THOMPSON WORLD SERIES OF SPEEDWAY RACING TO DECIDE ISMA CHAMPION
By CAROL D. HAYNES
OSWEGO, NY – As has been the norm for many years now in ISMA competition, the point title will once again be determined at the final race of the season, the World Series of Speedway Racing. And, it is fitting that this venue, that has been the site of over 40 ISMA events over the years, be again where the champion is crowned. This season the top two contenders – Jon McKennedy (P&L Motorsports) and Timmy Jedrzejek (Lane Racing), are each seeking a career first championship. In addition there are some very close races in the top eight spots, which could see some major shuffling in the final standings.
Jon McKennedy, not an unfamiliar name to the New England fans, joined a new team P&L Motorsports this year, owned by Pam and Lee Vinal, also a well known couple in area racing. Jon, a very successful modified driver, jumped behind the wheel of the P&L 21 and found it a comfortable fit. By the fourth race of the season he had picked up a first-time win for his car owners at Jennerstown Speedway. For McKennedy, who has raced on and off with ISMA over the years with several car owners, it was a career 8th ISMA victory.
Jon’s run through the ISMA season saw only one trip out of the top ten in feature racing when he finished 11th in his first outing in the Oswego Jack Murphy Memorial. After that he racked up six top fives which include a win at Jennerstown, a second at Star, two thirds (Lancaster and Waterford), two fourths (Oswego Super Nationals and Stafford), two sixths (Delaware and Sandusky Hy-Miler), a seventh at Lee and an eighth at Sandusky’s Fast Forty. Not a bad start with a new team to be sure. And now he and his car owners sit atop the ISMA point standings 24 points ahead of his main challenger this year, Tim Jedrzejek, with only one race to go.
Looking back to the ISMA season beginning and the tally shows that Timmy Jedrzejek hasn’t had a shabby season either in the Lane Racing 97s. Yes, 97s, as the Lane team brought out a new car this year to have as a main car or a backup depending on the track and the situation. One black and one white 97 filled the Lane pit stall each race.
Timmy J started out at Oswego with a 10th place then picked it up a notch to finish second at Lancaster behind winner Trent Stephens. Stafford found him in second to Ben Seitz in the “white” car, which is the newer of the two mounts and just happens to be Seitz’s old car, which Howie Lane bought in the offseason. After Stafford Ben Seitz, Trent Stephens, Mike McVetta and the Bodnar 95 were ahead of the McKennedy-Jedrzejek teams but not for long.
Jedrzejek was back in second place at Jennerstown trailing his new point rival McKennedy as heading into Sandusky the duo had taken over the top two point spots in the standings. Sandusky’s two-day show produced a sixth and the Lee – Waterford trek brought Timmy a 10th but the next day at Waterford he etched his first and solo win of the season.
Jedrzejek was on top of the standings by a mere 5 points as the ISMA group headed into Canada for the Harv Lennox Memorial $10,000 to win event on August 19. Timmy J notched a fifth at Delaware with McKennedy right behind in 6th.
The calendar turned to September and the three big events that loomed on the schedule. At the Oswego SuperNationals Jon came home with a 4th while Timmy took a 7th. McKennedy now topped the leaderboard by 7 markers and the group headed for the prestigious Star Classic, which McKennedy had won in 2013.
Star was a nail bitter for the two ISMA champ contenders. Jon came home with a second with Timmy J right behind in third. Basically 24 points separate the two coming into the ISMA portion of the World Series.
Now, neither of these two teams can disregard the guys behind them who will be doing some tough end-of-season racing of their own. Sitting in third in points is six-time ISMA champion Chris Perley, who would be a long shot to take the 2017 title with a 110 deficit on Jedrzejek, but he certainly could come into play as he vies for an unprecedented 11th World Series win. Then right behind Perley by a mere 21 points is Ohio’s Rocket Man Mike McVetta, who is TIED with Dan Bowes at 1822 points. Then right behind that pair is Trent Stephens, who won the Lancaster feature back in June.
Rounding out the very competitive top eight are Mike Lichty and Mark Sammut, always-potential winners who could be game changers.
So the only thing certain about what’s going to transpire the weekend of October 13-14-15 at Thompson Motorsports Park, is that NOTHING is for certain! This is one not to miss for sure.