WINCHESTER, NH (June 30, 2018) – Mike Lichty didn't start his day well at all at the twice-rained out Carquest Genden Auto Parts ISMA 75 at Monadnock Speedway on Saturday, but he certainly ended the day in fine style. Starting back in 15th, he worked his way through the field at the new venue for ISMA, and into the lead on lap 56. It was a career fifteenth feature win for the Canadian driver and the first in the short ISMA season to date.
Mike was obviously pleased with the day's outcome after a second place finish at Delaware and a twelfth at Lancaster; the last two ISMA events after the opener rain out.
“The race was obviously good – we're back to the front! We weren't the greatest all day by any means but we knew we had to be able to pass on the outside to be able to make headway in the feature, knowing we were going to start near the tail. At the beginning we kind of bided our time a little bit and waited until we kind of built the second groove in there and then started picking guys off. I'll be completely honest that I wasn't completely thrilled after practice about being here. As it's a short race track I was thinking it wouldn't be very passable. It turned out to be a good show in my books. I just have to thank everybody Reeds Salvage, PATCO Transportation, everybody who puts the effort in, and a big thanks to Level Performance for a great motor. Thanks to Carquest and everyone who put this gig on. To Eddie Shea for all he puts into ISMA, to everybody in ISMA and most definitely Corr/Pak.”
In another fine run for Dan Bowes, knocking on the door of his first ISMA career win, and falling one place short at the end of the 75. Bowes gave some credit to his finish to the race winner.
“The race was great, the day was awful. We were terrible in both practices. The slowest car of the day. We had no idea of what was going on. We threw a bunch of stuff at it and nothing seemed to do anything. So we started thinking maybe it was the tires. We kind of went back to what we had before we came. We went out for time trials and sure enough the car came to life. It kind of stunk though as we really did a chance to adjust on a good handling car. I can't really complain. I had a decent heat race and finished third. Then to come from ninth to finish second here is good. We were looking pretty good near the end. It was driving pretty good. I wanted a win but after the day we had we'll take second. Got to admit Mike Lichty showed me the outside was working in one and two and that's what made me go up there and I started moving forward. Got to thank him a little. Part of racing is searching around. When I got off the bottom, that's when things came to life.”
Probably the most disappointed of the podium finishers, was Jon McKennedy who had set a new track record earlier in the day, but started 14th in the feature field, to come up for a third place finish.
“It was kind of disappointing. We were the fastest car all day. In the race we were way too loose. We went in and made some adjustments and came back out good but then it got wicked loose again. I guess half the wing broke in pieces. I guess third isn't too bad with the wing broken in half. Still it was disappointing. Third doesn't mean as much in my career. I have to win more races. Just a disappointing day – I came to win.”
Eric Lewis who has been away from the competition for several years now, started on the pole for the 75 lapper with Jamie Timmons outside. Lewis jumped to the early lead but was slowed almost immediately by a yellow for Timmons.
The race was sorting out behind Lewis with some hotshoes moving forward, until yellow flew again for Lancaster winner Mark Sammut who was into the wall with a lot of front end damage to the older of the two 78's in the Sammut .
After a lengthy yellow, Lewis led the way once again as Mike McVetta, Mike Ordway Jr., Dan Bowes, Trent Stephens, and the likes of Michael Muldoon, Delaware winner Kyle Edwards, Chris Perley, Lichty, McKennedy and more still at a torrid pace around the quarter mile oval.
The laps flew by literally and Lewis was still the leader at the halfway mark, collecting the E.F. Shea Concrete $1000 halfway bonus.
Lap 40 had Lewis leading with McVetta, Ordway Jr., Bowes and now Lichty in the top five. Trent Stephens and Ben Seitz were right behind but unfortunately for Stephens he exited the race on lap 48, done for the night.
The mover going into the last twenty laps was definitely Lichty having found that outside groove very much to his liking with the 84 stealthly up toward the front. Mike moved into fourth on lap 52, into third shortly thereafter and into the lead on lap 56, a spot he would not relinquish to the finish.
Back in the pack the pace was fast and furious between Lewis, McVetta, Bowes, Ordway Jr., McKennedy, Perley, Edwards, Seitz and Michael Muldoon, in the top ten.
Bowes would move into second and McKennedy into third as the laps wore down, for podium finishes, with Lewis, who lead many laps out front, settling into fourth and McVetta fifth as Lichty took the win.
Lewis was not unhappy with a top five after a hiatus from competition. He indicated that sentiment afterwards. “It was a good race. I mean it was the first time we had the car out in three years and we changed the suspension, percentages, shocks, everything on the car. So I'm thrilled with the performance of it. We still have some fine tuning to do. It helped sitting on the pole but the car was good just later in the race there it started getting real loose as the fuel load went down. I almost lost it a couple times off four so I think we were fortunate to finish fourth. I would have liked to hold on for a podium but we'll take it. We got the halfway bonus and I have to thank Ed Shea and the sponsors for that and everything they do for this organization. And thanks to Monadnock for having us. It was just a good night.”
McVetta commented on his fifth place after a constant struggle with his car all race long. “We had a handful tonight. We just fought loose from lap one and she just got looser and looser. It felt good to get up to second but unfortunately we fell back to fifth at the end. We just couldn't keep it under us. It still was a good night, the car's in one piece. There is a good crowd here. Thanks for all the fans for coming out. Thanks to all the sponsors. Hopefully we can do a couple spots better at Jukasa in a couple weeks.”