Lichty Scores Impressive Friday Night Coffee Cup Victory At Dunkin’ Donuts Center
Mike Lichty was hoping this would come one day.
For the past five years, the Innerkip, Ontario, driver has been chasing an indoor auto racing victory.
On Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, R.I., Lichty, 22, got his wish as he claimed a wild 30-lap TQ-Midget main event that saw him and the rest of the feature field wrestle through numerous caution flags.
“I’ve been hoping for this day for a long time,” Lichty said. “(Car owner) Larry Turnbull has given me a top car, but we haven’t got the right breaks over the years.
“We’ve finished in the top five many times. We’ve had second, third and fourth place finishes indoors, but we’ve never been able to get a win.”
Lichty topped indoor expert Lou Cicconi Jr. of Aston, while Matt Janisch of Nazareth, Pa., Ted Christopher of Plainville, Conn., and Paul Lotier Jr. of Lebanon, Pa. completed the top five spots.
Lichty fought off several bids for the lead from Christopher and Cicconi.
Cicconi passed the former NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour champion for the runner-up spot for good on lap 26. Christopher had steering issues after contact with the wall late in the race.
Lichty had problems of his own.
“My throttle was sticking,” he said. “I was really concerned, because you’re going so quick here, and it doesn’t take much to land in the wall.”
Mike Osite finished sixth, while Mike Tidaback, Christopher Allen, Billy Pauch and James Michael Friesen completed the top 10 spots. Multi-time Indianapolis 500 starter Davey Hamilton finished 19th, while NASCAR driver David Reutimann finished 26th.
Heat race wins went to Christopher, Cicconi, Frank Fischer of Flemington, N.J., and Tim Buckwalter of Douglasville, Pa. Tim Proctor of Hamilton, N.J. and Davey Hamilton of Jamestown, Ind., won the consolations.
Christopher set fast time with a lap of 8.0733 seconds.
Justin Bonsignore of Holtsville, N.Y., won the 25-lap Champ Kart main over Nick Hadden of Binghamton, N.Y., two-time Dunkin’ Donuts Center winner Chris Daley of Pleasant Valley, N.Y., Gavin Soraghan of Harwinton, Conn., and Tammy Smith of Pleasant Valley, N.Y.
Dailey, Soraghan and Bonsignore won heat races, while Michael Sullivan of Somerset, Mass., and Adam Gage of Plainfield, N.H., won the consolation races. Eric Zeh of Selden, N.Y., had fast time with a lap of 9.3974 sec.
TQ Midget Feature Finish, 30 Laps: 1. Mike Lichty; 2. Lou Cicconi Jr; 3. Matt Janisch; 4. Ted Christopher; 5. Paul Lotier Jr; 6. Mike Osite; 7. Mike Tidabach; 8. Christopher Allen; 9. Billy Pauch; 10. James Michael Friesen; 11. Ian Cumens; 12. Tim Buckwalter; 13. Danny Shirey; 14. Frank Fischer; 15. Russ Bailey; 16. Tim Proctor; 17. Jimmy Carpenter; 18. Glenn Heverin; 19. Davey Hamilton; 20. Christopher Haskell; 21. Matt Roselli; 22. Mike Iles; 23. Anthony Sesely; 24. Mike Stefanik; 25. Jeff Kot; 26. David Reutimann.
Champ Kart Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Justin Bonsignore; 2. Nick Hadden; 3. Chris Daley; 4. Gavin Soraghan; 5. Tammy Smith; 6. Ron Midford Jr.; 7. Adam Dion; 8. John Hillman; 9. Evan Beaulieu; 10. Chris Martel; 11. Glen Brehio; 12. Greg Simmons; 13. Eric Zeh; 14. Todd Root; 15. Dale Friedly; 16. Jay Dimond; 17. Ryan Kendall; 18. George Bark Jr; 19. Michael Sullivan; 20. Adam Gage; 21. Andrew Swisher; 22. Clinton Mills; 23. Rob Murray; 24. Mike Perry. Did Not Start: Andrew Holewiak.
Stefanik Gives Home State Fans Reason To Cheer With Saturday Coffee Cup Victory
Mike Stefanik gave Rhode Island race fans bragging rights on Saturday night as the 51-year-old from Coventry, R.I., claimed the 40-lap TQ-Midget Coffee Cup main event at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
Stefanik, 51, a seven-time NASCAR Modified Tour champion and two-time Camping World East champion, was the only Ocean State entry in the field of more than 40 cars that tackled the indoor concrete oval.
“This is incredible,” Stefanik said. “This win is so sweet. When I looked over the entry list and saw guys like Billy Pauch, Lou Cicconi Jr., Davey Hamilton, Ted Christopher, Frank Fischer entered to race, it got me all pumped up.”
Stefanik never raced a TQ-Midget indoors until last March, when the indoor series debuted at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
“Seeing those fans cheer for me over the final laps meant a lot,” Stefanik said. “They were my home state fans, and it means a lot to me keep this Dunkin’ Donuts trophy in Rhode Island.”
Mike Lichty of Innerkip, Ont, who won Friday night’s 30-lap main event, finished second, while Frank Fischer of Flemington, N.J., was third, Matt Janisch of Nazareth, Pa. was fourth and Paul Lotier Jr. of Lebanon, Pa. was fifth.
It appeared early in the main event that Stefanik wouldn’t be around at the end of the 40-lap race. He started eighth but was involved in a multi-car crash on lap seven.
Stefanik returned from the incident and was up to ninth when a second incident on lap 20 sent him to the rear of the field.
Then, Stefanik found the outside groove to his liking.
Over the next few circuits, Stefanik used the outside line, a groove used by no other driver, and stayed out of trouble as he inched his way forward and took the lead on lap 27 from Lichty.
“I was hoping to go 2-for-2,” Lichty said. “However, I popped a brake line and couldn’t keep the car locked on the bottom.”
Jeff Kot was sixth, followed by Mike Tidaback, Glenn Heverin, Steve Craig and Ryan Smith. Indy 500 veteran Davey Hamilton finished 12th in the rundown.
Heat races went to Billy Pauch, Lou Cicconi Jr., Ian Cumens and Tim Buckwalter. Paul Lotier Jr. and Davey Hamilton won the consolation races.
Ryan Kendall of East Greenbush, N.Y., passed Justin Bonsignore with a lap left in the 25-lap Champ Kart main to score the victory.
Bonsignore, who ran out of gas, finished second, while Bryan Shields, Eric Zeh and Chris Daley completed the top five positions.
Bonsignore, Daley and Nick Hadden won the heats, while Tammy Smith and Michael Pares Jr. won the consolation races.
TQ Midget Feature Finish, 40 Laps: 1. Mike Stefanik; 2. Mike Lichty; 3. Frank Fischer; 4. Matt Janisch; 5. Paul Lotier Jr; 6. Jeff Kot; 7. Mike Tidaback; 8. Glenn Heverin; 9. Steve Craig; 10. Ryan Smith; 11. Dan Dunigan Jr; 12. Davey Hamilton; 13. Joey Payne; 14. Billy Pauch; 15. Mike Iles; 16. Timex Morgan; 17. Tim Buckwalter; 18. Christopher Allen; 19. Chris DeRitis; 20. Ian Cumens; 21. Frank Polimeda; 22. Lou Cicconi Jr.; 23. Ted Christopher; 24. James Michael Friesen.
Champ Kart Feature Finish, 25 Laps: 1. Ryan Kendall; 2. Justin Bonsignore; 3. Bryan Shields; 4. Eric Zeh; 5. Chris Daley; 6. Gavin Soraghan; 7. Tammy Smith; 8. Michael Pares Jr; 9. Evan Beaulieu; 10. Randy Brundage; 11. Adam Dion; 12. Clinton Mills; 13. Jay Dimond; 14. Todd Root; 15. Nick Hadden; 16. John Hillman; 17. Glen Brehio; 18. Ron Midford Jr.; 19. Greg Simmons; 20. Rob Murray; 21. Andrew Swisher; 22. Chris Martel; 23. Adam Gage; 24. George Bark Jr.