The International Super Modified Association was founded in 1974 by multi-time Oswego Speedway champions Jim Shampine and Nolan Swift to ensure the future and longevity of supermodified racing. With the help of a Central New York businessman, Tom Heveron, Shampine and Swift formed ISMA as a forum for owners and drivers to express their ideas and opinions.
ISMA's initial goals were to upgrade supermodified racing with better safety conditions, offer more events per season, ensure sufficient purses, and aid drivers and teams. The association worked with track managements in making decisions and in discussing ways of improvement.
The club encouraged new drivers and owners to join supermodified racing, worked to capture racetracks' interest in supermodified racing, and helped to promote the division to a wider audience.
Heveron became the original ISMA president and was aided by Shampine as the vice president and Fred Graves as the secretary and treasurer. These three men and numerous others led ISMA through its developmental stages.
The new supermodified racing association soon negotiated with western New York’s Lancaster Speedway, now known as Dunn Tire Raceway Park, for a 40-lap race held on July 3, 1974 which saw Richwood, Ohio’s Todd Gibson garner the association's first feature win. The following year ISMA booked races at Fulton (N.Y.) Speedway with a $5,000 purse and $1,000 to win.
In 1976, ISMA developed a point fund with tracks contributing $500- $1,000 per race to this fund. Unlike most other point systems, ISMA adopted a system that awards points to the car owners, citing the fact that the association was an owners club rather than drivers. This “owners points” policy is still intact today.
By 1977 ISMA had accomplished sanctioning over $96,000 in purse money and races, adding a point fund of $4,400 paid by promoters, offering tow money at all ISMA-sanctioned races, having insurance certificates from each promoter on file, and working with other promoters for more races.
The ’77 season saw ISMA events at Ontario, Canada’s Delaware and Flamboro speedways, New Hampshire’s Star Speedway, Connecticut’s Thompson Int’l Speedway and Fulton. Over 35 years later, Delaware, Star and Thompson continue as ISMA host tracks.
Today, ISMA continues at the forefront of supermodified sanctioning bodies, pioneering the franchise system, in which teams purchase a franchise at the beginning of the season. Creating a win-win situation for both the teams and promoters, each of the franchise teams are allowed to miss up to three shows during the race season while being guaranteed a minimum starting purse of $1,000 at each event. This system helps to ensure solid, stable car counts and a successful event for the promoter.
Over the past decade, ISMA has sanctioned between 10 and 15 shows a year, including two of the prestigious supermodified races – the July Hy-Miler Nationals at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway, which has been a staple ISMA event since 1978, and September’s Star Classic at the quarter-mile Star bullring, an event that has a history dating over 40 years.
Other marquee events include the King of Wings at Oswego, ISMA SuperNationals at Oswego, the Ollie Silva Memorial each summer at Lee USA (N.H.) Speedway, and ISMA's portion of the World Series of Racing each October at Thompson Motorsports Park in Connecticut.
As was the case for many racing organizations, 2020 was a year of challenge and resulted in an abbreviated season for the ISMA. With the Canadian border shut down and at least a handful of ISMA franchise teams and many members located north of the border, officials ruled that no matter how many races were held, no points would be awarded.
The season, albeit unofficially, didn't kick off until July 24-25 with the Hy-Miler Nationals at Sandusky. While this was an unsanctioned event weekend, ISMA officials helped put on the event and a number of ISMA teams were in attendance, including Nationals winner Clyde Booth and driver Mike Ordway Jr.
The first official ISMA race was held August 7 at Lee USA Speedway with the Ollie Silva Memorial, followed by the Star Classic in September and the Thompson World Series in October. Due to various state's government restrictions, these were the only three ISMA-sanctioned events of the year.
Our organization is looking forward to getting back to normal in 2021 as we continue to rely on tracks of the past to preserve our rich history, as well as search for new venues and events to help move supermodified racing into the future.