By Carol D Haynes, ISMA PR
Oswego, NY – It’s been some time now that the International SuperModified Association driver and car owner title went down to the final race of the season. Chris Perley and the Vic Miller team have pretty much dominated the scene between 2003 and 2009, with only the Abold-Dunigan team squeezing in for a title in 2005. This year’s run for the roses has been different as Canadian Mike Lichty and former ISMA champion Russ Wood, have been battling back and forth at the top. For Lichty, the 2010 title would be his first-ever and for Wood the crown would be a record seventh time at the top with his third different car owner.
Lou Cicconi, after a win at Albany-Saratoga in May, was the early leader but Mike Lichty came back to claim his first-ever win on the ISMA circuit at Waterford to begin a string of top five finishes that would last until Lee USA’s Ollie Silva Memorial in August. Lichty had some bad luck at that 75-lapper, finishing ninth, while Russ Wood was on a string of his own which included a win at Airborne had a second place at Lee that night.
The point lead would now move to Wood by a handful of points, especially after leader Lichty and Lou Cicconi crashed out of the lead at Waterford the next day after Lee. At Oswego’s Super Nationals, Lichty regained the lead with a second place while Wood still kept up the pace with a fifth. Lichty’s sour streak came back to haunt at the Lee USA Classic on Sept. 11 with two features to be run with separate full points for each. Wood finished second and third at that double-header while Lichty had a tenth and seventh.
It was out to Berlin. Michigan for a 50-lapper and Lichty topped Wood there with a second place behind Ted Christopher while Wood settled into a fourth behind Canadian Mark Sammut. Seekonk’s Racing Against Cancer 100 on Oct. 2 saw both drivers hit a bit of a downward spiral. Lichty ended up seventh while his teammate Johnny Benson Jr. took home the winner’s laurels. Lichty’s car was not up to par and as Mike put it afterwards, “The car was just horrible.” Wood had a good battle going for the lead with Rob Summers until on lap 25, Wood’s Holbrook-owned mount suffered an uncharacteristic rocker arm break. The 29 team got Russ back into the 100-lapper but the point advantage certainly went to Lichty.
As the ISMA season grows to a close this weekend, one thing is for certain. ISMA will crown a champion who is not Chris Perley. Perley has not been without success, however during his limited schedule this year, Chris has managed to accumulate 4 wins, 3 seconds and a fourth in his eight appearances. But, this year the title will transfer to a first-timer in Lichty or a seventh-timer in Wood. Thirty-seven points separate the two and with points on the line not only for the feature, but for heats, leading a lap and most laps led, there will certainly be an exciting 50-lapper at Thompson for the winged warriors.
Vernon, CT’s Rob Summers holds the third place in points with 11 tops tens which include a victory at Delaware Speedway in Canada, and that’s after missing a couple runs in the 35 when car owner Jeff Holbrook took the wheel. Raymond, NH’s Jeff Locke, in only his second full ISMA season, holds onto the fourth place in points while 2009 ISMA Rookie of the Year Ben Seitz is in fifth in the first year with his own team.
Clyde Booth’s 61 stands in the 6th spot in points with a trio of drivers (points go to the car owner) – – Dave Shullick Jr., Bobby Santos and Ted Christopher, contributing to the total, Both Shullick Jr. and Christopher holds wins for that car. Rounding out the top ten are Danny Lane (97), Dave Duggan (51), Mark Sammut (78) and Bobby Haynes Jr. (44).
With ten different drivers winning ISMA features in 2010 and a healthy points battle ensuing, the Thompson World Series 50 should be a hot one no matter what the weather. Action for the Thompson World Series begins on Friday, Oct. 15, with ISMA not hitting the track until Saturday, the 16th, when they run their qualifying heats. The 50-lap ISMA main is listed for Sunday afternoon. Check www.thompsonspeedway.com for a complete schedule of events for this traditional weekend, which includes 15 racing divisions.