One week after a difficult time with the old Cement Palace and finishing 19th in his ISMA Supermodified race, Russ Wood returned to Seekonk for the D. Anthony Venditti Memorial, hopped into his son’s NEMA Lite car and went out to dominate the field of competitors. Russ Wood, Jr. was forced out of the event by a foot injury, so dad gladly filled the seat for him. It was a win-win situation for Russ, Sr. and the fans.
Wood, from Pelham, NH, started fifth, behind Paul Bigelow of Berlin, CT and Ryan Bigelow of East Hampton, CT. New Ipswich, NH’s Andy Barrows and East Hampton, CT driver Randy Bigelow made up the second row. Joe Krawiek was on Wood’s shoulder. Also swelling the ranks were NEMA regulars Randy Cabral and Lou Cicconi, Jr. – both starting from the back of the pack.
Wood jumped to third on the green and motored for 6 laps, while Paul Bigelow and Barrows battled over third. On lap 6, Wood erupted, going around and into the lead, sending Bigelow to second. Bigelow held the spot until Cabral came up to pass on lap 18.
Wood began to stretch his lead, and was ahead by the length of a straightaway on lap 12. Cabral and Cicconi were trading places back in the pack until Cabral began to move steadily to the front, going from eighth to second, moving up a place per lap until he had the second spot. Cicconi went to fifth on lap 16 and held that position for 5 laps, moving past Barrows into fourth.
Krawiek had been moved back to fourth on Cabral’s pass into third, but he eased Barrows out to secure third on lap 20.
Wood completed the 25 laps in the lead, 1.111 seconds ahead of Cabral with Krawiek, Cicconi and Barrows in the top 5.
Rounding out the top 10 were Dave Moniz from Fairhaven, MA, Jim Santa Maria, Burlington, CT, Lanson Fornoro, Stroudsburg, PA, Paul Bigelow and Ryan Bigelow.