USA-Lee: Season opener race summary

Lou Cicconi flies to victory at Lee USA ISMA opener. Lee, NH - Aston, PA's Lou Cicconi finished up the 2001 ISMA season in second place in points with two feature wins. "Liquid" Lou continued his success Saturday at the Lee USA Speedway ISMA ...

Lou Cicconi flies to victory at Lee USA ISMA opener.

Lee, NH - Aston, PA's Lou Cicconi finished up the 2001 ISMA season in second place in points with two feature wins. "Liquid" Lou continued his success Saturday at the Lee USA Speedway ISMA opener by winning the first event of the season, handily beating out a competitive 24-car field. Lou took the point from leader Howard Page on lap 12 and was never seriously challenged after that. The $3200 payday was a pleasant start for the fourth year ISMA pilot who used some of his wily ways to stave off any attempts second place runner Mike Ordway might have been considering late in the race.

"It was an awesome race" said Lou in victory lane.." I really didn't think I was going as fast as I was. The track was really, really loose and I was trying to be real smooth and consistent. I felt like I did a good job. I was feathering the throttle. I didn't really know there were lap cars there. I ran out of brakes on lap 20. I had no brakes. I tried to stay alongside McKnight on purpose. I knew that if I kept McKnight on the outside of me, Ordway couldn't pass me on the outside. It was awesome."

Mike Ordway, who stayed second to Cicconi's high flying run, for 30 laps said in post race interviews: " The car was really loose and the track was kind of dirty. I don't know if there was some oil out there or what, but everyone was slipping and sliding. I just really couldn't get on the gas enough to catch up to him(Lou). You can't win them all, but we're going to try."

Third place finisher Howard Page, who led some early laps, indicated that this was a good run for the first outing. "This was a good race. In the middle of the race I was loose . So I just took it easy so I had enough at the end. Because here there are never any tires at the end. It was slippery. I was being patient, maybe a little too patient. It was was a pretty good run. Not quite good enough for those guys, but we're happy with third."

Rookie Jon Gambuti led the way to the initial green for ISMA in the Budnick 88. Howie Page took over quickly, but progress was slowed on lap 6 when John Payne took the 67 around after slipping in some fluid left by the Eddie Witkum Jr. 85. Attrition claimed several cars early including Timmy Jedrzejek's 7, Randy Wimert's 60 and Doug Kell's 38. 2001 ISMA champ, Dave McKnight, also pitted during this short stop.

This yellow was to be the first and last for the rapid 50 lapper. Cicconi moved up on Page and took the point by a nose as the 13th lap began. Page, Greg Furlong, Mike Ordway and Chris Perley were top five, but as Mike Ordway made a move on Furlong, the two brushed and Furlong was sent smoking into the pits with a broken steering rack.

Cicconi never skipped a beat in the interim as he left Ordway behind in second. Page, Perley, Gambuti, Scotty Martel and Jamie Timmons raced behind. At the midway mark the lineup remained pretty much the same with exits by Eric Shirey, Jamie Letcher and John Payne along the way.

On lap 31, Cicconi put Russ Wood down one lap, leaving more of a cushion between his 75 and the 61 of Ordway. On lap 37, Cicconi came up on the 94 of McKnight and as aforementioned, used the ISMA champ as a little roadblock against Ordway.

With victory in sight, Cicconi moved by McKnight and was easily headed for his first win of 2002. Ordway ran second getting by a couple laped cars at the end, while Page was third. Perley, who had Jamie Timmons" all over him" battled to keep the North Andover man behind him at the finish.

Said Perley, "Timmons was all over me toward the end. I couldn't see him, but I can tell by the flashes going off that someone was close. I guess any time we finish at Lee we're happy. We're not ecstatic with a fourth, but it's better than a tenth. First race on the car and a top five. We look forward to tomorrow and doing better. "

Timmons, who formed his own team in 2002, was happy with fifth. "The guys gave me a great car. We took the small block and changed it over from last year to the big block.We didn't actually get it loaded up and ready to come here until last night at eleven o'clock. We had a motor problem earlier in the day which we figured out and the thing pulled great all night. Power Research of Mass. gave me great power all race. I'd like to thank Dudas Spring. C &B, NAPA of Methuen, Woody's Auto Repair and Chopper Works at We had a really great run with a little luck tonight."

Scott Martel, Steve Knowlton, Brad Lichty and Ken Bell rounded out the top ten.


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