ISMA 2004 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR LOOKING FORWARD TO ISMA OPENER AT WATERFORD AND A RUN AT THE '05 TITLE Oswego, NY -- Last season was teenager Mike Lichty's first full season running with the ISMA winged supermodified organization. His goal for his...
ISMA 2004 ROOKIE OF THE YEAR LOOKING FORWARD TO ISMA OPENER AT WATERFORD AND A RUN AT THE '05 TITLE
Oswego, NY -- Last season was teenager Mike Lichty's first full season running with the ISMA winged supermodified organization. His goal for his initial year was simple. He was out there looking to bring home the coveted Rookie of the Year award. At the end of the year the title was his having finished a strong sixth in the competitive Lucas Oil-Helping Hands of America ISMA point standings. His main goal for ISMA in 2005? The ISMA championship title.
"I'm running for the championship," said the Innerkip, Ontario driver on April 2 just four days shy of his 18th birthday. "I hope to get started on a good note at the opener at Waterford (May 28th). I'm feeling really confident about the upcoming season. We have the equipment to do well and I feel that we can go for it. "
Mike Lichty may sound a little over-confident, but one has to remember that he is the son of a racer (Brad Lichty) and teams with one of ISMA's best, Dave McKnight, both former ISMA champions in their own right. Mike gives credit where credit is due and he feels a lot of his success has been due to the two aforementioned men. "They help me every way possible. They helped me with any questions I have. I have some really great guys I can go to for advice."
Mike grew up in the Lichty garage, working on supermodified race cars for as long as he can remember. When he finally got behind the wheel of one, he already knew the car inside and out. His confidence is therefore understood.
Lichty's driving resume includes three years of go-kart racing before adding competing in a 600cc outlaw midget. His dad Brad then put him into one of the three supermodifieds he owns and let him run three shows - just enough to get some seat time, but not enough to disqualify his rookie run in 2004. He started the season with a heat win at Seekonk(MA), but the remainder of that event was washed away. He qualified and then ran just out of the top ten for the next several ISMA races. In June he hit a top five at Toledo Speedway(OH) and then two races later he was sixth at the tough Jennerstown(PA) oval. Oxford (ME) in July brought him a fourth finishing right behind his dad. A string of top tens then prevailed with his best finish of the year coming at Seekonk in September with a second behind race winner Rick Wentworth.
Mike, who is in his last half of his last year of high school, has laid out some concrete plans for 2005 and beyond. Besides his ISMA competition, he will be running a limited USAC Silver Crown schedule to gain some exposure in that prestigious division. "Hopefully, if everything works out this year with the new Silver Crown car, it may help take me to the next level, said Lichty.
The Silver Crown car is a new addition to the Lichty team stable and with it, Mike plans to run four races at Richmond, IRP, Milwaukee and Colorado. "We'll be getting this car ready as soon as the supers are done," said Mike. "I've never run this division before and I'd like to just be able to qualify and run in the top ten."
And, if supers and Silver Crown are not enough to keep him busy, Mike would like to get together with fellow Canadian Ryan Coniam to run a 360 dirt sprinter at the end of the year. It's obvious that Lichty's plans are leading him to a full-time racing career!
"I'm trying all avenues right now," Mike indicated. "After competing with the supers and the Silver Crown, I'm looking to perhaps go to another level like NASCAR. But that all takes money, so we'll take it one step at a time."
Lichty has set one more goal for himself for 2005. "Last season brought everything I had hoped for except a feature win. I'd plan on getting one or more of those before the year ends."
The PATCO-Lucas Oil team remains pretty much the same as last year. "I'll be running the same motor that Dave (McKnight) had in at Toledo. It's a big different configuration. I hope it goes a little farther than it did there when Dave was leading and it blew up. We've built three new wings and have gone through the cars and refreshed the motors. We'll be running two cars with Dave and myself in them."
This 18-year old driver has a great deal of confidence and some auspicious plans for this year and the future. He has a positive attitude and he's positive he can do well. But that's what you need in this day and age where young, talented drivers can set their sites high and often reach the top very, very quickly.
The ISMA season opener is less than two months away and a new venue, Waterford Speedbowl, begins it all. Mike Lichty is ready to go, but if you talk to him for any length of time, you will know that he has been ready for most of his 18 years. He was born a racer and plans on staying that way for some time.