“Oh Brother!” Says Chris Perley At Lancaster’s ISMA 50
About midway through the 50-lap International Supermodified Association (ISMA) feature race Saturday night at Lancaster Motorsports Park, Chris Perley was thinking, “Oh brother”. Perley sat in second place in the running order, trying to chase down leader Johnny Payne while simultaneously trying to hold off the challenges of third place runner, Joey Payne, who is Johnny’s brother.
His efforts would eventually payoff as Perley would get by Johnny Payne in the latter stages of the race and go on to score his second ISMA event triumph of the season. He also won June 15 at Berlin, Mich. It was his first career Lancaster ISMA win. The win was worth $3,200 for the Vic Miller team.
“Well you know, it’s just one of those things as perseverance does payoff,” said Perley of Rowley, Mass. “That would have been Johnny’s first win so I feel bad that I had to take it away from him but I understand that he had to make his car as wide as possible. I just wanted to make the pass right without taking the both of us out. We just kept at it there until we could make it work. Luckily Joey didn’t get in the way. I’d like to thank Vic Miller, the crew chief and Scotty LeClair, Phil, Jim, Leo, Mikey, Andy and everybody. R&R builds a heck of a motor. Shea Concrete, this if for you. N.E. Motor Racing, Perley’s Marina, Smith’s Fire Equipment – they’ve all been behind us and hopefully, they’ll be behind us a lot longer.”
Johnny Payne, of Hawthorne, NJ, a relative newcomer on the ISMA trail, started on the pole but many in the house did not expect him to stay there very long. But he had other ideas. When the green flag dropped over the 23-car starting field to begin the race, Payne jumped out to an immediate lead with Mark Sammut of London, Ont., Tim Jedrzejek of
Independence, Ohio and Perley, who started sixth, all taking chase.
Perley did not waste any time marching toward the front, taking second from Sammut on lap five.
The caution flag would fly for the very first time on lap eight as Scott Martel of Bradford, Mass., hopped the wheel of another competitor and crashed hard into LMP’s foam barrier protected second turn wall. Martel was uninjured but both his car and his standings in the ISMA point chase took on heavy damage. Martel came to LMP in third place in ISMA markers just eight points ahead of Perley.
On the restart, Johnny Payne remained out front with Perley again challenging. Defending ISMA champion Dave McKnight Jr., of Brampton, Ont, moved to third on the green flag zipping by Sammut. Joey Payne, also of Hawthorne, then got by Sammut for fourth.
Oswego’s Joe Gosek would be the next to sub-plant the fading Sammut, getting by for fifth on the eleventh circuit. On lap 23, Joey Payne wrestled third from McKnight and by lap 30 was actually moving within three car lengths of the Johnny Payne-Perley dogfight for first.
Action halted under caution on lap 32 when McKnight spun from fourth in Turn Three. At this point Johnny Payne still led the determined Perley with Joey Payne, Gosek and Greg Furlong of Fulton, NY, next. The race pace sputtered again on the restart when Jon Gambuti of Montvale, NJ. looped his car at the exit of Turn Two, bringing out the immediate yellow flag. It was during this caution that McKnight went to the pits for adjustments and he would return to the rear of the field for the restart. He would no longer be a factor.
As the field was roaring out of Turn Four to accept the restart flag another time, Sammut’s car suddenly jumped to the inside lane and brushed against the inside front stretch wall. Sammut came to a stop just shy of the flag stand with the left front tire assembly heavily damaged.
When the race resumed, Perley again tried mightily to get by Johnny Payne but the leader shut the door at every opportunity. He also used lapped traffic to perfection to keep Perley at bay. Then on lap 35, Perley struck like lightening.
As the pair raced down the front stretch, Perley dove to the bottom of the track in Turn One and got underneath Johnny Payne. Once clear, Perley moved up in front of Payne, completing the pass. Once out front, Perley jettisoned away to a ten car length lead which he built to about a straightway advantage before accepting the checkered flag.
Johnny Payne spent the last few laps of the race trying to defend his bridesmaid position against the challenges of his brother. He did so successfully as Joey Payne would emerge third.
Furlong passed Gosek on lap 26 to earn fourth place, a spot he would hold to the end. Gosek finished fifth.
“It was kind of a slide job,” said Perley of his winning pass. “I think I was clear of him and I didn’t run him up or anything. It was good clean racing and I had a brother in front of me and a brother in back of me. Hey, one of us was going to come out the winner. Luckily it was me.”
As one would suspect, Johnny Payne, 32, was excited after scoring his best career ISMA finish. Johnny Payne enjoyed his run in the lead as well as racing against his 36 year old sibling.
“It was real exciting and my dad and mom gave me a good car,” said Johnny Payne “Team Hawksby helped me out by giving me a good car. I made a rookie mistake. I used up my tires too early. By lap 33 or 34 the car got real loose. Chris got me going in and I couldn’t hold him off.”
John commented in regard to his new car. “I’m happy. For a new car, the second time out, to get second is great. We shook out the bugs we had at Sandusky. During the week we did a lot of work. We sat down, figured out what was wrong with it and hopefully, this is the turnaround. I have to thank Jomesk Construction, North Haldon Auto Body, MGM Body and Tool, Hawk Chassis, and my mom and dad ”
Johnny Payne also won the first heat but had a scary moment prior to that heat. His car fired up immediately after being pushed off to start the heat but then suddenly rolled to a stop. He was re-pushed for a few laps but the car would not start. He then realized that he had hit the fuel shutoff valve with his leg. He turned the fuel supply back on, the car re-fired and he won the heat.
Joey Payne equaled his best ISMA result of season, also scoring a third at Chemung, NY.
“Johnny’s got a new car and they did one heck of a job tonight,” said Joey Payne. “I think the cautions killed him otherwise he would have had a win there. It feels good to come to Lancaster and do well. Every time I came here in the past I’d have a flat tire or something breaks on the car. We had a strong run. I’d rather win but third isn’t too bad. And, the car is in one piece. Nothing fell off. This place eats up cars.”
Fourth place runner Greg Furlong, “I had a good car. I had a good strong run. Lap traffic kind of slowed me up. The car started to loosen up a little bit, but nothing major. And, we got a fourth place. The apex isn’t always in the same spot here. So, some guys were coming out and washing up and I was moving my apex early and making it a little loose in and then driving low underneath. I think the way I was driving the track, may have made me faster than some other guys. The Payne brothers finished two and three and they were very strong at the end. I just finished in one piece again and in the top five. Things are starting to come together and knock on wood, hopefully they will stay there.”
The previous week’s Hy-Miler 100 winner, Joe Gosek, trailed Furlong in fifth. He commented later, “We expected better than this. Both cars were good all day. Actually, Russell’s was better than mine. I was better in mid-race and we had a battle going there with Furlong for fourth. I thought maybe I could get Furlong and give the guys up front a run. But the car just pushed terrible and I settled for fifth. It’s not what we came here to do. Coming off last week’s win, you expect to run for the win again. That doesn’t happen
though. It’s too competitive in ISMA. There are too many good cars. Starting 12th, you have to pass a lot of good cars. Johnny Payne ran a heck of a race for the second time in the car. Joey was right there behind him. Perley was gone. Furlong was chomping at the bit. So there are four good cars right there. It’s tough racing here. You have to be right on and they were a little better than we were. So, it’s fifth and go to Lee and try to better it.”
A field of 24 ISMA cars entered the event at Lancaster. Twenty-three participated as Doug Kells of Oswego had engines problems in warm-ups and withdrew from the event prior to the heat races. Johnny Payne, Jim Shirey of Oberlin, Ohio and Perley won the heat races. The next ISMA event is scheduled for Aug. 16 at Lee USA Speedway located in Lee, NH.
SUMMARY ISMA EVENT #12
Heat 1 John Payne, Lou Cicconi, Mark Sammut, Greg Furlong, Howie Lane, Ken Bell, Jamie Letcher, Charlie DiRosa
Heat 2: Jim Shirey, Joey Payne, Dave McKnight, Joe Gosek, Jon Gambuti, Wade Litt, Eric Shirey, Dan Dadswell
Heat 3: Chris Perley, Russ Wood, Timmy Jedrzejek, Jamie Timmons, Scott Martel, Jen Chesbro, Brad Lichty