OSWEGO, N.Y. – Defending Int’l Supermodified Ass’n champion Dave Shullick Jr. stated his case for a second consecutive title and backed it up in Saturday night’s Bud Light ISMA SuperNationals, storming from eighth to take his fifth win of the season and second-career SuperNationals title.
Shullick passed defending race winner Tim Jedzrejek with 22 laps to go and never trailed again, surviving three late-race cautions and a red flag for refueling en route to his 19th career ISMA victory, ninth on the series’ all-time list.
“The car was really good tonight,” Shullick said with a grin. “It was tight, but we were solid. I was a little worried early that we were too tight, but she kept coming to us. I just had to keep the right front (tire) clean. I don’t know how close the other guys behind me were … I was just focused on running my race.”
“I was nervous there after the red, because the car hasn’t vapor-locked on me … but it did at the Hy-Miler with Otto in it, so I just had that in the back of my mind. Fortunately it didn’t have any problems and we got away there at the end.”
Ben Seitz and King of Wings winner Trent Stephens led the field to green from the front row, with Jedzrejek coming from sixth, Shullick starting eighth and Mike Lichty rolling off from 18th in their respective quests for Oswego glory.
Lichty’s quest was over after just one lap – his car becoming sick off the green and forced to the pits.
Meanwhile, Seitz led the opening lap ahead of a huge challenge from Stephens, but by lap three Jedzrejek was fifth and rolling the outside in his quest to repeat as SuperNationals champion.
It took Jedzrejek five more laps to get around Mark Sammut for fourth and he rode there comfortably while Stephens took the lead from Seitz on the outside coming to complete lap 11. Stephens would ride out front until lap 15, when he suddenly slowed entering turn one and came to a stop, drawing the first yellow of the night.
At that point, Lichty parked his car as well with mechanical troubles, with Seitz back out front for the restart ahead of Moe Lilje.
Jedzrejek immediately went on the prowl, taking third on the restart before shooting past Lilje for second at lap 18. It took him only two more circuits to pass Seitz for the lead, making the move on the outside of turn four and quickly opening up a seven car length gap.
A caution would negate the big lead, however, with 11th-running Alison Cumens’ spun car slowing the pace on the 21st round.
The caution would not deter Jedzrejek, as he resumed command over Shullick on the restart and held a narrow four car-length advantage at the halfway benchmark on the 30th circuit.
Shullick’s patience in the race’s second half would pay off, however. He waited behind Jedzrejek as the duo deftly navigated traffic, finally powering to the inside for the lead with 22 to go and never looking back from there.
With Jedzrejek struggling to navigate traffic, the final lead margin was a whopping 6.783 seconds by the time a late race’s caution flew with four to go – a stopped Jason Spaulding the cause at the base of turn four.
That set up a stretch of three cautions at the three to go point – a double caution for the spinning Mark Sammut, who also lost a tire, and then another for the stalled Kyle Edwards – that ultimately necessitated a red flag for refueling and set up a dash to the checkered flag.
That dash saw Shullick dart away to a 1.143 second victory over Jedzrejek, who was forced to settle for second on a night where he led 19 laps early on.
“Once I got to the lead and the car was in clean air, we were really good, but I could see the traffic coming and after I was in traffic and dealing with the dirty air I just wasn’t as strong as I had been,” Jedzrejek explained. “I started getting real loose and I could feel D.J. coming. Once he got by me, I just had to get more cautious with passing the lap traffic.”
“At that point, I knew we were racing for second because he checked out to such a big lead, but the cautions at the end had me excited because I thought we’d have a chance. It just wasn’t meant to be. To finish second to the 95 team – we should be proud of that and I am happy tonight.”
Mike Ordway Jr. was the final podium finisher in third, ahead of Lilje and the Morton Racing No. 70 of Canadian Dave McKnight.
Seitz faded to sixth on the final restart after leading the first 10 laps and 14 circuits overall.
The ISMA Supermodifieds resume their 2016 season on Sept. 10, with the 51st running of the Star Classic at Star Speedway in Epping, N.H.