Dave Shullick, Jr. Looking for First ISMA Championship, Mike Lichty, His Second, at Thompson World Series of Speedway Racing
By Carol D Haynes
Oswego, NY – Second-generation driver Dave Shullick Jr., has made many a mark in his racing-career so far, just as his dad has done in the past. The father and son Ohio drivers have paired up for many accomplishments over their careers, but neither has added an International Supermodified Association crown to their resumes….yet.
Shullick Jr., who just surpassed his father in the ISMA All-Time win list this year, is hoping that things will fall in place for him to achieve that championship at the end of the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing presented by Xtra Mart at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park this weekend.
Shullick holds a comfortable but far from insurmountable lead going
into the two-day show in Connecticut. He’s 164 points ahead of Canadian Mike Lichty, who took home the championship honor in 2012, only the second Canadian ever to achieve that goal. Shullick has four feature wins in 2015, two at Delaware Speedway in Ontario, Canada and one at Lee USA and most recently, one at the Star Classic. Lichty has one win at Waterford, but he’s kept up with Shullick on the track.
This duo has battled back and forth all season. Race one at Delaware, Shullick wins, Lichty is 5th. The next two Oswego races, Shullick is 3rd while Lichty is 2nd. At Lorain, in front of a partial Ohio crowd, Shullick takes a 3rd, while Lichty is 10th. The next three races – Oswego’s King of Wings and the two Sandusky Hy-Miler events, were not kind to either driver. Shullick finished with a 10th, and 8th and 18th, consecutively, while Lichty picked up a 6th, a 12th and a 24th, his worst finish of the season.
It was on to Lee and Waterford where Shullick was first and 10th while Lichty was 9th and first; pretty much a draw there. They were back at it two weeks later at Delaware where Shullick won and Lichty was second. At the Oswego Super Nationals, Shoe II was third and Lichty 2nd. Now, the next week in Epping, NH, might have been the game changer for Lichty as Shullick took home the Star win and Lichty finished 24th with a possible blown motor. So now Thompson becomes the decision maker as it so often does.
The ISMA Championship points available are 200 for a win, but there are heat points, 10 for first, one for 10th on back. In addition, there is a 5-point bonus for leading one lap and a 5-point bonus for leading the most laps. So, a guy who wins the race, wins his heat, leads all the laps, can gain 220 points mathematically. And, so, hypothetically, the first five in ISMA points are still in contention, but would have to win it all, assuming there were some dropouts ahead of them. But, as any race fan knows if they have been to Thompson before, if something odd can happen, it often does.
Behind Shullick and Lichty, there are some tight races to be decided for the top nine spots with some, like sixth and seventh, between Eddie Witkum Jr. and 2014 champion Ben Seitz, showing only a point difference between them. The Steve Stout team of Danny Shirey and Trent Stephens, also are a point apart in ninth and tenth. There will be a lot of moving within the top ten positions for certain.
The ISMA Rookie of the Year will also be decided at Thompson between Ohio’s Kevin Jaycox Jr. and Kyle Edwards, of Bartlett, TN. The Rookie of the Year is based on driver points alone while the championship is an owner-based organization, where usually the championship driver is driving for the championship owner. In this case, Edwards’ car owner is 20th in points as is Kyle, 20th in driver points. But, in Jaycox’s place, he has driven two cars this season, his 07 and the Joe Gillingham 5, giving Kevin an 18th place in driver points; showing a difference of 84 points.
To be eligible for the ISMA Rookie of the Year, a driver cannot have competed in more than three features during a season; but must have competed in 3 or more features in the year he or she runs for Rookie. Several first-time, full-time ISMA runners in 2015, Danny Shirey and Trent Stephens for example, are 9th and 10th in the driver points, but have run at least 4 features in past years as has relative newcomer Mike McVetta who ran just four features in 2013, making him also ineligible.
So, will it be the Bodnar-Shullick team that claims the 2015 crown or will the Reed-Lichty team come out on top? Or can Howie Lane and Timmy Jedrzejek, Mark Sammut or Jeff Locke do the seemingly impossible and pull it off? Don’t count any of them out until that last flag drops on the always exciting World Series of Speedway Racing at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park on October 16-17-18, three days no race fans wants to miss!
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