PERLEY CAPS HIS CHAMPIONSHIP YEAR with a WORLD SERIES ISMA WIN
By Carol D. Haynes
Photos by Jim Feeney
Thompson, CT – Chris Perley capped off his 2008 ISMA championship with his fifth win at Thompson Speedway's World Series of Racing on Sunday. It was his fifth win of the ISMA portion of that racing event and his sixth win overall in that race's history. Trailing him was his teammate, driving the Vic Miller 71, and 4-time World Series victor himself, Bentley Warren. Perley's main competition came from Dave Shullick Jr. who led, then ran second to the 11 until, with less than ten laps to go, spun off turn four. Lou Cicconi was able to stay in second for one circuit until Warren took over.
Perley described his race. " I was running strong. The car was awesome and I kind of got a little lax in traffic. I was just trying to pick my way through and trying not to nick up the car because obviously you have to 'finish to finish first' or something like that. Then Dave woke me up there for a minute. I guess then he spun himself out. It's too bad. It would have been a good battle between him and I. I know that he was pretty strong. That's why I wanted to get by him as early as I could. I just love coming to Thompson. This place is a blast and we've had a lot of luck here, which of course is half of it. With great crew, great sponsors, and great engines, the car just keeps running. I can't thank everybody enough for coming out to see us today."
Ageless Bentley Warren climbed out of the seat of the Miller 71 all smiles, enjoying the race and the applause he has earned. ": Thanks to Vic Miller and Eddie Shea and the whole11-71 crew. The crew gave me a heck of a racecar. I really enjoyed running it. It's just so much fun to run with these guys. I really appreciate it."
Mark Sammut, who stole third from Cicconi, in the Wentworth 10, at race end, laughed and said, "The car's been running great all weekend. Everybody on the crew worked hard. We won our heat yesterday and here we are in the top three and not a black car!"
Dave Shullick Jr. led the ISMA field of 28 to the green flag and immediately set himself up as the man to beat. Robbie Summers, Mike Lichty and Sammut were quickly joined by Perley in the early battled\.
But, with no yellows to mar the way, Shullick fled into the tail of the field, putting a couple cars in between his Booth-owned 61 and the pursuers. And, just as quickly, Chris Perley moved by Lichty and Summers to be Shoe II's challenger.
The traffic Shullick began to encounter was almost as racy as the front-runners, slowing him enough for Perley to close up the distance between them. On lap 16, The Rowley Rocket pulled under Shullick to take over the lead, but the battle did not end here.
On lap 17 Mike Ordway Sr., driving the PATCO 74, found himself minus a wheel and a spot on the wall. After the cleanup, Bob Magner was the next wall victim, in a different spot, as the race tried to resume. He went into the pits but would resume the race later on.
Perley took off on the green with Shullick tucked in behind. Several lap cars separated the duo from Summers, Lichty, Cicconi, Sammut, Warren and Ordway Jr.
Just before halfway, the 76 of Tim Adams slid off the track in four, hit the pedal and was able to make the save although the yellow had flown.
Liquid Lou used the restart of lap 21 to catapult by both Lichty and Summers to take over third. The race went on autopilot for a number of laps as Perley tiptoed through traffic and Shullick tap danced behind. Soon the 61 was closing in on the 11.
With 15 to go, Shullick was within striking distance as a war waged behind between Cicconi, Summers, Lichty, Warren and Sammut.
On lap 37, Lichty's run once again ended in disappointment as the 84 headed pit side smoking.
On lap 39, Adams was able to make another spectacular save when his wing flapped forward hindering his vision. Adams was able to steer the car through the grass and into the pits.
With ten to go, Shullick was right there as Perley approached some three-wide racing just ahead of him. The 61 showed a wheel to Perley and then almost a whole car. The pass did not stick and on lap 42, Shullick drove harder than he wanted to off turn four in pursuit of the lead and the 61 came around, sending the apron dirt and the yellow flag flying. He was able to get straightened out and back on the track, only now at the tail end.
On the restart, Perley took off, as did "the old man" with Bentley Warren making a charge by Cicconi for the runner-up spot. Cicconi was left to try and hold off Summers, Sammut, Russ Wood, Ordway Jr. and Dave McKnight.
Within a couple laps, Shullick was already up behind McKnight, but time was running out. Mark Sammut wasn't done racing yet either as Perley and Warren ran their Miller owned black cars and Cicconi ran the Miller designed Wentworth 10 out front of his red and while 78. On the last circuit as the flag was flying for Perley out front, Sammut picked off Cicconi to claim a podium finish, joining Bentley and Perley.
Cicconi and Summers picked up the remainder of the top five while Russ Wood, Mike Ordway Jr., Shullick, Jeff Holbrook and Dave McKnight completed the top ten, the final cars on the lead lap.
For Perley, the World Series victory was his 7th ISMA win of the season, as he captured his third straight ISMA title, and fifth overall. He reflected on his 2008 season earlier while awaiting the feature run.
"We had a great year again. I don't know if you can say it was as good as last year, but I think it was in some aspects. The car was so strong. The competition crept up a little in ISMA, which was great. Winning a race or a championship isn't really worth it if there isn't anybody there to fight you for it in the end. I enjoy the competition as much as anything. Obviously without the crew, without the sponsors and the support of my family and friends, it's not worth it at all. We just have a great package and everybody keeps rolling along. If we didn't win the championship and we had this type of year, we'd still be happy. It's just a bonus this year. And, next year if we keep going, who knows if we'll win the championship, but again, if we don't and we still have a year like this, that's awesome too."
SUMMARY ISMA Event #12 (including a rained out Toledo)
Heat 1: Dave Shullick Jr., Chris Perley, Mike Lichty, Otto Sitterly, Bobby Haynes Jr., Bob Magner, Larry Lehnert, Dave Trytek, Eric Emhoff
Heat 2: Russ Wood, Mike Ordway Sr., Scott Martel, Lou Cicconi, Vern Romanoski, Bob Bond, Pat Lavery, Bobby Santos, Dave Sanborn, Jamie Timmons
Heat 3: Mark Sammut, Rob Summers, Bentley Warren, Mike Ordway Jr., Dave McKnight, Craig Rayvals, Tim Adams, Randy Wimert, Brandon Bellinger, Mike Keeler, Jeff Holbrook
WORLD SERIES ISMA 50
1. Chris Perley (11), 2. Bentley Warren (71), 3. Mark Sammut (78), 4. Lou Cicconi (10), 5. Rob Summers (97), 6. Russ Wood (29), 7. Mike Ordway Jr. (41), 8. Dave Shullick Jr. (61), 9. Jeff Holbrook (35), 10. Dave McKnight (94), 11. Dave Sanborn (24), 12. Craig Rayvals (05), 13. Bob Bond (25), 14. Mike Keeler (56), 15. Pat Lavery (2L), 16. Bob Magner (22), 17. Otto Sitterly (7), 18. Mike Lichty (84), 19. Tim Adams (76), 20. Vern Romanoski (9), 21. Dave Trytek (70), 22. Mike Ordway Sr. (74), 23. Bobby Haynes Jr. (44), 24. Brandon Bellinger (02), 25. Scott Martel (88), 26. Larry Lehnert (92), 27. Eric Emhoff (2E), 28. Randy Wimert (60).