Independence, Ohio’s Tim Jedrzejek earned his fifth International Super Modified Association (ISMA) “Super Nationals” win on Saturday night at the Oswego Speedway. Piloting the Howie Lane-owned No. 97, Jedrzejek fended off countless challenges from Canadian, Mike Lichty over the final 20 laps of the 60-lap feature event.
Lichty would attempt numerous outside bids that put the Patco Transportation No. 84 side-by-side the race leader, inching ahead on several occasions. The race was just as thrilling for fans as it was for Jedrzejek come race’s end.
Oswego’s regular season Rookie of the Year, Tyler Thompson jetted out of the starting gate, taking the lead at the drop of the green flag. Trent Stephens, Jedrzejek, Chris Perley and Michael Muldoon filled out the top five behind Thompson’s No. 98 to complete the race’s maiden lap.
Thompson commanded a 10-car length advantage over Stephens, after the first dozen. Jedrzejek and Perley tussled for third, five lengths behind Stephens.
By the 20th lap, Thompson would encounter light traffic, but navigated with ease. However, the rookie phenom’s night would come to a fiery end after the power plant on his No. 98 expired on the 22nd lap. An oil fire would erupt, but quickly burned itself out. It had been a frustrating 24 hours for Thompson and crew. They’d worked through the previous night and early hours of the morning trying to solve an existing motor issue on their supermodified.
Thompson’s exit promoted Stephens to first place. The Ohio native would lead Jedrzejek, Perley, Lichty and Ben Seitz back to racing. However, shortly after taking the green, the Stephens No. 19 would suddenly slow and stop on the backstretch. The motor in the Steve Stout-owned racer had expired as well.
The No. 19’s exit put Jedrzejek atop the field. Shortly after the ensuing restart, Lichty would take to the high side of Perley’s No. 11 and move into the runner-up spot. He would soon begin reeling in the race leader.
Jedrzejek and Lichty would ease away from the No. 11, putting 20 lengths between themselves and their nearest chaser by the 35th lap. Further back, Dave Shullick, Jr., Seitz and Mike Ordway, Jr. tussled for fourth. Attrition had taken a toll on the field, with just a dozen cars remaining on the track with 25 laps remaining.
With an outside look, Lichty would first challenge the race leader on the 40th lap. He’d take another glance on the 43rd circuit before making a solid bid that put the two side-by-side on the 45th. The duo would race wheel-to-wheel for a full round before Jedrzejek’s No. 97 settled back in front.
On the 47th lap, Lichty would try and pin the No. 97 behind oncoming lapped traffic, but the race leader would escape just in time. With their closest challengers now a full stretch behind, the leaders had made it a two-man race to the end.
With laps dwindling, Litchty would take a final shot on Jedrzejek’s right side, but to no avail. He needed lapped traffic to come into play. The tail-end of the field was in sight, but Jedrzejek would gobble up the remaining laps in time to avoid the venture. He would take the checkered flag just under a quarter of a second ahead of the No. 84.
Multi-time Oswego winged winner, Lichty admits he had fun, but also said finishing in second place doesn’t make it any easier. On a side note, Lichty announced he had stepped away from Sunday’s Classic ride aboard the John Nicotra-owned No. 79. He says it was his decision as the car just wasn’t competitive enough to risk a 200-lap adventure.
Finishing third, Perley says adjustments to the No. 11 before the race led it in the wrong direction.
Shullick’s No. 95 was a bit off, as well. He was already looking forward to Sunday’s Classic.
With a fifth-place finish, Ordway’s two-race winning streak came to an end. However, the pilot of the Clyde Booth-owned No. 61 out of Windham, Maine was pleased with his top-five run.
In Saturday night’s opening act, Northampton, Pennsylvania’s Matt Hirschman led early and led often in the 150-lap caution-plagued NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour event. Hirschman fended off challenges from Chase Dowling for the first 95 laps before pitting with the majority of the lead pack.
Connecticut’s Woody Pitkat and his No. 82 would inherit the lead, but Justin Bonsignore would soon take it away, putting the Phoenix Communications No. 51 out in front. However, Hirschman would reclaim the point from Bonsignore on the 120th lap and not be challenged the rest of the way. Hirschman’s win ended Bonsignore’s two-race winning streak on the Tour.
“It‘s been a long time for me,” Hirschman said, “But for this PeeDee Motorsports team, it hasn’t been. It’s been a short amount of time. We’ve been knocking on the door for two years together to get a win and it finally came together tonight. No better place for it to come than right here at Oswego. I always have said this was my favorite track. I love coming here.”
So what will Hirschman do with the $12,000 dollar payday? He added that he plans on buying a ticket and watching Sunday’s International Classic.
Bud Light ISMA Super Nationals 60: 1. Tim Jedrzejek (97), 2. Mike Lichty (84), 3. Chris Perley (11) 4. Dave Shullick, Jr. (95), 5. Mike Ordway, Jr. (61), 6. Michael Muldoon (10), 7. Kyle Edwards (1), 8. Mike McVetta (22), 9. Mark Sammut (78), 10. Dan Bowes (25), 11. Jamie Timmons (27), 12. Ben Seitz (32), 13. Lou LeVea, Sr. (96), 14. Jon McKennedy (21), 15. A.J. Lesiecki (77), 16. Trent Stephens (19), 17. Tyler Thompson (98), 18. Jon Lesiecki (7), 19. Larry Lehnert (92), 20. Dave Danzer (52), 21. Rich Reid (55)
NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour Toyota Classic, Presented by McDonalds:1. Matt Hirschman (60), 2. Justin Bonsignore (51), 3. Doug Coby (2), 4. Woody Pitkat (82), 5. Eric Goodale (58), 6. Matt Swanson (3), 7. Patrick Emerling (07), 8. Timmy Solomito (16), 9. Blake Barney (14), 10. Tommy Catalano (54), 11. Craig Lutz (46), 12. Chase Dowling (15), 13. Ken Heagy (18), 14. Tyler Rypkema (32), 15. Jon McKinney (7), 16. Ronnie Williams (21), 17. Kyle Ebersole (5), 18. Rob Summers (64), 19. Ryan Preece (6), 20. Melissa Fifield (01), 21. Gary McDonald (26), 22. Dave Sapiens (36), 23. Wade Cole (33), 24. Calvin Carroll (25), 25. Chris Pasteryak (75)
Chris Porter is a motorsports journalist whose reporting has been published in multiple print and online media sources since 2004.
Chris has primarily covered Oswego Speedway, ISMA and other asphalt auto racing in upstate New York.