Seekonk, MA - Sunday's large crowd at Seekonk were treated to one exciting supermodified race made possible by long stretches of green flag racing and some top talent. Scott Martel looked to be a sure winner, but it's never over "till it's over"...
Seekonk, MA - Sunday's large crowd at Seekonk were treated to one exciting supermodified race made possible by long stretches of green flag racing and some top talent. Scott Martel looked to be a sure winner, but it's never over "till it's over" as they say. A ten-to-go caution set up a spectacular race finish. Chris Perley got the jump on second place runner Lou Cicconi on the restart of lap 65 and headed toward race leader Martel. Perley tried to get by Martel several times as the laps clicked away, but Martel fended off the advances until the one-to-go flag fell. Perley and Martel approached a lap car, with Perley diving high. Martel had to chose low, but brushed tires with the slower vehicle allowing Perley to gain the advantage and the victory. It was a $3,200 payday for the "Rowley Rocket and the Vic Miller crew and it was "fun" as Perley would say later.
"We waited it out and waited it out and I honestly didn't think we'd have enough for Scotty," said Perley in victory lane, "But we just picked the right lane. It's a tough break for Scotty. He's a good friend of mine. But hey sometimes you make the right decision and sometimes you don't. We've been on both sides. Today this car was really flying. Ed Shea came on board this year and I'm really psyched to get this win for him. I'd also like to thank R&R, Smith's Fire Equipment, and Perley's Marina. And, of course I have to thank Vic and the crew. They do all the hard work. This was a great race. It was fun throughout the whole race. We raced wheel to wheel with people and it was clean. Clean and fun.
An understandably disappointed Scott Martel, who led 74 of the 75 laps, commented, "The tires kind of went away. I might have run a little too hard, but it's hard to tell when you are out front trying the set the pace and still save something for the end. As long as the fans enjoyed it, second is better than last and that's where I finished last night at Lee. We'll take this and build on it. I'd like to thank all my sponsors and my crew. As I said we had tough luck last night. To rebound and finish second isn't bad. Chris and I are real buddies. Someday maybe he'll give me one."
Nokie Fornoro, who also came from deep in the pack, finished up in third fighting for spots every lap. "I have one thing to say - Leo Shea - you're the best. That's my crew chief. The only problem that we really had is that we loaded up on fuel because we had to run 75. We were a little bit heavy and we needed 5 or 6 laps to get the back of the car underneath me otherwise it was loose. So I have no complaints. We had a second last night and a third here. Thanks again to everybody for coming out. I love this place and I love you fans."
As race winner Perley indicated, the racing was fast and furious throughout. From the start of the 75 lapper, Scotty Martel showed the upper hand when he stole the lead from polesitter Jamie Letcher.
Five minor spins slowed the event only briefly, allowing the field to bunch and for lap traffic to breath.
The first yellow came on lap 9 when Brad Lichty spun off turn four. After Lichty was pushed away, Martel resumed the lead with Letcher, Russ Wood, Ken Bell and Lou Cicconi the top five. Wood and Cicconi soon passed Letcher for top three spots but Martel had a little real estate between them.
Lap traffic made things very exciting as three-wide racing became the norm on the tight 1/3 mile. Wood and Cicconi sandwiched a few lap cars on several occasions before Cicconi took over the second place spot from Russ on lap 24. Martel and Cicconi became the front two warriors as Wood, Nick Fornoro and Dave McKnight trailed with Chris Perley and Joe Gosek moving up in sixth and seventh by lap 37.
Lap after lap Cicconi pressured Martel, high and low, but Scott held back "Liquid" Lou.
Lap 46 finally stalled things a bit as the 31 of Bob Timmons Jr. spun in between one and two.
The boys were nose to tail on the restart, as Cicconi, Fornoro, Russ Wood, McKnight, Perley, Gosek and Joe Payne all looked to get the advantage on Martel to no avail.
Lap 48 saw another spin as Mark Sammut came around in 4. Again the pressure was on Martel and again he succeeded in pulling away slightly but Cicconi was right there looking for a mistake. Meanwhile Perley was on the move coming up on Fornoro. The 11 shot by the 4 on lap 52 and headed for Wood. Side by side they went for several laps before Russ relinquished to Perley on lap 56.
A lap 58 caution for John Payne tightened things up in the waning laps, but again Martel was able to hold off Cicconi as Perley played the waiting game. Fornoro got by Russ Wood on lap 63 to move into fourth. The last yellow of the day came on lap 65 when Howie Lane's 97 did a quick 360 and was restarted quickly.
Cicconi was a sitting duck now as Perley hunted him down and passed him on the restart. Chris had nine laps to figure out how to get by Martel. He used eight up before it happened. As Martel and Perley were taking the white flag, they bore down on one of the lap cars ahead. Perley took the high road and Martel had no option but to got as low as he could. A brush of tires slowed Martel just enough for Perley to steal the lead and the checkered flag moments later. Back in the pack the wild racing continued as Cicconi, Fornoro and Gosek swapped a little paint with Fornoro coming across in third, Cicconi fourth and Gosek fifth much to the delight of the fans who applauded appreciatively.
Lou Cicconi said after finishing fourth, "I thought I was doing real good there but on the last restart, the car just went away. Perley and Nokie did really good. It's a shame Scotty got in trouble with that lap car, but what are you going to do?"
"This was a struggle - a hard fought fifth, that's all," said Joe Gosek. "The (Dunigan) cars were real good early in the day, but come feature time none of us were good. The car was just too loose. But, two top fives this weekend isn't all that bad. We hung in there and actually caught up to the leaders somewhat but just couldn't catch them. But it was a good competitive race and having Perley win on the last lap is exciting. Too bad for Scott though. It was a good race and the fans probably liked it."
Joey Payne, Ken Bell, Russ Wood, Brian Wood and Howard Page finished up the quick top ten.
ISMA Supers next event is Saturday May 26, 2001 at the Oswego Speedway for the annual Jim Shampine Memorial.
Heat 1: Joe Gosek, Jamie Letcher, Dave McKnight, Nick Fornoro, Joe Petro, John Payne, Howie Lane, Brian West
Heat 2: Scott Martel, Chris Perley, Brian Wood, Howie Page, Bob Timmons Jr., Jamie Timmons, Jen Chesbro, Bob Timmons Sr.
Heat 3: Ken Bell, Russ Wood, Lou Cicconi, Joey Payne, Brad Lichty, Mark Sammut, Jon Henes, Randy Ritskes. 3 cars did not compete after Lee: Joey Hawksby, Mark Buonomo, Doug Kells
SEEKONK 75: 1. Chris Perley(11), 2. Scott Martel(14), 3. Nick Fornoro(4), 4. Lou Cicconi(75), 5. Joe Gosek(26), 6. Joey Payne(66), 7 Ken Bell(32), 8. Russ Wood(29), 9. Brian Wood(7), 10. Howard Page(18), 11. Jamie Letcher(58), 12. Dave McKnight(94), 13. Brad Lichty(84), 14. Jamie Timmons(27), 15. Howie Lane(97), 16. Bob Timmons Jr.(31), 17. Brian West(15), 18. Mark Sammut(78), 19. Jen Chesbro(33), 20. John Payne(67), 21. Jon Henes(36), 22. Randy Ritskes(16), 23. Joe Petro(99) and 24. Bob Timmons Sr. (13).