SANDUSKY, Ohio – Jim Paller took his first International Supermodified Ass’n victory during Friday night’s Fast Forty program at Sandusky Speedway.
For the rest of the field, however, it was a night of destruction to forget.
Paller led all 40 laps to notch the victory, with a little luck on his side as cars crashed around and behind him all night long at the Ohio short track.
“Tonight, fortunately, we got lucky. Things seemed to pan out our way,” Paller noted. “We got a good pill draw. We started outside pole. Then we got lucky as we got Moe two times. He’s a really good driver in a good car. We got a good start and we pulled out front. The car was excellent all night. It kept under me nice and smooth and we had no problems.
“Lady Luck was on our side and we’re here with a win. I have to thank all the people on the crew – Adam and Randy, Dennis and then Jim Bodnar and Jim Bodnar Jr. who have been helping us and teaching us a lot,” Paller added. “Adam is the one who is really dialing us in, getting us going and helping Jim and everyone. My wife and the kids are constantly helping us do what we can do.”
After starting pole Moe Lilje had given way to Paller, then lost second in the last laps to a hard-charging Mile Lichty, who started in 11th spot.
Lichty was pleased with the outcome of the race and his runner-up finish as he looked forward to the Hy-Miler 100 on Saturday.
“It was a good night. Attrition played a little into it,” noted Lichty. “We just started a little off the pace similar to Jukasa. The car is way too loose and then the longer we run, the car keeps coming in to me. We’ll take second. I think I learned a lot tonight to go on to tomorrow. That’s the one we have always wanted.
“I think if we had gotten to second a little sooner we might have had something for Jim.”
Lilje and Paller sat on the front row to bring the field to green for the usually quick 40 lapper, but unfortunately, a red flag stopped things right after the start.
The whole fourth turn was blocked after Rich Reid spun into the wall, collecting Ben Seitz, Mark Sammut, Jeffrey Battles, Nick Cappelli, Ryan Winningham, AJ Lesiecki and more.
After things got sorted out, Sammut, Reid, Cappelli, Seitz and Battle were pit-side with a lot of damage. Lesiecki was able to return.
The race was restarted and within a lap, Paller had taken the lead followed by Lilje, Mike Ordway Jr., Danny Shirey and Dave Shullick Jr.
After ten laps were down, Paller still held off Lilje, Ordway, Tim Jedrzejek and more all looking to move forward.
One lap prior to halfway, the yellow dropped again as the No. 97 of Jedrzejek stopped off turn four with a good part of the left front of his car missing. The No. 27 of Ryan Winningham was also parked in four. Both exited the race.
Things got back under way with Paller out front, but the No. 30 of Talon Stephens was next to retire to the pits when something broke on his car shortly thereafter.
The halfway mark was reached with Paller having the field of Lilje, Ordway, Shirey and Shullick left bunched behind him.
Trent Stephens was the next victim of a good night gone very bad, when he caught a wheel and the No. 19 flew off turn three. Stephens joined the contingent already working on their cars back in the pits.
The restart of lap 25 proved to be the end of the cautions as Paller once more pulled away from the No. 74 of Lilje, trailed by Ordway, Lichty and Shullick.
Teammates Lichty and Lilje diced back and forth for second, with Lichty finally taking the spot in the end. A distance behind were Ordway and Shullick in the top five.
1. Jim Paller (64), 2. Mike Lichty (84), 3. Moe Lilje (74), 4. Mike Ordway Jr., 5. Dave Shullick Jr., 6. Kyle Edwards(11E) 7. Otto Sitterly (6), 8. Mike McVetta (22), 9. Tyler Thompson, (98), 10. Michael Barnes (11), 11. Danny Shirey (72), 12. Michael Muldoon (15), 13. Trent Stephens (19), 14. AJ Lesiecki (7), 15. Timmy Jedrzejek (97), 16. Talon Stephens (30), 17. Ryan Winningham (27), 18. Larry Lehnert (92), 19. Rich Reid (55), 20. Ben Seitz (32), 21. Jeffrey Battle (9), 22. Mark Sammut (78), 23. Nick Cappelli (86).