THE JERSEY JET JOEY PAYNE FLIES AGAIN IN NEW ISMA RIDE Lee, NH - Joey Payne has been used to winning races each year during his successful racing career, but two years ago he hit a dry spell.Saturday his drought ended. His win of the 50 lap ISMA...
THE JERSEY JET JOEY PAYNE FLIES AGAIN IN NEW ISMA RIDE Lee, NH - Joey Payne has been used to winning races each year during his successful racing career, but two years ago he hit a dry spell.Saturday his drought ended. His win of the 50 lap ISMA opener at Lee USA Speedway found him leading the entire distance but he did not go unchallenged as veteran driver Nick Fornoro was hot on his tail much of the way.
"It's a new ride. My hats off to these guys," Payne said in victory lane. " We took a car that Doug Boisvert drove and did well with on the ISMA trail, but never had a win with, and we got them their first. As a new driver, I can't thank them enough. We caught some lap traffic at the end and I made some moves. I just wanted to put on as much distance as I could. It worked out. It's been two years. I haven't led a feature in two years. When you race here at Lee, it's tough. Starting up front helps, especially here. A couple of close calls came there when accidents happened in front of me, but other than that - I'm back!"
Fornoro, in only his second season in the supermodifieds, was content with second. "I'd like to thank my car owner Jeff Miller and I wish he were here. I appreciate the effort that he and my crew chief, and all the Miller crew put in. Without the entire crew I couldn't have done this tonight. I think I was a little bit quicker that Joey about midpoint of the race, but I messed up.I waited for lapped traffic and mistakes, but he very rarely makes mistakes. I just ate my right rear up. I have no complaints. I'm happy Joey won in a new team and I'm happy that we got second.'
"My car was really consistent the whole race," said third place finisher Lou Cicconi, another midget master. "It wasn't the fastest car at the beginning, but it came in at the end. I'd really like to thank my father who helped me rebuild this car in three weeks. I'd also like to thank my new crew chief Tim Ryan and assistant Ed Landers for all their work. The car was running great. Starting tenth and finishing third. It was a good race. I wish I'd had a couple more laps. We put this car back together after that crash last year and I guess we did it right. I do have a new car coming out in a couple of weeks."
After an afternoon of qualifying, the ISMA feature was led to the green by the Payne brothers - Joey and John. Joey, in his Boisvert 66 and John, back driving the Payne 67. Joe pulled rank on his younger brother, grabbing the lead from the start, leaving John to follow in second.
Yellow fell early, on lap 3, for the 88 driven by rookie Mark Buonomo soon thereafter while Scott Martel's 14 had mechanical ills at the same time. The Paynes took off on the restart while half of another brother team, Brian Wood took over third on lap 5. Wood was soon chased down by Nick Fornoro as Joe Petro held onto fifth. John Payne left his brother alone out front when he pitted suddenly on lap 12
Buonomo brought out his second yellow on lap 16 as the midget driver was trying to find the handle on the Budnick 88.
The two midget standouts, Payne and Fornoro began to pull away slightly from Brian Wood as the race approached halfway. Joe Petro, after winning his heat, had a competitive fifth place going while being hunted down by Russ Wood, Joe Gosek, Lou Cicconi, Dave McKnight and Chris Perley. The lead duo soon melded into traffic moving quickly through the tail of the field until a lap 32 yellow stopped the action when Ken Bell and Joe Petro came together. Petro's fine run ended on the hook while Bell was able to return.
A second attempt at completing lap 32 came to a halt when a four-car melee occurred in front. Affected were Howie Lane, in his first time back racing after a two-year absence, Bob Timmons, Dave McKnight and Bell again. The red was thrown here with several cars having to enter the pits for new shoes including Brian Wood and Joey Hawksby.
After a quick refueling, it was back to the Payne and Fornoro show out front while Russ Wood, Joe Gosek and Lou Cicconi took over the top five. Lap 36 saw another yellow with a severe hit into the front cement by the 88 of Buonomo and Joey Hawksby. Both were hooked with the 88 incurring a lot of front end damage.
Joe Gosek grabbed off third from Russ Wood on this restart while Payne and Fornoro pulled way. One lap later Cicconi put Wood one spot back. A quick spin by Dave McKnight brought out the last race caution on lap 39. With ten to go it was Payne, Fornoro, Gosek, Cicconi, Wood and Perley. On lap 41 Cicconi passed Gosek in a daring move and joined his former midget compatriots in the battle up front.
Payne got into some intense lap traffic near race end, but Fornoro was able to follow, but not catch him.
At the checkered, Payne was not able to pull off a Polish victory lap in honor of his fallen former teammate, Randy Witkum, but he dedicated the race to him anyway. Fornoro came in second while Cicconi, Gosek and Perley made up the top five.
ISMA champ Joe Gosek, finishing fourth, commented, "I bumped it off the back straightaway wall after I was getting up through there nice. It was never worked the same after that. It knocked the rear end over. Fourth is all right."
"We were good," said fifth place finisher Chris Perley. "We learned something here tonight. We were tight. Fifth is good. The one good thing about starting in the back is that you can always go forward." Sixth through tenth were Randy Ritskes, now in the Steve Miller 16 which had suffered a broken torsion arm earlier; Russ Wood, followed by his brother Brian, who had worked his way back up to seventh after his flat tire; Howard
Page and Jamie Timmons in the Lane 27. The ISMA contingent travel to Seekonk Speedway for a Sunday.
<pre> May 6 afternoon event. Summary: Heat 1: Nick Fornoro, Joe Gosek, Brad Lichty, Brian West, Howard Page, Mark Buonomo, Jamie Timmons, Jon Henes, Randy Ritskes
Heat 2: Joey Payne, Russ Wood, Lou Cicconi, Brian Wood, Chris Perley, Ken Bell, Mark Sammut, Doug Kells, Bob Timmons Jr
Heat 3: Joe Petro, John Payne, Dave McKnight, Howie Lane, Scott Martel, Joey Hawksby, Jennifer Chesbro, Jamie Letcher, Bob Timmons Sr.
Consi: Jamie Timmons, Randy Ritskes, Mark Sammut, Bob Timmons Jr., Jamie Letcher, Jennifer Chesbro, Bob Timmons Sr., Jon Henes, Doug Kells
ISMA 50:1. Joey Payne(66), 2. Nick Fornoro(4), 3. Lou Cicconi(75), 4. Joe Gosek(26), 5. Chris Perley(11), 6. Randy Ritskes(16), 7. Russ Wood(29), 8. Brian Wood(7), 9. Howard Page(18), 10. Jamie Timmons(27), 11. Dave McKnight(94), 12. Bob Timmons Jr.(31), 13. Mark Sammut(78), 14. Brad Lichty, 15. Jon Henes(36), 16. Brian West(15), 17. Ken Bell(32), 18. Jen Chesbro(33), 19. Joey Hawksby(2), 20. Mark Buonomo(88), 21. Joe Petro(99), 22. Howie Lane(97), 23. Scott Martel(14), 24. John Payne(67), 25. Jamie Letcher(58)