THOMPSON, Conn. — A strong field of International Supermodified Association drivers filled the pits this past weekend at Thompson Speedway for the annual Sunoco World Series of Racing with a championship title on the line, as usually is the case.
When it was all said and done, point leader Mike Lichty had beat out the challengers to claim his second-career ISMA title. The 50-lap feature, however, belonged to Jon McKennedy as he led from the start.
It was an emotional run for McKennedy, who had recently lost his father, Dennis. It was McKennedy’s 10th-career ISMA feature win, and his most memorable one.
“First I want to give a shout out to Lee and Pam Vinal, the car owners. We’ve been great the last two years. We won a handful of races, and a championship. This was a great way to end the season.
“I have a lot of emotions for sure, but my dad was riding with me today and I was glad to get this win. It feels great. The car ran awesome. A big thanks to everyone involved. Going into the race I felt pretty confident and we had a good starting spot.”
Mike Ordway Jr. finished second in the feature, and behind Lichty in points.
“It wasn’t a bad race,” Ordway said. (We were) just lacking a little to catch Jon there. He’s really good here at this race track and anything he runs. The engine has run great. All-in-all, it’s been a good year. We’ll come back next year and try again.”
Ben Seitz, last year’s ISMA World Series winner, settled for third place.
“It was a good race,” he said. “There were a lot of good cars to contend with up front. (We had) a chance to pass Ordway, but it was Jon’s race.”
The start of the race saw Ordway and McKennedy on the front row, with Chris Perley and Lichty right behind.
Ordway and McKennedy stayed side-by-side with McKennedy just inching out front of the No. 61 for the lead as they crossed the line.
McKennedy pulled slightly away from Ordway, Chris Perley, Seitz, Lichty, Kyle Edwards and Timmy Jedrzejek as the race sorted out.
By lap nine, McKennedy was already lapping the tail of the field. Ordway, Perley, Seitz, Edwards, Lichty, Jedrzejek, Michael Barnes, Trent Stephens and Dave Shullick Jr. were among the challengers.
McKennedy stood on the pedal on lap 13 to leave Ordway and Perley behind. A few laps later, Perley moved into second, but McKennedy had some real estate between the drivers.
At the halfway mark McKennedy had a lapped car in between him and handful of cars.
After Perley went into the pits with issues from his No. 11, it was Ordway now pressuring McKennedy on the restart with Seitz, Edwards, Jedrzejek, Lichty, Barnes, Shullick, Mark Sammut and Dan Bowes still racing hard.
McKennedy, however, started to pull away as he left Ordway and Seitz fighting each other for second.
With eight laps to go, McKennedy once again was in command out front of a large group. Lichty just needed to finish where he was to win the championship.
By the time the checkered fell, McKennedy was alone out front. Ordway and Seitz, who also had a strong run in a Bertrand midget the previous night, topped the podium.
Lichty placed sixth, which was good enough to grab the ISMA crown.
“Mission accomplished,” he said. “It was definitely a good year. I am a little disappointed on how we ran today being that we were extremely quick in practice and the heat race. We were way too loose right from the green flag, but we did what we had to do to come home with the championship. We’ll take it.
“I’m excited for next year. We’ll see if we can do this all over again.”
ISMA World Series of Racing 50
Feature finish: 1. Jon McKennedy, 2. Mike Ordway Jr., 3. Ben Seitz, 4. Timmy Jedrzejek, 5. Kyle Edwards, 6. Mike Lichty, 7. Michael Barnes, 8. Dave Shullick, 9. Dan Bowes, 10. Mark Sammut, 11. Jeffrey Battle, 12. Dan Connors, 13. AJ Lesiecki, 14. Jamie Timmons, 15. Rich Reid, 16. Trent Stephens, 17. Chris Perley, 18. Nick Cappelli, 19. Bobby Chartier, 20. Dave Duggan, 21. Mike Netishen, 22. Joey Payne, 23. Tyler Thompson.