EPPING, N.H. – Veteran supermodified driver Russ Wood started the 2012 race season without a ride, but just past mid-season he was back in a Brian Allegresso-prepared supermodified to compete.
Saturday’s annual International Supermodified Ass’n Star Classic at Star Speedway was one prize he had his sites set on. A win of that 150-lap prestigious event would put Wood on top of the win list, breaking his tie with legend Bentley Warren for the most victories.
Rain stopped the race on Saturday night with the conclusion to be run on Sunday.
Wood’s objective changed overnight as Sunday he was racing for a good friend’s dad who had passed away more than anything else.
He accomplished his goal Sunday afternoon, winning his seventh Star Classic.
“The car was really good. I could pick and choose. It was just such a great feeling. It’s unreal how the car felt. It was just a pleasure to drive,” Wood said. “This means so much. I was supposed to be in a funeral today. A good friend of mine, Don Guilbault’s father, passed away. And I couldn’t make the funeral. He just told me to bring the trophy home. And, I did it.
“The seventh Classic. It’s unreal. I never thought I’d be above Bentley. I love racing here and the cars are awesome. They are all just great people to race with. Just to be up in that category with Bentley and Chris Perley is unreal. It’s something I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. I love doing this.
The race left off on Saturday night on lap 35 when torrential rains fell after valiant attempts all day to get the race in.
The leader when the race was stopped was Eric Lewis with Wood only in fifth. But it was a young race and things change, often dramatically, in the historic event on the New Hampshire quarter mile oval.
By race end on Sunday, Eddie Witkum had fought off all kinds of adversity to come in second to the high-flying Wood.
“Yesterday we knew we had a good car. It was fast on junk rubber. We didn’t get to race last night. We broke the drive shaft running second when the rain came out. We put a new drive shaft in today and started 16th or something like that,” Witkum said. “Then we had a hard day turn worse. We spun out a couple times and under that red we brought it in and made some adjustments and it worked. I didn’t have any forward bite or anything before that. Once we got that back, the car was good. This is my best finish in the Classic and best in an ISMA race.
Lou Cicconi, who had worked his way up to second, fell victim to Witkum’s marathon run to finish third.
“I just got lucky, that’s all. I never had anything all day,” Cicconi said. “I just lucked out to get there I got. I’ll take third, but I’m not happy, but I’ll take it.”