Drivers prep for new season

ISMA DRIVERS AND CAR OWNERS MOVE ON TOWARD 2006 SEASON Oswego, NY - "All those things that don't change come what may" goes the old song and it aptly describes the upcoming race season. Over the off-season, while some things have changed there...

ISMA DRIVERS AND CAR OWNERS MOVE ON TOWARD 2006 SEASON

Oswego, NY - "All those things that don't change come what may" goes the old song and it aptly describes the upcoming race season. Over the off-season, while some things have changed there is one thing that hasn't- it's the fact that a new season looms on the horizon. And so it goes for the Helping Hands of America/Lucas Oil ISMA organization. In the off-season the perennial powerhouse Dunigan Team decided it was time to park their cars for now, but new supermodified cars have joined the fold to fill that void. Although Team Dunigan, with its many achievements and accomplishments over the years, will never be replaced, there are many old and new faces preparing for the new season with great anticipation and a chance to showcase their capabilities to the fans..

But, perhaps, ISMA hasn't seen the last of the potent Dunigan-Allegresso-built supers despite the chatroom chatter. Paul Dunigan Jr., from his Tower News business in Lowell, Mass., said recently, "Nothing is going anywhere. It's staying right where it is for right now. I might pull the cars out eventually, but we're going to see how things go right now. I'm enjoying everything presently with no racing headaches.

"We're getting some things done at the garage," Paul Jr. continued, "Working on some of the other cars we haven't touched in fifteen years. Dad had a bunch of different cars and I did too. We're starting to work on some of those. Mom and I bought a condo at the beach and I got there once last year the way the race schedule ran, with the rainouts and rescheduling. I want more time at the beach this summer. After that we'll see how it goes."

And, with this year's departure of the Dunigan supers, six-time ISMA champion Russ Wood and ISMA All-Time feature winner, is without a ride at this date. "As of right now I have nothing in the works," said Russ from Woody's in Pelham, NH. "But then I haven't pursued anything either. I'm not a retired old driver yet. I'd take a good ride, but I've been spoiled. Someday, sometime, I'd like to race with Brian (Allegresso) again. I have a daughter and a son racing go-karts now and I'll be happy to go racing with them for now."

2005 ISMA Champion Pat Abold is in the same boat as Wood. Pat, after winning the 2005 championship, is car-less. But, he too, has an ambitious son who has a strong USAC Ford Focus schedule coming up in 2006. Abold will not be devoid of racing, but assuredly would jump in the seat of a quality super ride if it were offered.

And, there is a lot of activity in the returnee camp. Two-time ISMA champion Chris Perley indicated from Rowley, Mass. that it's the "same old-same old" for him. "Why change anything?" said Perley, "I just have to make up six points (the amount he finished behind Abold for the championship in 2005). We've got the car pulled apart and the usual maintenance is being done. It is going to seem strange not to race against Russ and Pat this year, but there certainly is enough competition out there. I'll be looking for Nokie to be tough and of course Louie, who now has Brian Allegresso preparing his car. At any given time last year there were a bunch of guys who could win races. It won't be easy."

In the Howie Lane camp, young lions Kyle Carpenter and Bobby Santos will be back in the seats of the 97 and 9 supermodifieds. Veteran Scotty Martel, who ran for Lane last year, has announced that he will once again campaign a full ISMA season and is busy readying his family-owned number 14 car.

Oswegogonian Jeff Holbrook has signed up for two ISMA franchises for the 2006 season. Car owner Holbrook competed on occasion during t he 2005 season on the ISMA trail with another young lion Bob Magner and veteran Dave Trytek piloting the potent Holbrook cars. Several new Ohio teams have also joined the group.

With former Dunigan wrench Brian Allegresso now preparing a supermodified for Lou Cicconi Jr., a powerful team should immediately evolve. Cicconi and Joey Payne spent the off-season battling at the Atlantic City Indoor show in January. The famous duo raced a thrilling side-by-side main event for many laps until Payne eventually blew a motor. Cicconi went on to park in victory lane while Payne stopped in the winner's circle to congratulate his old friend. These two have also thrilled the crowds more than once with some intense battles in their larger supermodified machines.

2004 ISMA Rookie of the Year Mike Lichty also made his first-ever Boardwalk appearance in a TQ midget. He finished fourth in the A-Main and he's already looking forward to dividing his time between ISMA and the USAC Silver Crown circuit this year. He'll be teaming once again with 2001 ISMA champion Dave McKnight when the ISMA season opens at Oswego Speedway on Sunday afternoon, May 7th.

And, along with many other competitors like Joe Petro, Justin Belfiore, Ricky Wentworth, Mark Sammut, Randy Ritskes, and more, the ISMA wheels are rolling toward another exciting ISMA season. A few dates on the schedule are still being worked on at this early date, so look for future announcements or check out the website at www.ISMAsupers.com.

On a side note, Jon Gambuti of Point Pleasant, NJ took a hard hit at Atlantic City. His may be lengthy after surgery for a fractured cervical vertebra and lower lumbar fracture. Gambuti piloted the Jack Carfello-owned number 15 supermodified last season with ISMA. Cards may be sent to 601 Mistletoe Ave., Apt. 15, Point Pleasant, NJ 08742.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Mike Lichty , Bobby Santos