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DATE News (chronologically)
12/28/08
usac
Cicconi Jr. smokes Tony Stewart
Lou Cicconi Jr. couldn’t wait to celebrate.

So he yanked the steering wheel, stomped the throttle and began a dizzying series of 360-degree spins -- right there in the middle of the second turn, no more than two seconds after the checkered flag waved, with traffic bearing down on him.

The 44-year-old East Coast standout reached a personal goal Saturday by beating NASCAR star Tony Stewart to win the 60-lap midget feature that capped the final night of the 11th annual “Rumble in Fort Wayne.”

Forget champagne. Cicconi wanted donuts.

“I was so excited,” the driver known as Liquid Lou said, still effervescent a half-hour later. “I’ve been thinking about this for a year -- beating Tony Stewart.”

Stewart, the winner here on Friday, finished nearly a third of a lap behind in a race that went green all the way after a caution on lap 12. Jon Stanbrough finished third, giving Rick Daugherty the Rumble Series car owner championship, with Mike Fedorcak and Dave Darland completing the top five on the 1/6-mile indoor track at the Memorial Coliseum Expo Center.

Stewart, whose resume includes two NASCAR titles and another in the Indy Racing League, had won six of the past nine races here and a record seven overall.

“I think he was as fast as me,” said Cicconi, a three-time ARDC midget champ. “But he would have had to have been twice as fast to get by me tonight. I wanted this one. He wasn’t going to get past me unless he drove right through me.”

Cicconi, who started fourth in the 14-car field, grabbed the lead on lap 16 when Stanbrough slid wide in turn four and hit the lapped traffic just right all night. Stewart, meanwhile, had to come from ninth after a tangle with a slower car in his heat cost him a much better starting position.

Before Stewart could catch a glimpse of Cicconi, he was gone.

“The track got really good at the end,” Stewart said, “but there were about five really good cars all going about the same speed. Obviously, Lou got in front and checked out on me. He had a lot better car tonight than last night. I don’t think I could have got past him.”

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