Lou Cicconi Crowned 2013 ISMA Driver of the Year Champion
October 20, 2013 – Thompson, CT…They say you only have to lead one lap, the last one, in a race. While this is an overused cliché perhaps, Ben Seitz doesn’t care after he claimed the ISMA World Series of Racing 50 lapper Sunday.
Seitz passed a formidable foe, Chris Perley just off turn four on the white flag lap as Perley, who had a commanding lead, began to slow as his number 11 gasped for fuel. Perley told the Bourne, Mass. driver as he came over to congratulate him, “That’s why it’s a 50 lapper.”
Seitz and his whole team were ecstatic, if not a bit awestruck at the happening of the last few seconds. The win was also Seitz’s third of the season after picking up two victories earlier this year when ISMA traveled to Canada.
Ben said in victory lane, “I don’t know what happened to Chris’s car. His was just a little bit quicker than ours. I’m just happy one way or another. And, hats off to Chris he had an awesome car. I am really happy to finish the season this way. My sponsors are here and I’ve never won in a supermodified feature in Connecticut so I’m really happy about that too. It’s my home state as far as race tracks are concerned. I need to thank my sponsor Sam Lorusso and his whole family. They are the ones who put this whole deal together. My car owner Dickie Bien went through the whole motor last night. We had some problems in the heat race. I need to thank him. And thanks to Brian Allegresso for the set up stuff. It’s just super having my family here too. Everything is good.”
Perley, who had led the race from lap 9, said in the rushed victory lane ceremony as two more features followed, “Congratulations to Ben. He ran an awesome race. We ran out of fuel right at the end, but the car ran awesome up until that point.”
Alison Cumens started sixth, fought with some tough competition throughout the race, held on to move into third when Mike Lichty’s 84 slowed and pitted on lap 45. It was her ninth top ten of the season and her third podium of 2013. She easily garnered the ISMA Randy Witkum Memorial Rookie of the Year honors. Said the Lydell, PA drivers of her super, “It’s great to be in victory lane for my last race. It was a great way to end with ISMA. It was a lot of work but it was fun. It was tough getting all the way up here. There were some good battles going on.”
A magnificent fall weekend for racing was culminated Sunday for the 28 ISMA supers starting the Thompson World Series 50. Mark Sammut and Tim Ice led the field to green and it was Sammut the initial leader. Moving quickly up to dog Ice was Ben Seitz who was looking to hold onto his second place spot in points or perhaps to advance one.
Lap seven saw several yellows involving Justin Belfiore, then Dave Shullick Jr. and finally Mike Keeler each time as Seitz was either by Sammut for the lead or making an attempt at it.
Unfortunately when the race went green for one lap, it was Chris Perley moving up to take over the point from both Sammut and Seitz. And he held that spot for one lap until yellow fell again for the Jeff Locke 37 who spun into the front stretch wall.
On this restart, it was Perley, Sammut, Seitz, Cicconi, Ryan Coniam and Jon McKennedy in the front spots but once again yellow fell, this time for Justin Belfiore’s 98. And at the same time, Mark Sammut pulled into the pits for a new tire and would relinquish his top three spot.
Perley, as he had nine time in the past, began to control the Thompson race out front as Seitz, Cicconi and McKennedy dropped back a distance to the “Rowley Rocket.”
Lap 13, however saw the field bunch when Dave McKnight’s 70 went up in smoke laying down some fluids in turn one.
Back underway, Perley pulled away from the trio behind him as Ryan Coniam, Tim Ice Alison Cumens, Bob Magner, Mike Lichty, Mike Ordway and Joey Payne were doing battle.
Magner would pit the 32 on lap 19, as Perley was moving in on the tail of the field, picking his way through with ease. Seitz maintained sight of the 11 as Cicconi, McKennedy. Coniam, Lichty, Ice and Cumens still were swapping spots.
The race started a long green stretch now with Perley weaving high and low around lap cars by lap 30. On lap 31 McKennedy’s strong run ended as he slowed and pitted.
Yellow fell on lap 34 when the 51 pitted simultaneously with Coniam’s 74 going up in smoke. Coniam was done but the 51 restarted at the rear.
Perley and Seitz took off one-two at the green with a couple lap cars between them and Lichty and Cicconi, Cumens, Moe Lilje and Ice.
Green reigned until lap 39 when the 61 of Ordway was up in the wall in one. On the restart it was deemed both Lilje and Cicconi had been a little too anxious on the last restart and they were moved to the rear of the disseminated field.
With ten to go, Perley, Seitz and Lichty were in clean air as Cumens, and Ice tried to hold off Cicconi and Californian Kyle Vanderpool.
On lap 45, things changed again near the front when the 84 of Lichty slowed and pitted moving Cumens to third behind the 11 and 17 and Cicconi back up to fourth.
The white flag was being unfurled when Seitz moved suddenly by a slowing Perley with Ben headed on to the checkered. Perley held on for second with Cumens, Cicconi and Mark Sammut the top five.
Perley’s teammate, Lou Cicconi, Jr. earned his first International Supermodified Association Driver of the Year while his car owner, Vic Miller was crowned ISMA Champion once again.
THOMPSON INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY – ISMA WORLD SERIES OF RACING SUMMARY –
Oct 19-20, 2013
Heat 1: Mark Sammut, Jon McKennedy, Lou Cicconi, Bobby Magner (32), Dave Duggan, Dan Bowes, Eddie Witkum Jr, Brandon Bellinger, Mike Netishen
Heat 2: Chris Perley, Ryan Coniam (74), Tim Ice, Alison Cumens, Moe Lilje, Mike Ordway Sr., Mike Keeler, Kyle Vanderpool, Bobby Chartier
Heat 3: Jeff Locke, Mike Lichty, Ben Seitz, Dave Shullick Jr., Joey Payne (97), Eric Lewis, Justin Belfiore, Dave McKnight, Craig Rayvals
Feature 50: 1. Ben Seitz (17), 2. Chris Perley (11), 3. Alison Cumens (39), 4. Lou Cicconi (71), 5. Mark Sammut (78), 6. Tim Ice (65), 7. Moe Lilje (8), 8. Kyle Vanderpool (3), 9. Joey Payne (97), 10. Eric Lewis (28), 11. Brandon Bellinger (02), 12. Dave Duggan (51), 13. Mike Lichty (84), 14. Mike Netishen (55n), 15. EddieWitkum Jr. (21), 16. Mike Ordway Jr. (61), 17. Ryan Coniam (74), 18. Jon McKennedy (79), 19. Craig Rayvals (94r), 20. Dan Bowes (25), 21. Bob Magner (32), 22. Dave Shullick Jr. (94s), 23. Justin Belfiore (98), 24. Mike Keeler (55k), 25. Dave McKnight Jr. (70), 26. Jeff Locke (37), 27. Bobby Chartier (47), 28. Eric Emhoff (2).
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