Dion Ciccarelli admits his second career victory did not go exactly as he would have imagined, but he is in no position to complain.
The Severn, Md., resident avoided a multicar accident late in the race to win a shortened 75-lap Winston Racing Series Late Model Stock Car event at Old Dominion Speedway on Saturday night. Ciccarelli jumped from fifth to first place after the lap 73 accident that caused the race to finish under a red-checkered flag and incited a near-brawl in pit row.
"It was an absolutely lucky deal for me Saturday night," said Ciccarelli, who won his first career race two Saturdays ago. "We were just fortunate enough not to get caught up in the incident."
Danny Fair and Nick Woodward competed for the lead for roughly the final 30 laps of the race after points leader Mark McFarland lost control of his car and crashed into the third turn midway through the race. With Fair leading a race for the first time this season, Woodward drove into the back of Fair's No. 1 car, causing Fair to spin out and knocking several other cars out of the race. Among those was Mike Colabucci, who entered the race third in the points standings.
Woodward was penalized for rough driving and sent to the back of the pack. The race was discontinued, and the leader after the 74th lap (Ciccarelli) was declared the winner.
The excitement did not end there.
After the race, Fair parked his car just before pit road in Turn 4; he said he kept his car on the track because he thought he had won the race and was waiting to be called into the winner's circle. As Woodward drove past Fair into pit row, Fair said, he saw members of his crew confronting Woodward's crew, and he ran off to join the crowd. Little more than pushing and shouting took place -- although Fair said a drink was thrown in his face -- before track officials got the crowd under control.
Woodward has been banned from the track for the remainder of the season. No action has been taken against Fair.
"A whole lot of wrong things went with that deal," Old Dominion spokesman Dave Menefee said. "A lot of things happened that shouldn't have."
Fair has struggled to get his new car running well this season. Being knocked out so close to his first victory, Fair said, was the most upsetting part of the night.
"It was a very disappointing night," said Fair, who has been racing Late Models at Old Dominion for 17 years. "It was a good night because we finally got hooked into something to get the car going pretty decent. But it was a bad night to get knocked out there. It was ridiculous to get knocked out there on the last lap.
"If I'd beaten and banged on this man [Woodward] and abused him in any way during the race, I'd say maybe I deserved that. But I drove him as clean as I drove anybody, and I don't feel that I deserved that."
Declaring Ciccarelli the winner also proved a controversial decision. Track rules dictate when a race is stopped during a caution, you revert to the previous completed lap to determine the leader. However, Menefee said, track officials ruled Ciccarelli had passed Dale DeLozier before the caution and therefore was ruled the winner.
DeLozier's second-place finish knocked McFarland out of first place for the first time this season. DeLozier leads McFarland and Colabucci by 26 points. . . .
Tom Dyson and Stan Owens split the Grand Stock twin 50-lap races. Dyson trails points leader Mike Darne by just two points. Doug Freeman won his second Mini-Stock race of the season, and Jim Todd Jr. earned his fourth Speedway Sportsman victory.
Late Model: 1, Dion Ciccarelli, Severn; 2, Dale DeLozier, Alexandria; 3, Eric Corbett, Hagerstown, Md.; 4, Mark Plows, Canberra, Australia; 5, Ricky Exline, Lake Ridge. Grand Stock (race one): 1, Tom Dyson, Manassas; 2, Mike Darne, Manassas; 3, Jeff Callihan, Fredericksburg; 4, Mark Miller, Manassas; 5, Dennis Werner, Warrenton. Grand Stock (race two): 1, Stan Owens, Haymarket; 2, Callihan; 3, Darne; 4, Chris Donnelly, Stafford; 5, Werner. Mini-Stock: 1, Doug Freeman, Fredericksburg; 2, Mike Bryant, Midland; 3, Jason Lineweaver, Stephens City; 4, Ed Zbignewich, New Windsor, Md.; 5, Rick Bowman, Catlett. Speedway Sportsman: 1, Jim Todd Jr., Casanova; 2, Scott Lunceford, Burke; 3, Jeff Sisak, Linden; 4, Ray Miller, Manassas; 5, Ted Queen, Manassas.
Late Model: 1, DeLozier, 392; 2, McFarland, 366; 2, Mike Colabucci, Waldorf, 366. Grand Stock: 1, Darne, 490; 2, Dyson, 488; 3, Owens 468. Mini-Stock: 1, Bryant, 422; 2, Jason Lineweaver, 370; 3, Zbignewich, 364. Speedway Sportsman: 1, Todd Jr., 432; 2, Lunceford, 404; 3, Sisak, 398.