ISMA - Lucas Oil Super Series banquet crowns Perley and Miller Champions. Verona, NY - The elegance and excitement of the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY was the site of the 21st annual ISMA-Lucas Oil Super Series banquet on Saturday,...
ISMA - Lucas Oil Super Series banquet crowns Perley and Miller Champions.
Verona, NY - The elegance and excitement of the Turning Stone Casino in Verona, NY was the site of the 21st annual ISMA-Lucas Oil Super Series banquet on Saturday, November 8, 2003. A large crowd of ISMA car owners, drivers, crews, and fans gathered to honor the 2003 champions and outstanding achievers.
Interrupting a strong run of champions by Team Dunigan (1995-2000) for the second time in three years was the Vic Miller and Chris Perley team. The exciting point battle went down to the wire at the Thompson World Series of Racing with Perley agonizing one extra week when rain postponed the October 19 features until October 25. Vic Miller began the evening knowing he was ISMA's Car Owner of the Year, but by night's end Miller had also been honored with the 2003 ISMA Mechanic of the Year for the second straight year while his loyal crew once again picked up the Race Threads Crew of the Year who assisted the team on the way to winning four features on their way to the title.
Driver Chris Perley was crowned 2003 ISMA Driver of the Year and he too, garnered a few other accolades during the evening. Perley was honored, by the vote of his peers and compatriots, with the ISMA Achievement Award, and with the AJ Michaels Award for the third time. This year, however, Perley shared the award with longtime car owner and builder Steve Miller, in a rare voting tie. The Gater Racing News Fan's choice award also went to Perley for the third straight year.
The ISMA-Lucas Oil Super Series Rookie of the Year award was shared. The accolades went to young Bobby Santos III and Rick Wentworth. Santos drove the Howie Lane 97 to a top ten point finish. The Franklin, Mass. rookie stole a feature away from the vets at Oxford Plains, ME in the 100-lap event held there in August. Wentworth owns and drives his own car 10. He has had some good finishes throughout the season, just finishing out of the top ten in points. This award is sponsored by EF Shea Concrete and includes a jacket and a $500 check.
The 2003 ISMA Most Improved driver award went to Canadian Mark Sammut. Sammut was among the front runners during more than one feature go this season and finished 10th in points.
The ISMA organization has developed into a well-oiled machine over the years with the help of many dedicated workers. Receiving the 2003 ISMA Support Award was two of the hardest working of the ISMA team - Ed and Kathy Clark who together man the ISMA Safety Truck, a very important entity for the drivers especially.
Steve Miller, as aforementioned shared the AJ Michaels award with Chris Perley for his longtime efforts as a dedicated car owner. Miller - no relation to the champion car owner Vic - has built and maintained a supermodified team from his Mexico, NY garage for many years. The past several years has seen a two-car team brought in by Miller. This season, the 16, driven by Jim Shirey, had a horrendous flip at Oswego Speedway in late August. The Miller team pieced together parts from the 16 and the 76, which had been piloted by Canadian Rod Sauder to make the final three ISMA shows. And, although Shirey could not finish out the season due to his injuries, Sauder filled in and kept the car in the top ten in points.
Howie Lane was quite deservedly honored with the Jim Soule Dedication award. Lane, who went through a kidney transplant with his daughter earlier in the season, still managed to maintain a two-car competitive race team with Randy Ritskes, in the 9 and Bobby Santos III in the 97. Both cars finished well in the top ten in ISMA points.
And, in another rarity, Lane also shared the Jim Shampine Memorial Award with pit steward Butch Kisselstein as another tie vote ensued. Kisselstein, who has been an integral part of the ISMA organization for many years, has managed to do his ISMA work admirably despite having to travel extensively in his job. It wasn't unusual for the Kisselsteins (wife Lorraine is head scorer) to leave a race in Canada, travel to Florida where Butch did his "real" job and then be back at the next race. It's that kind of dedication, as is Lane's, that exemplifies the late Jim Shampine's demeanor in racing.
By luck of the draw, Greg Furlong won the helmet given each year by Seymour Enterprises and Bob Seymour. Also via the draw, Steve Miller won the Wade Litt-owned BS&B donated radiator.
After the top 20 in car owner and driver points were honored and the awards were given out, last but not least, ISMA said goodbye to president and race director Chuck Handley. Chuck was presented an inscribed gold watch for his years of hard work for ISMA. Handley has spent the last 11 years at the helm of the ISMA organization, steering it into a respected and professional group. Handley, who will now become race director for the new owners of the Oswego Speedway, will be sorely missed, but expects that the new officers will carry on quite well without him. He has already stated that his door in Oswego will always be open if help is needed. Handley, in his last official duty for ISMA, served as Master of Ceremonies.
Entertainment was provided once again by Brian Oddo. A big round of applause went to Kathy Clark, who served as banquet chair. Delores Murphy, Kathy Harrington and Sue Heppel assisted Clark at the very successful affair.