Lichty Finally Turned His Threat Into A Victory At Waterford


Mike Lichty has been a threat in the International Supermodified Ass’n for several years. But before May 29, the 23-year-old Canadian’s problem was that he was only a threat to win.

That changed at Waterford (Conn.) Speedbowl a couple of Saturdays ago when Lichty outlasted Chris Perley, a driver who has robbed Lichty of victories in the past, to win the ISMA 50-lapper at the three-eighths-mile asphalt oval.

Lichty’s victory marked his first in ISMA since he began running the tour in 2004. Upon taking over the driving duties of the family owned team from his dad, Brad Lichty, the second-generation driver began racking up top-five finishes in his rookie year. He was named the top series rookie in 2004, and it’s been full speed ahead since.

Numerous top-five finishes, many of them seconds and thirds, and an uncanny ability to hang it out and get the most out of a car have cemented Lichty as one of ISMA’s best. Lichty has even shown up at some Midwest Supermodified Ass’n races in past seasons, and he’s won three features with the Ohio-based group in only a handful of starts.

But still the Canadian had not won in ISMA. Lichty had watched drivers like Jeff Locke and Mike Ordway, Jr. win in their rookie seasons while he continued to pay his dues and come up winless.

“It’s about time,” Lichty said. “Getting a win is a big-time relief. We’ve had horrible Lichty luck. We’ve been fast, but we haven’t been able to hit the night right. Others hit it with a good starting spot when they’re right, and they win. We haven’t had that happen for a lot of years now.

“We’ve always liked Waterford and I’m glad we had to race Chris (Perley). We’ve run second to him a lot of times and I’m glad he was on the track at the end,” Lichty added.

Lichty, who started eighth at Waterford, plans to run the rest of the ISMA tour as well as the rest of the USAC K&N Silver Crown Series pavement shows. His family owns a Silver Crown car that’s housed in Michigan and maintained by Dick Myers of RAM Engineering.

Lichty, through his association with occasional supermodified racer Johnny Benson, Jr., also has had a lot of interest in jumping to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Sponsorship has hindered that program. Lichty said, “Like everyone else, we’re looking for money. It’s not easy to come by right now.”

• Otto Sitterly won his first supermodified feature in 2001, and he’s added 19 more Oswego (N.Y.) Speedway feature triumphs since.

Sitterly has been on a roll at Oswego thus far in 2010, sweeping the season’s first four races and building a commanding point lead that nearly triples the margin by which he won the 2008 and ’09 track championships.

• An already short racing season might become even shorter at Oswego’s lakeside oval. After off-season buzz predicting one of the deepest supermodified fields in years at Oswego, the track hasn’t hit 20 supers for a show yet.

At least five more supers are said to be on the way.

“We’re still finishing the car” and “still gathering money” are the popular explanations.

Oswego already opens later than any track in central New York. From a promoter’s perspective, it’s hard to solve a problem of teams not having their cars ready when your first race isn’t until mid-May.

On the other side of the coin, we’ve owned a supermodified, and we know firsthand the thankless hours and countless dollars that go into getting one of these race cars on the track.