ISMA awards banquet report

Syracuse, NY - The 18th annual ISMA awards banquet was held recently at the Wyndham Hotel in Syracuse, NY, honoring the 2000 season's champions, Joe Gosek and Paul Dunigan, among others. Gosek became a two-time ISMA champion in 2000, driving...

Syracuse, NY - The 18th annual ISMA awards banquet was held recently at the Wyndham Hotel in Syracuse, NY, honoring the 2000 season's champions, Joe Gosek and Paul Dunigan, among others.

Gosek became a two-time ISMA champion in 2000, driving the Paul Dunigan owned number 26. His first title came in 1987 with car owner Tony Osetek. Gosek said appreciatively as he accepted the huge championship trophy, "This year has put a smile back on my face, each and every time I showed up to drive the Paul Dunigan car. My thanks goes to the crew, my crew chief Eddie Page, Brian Allegresso and of course, Paul and Helen Dunigan, for giving me the opportunity to drive a fantastic car." Gosek accumulated 5 features wins on his way to picking up the $6,000 first-place prize.

For Paul Dunigan, it was an unprecedented sixth-straight ISMA title as a car owner. His first title came in 1995 with Mike Ordway as driver. He also has three runner-up spots to his credit, with Randy Ritskes taking second to Gosek in this year's point tally. Dunigan was named 2000 Car Owner of the Year by virtue of his top place finish with Gosek the 2000 ISMA Driver of the Year.

The Paul Dunigan team also earned another Race Threads Crew of the Year award which consists of embroidered shirts for the entire group.

After the top twenty owners and drivers picked up their checks, totalling well over $75,000 from the ISMA-Hoosier point standings, many other awards were handed out as voted on by the ISMA membership.

For the first time in several years a different name was added to the ISMA Mechanic of the Year award. Brad Lichty, owner, driver and mechanic on his own supermodified team, was voted into the coveted spot. His #94 car, driven by Dave McKnight Jr., finished in third place in the ISMA points with Dave copping three feature wins during the season. The #84, driven by several drivers including Lichty, finished in 16th. McKnight also was awarded the ISMA Achievement Award and the A.J. Michaels Memorial Award. McKnight started racing at about the same time as the late Michaels and Dave indicated that being given this award was a special honor.

The ISMA Rookie of the Year award, newly renamed the Randy Witkum Memorial Rookie of the Year, was handed out to two drivers. One, Nick Fornoro Jr., a long-time veteran, but new to supermodifieds and a 20-year old rookie Jamie Timmons. The two ran neck-in-neck all season with the tight battle going down to the Thompson World Series. Fornoro commented later that he was pleased with the decision to honor co-rookies. "I've been driving longer than Jamie has been alive," laughed Fornoro, "He deserves the credit."

Car owner of the numbers 81 and 91 supermodifieds, Kevin Jaycox, picked up the ISMA Support Award. Jaycox, an Ohio resident, fielded the cars driven by Tim Jedrzejek and Denny Fisher, who both finished in the top 20, despite some hard crashes during the season.

New Jersey's John Payne , driver of the Steve Miller 16, was voted the ISMA Most Improved Driver of the Year. Payne, a relative newcomer on the circuit, finished a fine 12th place in the Hoosier-ISMA point standings.

Dan Soule picked up two awards during the evening. First, the Gater Racing News Fans Choice award voting went to Soule, the first driver other than Russ Wood, to win the check and plaque. Soule also received the coveted Jim Shampine Memorial Award, handed out to him by his mom and ISMA secretary, Ruth Koch. In an emotional speech Soule tried to convey what the award meant to him as Shampine had been a compatriot of Soule's late father Jim. The Jim Soule Dedication award went to "Irish" Jack Murphy, a friend and cohort of the late Clay, NY man. This award was presented by Dan Soule on behalf of his father, complete with a Genny beer, a beverage made famous in racing circles by the late car owner.

Scotty Martel's name was drawn out of the top five finishers to receive the Seymour Enterprises driver of the year helmet, donated by Bob Seymour. Also recognized as supporters of ISMA throughout the season were New England Motor Racing Supply, Steve Gioia Sales(Hoosier), Gater Racing News, Burke's Home Centers, Shea Concrete, Brad and Betty Booth of Race Threads, as well as Seymour Enterprises and of course Hoosier.

Last, but not least, Paul Landers and Chuck Handley received Special Awards. Landers, a retiring tech inspector, was thanked for a job well done by the membership . Handley, who has stood at the helm of ISMA for the past eight years, guiding the organization to its current respected stature, was given special recognition by the ISMA Board of Directors.

Master of Ceremonies Art Rousseau drew a round of applause from the attendees as he thanked Vicki Rabozzi and her committee for another great banquet celebration.

A tentative 2001 ISMA schedule, which includes a visit to Seekonk and Toledo Speedways after a several year hiatus, in additon to events at Oswego, Berlin, Cayuga, Kawartha(Ontario), Lancaster, Sandusky, Lee USA, Oxford Plains, Star, Southern National, and Thompson Speedways. was announced and will be finalized shortly.

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Series Stock car
Drivers Steve Miller , Jack Murphy