Lichty Dominates ISMA at Oswego in What May be His Final Tour Event of Season – PTD Exclusive

By JORDAN DELUCIA

When some of the International Supermodified Association’s (ISMA) top competitors line up on the front row for a race at Oswego Speedway, it’s sure to provide the highest quality of full-throttle action and breakneck corner speeds the fans have come to expect from the winged Supermodifieds. Back in May, it was Chris Perley picking up the victory over Mike Lichty. But on Saturday night for ‘Perley vs. Lichty II’ it was the exact opposite story, with Lichty taking command early and leading all 60 laps on his way to victory at ‘The Steel Palace’ over Perley and Trent Stephens.

Lichty finished third in heat number one behind Mike McVetta and Stephens, putting him outside front row for the main event. Perley took the win over Jon McKennedy and Kyle Edwards, which placed him to the inside of Lichty. The green was dropped and Perley and Lichty stayed side-by-side through the first three corners, but Lichty had a better run on the high line out of turn four, completing the pass down the front-stretch. Lichty would never surrender the lead, but received race-long pressure from Perley. The two leaders were never separated by more than about eight car-lengths at any point in the race.

Lap traffic did not seem to be as big of an issue for the leaders, as there were only 12 other cars on the racetrack at the height of their battle. Still, Lichty had quite the job to do of holding off a six-time ISMA champion through 60 laps.

“Every time we show up to Oswego, we know we’ve got a shot at winning. We’ve just got a really good setup here,” Lichty said. “I really like the racetrack and it just really works for our team. We’re always excited to come to Oswego knowing that we’ve got a good shot at winning, and it was good to finally win one this year.”

Despite Lichty’s appreciation for Oswego’s track and facility, the same cannot be said for his attitude towards the new tire compound manufactured by Hoosier Racing Tire. Many drivers have expressed their displeasure with having to race with the new tires this season, most notably Michael Barnes – an Oswego Supermodified regular. Both drivers are very upset with the situation, particularly because nothing is being done about it. Lichty’s comments explain it all…

“I didn’t feel it was really a competitive race, and that’s how the whole season has went. I keep voicing my opinion, telling them these tires are garbage,” he said. “But that’s the reality of it. The fans deserve better, the track promoters deserve better, we deserve better too. They spend thousands of dollars to show up and we show up with 14 racecars – it’s unacceptable. So for that, we’re parking the racecar, and they’ll have 13 racecars.

“There’s a lot of money sitting here. Traveling down the road, knowing that if you’re not starting in the first two rows you don’t have a shot at winning – that’s not racing. Clearly, nobody’s listening.”

That’s right, don’t expect to see the Reed’s Salvage number 84 at Star Speedway or Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park to cap off the year, as the team will sit the rest of the season out. A very disappointing situation that will hopefully induce some change with the tires…

Aside from the tire debate, Chris Perley finished right behind Lichty, driving his old car – not the new Hawk Jr. chassis he won with in the spring. But he was fast – about as fast Lichty himself. But the cars were just too even for Perley to get the run he needed to make a move for the lead.

“We’ve been running the Hawk car, and it’s been good but we brought out Vic’s [Miller] old piece and popped a Jimmy D motor in it and the thing actually was really good from the start,” Perley said. “I thought we had a good piece for tonight. I figured it was going to be whoever got to the lead first. With Mikey starting on the outside and the syrup down on the track I think it gave him a little edge and all I could do was chase him down.”

Both of the leaders were very competitive – Perley seemed to be a bit better down the straightaways and Lichty was better in the turns, which kept the cars within a short distance.

“I was better in [turns] one and two, he was better in the middle of three and four – he could get that run. I was too tight and that’s where he kept gaining back whatever I could make up on him,” Perley said.

Crossing the line in third was Trent Stephens, who said his car was dialed-in the whole night. He and his crew made very few changes to the car and were pleased with a third-place finish, despite the tight handling near the end of the race.

“Just tightened it up a little too much for the feature. The car was still decent, but I just couldn’t pass because it was too tight,” Stephens said. “I really had to work at it and catch the guys when they made mistakes to get around them.”

Stephens pulled-off what was the boldest move of the night with a pass he made on lap 47 to take the third spot away from McKennedy, threading the needle between he and another lap car while diving into turn one. Somehow, all three cars kept it straight and exited turn two without making contact.

“I don’t think I realized what I did at the time, I saw a little bit of a car to the inside and I figured he’d back out. Luckily he did,” Stephens said laughingly.

Other Race Notes

The disappointing car count continued on Saturday with only 16 ISMA cars showing up to race and only 10 left on the track at the time of the finish…

Budweiser International Classic 200 competitor Michael Muldoon arrived at the track late and had to start each race at the rear of the field without any prior track time with the wing on. He only made a few laps before calling it a night…

Both of the Bodnar Racing cars were not present at the track as they had been in years past, with drivers Otto Sittterly and Dave Schullick Jr. electing to stay focused on non-wing competition for Classic Weekend…