Southern National speedway race report

Kenly, NC - Dave McKnight sailed under the checkered flag pretty much all alone to take the Southern National ISMA 75 Saturday night and then he sat pretty much all alone in victory lane. A spectacular crash had occurred out back as McKnight...

Kenly, NC - Dave McKnight sailed under the checkered flag pretty much all alone to take the Southern National ISMA 75 Saturday night and then he sat pretty much all alone in victory lane. A spectacular crash had occurred out back as McKnight was crossing the line for his third win of the season out front. Racing for fifth place, Randy Ritskes and Jamie Letcher, driving the Soule 32, had come together sending Letcher high in the air and upside down. While track officials attended to the scene, McKnight was celebrating without much fanfare at first as the large crowd watched the accident scene intently. When both Letcher and Ritskes were declared okay, the attention shifted back to McKnight and his victory, a well earned one after the 24 hours of hard work the crew had experienced.

"What can I say," Dave commented, "A broken rear end last night and a motor change today, then this win. The guys did a great job. They worked most of the night and spent a lot of time today getting this car in shape. We broke the rear last night and changed it, fired the motor this morning and found it bad. Then we changed that. The car got better when the fuel load got down. We set the car up with a push and we let the race track come to us. As the race went on, the push went away. This is dynamite. The guys did an absolutely great job. I'd like to thank all the fans here for coming out and hope we're back here next year."

Due to some attrition from the previous night, only 21 cars remained to start the Saturday 75-lapper, but they were all ready to race. Dave Shullick Jr. put the 38 out front at the green and off the high school senior went. Another rookie, Jamie Timmons, followed Shullick as Mike Ordway moved up quickly to take third.

Timmy Jedrzejek, running fourth, brought out the first yellow on lap 17 when his 91 faded with mechanical ills.

The restart bunched Ordway, and Timmons right behind Shullick with lap cars filling in a couple spots before fourth place runner Mark Sammut. Randy Ritskes, Dave McKnight and Scott Martel were behind Sammut. On lap 20 things slowed again when Joey Payne had a tire go down after a brush with another car and Payne was done for the night after a torsion arm was found damaged. Pitting at this point were Doug Boisvert, who also had a lot of work during the night after a crash at Orange County, Doug Saunier and Howard Page.

The top trio of Shullick, Ordway and Timmons took off leaving Ritskes to try and hold off a determined McKnight, but McKnight was in fifth by lap 25. Mike Ordway appeared to be slowly reeling in leader Shullick as the lap traffic began to be a key factor. McKnight also used the traffic to his advantage and by lap 34, Dave was second passing Ordway the previous lap. Dave was on the move now and effortlessly passed by Shullick on lap 37 to take the lead. Ordway also put Shullick back one on the next lap. Jamie Timmons held a strong fourth behind Shoe 2.

For the next 13 laps, no one could deter McKnight's flight to victory as Ordway was some distance behind the 94.

On lap 60, Bob Smith's 67 broke an axle flying the caution for only the third time.

A lap car sat in between leader McKnight and Ordway on this restart with several more in line before third place runner Timmons. And, McKnight didn't give any one much time to catch up as he was off and running with a third victory in sight. McKnight was behind 7th place runner Shullick as the lap counter moved to 72.

In three more laps, McKnight was taking the checkered as Ordway, Timmons and Joe Gosek, who had gotten by his teammate Ritskes moments earlier, did likewise. The unfortunate part of the race came while McKnight was about to celebrate. Jamie Letcher had put a low move on Randy Ritskes to take 5th away. As Letcher got underneath in turn 2, Ritskes' 29 made contact with the 32, sending Jamie high into the air over the front of the 29 The 32 rode the cement inner wall upside down in spectacular fashion. Everyone held their breath as Jamie emerged unscathed. Ritskes was also unhurt, but the 32 bore the brunt of the damage and was pretty much a write-off.

Out front, the second and third place finishers were also celebrating, one a veteran in a new ride, Ordway and one a rookie, Timmons. Said Mike in victory lane,"The car was good. It's the best it's felt. We're gaining on it a lot. The traffic kind of holds you up but they kind of held their line. They're racing for position too, so you have to kind of give and take a little." Rookie Jamie Timmons had a big smile on his face after his best ISMA finish ever. "After Dave got by I think I buzzed the tires a couple times and it started to get loose. But, I have to thank all the guys on the crew. A lot of our guys couldn't make it down here. I've got to thank all the sponsors too: Essex Seafood, Doctor Mom, Power Mist, A Dichera and Sons, Reeder Electric and all the guys back home. The car was good. Maybe if we had tightened it up a little bit more, we might have been better, but hey, after five weeks of dnf's, I'm really happy with third."

Fourth place finisher Joe Gosek had more at stake than a top five. He also pretty much gave himself the 2000 ISMA championship with that finish. He said later, "We weren't good from the start, to get to the front. The car came to me about mid-race and I caught up to Randy. All of a sudden something changed in the car after I got by him. It really got loose and I kind of hung on to fourth. But, another top five pretty much clinched a championship for us. I give praise to all the guys. They have given me a great car all year. I want to thank the whole gang for a great effort all year. We look forward to Thompson where we can relax a little."

Randy Ritskes, and Jamie Letcher, despite their horrific cash, were the last two cars in the lead lap and ended up 5th and 6th with Dave Shullick, one lap down, in 7th. Doug Saunier, Scott Martel and George Brothers finished up the top ten. <pre> SNS SUMMARY Heat 1: Dave Shullick Jr., Randy Ritskes, Mike Ordway, Mark Sammut, George Brothers, Howie Page, Ray Graham Jr. Heat 2: Joey Payne, Jamie Timmons, Dave McKnight, Doug Boisvert, Doug Saunier, Jamie Letcher, Brian Sweeney Heat 3: Tim Jedrzejek, Scott Martel, Ken Bell, Joe Gosek, Jon Henes, Bob Smith, Brad Lichty(Gosek 00) SNS ISMA 75: 1. Dave McKnight(94), 2. Mike Ordway(61), 3. Jamie Timmons(97), 4. Joe Gosek(26), 5. Randy Ritskes(29), 6. Jamie Letcher(32), 7. Dave Shullick Jr.(38), 8. Doug Saunier(7), 9. Scott Martel(14), 10. George Brothers(6), 11. Mark Sammut (78), 12. Howie Page(18), 13. Brad Lichty(00), 14. Ray Graham Jr(90), 15. Jon Henes(36), 16. Ken Bell(31), 17. Bob Smith(67), 18. Doug Boisvert(66), 19. Joey Payne(06), 20. Tim Jedrzejek(91), 21. Brian Sweeney(3).

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