Sandusky, OH - Two Ohioans battled for the lead in the 40-lap ISMA go Friday night at Sandusky Speedway in the preliminary to the 23rd Hy-Miler Nationals to be run Saturday. Polesitter Jack Smith, in the Steve Stout 83, looked to have the lead...
Sandusky, OH - Two Ohioans battled for the lead in the 40-lap ISMA go Friday night at Sandusky Speedway in the preliminary to the 23rd Hy-Miler Nationals to be run Saturday. Polesitter Jack Smith, in the Steve Stout 83, looked to have the lead in command but a series of yellows bunched the field behind and it was veteran driver Doug Saunier who came away with the lead on a lap 16 restart. Saunier survived three more minor yellows, one occuring on lap 39, staving off the advances of Smith. The win was worth $2400 for the Bill Kovacs team.
"It's nice to win back here at Sandusky," said Navarre native Doug Saunier after his victory, "In front of my hometown fans basically. My girls are here, all my family and friends and that makes it even better." Commenting on his battle with Jack Smith for the lead. Saunier said, "I don't think anybody could pass on the outside tonight. It was one of those deals where I was hoping for lap traffic but it never came. I knew the only shot I had was to try and time it right and get a run on him coming down the straight. I had to scare him and myself to do it. On that last restart, I knew he'd try to get me. I just tried to protect the bottom and if he was going to go, let him go the outside. As I said, it was tough on the outside, and I don't think he wanted to take a chance on losing second either on the last lap. The only way he could take me was outside or knock me out. I knew he wasn't that crazy to do something like that."
Two earlier incidents dessimated the field when first Timmy Jedrzejek hit the fourth turn wall hard in warm-ups and suffered a concussion. He spent the night in a local hospital for observation putting the potent 91 and the 7th place man in ISMA points, out of the event. In the third qualifying heat, Baldy Baker Jr. had something break in his 22 super, sending him out of the ballpark, through a fence and into the parking lot. Baker was okay, but the car was destroyed.
It was a local front row in Smith and Saunier when the green dropped later that evening and Smith took command. Several cautions on laps 9, 11 and 16 slowed the going, but no serious damage was done. Saunier pursued Smith until the restart of that lap 16 yellow when he made his intentions good. Saunier pulled away slightly from Smith, John Payne, Nick Fornoro and Pat Shullick, Smith's teammate.
A battle behind ensued between Joey Payne, Dan Soule, Lou Cicconi, Ken Bell, Pat Abold and Dave McKnight but passing appeared to be a precious commodity. With 15 to go, Saunier held command while Bell exited the race out of a good run.
Howard Page's wing broke on lap 37 and a yellow was called while Page limped to the pits. The restart gave Smith a good chance at Saunier, but he couldn't make it stick. John Payne and Nick Fornoro ran side by side for third here, but Fornoro kept the spot.
On the white flag lap, yellow flew again for Mark Sammut who had gone off the track, but was able to return.
This set up a green-checker situation for Saunier and Smith, but as Saunier said, it was outside or nothing for Smith and Jack stuck with second. Third under the checkered was Fornoro while Joey Payne grabbed fourth from his brother John on the final circuit. Joey said later, "I pulled up alongside John and I knew if he looked at me, I had him. If he didn't look, I couldn't get him. He looked."
Rounding out the top ten were Pat Shullick, Pat Abold, Lou Cicconi, Dan Soule, and Dave McKnight. <pre> SANDUSKY SUMMARY Friday, July 28, 2000 Heat 1: Doug Saunier, Dan Soule, Joey Payne, Brad Lichty, Dave McKnight, Don Johnson, Dion Parish, Denny Fisher, Randy Ritskes, Heat 2: Jack Smith, Joe Gosek, John Payne, David Shullick Jr., Justin Belfiore, Howard Page, Jamie Timmons, Jon Henes Heat 3: Pat Shullick, Pat Abold, Nick Fornoro, Ken Bell, Scott Martel, Lou Cicconi, Mark Sammut, Baldy Baker Jr. ISMA 40: 1. Doug Saunier(7), Navarre, OH, 2. Jack Smith(83), Sandusky, OH, 3. Nick Fornoro(5), Reiders, PA, 4. Joey Payne(06), Hawthorne, NJ, 5. John Payne (16), Hawthorne, NJ, 6. Pat Shullick(49), Vermilion, OH, 7. Pat Abold (61), Pennellville, NY, 8. Lou Cicconi(4), Aston, PA, 9. Dan Soule(32), Clay, NY, 10. Dave McKnight(94), Brampton, Ont., 11. Randy Ritskes(29), Brockville, Ont., 12. Scott Martel(14), Bradford, MA, 13. Joe Gosek(26), Oswego, NY, 14. Brad Lichty(84), Innerkip, Ont., 15. Justin Belfiore(6), Haverhill, MA, 16. Jamie Timmons(97), North. Andover, MA, 17. Jon Henes(36), LaGrange, OH, 18. Mark Sammut(78), London, Ont., 19. Howard Page(18), Fulton, NY, 20. Ken Bell(31), Pennellville, NY, 21. Don Johnson(44), Columbus, OH, 22. Denny Fisher(81), Elyria, OH, 23. Dion Parish(62), Kalamzoo, MI, 24. David Shullick Jr.(38), Amherst, OH