Delaware, Ont. (Aug. 16) – Ben Seitz flawlessly drove to his second ISMA feature victory of 2013 at Delaware Speedway Friday night. It was also his second Canadian win of the season after picking up the ISMA event at Autodrome Chaudiere in June. Seitz took the lead from Jeff Locke on lap 8 and then had to stave off the intense pressuring of Lou Cicconi for most of the remainder of the 75-lapper. Ben wasn’t really worried though because he felt he had the car that could keep him out front.
“I was pretty confident tonight. I knew the car was really good and I also knew Louie Cicconi was right behind me. He’s always real tough. I knew Louie was there in lap traffic, but I knew if I hit my spots we’d be okay. You never know going through lap traffic how it is going to work out. As the leader you’re always vulnerable. I just decided to stay on the bottom and the car was really good. And, that makes all the difference. It makes my job a lot easier when I can stick it on the bottom and pass cars. It was a good race.
“I need to thank my car owner, Dick Bien, Brian Allegresso and his whole crew, my whole crew, my sponsor Sam Lorusso and his family. They put this all together. I’m starting to really like Canada. This is our second win up here this summer.”
Cicconi, who tried valiantly to get by the Bourne, Mass. driver at the helm, commented, “I started losing the back of the car about half way through. And, the only way I had a shot at Ben was in lap traffic. When you’re in second you can set it up going through lap traffic. After that last restart he got real sideways and I thought I might have had a shot. But then I got real sideways. I guess one of the lap cars had some oil leaking or something. Ben Seitz is a really good driver. He used to beat me in the midgets and now he’s beating me in the supers too.”
Moe Lilje, who started 12th in the field, worked his way up to third just past the halfway mark and for a time waged a torrid battle with Cicconi in front of him and Mike Lichty just behind. The Vickery, OH driver was able to follow Cicconi onto the podium.
“I would have liked to get by Louie but it was a good run for us and we’re on the podium again in the Reed’s Salvage number 8 car. I have to thank Mr. Reed and all the guys who put in the work on the car during the week at the shop for me to come out here and have fun. I’d like to also thank our sponsors T.G. Eschtruth, Stewart’s Appliances, Kelling Services and Simpson Race Products.”
Alison Cumens and Jeff Locke brought the field of 18 down to the feature green and after the first circuit was complete, Locke had taken the lead. Several laps later, Timmy Jedrzejek lost a rear end in the Soule 32 spreading fluid around a good part of the speedway. Simultaneously, a medical emergency in the grandstand area brought the race to a halt as the ambulance was called to attend to that. A red was called. Cleanup ensued and refueling was allowed after only five laps of racing were complete. Ryan Coniam and Cumens went pit side during the interim.
Back underway Locke had Seitz now knocking on his back door now and within two laps Locke lost the lead to Seitz and then shortly thereafter, he lost second to Cicconi and the race up front was on. Mechanical ills tool their toll early as Dave McKnight and Johnny Benson left the race track not to return.
A long green spell saw the 17 and 71 dicing up front and moving around slower cars in high-speed precision. Locke stayed in third with Mark Sammut, Moe Lilje, Ryan Litt, Jon McKennedy and Lichty right behind.
The front duo was still at it past the halfway mark as they put car after car down a lap. Locke, Lilje and Lichty were trying their best to move forward when the yellow fell on lap 56 for the slowdown of the Sauder 33, which might have been the cause of Cicconi’s aforementioned slip sliding.
Mark Sammut used the restart to grab fifth from Locke while the hard racing quartet up front remained the same. With more attrition claiming the likes of Cumens, AJ Lesiecki, Jimmy McCune (Lane 97), and Rob Summers, the front five breathed a little easier as they headed for the checkered with less traffic to travel around.
Seitz crossed the line in first with Cicconi several car lengths behind as Lilje was ready to pounce on Cicconi while Lichty and Sammut were still racing hard just behind.
Fourth place finisher, 2012 ISMA champ Mike Lichty, would have liked to have done better as he looks to possibly repeat as champion.
“It wasn’t too bad. We were kind of disappointed for as quick as we were all day in practice. It was extremely hard to pass out there and we just had a really bad start. We kind of got set back a little bit there for the first few laps. We were just way to loose right from the get go. But we came out fourth. We worked hard and it was a bit of a marathon out there. I just have to thank Reed’s Salvage, Patco Transportation, Rockway Building Supplies and Stage Door Transportation. So, we’ll just go on to Sunset and see what Sunday brings.”
Mark Sammut, who sat third in the points going into Delaware, picked up another top five finish. Said Mark about his run, “We tightened up the car a little too much at the start of the race and unfortunately it didn’t come around as soon as it was going too. That’s the way it goes. It’s still a top five and we’ll roll it onto the trailer and get ready for Sunday. It was a good run. Too bad we didn’t have a 100-lapper because the car was coming on at the end. We won a heat race and the car ran good. So it was a pretty good night all in all.”
Summary ISMA Event #9. August 16, 2013 Heat 1: Timmy Jedrzejek, Alison Cumens, Johnny Benson Jr., Mike Lichty, Dave McKnight, Robbie Summers Heat 2: Mark Sammut, Jon McKennedy, Moe Lilje, Ben Seitz, Jimmy McCune, Rod Sauder Heat 3: Jeff Locke, Lou Cicconi, Ryan Coniam, Ryan Litt, Dan Bowes, A.J. Lesiecki
ISMA Delaware Team Oakridge Ford 75: 1. Ben Seitz (17), 2. Lou Cicconi (71), 3. Moe Lilje (8), 4. Mike Lichty (84), 5. Mark Sammut (78), 6. Ryan Coniam (46), 7. Jeff Locke (37), 8. Ryan Litt (88), 9. Jon McKennedy (79), 10. Dan Bowes (25), 11. Alison Cumens (39), 12. Rod Sauder (33), 13. Robbie Summers (74), 14. A.J. Lesiecki (14), 15. Jimmy McCune (97), 16. Johnny Benson (48), 17. Dave McKnight (70), 18. Timmy Jedrzejek (32).
The Snowball Gang Hard Charger award went to Moe Lilje. The ReSource Alternative Energy Award went to Ryan Litt.