Oxford Plains (ME) report 2001-08-18

Oxford, Me - Mike Ordway played a waiting game at the Oxford Plains' ISMA Classic 100 Saturday night. The wait was worth $6,000 to the Pelham, NH driver and his car owner Clyde Booth, originally from the Pine Tree State. Ordway started 11th in the...

Oxford, Me - Mike Ordway played a waiting game at the Oxford Plains' ISMA Classic 100 Saturday night. The wait was worth $6,000 to the Pelham, NH driver and his car owner Clyde Booth, originally from the Pine Tree State. Ordway started 11th in the field of 25 and ran fourth for a long while before making his move forward just past the midway mark. He picked off Lou Cicconi, an early leader on lap 57, then dogged leader Dave McKnight until lap 81 when he took the point. Ordway came away with the checkered on lap 100 despite several yellows that put then second place runner Lou Cicconi in a biding position. It was the second win of the season for Ordway who has divided his time between winged and non-winged competition in 2001.

"We had a good night," said Ordway in victory lane. ."The car was working good. It was a lot tighter than last night. 100 laps is a long way to go. I was taking my time, trying to save the tires. I rode it out easy, picking them off one at a time. The traffic was good tonight - for everybody. No one had any major accidents, just spins. It was give and take out there and easy to get through.. After the 50 lap mark I kind of picked the pace up a little bit. I'll tell you that car is awesome. I can't say enough for Clyde, Larry, Mark, they're unreal. The car was just awesome tonight. "

A field of 31 supermodifieds came to Oxford to vie for one of the highest paydays on the ISMA circuit. The huge crowd on hand was treated to an unequalled display of driving.

Second generation driver Brian West led the first lap before Scotty Martel took over the lead. A quick yellow flew for a spin by rookie Eric Shirey in the 72.

Martel was pressured from the get-go by Lou Cicconi, while Ordway ran third, but was passed early by Canadian hotshoe, Dave McKnight. Ordway wasn't in any hurry. It was a long race.

Cicconi dove under Martel for the lead on lap 12. McKnight followed him by Martel soon thereafter. Cicconi tried to shake McKnight but to no avail. They maneuvered through lapped traffic on the Maine 3/8th's oval with precision. Charging up behind were Joe Gosek and Ordway, who never got very far away. On lap 23 McKnight got an outside jump on Cicconi off turn four, taking the lead at the stripe. It was now the five-time ISMA feature winner in 2001's turn to lead the field. He began to pull away as Cicconi, Gosek, Ordway, Martel and Chris Perley dove in and out of traffic in pursuit. Gosek was the next to make a step up as he put Cicconi in third on lap 37. The next lap saw yellow as Mark Sammut did a simple spin off the back stretch. He restarted.

McKnight had three lap cars between him and second place runner Gosek on the restart. Gosek, in turn had Cicconi, Ordway and Martel bearing down on his 26. Off they went again, with McKnight out front. Cicconi, however, had begun to find the line and on lap 45 he retook second from Gosek. Ordway still sat in fourth with Martel fifth.

Cicconi said later on the podium, "I didn't really learn the groove until I got passed by Ordway and Gosek. I learned how to drive the track a lot better when I started following them. I've been real lucky that I have had a lot of training in my younger days in traffic. I feel I excel in traffic. That's how I got second back. I'd like to thank Paul Dunigan, who gave me this motor that's in my car tonight and I appreciate that.. I'd like to also thank Tim Ryan and Ed Landers. We've been having some bad luck and they've been working around the clock, besides working their regular jobs. You can see that their hard work paid off. "

Lap 50 saw a yellow for the 60 of Randy Wimert. Joey Payne, whose crew changed the motor in the 66 between consi and feature time, brought the car into the pits. He would restart at the tail.

McKnight just got started with Cicconi glued to his bumper when yellow flew again for a spin by Bobby Timmons.

After the lap 54 restart, a long stretch of green-flag racing convened. McKnight suddenly found Ordway quietly in second having come by Cicconi on lap 57. While McKnight had control, Ordway just came up closer, lap after lap. The duo left Cicconi. Gosek, Martel, Perley and Howie Lane, a distance behind.

McKnight ironically, got stuck for a time behind his car owner Brad Lichty's 84 and Ordway closed the gap up considerably. On lap 80 there were nose to tail as the next five in line were mired in a mass of traffic. On lap 81 Ordway made his move by McKnight, but Dave wasn't about to relinquish the spot easily. He came back alongside, but as the clock ticked to 82, Ordway was the new leader. Two laps later, yellow flew for McKnight who had slid off the second turn, but after several 360's kept it running and climbed back onto the track in a cloud of dust. Unfortunately, he still had to go to the tail-end for bringing out the flag.

Traffic was heavy as attrition had been light so when Cicconi had a chance to get close to Ordway, he took it. On lap 92, a broken throttle cable sent Eric Shirey out of the race and a quick splash of fuel was allowed the cars on the track in the interim.

Now it was Ordway's turn to have a couple of lap car markers between him and Cicconi with only 9 to go but one more yellow flew on lap 94 to give Cicconi one more shot. The 99 of Joe Petro had spun.

Ordway was not challenged on this restart as Cicconi just couldn't muster enough to catch Ordway. It was Ordway, Cicconi, Gosek, Martel and Perley in that order when the checkered dropped on lap 100.

Joe Gosek laid praise to his team after his third place finish. "We wouldn't be here tonight if it weren't for all of Team Dunigan. They worked all night on the car to fix it from last night. We had a good run going last night, and got into trouble late. My hats off to all the guys on the crew. They put the car together and a top three is definitely something different that we've been doing lately. That gives us a start as we head for Oswego. I'd like to thank everybody for coming out tonight."

Scott Martel, who has had a disastrous first half of the season, was smiling ear to ear after finishing fourth. "It was funny. At the end of the race they waved a flag at me that was black and white and checkered. I didn't know what it meant. It's been so long since I've seen one. I'm ecstatic. Everyone worked so hard after crashing at Cayuga and to come and race at a local race when a lot of my sponsors are here to finish fourth is great. It's not really a win, but it's similar. It was a good race. I enjoyed racing it. I was racing with guys I knew would be fair and competitive. I only had a little bit of trouble with lap cars. To finish 100 laps the way my year has been going is a big morale booster coming into the next big races. We'll be ready. Hopefully, we can finish up the year strong and put the bad luck behind. I'm really ecstatic!"

Perley, who had a poor finish at Lee due to a flat tire, was content with fifth. "Nobody expected to have any tires at the end and nobody did. It was a fun race racing with lap traffic but I never got to race with anybody else. Hopefully next time we can race the people we're supposed to be racing with. But, we're happy with fifth. We've been chasing the car. I think we'll be chasing it for the next two years."

McKnight had worked his way through the tough field to claim sixth while Howie Lane was the last car in the lead lap in seventh. Nokie Fornoro, Steve

Knowlton, and Joey Payne rounded out the top ten. ISMA next heads to Oswego Speedway's 45th annual Budweiser Classic weekend, Sept. 1 and 2.

Heat 1: Eddie Witkum Jr., Mike Ordway, Scott Martel, Randy Ritskes, Steve Knowlton, Jamie Letcher, Brad Lichty, Nokie Fornoro, Joey Hawksby, Randy Wimert, Doug Kells

Heat 2: Lou Cicconi, Dave McKnight, Joe Petro, Howie Page, Bob Timmons Jr., Eric Shirey, Mark Sammut, Jen Chesbro, Joey Payne, Jamie Timmons

Heat 3: Joe Gosek, Chris Perley, Brian West, Howie Lane, Ken Bell, Jon Henes, Ryan Wimert Bob Timmons Sr., John Payne, Russ Wood(motor)

Consi: Nokie Fornoro, Brad Lichty, Joey Hawksby, Mark Sammut, Randy Wimert, Jen Chesbro, Doug Kells, Ryan Wimert, John Payne, Timmons Sr., Russ Wood(dns), Jamie Timmons(dns)

Joey Payne, who lost a motor in the consi and Timmons who had flipped off the track in a heat worked feverishly to gain entry to the field via the ISMA option. Payne took it after his motor replacement was completed just prior to the feature.

ISMA MAINE CLASSIC 100: 1. Mike Ordway (61), 2. Lou Cicconi(75), 3. Joe Gosek (26), 4. Scott Martel (14), 5. Chris Perley (11), 6. Dave McKnight (94), 7. Howie Lane (97), 8. Nokie Fornoro (4), 9. Steve Knowlton (88), 10. Joey Payne (66), 11. Brad Lichty (84), 12. Ken Bell (32), 13. Brian West (15), 14. Jon Henes (36), 15. Jamie Letcher (58), 16. Joe Petro (99), 17. Mark Sammut (78), 18. Bob Timmons Jr. (31), 19. Eddie Witkum Jr. (85), 20. Randy Wimert (60), 21. Eric Shirey (72), 22. Howie Page (18), 23. Randy Ritskes (16), 24. Jen Chesbro (33), 25. Joey Hawksby


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