ISMA Concludes 30th Season of Racing at Awards Banquet Oswego, NY - The International Super Modified Association (ISMA) closed out its 30th anniversary season on November 6 with their annual awards banquet. The event, which honored many...
ISMA Concludes 30th Season of Racing at Awards Banquet
Oswego, NY - The International Super Modified Association (ISMA) closed out its 30th anniversary season on November 6 with their annual awards banquet. The event, which honored many achievers from the past season, took place at the beautiful Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY with a good number of members on hand to enjoy the final happening of the year.
The night began with the honoring of the top 20 drivers and car owners in the ISMA Lucas Oil/Helping Hands America point standings. ISMA is a car owner organization with the owner garnering the points. A separate set of driver points are kept with checks also going to the winners of two separate regions of participation for the season. For the second straight year the Vic Miller-Chris Perley team took home the championship laurels. Perley, who had five feature wins on the road to his championship finish, was presented the Driver of the Year award and Miller, was presented with the first annual Paul Dunigan Car Owner of the Year award - newly named in honor of the late car owner. The Miller crew also took home their third annual Race Threads Crew of the Year award, which consists of new team shirts for every team member, donated by that Ohio business. The popular Perley also was voted the Gater Racing News Most Popular Driver award as voted on by the fans. It was his fourth straight such honor.
Miller and Perley both commented that they were a little amazed and overwhelmed at the earning of a second straight title considering the strength of the opposition. Ten different drivers claimed feature wins in the 17 races ISMA held during the season. But it was consistency of car and motors that gave Perley and Miller the edge with only one finish out of the top six all year. Miller also claimed the HHA New England point region.
While the aforementioned awards are based on point standings, most of the rest of the annual awards are voted on by the ISMA membership. The Mechanic of the Year award, sponsored by Slice n Go Deli (Sue and Dennis Heppell) went to Howie Lane, owner and mechanic on the numbers 9 and 97, which were driven throughout most of the season by Bobby Santos, Kyle Carpenter, Randy Ritskes and even Ted Christopher. The cars finished 8th and 12th in the competitive point standings.
The Randy Witkum Memorial Rookie of the Year, sponsored by E.F. Shea Concrete, honors went to young Mike Lichty, son of Brad Lichty and driver of the Lichty 84. Mike had some great runs throughout the year and was sixth in the final point standings. At the podium Mike thanked his dad, a longtime driver in his own right, "for retiring".
The Most Improved Driver award went to Haverhill, Mass.' Rick Wentworth, a second year competitor on the ISMA trail who garnered a first-time feature win at Seekonk and a ninth place in the ISMA points.
The ISMA Support Award went to someone from a largely unrecognized person behind the scenes, push truck driver Don Kerfien. Don, a Fulton, NY native, has made most of the ISMA shows - home and away - since the inception of the club 30 years ago. That's a lot of miles and a lot of gas to burn!
Driving sensation Bobby Santos III came home with the ISMA Achievement Award. Santos, who traded driver's seats between the Howie Lane supermodifieds and a USAC ride, beat out Greg Furlong by a nose to win the Oswego Super Nationals and almost came home the first driver in history to cop the Oswego Int'l Classic in a breath-taking run the same weekend.
The AJ Michaels Memorial Award went to a very deserving Mark Sammut. The Canadian driver, who has supported ISMA for many years now, drove most ot the season on a broken foot with a fine 7th place finish in the standings to show for it. The Jim Soule Dedication award winner went to Ray Chesbro, whose daughter Jennifer pilots the family-owned 33. Jennifer announced recently that she is hanging up her helmet to purse other interests, but her dad Ray will stay on as an ISMA board member and helper in the pits.
The Jim Shampine Memorial Award for 2004 was presented to ISMA's Delores Murphy by her husband and head ISMA tech man Jack. Murphy. Delores serves as the ISMA treasurer, membership secretary, heads the novelty trailer sales and finds time to also be a member of the nominations committee and in the scoring tower on race day. She's one busy person who keeps the club running smoothly behind the scenes.
A new award, to be voted on annually, is the Paul Dunigan Dedication award, which will go to someone with Paul's dedication, knowledge, support and love of the supermodifieds. The first annual such award was given to the entire Dunigan Racing crew, and its new leader Paul Dunigan Jr. Dunigan Racing, with Pat Abold at the helm of the number 26
Many very special awards went to new sponsor Helping Hands of America and Mike and Lu Jerret and second-year sponsor Lucas Oil, with Don and Roberta Baker at the helm of the Canadian branch. The Bakers were unable to attend due to a medical emergency, but Jerret and his wife gratefully accepted a ton of honors piled on them with gifts, flowers and a few comical surprises to boot. Jerret and his wife are a unique breed of race sponsor as they were in attendance at most races with Mike helping out in the pits at almost every race he attended. ISMA, in turn, acknowledged that support with jackets, flowers and other gifts to both the Jerrets and the Bakers. Both Lucas Oil and Helping Hands of America have indicated that they will be back on board for 2005.
Dave May owner of the number 7 and 77 supers based in Ohio, picked up the BS&B new radiator as donated by that Canadian company and Justin Belfiore won the Seymour Enterprises helmet donated by Bob Seymour each year. Both awards are based on a driver drawing.
The gala evening was capped off by music, dancing and a round of "cups" that went on into the wee hours of the morning, but then Turning Stone never really closes!
A very tentative 2005 schedule, which now begins in May, is in the works with definite trips to Toledo, Jennerstown, Seekonk, Cayuga and Kawartha Speedways (Canada), Stafford, Sandusky, Mansfield, Oxford Plains, Oswego, Star and Thompson Speedways already inked in. A possible return to the South is being considered and possibly a new venue to start the season. More on that will be confirmed after the January board and membership meetings.
Go to www.ISMAsupers.com to keep up with all the information during the off-season..