December 28, 2013 – Audio, cover photo and story by Jacob Seelman for Speed77 Radio and Race Chaser Online – FORT WAYNE, IN – For the man so slick his nickname is “Liquid”, Lou Cicconi has been as smooth as silk on the racetrack in 2013.
Cicconi, who won an A-feature at the Rumble in 2008 and remains the only driver to win an A-main at the Rumble when Tony Stewart’s car has been running at the finish, is making his return to War Memorial Coliseum this weekend after a five year absence. The Aston, Pennsylvania native has had a banner 2013 campaign, finally breaking through after many years of trying to score his first-career International Supermodified Association (ISMA) championship.
“We really had a great season this year,” Lou said on-site at the Rumble of his 2013 campaign. “(Vic Miller) and the whole team gave me a consistent car all season. We didn’t have the best start to the year but when we hit the summer stretch, things just really started clicking. We were able to nab a couple of wins, and had a little luck fall our way too.”
“Last year we lost the championship by five points, so to come back this year and squeeze it out this year was really a sense of redemption for me.”
Cicconi quietly put together an impressive year in the ISMA ranks. Driving for veteran ISMA car owner Vic Miller, “Liquid Lou” used the strength of a win at the Oswego Speedway in June and a final tally of 10 top five and 11 top ten finishes in 14 races to claim his long awaited first championship. For 2014, Cicconi will make the move over to Clyde Booth’s #61 in the ISMA ranks as he looks to defend his ISMA title.
“Vic Miller and that whole team made it happen this year and they’re a great group of guys, but for 2014 it’ll be Clyde Booth and the #61 crew that will be making it happen for me. I can’t thank Vic enough though; he and his guys gave me something that I’ve always worked for, and this championship with them is something I’ll always remember.”
In years prior, Cicconi has driven his own car at the Rumble but his year, the former Fort Wayne champion returns in a different machine than what he’s piloted in the past, filling in for the injured Tony Stewart in the famous black #2 Munchkin. Cicconi says the opportunity to wheel the car of one of his longtime friends and competitors was a huge honor.
“You know, it was really special, and a little humbling, when Tony asked me if I would come up and drive his car this year. Tony’s always been a good friend and a fierce competitor, so it’s really big this weekend for me to go out and try to do this team proud.”
Cicconi’s weekend at the Rumble has not started off exactly how he would have hoped. The veteran driver had to race his way into the feature through one of the Last Chance Showdowns and had mechanical woes during the A-main, falling out at Lap 30 and finishing 13th.
Still though, “Liquid” Lou insists that Friday at the Rumble does not translate over to Saturday at all.
“Just because someone has a rough night on the first go-round doesn’t mean that they’re going to be bad the second night. I mean, look at me. I finished 12th on the first night in ’08 and look what happened. We ended up in victory lane the next night,” Cicconi laughed on Friday evening.
And coincidentally, his last start at the Rumble? That 2008 triumph.
“Who knows? If we can get things worked out tomorrow, maybe we can do it again.”
UPDATE: Lou Cicconi has withdrawn from Saturday’s Rumble in Fort Wayne after Friday night’s feature event. He was taken to a nearby hospital for observation and treatment. Cap Henry hot lapped the #2 Munchkin this morning and TSR teammate Mike Fedorcak will pilot the Black Deuce for Saturday night’s program.
Listen in as we sat down for an exclusive interview with former Rumble champion and 2013 ISMA champion Lou Cicconi during festivities for the 2013 Rumble in Fort Wayne: