Wolf wins NASCAR Weekly Series New England Region Championship
Ricky Wolf was honored at the NASCAR Awards Banquet on October 30, 2004 in Nashville, Tenn.
1. Ricky Wolf, Lee USA (.7661)
2. Ted Christopher, Stafford (.7638)
3. Jeff Strunk, Grandview (.7375)
4. Todd Ceravolo, Thompson Int'l (.7285)
5. Aaron Fellows, Twin State (.7050)
Ricky Wolf Jr., of Northwood, N.H., has won the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series New England Region championship. Wolf, 32, won the $45,000 title by recording seven wins and 16 top-five finishes at New Hampshire's Lee USA Speedway, where he competes in the Late Model division.
His performance on the track gave Wolf the highest standing in the NASCAR Competition Performance Index (CPI), which measures wins, top-five finishes and other factors to establish a regional ranking of drivers. Two-time New England Region champion Ted Christopher, of Plainville, Conn., finished as runner-up after an eight-win season at Stafford Motor Speedway in Stafford Springs, Conn.
"Clearly, this was our best year ever," said Wolf. "Finally, all the pieces have come together.
"Those 'pieces' include crew chief Jerome Canney, who joined Wolf's team in 2001. Canney, of Barrington, N.H., was the crew chief for 1998 New England Region champion Bobby Gahan, who also raced at Lee.
Wolf has attended races at Lee since he was just four years old. He began his own driving career as a teenager, competing in go-karts beginning in 1987 and 1200 cc Sprint Cars in 1993. Wolf began racing in Lee's Street Stock division in 1994 and eventually progressed to the track's Pro Stock class, where he won rookie of the year honors in 1998. In 2003, Lee eliminated the Pro Stocks from its Friday night NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series program, and designated Late Models as the feature division.
Wolf made the switch and finished fourth in the 2003 track point standings, after recording three wins and 11 top-five finishes. This season, according to Wolf, his No. 38 team helped him reach the next level, as a NASCAR champion.
"Teamwork-wise, we've improved even more than the statistics show," said Wolf. "Before we started working with Jerome, I had not won a Pro Stock race since 1998. We won our first race with Jerome as our crew chief and we've been a top five contender ever since.
"We were about at our wits' end when Jerome hooked up with us," said Wolf. "There's just no substitute for experience. We started spending money in the right places, and he showed us that we were able to build a lot of things ourselves. Everything we win goes right back into the race team."
Among the items that Wolf's team built on their own is the race car itself. The center section of Wolf's Late Model chassis was first built in 1986 and used at nearby Star Speedway. Since obtaining the car, Wolf himself has re-constructed the rest of the chassis into a highly-competitive ride. With his degree in Architectural Engineering Technology from New Hampshire Technical Institute, it's no wonder that Wolf has the passion and knowledge to fabricate a championship-caliber car all by himself.
"The geometry, the math and the chassis setups are all areas where I can draw on my engineering knowledge," said Wolf. "Understanding the dynamics of your 'roll center' – that's huge. To be able to track that makes a big difference.
"Wolf's engineering knowledge is combined with a desire to win, honed on the field and on the hardwood. Wolf played varsity soccer and basketball at Coe-Brown Academy in Northwood. After graduating in 1990 and pursuing his educational goals, Wolf found a perfect outlet for his competitive nature at Lee USA Speedway.
"Racing is something I've always wanted to do," said Wolf. "Once I got into go karts, the passion was there."
Like many NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series teams, Wolf's operation is a family effort. His parents, Cheri and Rick Sr., attend the races each weekend, just as they did with four-year-old Ricky many years ago. His support system of family, friends and fans is dubbed the "Wolf Pack," complete with team t-shirts and their own unofficial section in the grandstands.
Along with crew chief Canney, the No. 38 team includes crew members Larry Abbott, Joey Elliott, Kenny Henderson, Mike Higgins, Jamie Mather and Mike Richards. K.J. Cardinal handles public relations duties. The team is sponsored by BG Environmental, Canney's Auto Body, DT Designs, Johnson's Seafood & Steak, Kimberly Meyer Family Dentistry, Rochester Police Benevolent Association and Sweet's Enterprises. The team's own web site can be accessed at www.wolfpack38.com.
Official NASCAR Press Release, originally published
September 22, 2004