London, Ontario’s Mark Sammut ended a four-year winless slump during the 2014 season at Waterford Speedbowl (CT); however, scoring a victory at the famed Oswego Speedway (NY) still eluded him.  That would all change in one of the most strategic and thrilling ways as the veteran driver was able to use a lapped machine to catch and pass the lightning fast Mike Lichty coming to the checkered flag on Saturday night.

 

Eddie Witkum Jr. started the Jack Murphy Memorial ISMA Supermodified 50 from the pole, and was capable for numerous laps of fighting off challenges for the top spot in his effort to gain his first career series victory.  It was Lichty though, who set a new track record in time trials earlier in the day, that had been saving his equipment and took the lead on lap 37.

 

Lichty began to pull away after it took more than a few laps for Sammut to get around Witkum, but once the pass for second occurred the race was on.  Lichty approached the lapped car of Dave McKnight, a former winner at Oswego, carefully which allowed Sammut to catch him as the laps were winding down.

 

“All I could do is hold it down and see what happens, and I think (Lichty) had more,” Sammut told Speed51.com powered by JEGS.  “He was just kind of waiting by himself and I snuck up on him at the end.  I’m lucky the lapped car played it perfect for me, and I was able to get on the outside of him and I beat him to the line, but it wasn’t by much.”

 

For Lichty, he would have to wait for another day to claim another victory at the “Steel Palace”.

 

“I really had no idea where Mark was in comparison to me,” Lichty admitted.  “I was just kind of cruising and it bit me.  He came up on me and passed me.  The car didn’t go away or anything.  Sounds kind of odd being the last couple laps of the race, but with the lapped car there I didn’t want to push it and get run up real high.  Lapped traffic is an issue.  Always has been, especially at this place.  But yeah, he snookered me.”

 

Delaware Speedway (ON) season opener winner Dave Shullick Jr. led both practices, but was disqualified from time trials after failing to go across the scales.  The Ohio driver would charge from a starting position toward the back of the field to finish in third.

Witkum held on for fourth after leading the first 36 circuits, but due to his car’s handling the Massachusetts driver was unable to keep his challengers behind him any longer.

 

“Once the fuel load went away we just tightened up too much,” Witkum explained.  “It’s kind of a backwards problem, but we just have to figure it out.  This is a tough race.  You’ve got to have a lot of motor.  We actually borrowed this motor here.  It yanks off the corner real good, but doesn’t have quite the top end that a lot of these guys have.  When you come here you’ve got to bring your best piece, no question about it.”

 

For Sammut, the dream of putting his name on the historical list of race winners at the 5/8-mile has come true.

 

“It’s absolutely unbelievable.  I’ve been coming here since I was less than a year old and watched all the legends make their names here.  We won the Sandusky Hy-Miler a few years ago.  That’s a huge race as well, but to win at Oswego Speedway I think that means more than any Supermodified track anywhere.”

 

– By Aaron Creed, Speed51.com Pennsylvania/Central New York Editor  – Twitter: @aaron_creed

– Photo credit: ISMASupers.com

 

Jack Murphy Memorial ISMA 50 Results                                                              

1              3              78           Mark Sammut                   50

2              6              84           Mike Lichty                         50

3              15           95           Dave Shullick Jr.                                50

4              2              21           Eddie Witkum Jr.              50

5              4              37           Jeff Locke                            50

6              5              61           Jon McKennedy                               50

7              12           1              Kyle Edwards                     50

8              1              39           Alison Cumens                  50

9              10           49           Danny Shirey                     50

10           23           11           Chris Perley                        50

11           18           65           Tim Ice                                  50

12           11           98           Justin Belfiore                   50

13           17           27           Jamie Timmons                 50

14           21           64           Jim Paller                             50

15           19           70           Dave McKnight                 49

16           16           74           Rob Summers                    47

17           13           25           Dan Bowes                         46

18           8              22           Mike McVetta                   33

19           25           18           Howard Page                     31

20           7              17           Ben Seitz                             22

21           20           87           Keith Gilliam                       22

22           24           5              Kevin Jaycox Jr.                 21

23           22           97           Lou Cicconi                          16

24           14           19           Trent Stephens                 14

25           9              46           Ryan Coniam                      9

DNS                       7              Otto Sitterly

Sammut ‘Snookers’ Lichty on Last Lap for First Oswego Win