Berlin Speedway race report 2001-06-09

Marne, MI - Pennsylvanian Lou Cicconi became the first repeat winner on the ISMA trail Saturday night and he did it in fine style. Cicconi took the lead at Berlin Raceway from Wild Willie Stutzman on lap 18 and never looked back. The phenomenal ...

Marne, MI - Pennsylvanian Lou Cicconi became the first repeat winner on the ISMA trail Saturday night and he did it in fine style. Cicconi took the lead at Berlin Raceway from Wild Willie Stutzman on lap 18 and never looked back. The phenomenal event went the entire distance with only one quick yellow, as Cicconi dragged his challengers around, up and over a multitude of lap traffic. The leaders swapped positions with amazing alacrity. With wings flattened at every corner, the supermodifieds gave the huge crowd their money's worth. But, it was Cicconi, for the second night in a row, who was the class of the field. The $5,000 payday didn't hurt as the reward either. Cicconi was an animated winner as always. "This is great. The first repeat winner of the year. These guys on my team are great. The traffic was perfect for me. It just fell my way. I was real loose at the end. And, I saw on the scoreboard the Gosek and Wood were behind me. I wasn't sure how far back they were so I was trying to be real precise and smooth. I was trying really hard to read the lap traffic and have it fall my way. It was real good. I'm very excited. What a boost in morale!"

"It was a good race all the way," said second place finisher Joe Gosek.

"Everyone was going for it from lap one. There were so many good cars, then Louie got away. Then I saw Russell had reeled him back in and I figured I'd just keep plugging away. That one caution and the restart helped us. The traffic was phenomenal. When I was catching Lou near the end, I came up on three cars in a row and I dove through the middle, holding my breath. It was a good run."

Said Joe's teammate, Russ Wood, "After last night we are real happy with third. The car was a little tighter than we wanted it. Lou's been flying all weekend and we knew he'd be tough to beat. Joe shocked the heck out of me when he went on the outside. It was a decent run for us."

Although attrition from Toledo's Friday night race took away a few cars, the field was still strong when Willie Stutzman and Jon Henes led the way to the green. Behind them were a pair of youngsters in Jen Chesbro and Joey Hawksby Jr. Chesbro had delighted the crowd earlier by winning her first ever ISMA heat, shutting the door on John Payne and Russ Wood in so doing. Stutzman, a crowd favorite, flew to a heat win just after Chesbro.

Willie continued his strong running by taking the early lead, and he kept a fast and furious pace while the contingent behind were doing some magnificent racing. Hawksby and Timmy Jedrzejek were followed soon by Cicconi, Gosek, Wood, Joe Payne, Scott Martel and more.

On lap 18 Cicconi had the 75 flying and he took over the lead. The moves being made in traffic were breathtaking as Wood moved up through to grab third from Willie, then tried to take second from Jedrzejek. Gosek fought by Hawksby and soon was fighting Wood for third. Cicconi, in the meantime, was calculating traffic and moving cars between his 75 and his opponents like chess pieces.

At the midway mark, Cicconi was in the open as Timmy J, Wood, Gosek, Martel, Stutzman, Ken Bell, Hawksby, Joey Payne and Dave McKnight were trying to break around the traffic left in their path.

With 15 to go, Liquid Lou was pouring it on with all he had until a slowdown on lap 40 finally ended his commanding lead. The 14 of Martel collided with a slowing Mark Sammut with slight damage incurred. Scott fled into the pits, made the repairs and headed back out to the fray. Sammut was out, one of only three drivers, including Graham and John Payne, to not be around at the end. On the restart, Timmy J, Wood, Gosek and McKnight were able to close in on the leader slightly. Gosek put a move on Wood, then Timmy J as the laps clicked by at rapid speed.

Wood got by Jedrzejek with a couple to go and McKnight grabbed fourth from the Ohioan with one to go. Out front Cicconi flew under the checkered as the cheers erupted from the crowd. Gosek, Wood, McKnight and Jedrzejek finished the top five.

Said McKnight afterward, "We just missed the setup a little. We screwed up in qualifying and started 17th. We struggle here every time we come here. Tonight we had a game plan and we stuck with it. It paid off with a fourth. An early caution would have helped. All in all the Patco team did a great job again. A second and a fourth and a win at Oswego makes the season look real good so far. The car ran great and we'll get them when we go to Canada." The surviving member of the Kovacs team, Timmy Jedrzejek stated, "It was great. We ran second there for a long time. Traffic really played a role there at the end. I guess I picked the right spots to get through early and late in the race I didn't. A couple of the Dunigan cars got by, then McKnight on the last lap. The last 10 laps were a little aggravating for me. But it's only the second race with these guys - the Kovacs-May brothers race team. They're doing a great job for me and I look for better things in the future." Chris Perley, who had lost the ISMA point lead to Cicconi after Friday night, finished 6th. Ken Bell, Randy Sweet, Scott Martel and Joey Payne rounded out the top ten.

Notes...Ray Graham Jr. also became a first-time ISMA victor after he copped the consi in the Jaycox 91...Randy Ritskes had the motor go early in the Miller 16 and was asked to pilot the Lane 97 which he brought home in 13th with no practice time....ISMA travels north of the border on July 6 and 7 for races at Kawartha and Cayuga Speedways respectively. <pre> SUMMARY Heat 1: Jennifer Chesbro, John Payne, Russ Wood, Chris Perley, Randy Ritskes, Ken Bell, Mark Buonomo, Baldy Baker, Joe Grunda

Heat 2: Willie Stutzman, Joey Hawksby, Pat Shullick, Joe Payne, Scott Martel, Dave McKnight, Ray Graham Jr., Jack Smith, Jamie Timmons

Heat 3: Lou Cicconi, Joe Gosek, Jon Henes, Tim Jedrzejek, Jim Shirey, Randy Sweet, Denny Fisher, Mark Sammut, Dion Parish Consi: Ray Graham Jr., Denny Fisher, Mark Buonomo, Mark Sammut, Jack Smith, Jamie Timmons, Baldy Baker Jr., Dion Parish

Berlin 50: 1. Lou Cicconi (75), 2. Joe Gosek(26), 3. Russ Wood(29), 4. Dave McKnight(94), 5. Tim Jedrzejek(7), 6. Chris Perley(11), 7. Ken Bell(32), 8. Randy Sweet(76), 9. Scott Martel(14), 10. Joey Payne(66), 11. Joey Hawksby(2), 12. Pat Shullick(49), 13. Randy Ritskes(97), 14. Jamie Timmons(27), 15. Jon Henes(36), 16. Jen Chesbro(33), 17. Jim Shirey(72), 18. Denny Fisher(81), 19. Jack Smith(83), 20. Mark Buonomo(88), 21. Willie Stutzman(88s), 22. Mark Sammut(78), 23 Ray Graham Jr.(91), 24 John Payne(67).

-BS

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Series Stock car
Drivers Jack Smith