Lee USA Speedway race report 2001-08-17

Russ Wood Notches First Of Season In ISMA Lee 75 Friday Night Lee, NH - Russ Wood took a year off from ISMA racing in 2000, but it was only a matter of time before he found his way back into the win circle. Friday night at Lee USA Speedway, the...

Russ Wood Notches First Of Season In ISMA Lee 75 Friday Night

Lee, NH - Russ Wood took a year off from ISMA racing in 2000, but it was only a matter of time before he found his way back into the win circle. Friday night at Lee USA Speedway, the Pelham, NH driver of the Dunigan 29, took over the lead from his teammate Joe Gosek on lap 49 to go on the victory. It was Wood's first ISMA win since his Star Classic victory in 1999. The win was worth $3800 to the Dunigan team.

"The car was loose earlier and we were struggling," said Wood in victory lane. " The guys made a bunch of changes to the car before the feature and here we are. Actually lap traffic was no problem. When the car is going things are going your way. We had a good starting spot and we had some heavy pressure. Luckily I held them off. This feels pretty good."

Mike Ordway, looking for win number five in this August ISMA event he has won four times before, pressured Wood heavily in the waning stages. "It was a tough night. The track was loose. The car was loose right from the start. Everybody was loose. We just had to wait for the laps to wind down. We just hung on and saved the tires a little. We gave him a good run at the end, but, we just couldn't get the bite off the corners. The lap traffic was tough. A couple of those guys just pulled out in front of me, but that's racing.What are you going to do? It's great to come back here and run good." Thirty cars filled the infield at Lee USA Speedway for the annual ISMA August event at the 3/8th's mile oval. Ohio native Jon Henes took the initial green but fell to second on lap four when Joe Gosek got by.

Gosek was on a mission and he was soon joined by his teammate Russ Wood who got by Henes two laps later.

The first of several cautions flew on lap 19 when the 33 of Jen Chesbro lost a tire which flew high in the air, bouncing to the infield. She has hooked out of the action. "I got tapped a couple times in the rear," said Chesbro. "Then I went backwards and I think the tire spun itself off." She was able to return as yellow flew again on the restart when Scott Martel, Joey Hawksby, Howie Lane and Joe Petro tangled. Martel was out for the night here as was Howie Lane. Hawksby and Petro returned.

Gosek was in command out front as Wood, Lou Cicconi, and Mike Ordway gave chase.

Lap 22 saw a slowdown again for Chesbro, who restarted again. One lap later Jon Henes had the motor go, shutting down his 36 off turn four. Several cars pitted here including the 4 of Nokie Fornoro and the 99 of Petro.

Red flew for a track blockage on lap 26 as John Payne, Petro, Brian West, Ken Bell and Joey Hawksby crossed up in turn one. A quick cleanup ensued with a equally quick refueling. Hawksby and Petro were done for the night, while the others continued at the rear.

Gosek shot off on the restart and began to make mincemeat of the field, putting cars down to his rapid 26. Point leader Dave McKnight had moved into fourth behind Ordway and Wood while Louie Cicconi, Chris Perley and Joey Payne were a distance behind.

On lap 46 Perley had a tire going down and he limped around the outside of the track waiting for the caution to fly so he could get in for a change. It never came. Perley managed to slide down safely into the back pit, but was not able to get back out as the race stayed green.

Back up front, Wood was closing on Gosek, whose 26 "was going to hell" as Joe put it later. Wood was by in 3 on lap 49.

It was Wood's race to loose now as the leaders melded in and out of traffic. Ordway got by Gosek who was drifting backwards and Mike, the master of Lee, set his sights on Wood.

The duo dove in and out of lap cars, high and low. McKnight moved in on Gosek and took third on lap 67.

Wood was able to pull slightly away from Ordway, but a late race caution stole the advantage. The yellow flew, unfortunately, for some of the top runners when Gosek, Nokie Fornoro and Lou Cicconi tangled of turn three. All three were hooked and remained in the pits.

On the restart, Wood had Ordway tucked right in behind, but McKnight had several lap cars between his 94 and the 61. Said Dave later after his third place finish,. "We thought we had a shot at it. I caught Mike and Lou there when they got into heavy traffic. They got me back. It was give and take. At the end there it just got jumbled up. I wish the top three were together there in the last few laps without the lap cars, but hats off to the Patco Team. They did a great job. We really really just wanted to come in here and finish. We've really struggled here. A top three after starting twelfth what can I say? We'll see what tomorrow brings. Oxford is going to be a tough race."

Ordway tried everything to get by Wood in the last three laps, but Wood hung on to finish first. Ordway and McKnight were the top three and the only cars in the lead lap. Joey Payne ran in fourth, one lap down. He said afterwards, "To finish fourth with a car that was probably a 25th place car is pretty good. We were just holding on. The car was so loose. I mean we were going to the front, but on a wing and a prayer. We were basically terrible. But, from 20th to fourth. I'll take it. We still picked up a little in points."

But, it was Ken Bell smiling most in fifth. He had dodged several bullets and a couple back-to-the rear placements, to come up for fifth. He was happy to be in once piece and in fifth too. "The car was pretty good," said Ken. "We got lucky getting through a couple wrecks. We went in the consi and started way back in the feature. We came back up and finished fifth. We'll take it and maybe tomorrow we'll do a little better.

Howard Page, after numerous pit stops, finished sixth, Jamie Letcher seventh, Brian West, eight, Bob Timmons, ninth and Gosek, tenth.

ISMA heads north to Maine and the Oxford Plains 1st annual ISMA Classic 100 on Saturday.


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