June 7, 2021 - Unfortunately this past year put all things on halt, including our racing. But moving forward it's now 2021, and things look to be coming back to somewhat of a normality... race tracks are opening to eager race teams and fans.
Oswego Speedway just finished holding their Spring Classic, an event carried over into 2021 after the disastrous 2020 non-season. Congratulations to Michael Barnes, who ran to an exciting a first time Classic win with the Syrell team. Several competitors who may also run in ISMA races during the season, particpated in non-wing cars, including Joey Payne, 2019 ISMA Champion Mike Lichty (subbing for Chris Perley in the 44), Otto Sitterly, Jeff Abold, Dave Shullick Jr., Tyler Thompson, Moe Lilje in the 32 and possibly 00 Joe Gosek.
The ISMA season opens at Seekonk Speedway on June 9. This 75 lapper is a non-point mid-week show as a precurser to the June 26 official opener at Monadnock Speedway on June 26. Currently eight more events are on confirmed on the schedule announced depending on the opening of the Canadian border.
Replaying last year: ISMA did manage three races in 2020 before things shut down, which incuded the Lee Ollie Silva Memorial, Star Classic, and the Thompson World Series. Jon McKennedy dominated all three events in his Middlesex Interior Inc. 79 super. McKennedy, won his third Bob Webber Sr. Memorial Classic. He was chased throughout by defending Star Classic winner Jeff Abold and the 61 of Mike Ordway Jr, fresh off a Hy-Miler win at Sandusky Speedway, an open supermodified race.
In August the Lee Ollie Silva Memorial belonged to defending champion McKennedy, He started 10th on the field, defending champion of the event, McKennedy worked his way up behind recent Sandusky Hy-Miler 100 winner and Silva race leader Mike Ordway Jr. by lap 25 . Six laps later Jon put his new Middlesex Interior Inc. 79 by the Booth 61 after a lap 31 restart, for the lead which he held until the remainder of the 75 lap event.
The 55th annual Star Classic 125 was able to beat the Covid shutdown, and was run under good weather and a strong supermodified field. Jon McKennedy followed his Lee win by taking his third overall Star Classic. McKennedy was chased hard by defending Star Classic winner Jeff Abold, with Mike Ordway Jr, Oswego champ Otto Sitterly and Chris Perley rounded out the competitive top five.
At the Thompson World Series, McKennedy was on a hot streak as the season was ending. Jon had to fend off the advances of multi-time World Series winner Chris Perley to the checkered.. Ron Williams, in his inaugural supermodfied race in the Lane Racing 97, was an impressive third. Mike Ordway Jr. finished fourth ahead of Anthony Nocella in the Lane 9.
McKennedy recently indicated that, along with his 2021 modified competition, he will be running the ISMA schedule.
Said Jon “We didn’t really change much on the car last year," said Jon about his off time. “We just checked everything all over and made some little changes. The last few years we have developed a great notebook and that has been key. I feel like we can pretty much go anywhere and contend for the win. The June 9 show at Seekonk will be exciting and it’s nice to be going back. It’s a really small track but it’s plenty wide and promotes great side by side racing. It’s all about handling and driver finesse. I hope we have bunch of teams that come out and support it.”
A few other ISMA drivers added some comments prior to the start of racing action:
Mike Ordway Jr. (Booth 61) “Looking forward to getting back to racing and having a full schedule for this season. I spent the offseason re-working one of Clyde's old cars for my brother in law to run as a 350 at Star and Oswego. I'm looking forward to getting back to racing and having a full schedule for this season. I'm excited that ISMA will have at least 4 races on some type of television or streaming service this season. It was recently announced the ISMA race at Seekonk will be on Speed51 TV, as will the ISMA race at Lee (8-6). The Oswego King of Wings July 3 event will be on FLO Racing as Oswego has that deal for the season, and it was announced over the winter that Star Classic will be aired on MAV TV.”
Jeff Abold, who did have three strong runs in the short 2020 season, commented on his 2021 season:
“We made the best of the season last year by being able to focus on our ISMA program and run some races and tracks that we haven't been able to much in the past. Overall it was successful finishing 2nd in the Hy-Miler, 2nd in the Ollie Silva Memorial and 2nd in the Star Classic. Hopefully we can build off some strong runs and move up one more spot at each of those races."
His plans for 2021 - Racing the full season at Oswego Speedway in hopes of my first track championship. "We will run all the classic events this year including the Sandusky Hy-Miler, both Oswego Budweiser Classics (Jeff's recent Spring Classic at Oswego ended with car problems) and the Star Classic. We will also run at Seekonk and possibly Lee Speedway depending on how the season is going.”
Veteran ISMA competitor Mark Sammut replayed his last year saying, “It’s been quite the year and a half. It started out with my father having several health issues at the end of the 2019 season. Just like everyone else as we were gearing up to go racing in 2020 the world came to a stop. This shut down has affected business and basically every part of life in Ontario. We are still in lockdown here which makes life pretty dull and tough to get anything and accomplish much. As far as the race cars go the old car sits basically ready to go. We’ve been working on Coniams car formerly Clydes. We did a lot of stuff to it we wouldn’t have done if it had to race last year. Unfortunately, I don’t see the border opening soon, but things are looking better. We’ll keep working away to get ready and hopefully we’ll get the opportunity to do some racing. Hopefully we’ll see everyone before the summer is over. The car is to be painted and ready to go!”
All-time ISMA race winner, Chris Perley had indicated earlier this year that the Miller-Perley team spent a lot of hours working on their race cars with some updating of the “Oswego car” as well as the famed number 11 ISMA car. Perley ran the Oswego opener but was involved in an early multi-car crash and out of the action. As the country has started to open up recently, Perley's Marina business did also and Mike Lichty took the wheel of the 11 in the Spring Classic at Oswego, while Chris was busy. Lichty finished with a top 10 in the 44 in the exciting 200 lapper.
Currently there are 10 race events on the ISMA 2021 schedule including the upcoming June 9 non-point race. There are still a few dates that are uncertain including the July 10 Jukasa Canadian show and the season finale at Thompson with that event a TBA on the schedule.
The June 9 Seekonk ISMA race is paired with the famed NEMA Boston Louie with NEMA Lites also on the docket. Details coming shortly!