I mean there was a little, but nothing to speak of. I tried to get up through there. It was a good race."
The almost flat, 1/4 mile at Galesburg was predicted to be a no-passer for the ultra fast supers, but the ISMA group proved the naysayers wrong as people left the stands uttering praise for the exciting driving performance they had witnessed.
Doug Saunier led the way from the pole for 8 laps, but a red flew for a pileup between Timmy Jedrzejek and Nokie Fornoro. The 91 of Jedrzejek climbed up on the 5 after a brush, while Willie Stutzman, out of retirement for the weekend, plowed into the first turn wall to avoid. Although neither the 91 or 5 were badly damaged and pushed away afterward, Nokie was sent to an area hospital with a possible broken wrist. Jedrzejek was able to get back out, but his motor went bad on him and he ultimately pitted.
Saunier took up the point on the restart with Shullick, Brad Lichty, Pat Abold and Dave McKnight the top five.
By lap 15 McKnight had gotten by Abold and was battling to get by his car owner, Lichty. Randy Sweet and Lou Cicconi was having a little duel of their own just a short distance away.
It was McKnight who was the mover at the moment as he chased down Shullick and got him on lap 23. On lap 24, Dave put leader Saunier into second, and was gone.
By lap 30, McKnight was flying from the pack while Shullick, Saunier, Lou Cicconi and Brad Lichty were the top five.
But while McKnight was way out front, Shullick, Saunier, Cicconi, Lichty, Abold, Scott Martel, Jamie Timmons, Sweet, Joe Gosek, Saturday's winner Ritskes and Joey Payne were nose to tail, and side by side. There was racing was all over the track.
McKnight's progress was finally slowed on lap 42 when the 84 of Lichty and the 14 of Martel got a little too close, tangling off turn 4. Martel pitted ofn while Lichty continued, but only for two more laps.
McKnight was able to pull away from Shullick here but Saunier lost his third place spot shortly thereafter to Cicconi.
The battle for three on back was nothing short of phenomenal as the race approached the lap 50 mark.
McKnight's advantage began to decrease from here on in as Shullick slowly reeled in the Canadian.
On lap 60 lap traffic began to form a road block for McKnight and created an opportunity for Shullick. In the meantime, Cicconi left neither of the top two any room for error.
McKnight broke by the lap car in front of him on lap 66, but several laps later he came up on the 31 of Ken Bell. Now, Shullick watched and waited and he saw what he was looking for. McKnight's car was loosening badly. As Shullick described it earlier, he tried and failed. Then tried again and this time the pass stuck on lap 72. Shullick crossed the line 3 laps later amidst of a thundering cheer as McKnight and Cicconi weren't far away. Randy Ritskes had moved up to grab fourth while Joey Payne claimed fifth. Abold, Saunier, Gosek, George Brothers and Dan Soule were the top ten.
Ritskes, with a first and a fourth for the weekend was content. "It was a good weekend. I think we could have gotten better than fourth today, but we're happy. But a bad run in our heat race put me back behind Joe and that was hard enough. Everybody was running together for a lot of the race and that made it tough. We came on at the end when a lot of tires were wearing down. And Payne was ecstatic with his run. "I think considering coming from 17th to 5th on a little bullring like this is good. I'm happy. We were hooked up and coming but we just ran out of time and so's our team coming on. The cars are in one piece and we have all our bumpers pretty much in tact," laughed Joey.
ISMA EVENT #5
June 18, 2000
Heats: Saunier, Abold and John Payne
Feature 75: 1. Dave Shullick Jr. (38), 2. Dave McKnight(94), 3. Lou Cicconi)4), 4. Randy Ritskes(29), 5. Joey Payne(06), 6. Pat Abold(61), 7. Doug Saunier(7), 8. Joe Gosek (26), 9. George Brothers(6), 10. Dan Soule(32), 11. Randy Sweet(76), 12. Ken Bell(31), 13. Joe Hawksby Jr. (21), 14. Jamie Timmons(97), 15. Brad Lichty(84), 16. Scott Martel(14), 17. Tim Jedrzejek(91), 18. Joe Petro(99), 19. John Payne(16), 20. Nokie Fornoro(5), 21. Willie Stutzman(88), 22. Denny Fisher(81).