McKennedy Captures The Star Classic
Back underway, Summers was the new leader with McKennedy now the man on the leader’s bumper. Cicconi, Perley, Payne, Locke, Jeff Abold, Mike Ordway Sr. and Moe Lilje were the main men right behind but Ordway soon slowed with a tire going down and pitted on lap 39.
A slowdown came on lap 42 when Tim Ice was off the track in turn three. Mark Sammut pitted here as did Lou LeVea Sr. Ice and Sammut would return. Summers pulled away from McKennedy on the restart but right behind, with the rain a possibility, a freight train of powerhouses looked for that halfway mark at lap 75.
Mike Lichty, fresh off an Oswego Super Nationals win, saw his Star chances evaporate when the lower control arm in the left front broke bringing out the yellow on lap 48. It was here Perley called it a night also. A couple minor slowdowns dotted the next few laps but the race settled into one “classic” barnburner with Summers, McKennedy, Cicconi, Abold, Payne, Locke and Lilje still racing and chasing around the quarter mile, weaving in and out of traffic.
The halfway mark came and went with Summers, McKennedy and Cicconi now using some of the traffic to gain some advantage.
Red flew for a hard crash that had seven-time Star Classic champion Russ Wood heading almost straight into the wall near turn four in the Soule Racing 32. Wood was later transported to the hospital with reported leg injuries.
Sixteen cars remained when the race resumed with five lap cars electing to take up the rear spots. This gave the top 11 a go at victory and McKennedy tried hard to reclaim the lead from Summers when the green fell but to know avail. On lap 90, however, he made the move stick and he was heading for new ground as Summers and the others fell back behind lap cars McKennedy was now putting two down.
Misfortune fell on Summers’ run on lap 105 when his car went up in smoke and fled the scene. There had been an oil leak when the refueling occurred under the previous red, but it was determined not to be a problem. It soon became one for the Vernon, Conn., driver looking for a first Star Classic win.
Now, McKennedy was racing for the gold and no one was even close to stopping him, but out back, Abold, Cicconi, Payne and Lilje were still looking for podium spots. On lap 131, Cicconi, Abold and Payne were the guys to watch as they challenged each other. Two laps later, Abold came out in second, Payne third and Cicconi fourth and Lilje maintaining a strong fifth place run as leader McKennedy lapped at the tail car in the top five.
McKennedy easily passed under the double checkers for his first Star Classic win, with Abold, Payne, Cicconi and Lilje finishing the top five.