by Carol D. Haynes, ISMA PR; photos by Jim Feeney
JENNERSTOWN, Pa. — Mike Lichty (84) and Johnny Benson Jr (74) were on the front row of the 50-lap feature that started the field of supermodifieds at Jennerstown Speedway on Saturday night along with seven other division of race cars that were part of the big weekend at the track. And right from the start it looked like it was going to be a wild one. The rain had stopped, but the cool temperature were on display when the vapor trails showed hot and heavy when the supers practiced.
We had a spin on lap one for Jonathon Lesiecki #88, but things were able to restart and the 74 of Benson was quickly away. But not far was his teammate Mike Lichty and Ben Seitz in the Miller 11. The 88 pulled off the track as the 74 and 84 were locked in a speedy battle out front which delighted the crowd that had come in despite the rain.
On lap 5 Mike Lichty closed in on Benson and a couple laps later the 84 was in the lead leaving Lichty and Seitz a small distance back. The two played cat and mouse for the lead as Seitz sat waiting for the outcome of the battle.
By lap 15 Benson Jr. held a couple car lengths lead over Lichty, but coming into the fray was Mike Ordway Jr. with Seitz behind. Ordway Jr. had set some fast times in the heats and he was now closing in on the duo up front. Suddenly the 84 of Lichty had fire coming from his machine and he pulled into his pit with the quick fire crew to greet him and put out the flames. Mike had no injuries but was disappointed in the result.
The next leader became Ordway Jr. and all eyes on the 61 were glued on the back of the car which was smoking on each lap. The aforementioned cool air was definitely adding to the smoke coming from the car. A yellow flag flew just after Ordway Jr., Benson Jr., Seitz, Edwards, Sitterly, McVetta and Sammut were starting to head towards the front.
The next restart had Ordway Jr., Benson Jr., Seitz, Edwards, McVetta, Sammut, the 99 of Curran and the 55 of Reid moving forward, but the past winner of the Jennerstown race, Sitterly, was headed pit side. He said later he wasn’t quite sure, but the car seemed to be slipping. In the meantime the 14 of Lesiecki was on a hook joining Sitterly in the pits. The 55 of Reid was headed back out to the action.
With 19 laps to go, the race developed into watching the 61 out front but with the smoke still flowing from the back of the car. Closing in on the 61 was the 22 of McVetta who was trailed by Seitz and Sammut. But they were watching the 61 for sure. Cars that had exited the race were gradually returning like the Reid 55 and 19 of Trent Stephens.
The last restart was now a single file one and the 22 of McVetta decided to make a run at the lead but unfortunately spun around ending his night as he felt there was beginning to get some oil accumulating on the track. Back under way, Ordway Jr. took off up front with Seitz, Sammut, Edwards, Benson Jr. and the 19 of Stephens still looking to move in on the smoking 61. And with 7 laps to go, Ordway Jr. was the one to fly the yellow as he was coming around to the front stretch with flames coming from his motor. He would finish in the 9th spot.
This left Sammut in the lead and he used it to his advantage. He took off and was chased by Seitz, Edwards, Benson Jr., and Stephens who ended up as the top five. Sammut and crew were ecstatic and Mark even mimicked an Indy 500 win by dumping a little milk over his head. Mark would also celebrate with an extra $2,000 donated by big time fan Greg Kishbaugh with Serenity Ridge Machine. Thanks Greg for making this night even more special for our Winner Team #78 Mark Sammut.
Special thanks to Jennerstown Speedway’s Brad Boxler and team for their efforts in getting the race in on Saturday. The weather forecast was certainly not cooperating. Our teams certainly appreciated getting home for Mother’s Day on Sunday as we are sure your entire team was grateful as well.
Next up for the ISMA/MSS Series will be Saturday June 3rd at Oswego Speedway. We hope to see you at the races.
JENNERSTOWN SPEEDWAY ISMA / MSS Results
MAY 13, 2023 • Jennerstown, Pa.
No Qualifying (Due to weather and speeding up the show.)
Precision Welding Sponsored Heat Race Results:
Heat Race 1: 1. #74 Johnny Benson Jr., 2. #19 Trent Stephens, 3. #14 AJ Lesiecki, 4. #11 Ben Seitz, 5. #99 Jerry Curran
Heat Race 2: 1. #22 Mike McVetta, 2. #7 Otto Sitterly, 3. #84 Mike Lichty, 4. #11E Kyle Edwards, 5. #78 Mark Sammut, 6. #55 Rich Reid, 7. #25 Ryan Zitzka
#30 Fuel Issues & #61 Spark Plug Issues for Heats
ISMA / MSS JENNERSTOWN 50 Feature Finish: 1. #78 MARK SAMMUT, 2. #11 Ben Seitz, 3. #11E Kyle Edwards, 4. #74 Johnny Benson Jr., 5. #19 Trent Stephens, 6. #22 Mike McVetta, 7. #55 Rich Reid, 8. #99 Jerry Curran, 9. #61 Mike Ordway Jr., 10. #7 Otto Sitterly, 11. #14 AJ Lesiecki, 12. #84 Mike Lichty, 13. #30 Talon Stephens, 14. #88 Jonathon Lesiecki, #25 Ryan Zitzka (DNS)
4th Turn Crazies Hard Charger to #11E Kyle Edwards
NY Mom Last Car Running to #99 Jerry Curran
Jim Feeney race photos (CANDID PIT PHOTOS HERE) —
Great to see such a beautiful group of ISMA cars built by such talented individuals. The event finish seems to points to several of the top driver’s having failures; Otto Sitterly, Mike Ordway Jr., and others. The Super Modified is not an easy car to build or maintain. Congratulations go to everyone who finished. Thank-you to Jennerstown Speedway for providing a great facility to race these incredible machines.