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Randy Ritskes Rolls to ISMA Victory At Lancaster By Larry Ott The Paul Dunigan owned Supermodified car that Randy Ritskes used to romp to victory lane Saturday night in the International Supermodified Association 50 lap race at...

Randy Ritskes Rolls to ISMA Victory At Lancaster
By Larry Ott

The Paul Dunigan owned Supermodified car that Randy Ritskes used to romp to victory lane Saturday night in the International Supermodified Association 50 lap race at Lancaster Motorsprts Park has been there before. For Ritskes however, this was his first career ISMA win at LMP.

Prior to Ritskes joining the Dunican team this year, the potent machine that Ritskes used Saturday night had been driven to other triumphs over the last few years at LMP by Russ Wood. Wood, of Pelham, NH., is not currently an active driver, deciding at the end of the 1999 ISMA campaign to take a leave from race competition to spend more time with his family.

"The 29 car just does well here," said Ritskes of Brockville, Ont. "The Dunigan team did the job. They know how to set the car up for here. That's why Russell did so good and won a lot here. That car is ten years old but it knows this track and they know it. It's great for Dave McKnight. That's two Canadians finishing one-two, by the way."

At the drop of the green flag to begin the 50-lap affair, outside polesitter Dan Soule of Clay, NY; took the lead as Joe Petro of Windham, NH., and Pat Abold of Pennellville, NY., took up the chase. Abold would charge to the front, passing Soule for the lead on the outside, going down the backstretch on lap three.

Ritskes was already on the move from his eighth starting position. He gained third on lap four and then advanced to second a lap later. He soon moved in on the leader Abold. Just when it appeared that Abold would surrender the lead, the caution flag waved on lap 11.

When the race resumed, Ritskes immediately again applied heavy pressure to Abold, finally going by on the inside of Abold in turn four on lap 12 to assume the lead, one he would never relinquish. Meanwhile, Ritskes's Dunigan teammate, Joe Gosek of Oswego, NY., who began the race 12th, was starting to become a factor as was Dave McKnight of Brampton, Ont.

McKnight, who began the race from the ninth position, sliced through the top five, moving by Abold for second on lap 19. Gosek blew by Scott Martel of Bradford, Mass., on lap 15 to settle into fourth and then overhauled Abold for third on the 24th circuit. Behind the top three runners, Joey Payne of Hawthorne, NJ., was riding in the fourth spot with Martel next.

Only three more brief caution periods on laps 27, 35 and 39 slowed Ritskes down as he spent most of the middle laps of the race enjoying a near straightway advantage. Gosek challenged McKnight on a few occasions but could not pull off a pass. In the late stages, Gosek could not catch back up.

At the finish line, Ritskes won by a half-straightaway edge with McKnight maintaining a seven car lead over Gosek to the line to finish second sandwiched in between the Dunigan machines. Payne was fourth with Martel, Lou Cicconi of Aston, Pa., and Abold following.

"I fatigued real quick because it's such a bumpy track" Ritskes said. " I was getting tired trying to keep my legs apart and keep my head up. This track really wears on you but I tried to take it easy and at the same time try not to give up any spots."

The LMP victory was the second for Ritskes on the ISMA circuit this season, also winning June 17 at Michigan's Berlin Speedway. He would maintain his second place standings in the ISMA points, still trailing teammate Gosek.

McKnight placed second for the second time this season as he was runner-up to Ohio's Dave Shullick Jr., June 18 at Galesburg Speedway in Michigan. McKnight has one ISMA win in 2000, that at the Oswego Speedway on May 27. He never seriously challenged Ritskes in the late going and spent moments in the waning laps trying to protect his second place effort against Gosek.

"My Patco Motorsports car has been running pretty good this year," McKnight replied. "What can you say. The Dunigan cars are certainly the ones to beat. I didn't have anything for Randy the last five or six laps. He was too good coming out of the turns and I was not good enough.

"I could catch him going in but had nothing for him going out. I'm not disheartened however. We're due for another win soon."

While Gosek, a three time ISMA winner this year, was happy to retain the points lead, he feels he must do better then third at each race.

"The car was just pushy all day," revealed Gosek. "We thought that it would come to us in the feature but it just pushed the whole way. If it didn't push we could have drove around them but when I would get up there he (McKnight) would see me and speed up and I would look to pull off the pass but the car just wouldn't turn. We'll take the third and it was a good run but you always want to do better then third."

Payne's car was pushed to the scales after the race with a badly chewed up and flat left front tire. "I could feel that it was going flat with about 15 laps to go so I just hung in there and hoped it would let me finish and it did."

Twenty-six cars competed at LMP. Ritskes, Gosek and Doug Saunier of Navarre, Oh., won heat races. Jim Shirey of Oberlin, Oh., claimed the consi. Gary Griffith was racing the Tim Jedrzejek entry as Jedrzejek was resting after suffering a bad accident at Sandusky Speedway, July 28. Although two ISMA visits were scheduled for this season at LMP, the June 29 show was rained out and will not be rescheduled.

<pre> LANCASTER ISMA SUMMARY Heat 1: Randy Ritskes, Pat Abold, Scott Martel, Lou Cicconi, Ken Bell, Mark Sammut, Jim Shirey, Denny Fisher, Dave Halstead Heat 2: Joe Gosek, Dave McKnight, Joe Petro, Dan Soule, Joey Payne, Jamie Timmons, Charlie DiRosa, Gary Griffith, Jason Crucitti Heat 3: Doug Saunier, John Payne, Nick Fornoro, Brad Lichty, Joey Hawksby(6), Bob Smith, Jim Hooper, Jon Henes Consi: Jim Shirey, Denny Fisher, Charlie DiRosa, Jim Hooper, Dave Halstead, Jason Crucitti, Jon Henes ISMA 50: 1. Randy Ritskes(29), 2. Dave McKnight(94), 3. Joe Gosek(26), 4. Joey Payne(06), 5. Scott Martel(14), 6. Lou Cicconi(4), 7. Pat Abold(61), 8. Jamie Timmons(97), 9. Nick Fornoro(5), 10. Dan Soule(32), 11. Doug Saunier(7), 12. Jim Shirey(72), 13. Denny Fisher(81), 14. Mark Sammut(78), 15. Mike Lichty(84), 16. Joey Hawksby(6), 17. John Payne(16), 18. Ken Bell(31), 19. Joe Petro(99), 20. Charlie DiRosa(4w), 21. Jim Hooper(17), 22. Jon Henes(36), 23. Bob Smith(67), 24. Dave Halstead(38), 25. Jason Crucitti(9), 26. Gary Griffith(91)..

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mike Lichty