In just his first full year competing on the International Supermodified Association (ISMA) circuit, Dave Shullick, Jr. took the touring series by storm in 2015. With four wins to his credit entering the season finale at Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT), he completed his dominance Sunday afternoon by winning his first career feature at the track and putting the finishing touches on his 2015 ISMA championship.
Despite a sizeable points lead over Mike Lichty coming into the Sunoco World Series of Speedway Racing following his win at the Star Classic in September, Shullick had not quite been able to put a padlock on the championship. He only needed to finish Sunday’s race cleanly, but Shullick long desired a victory at the “Big T” and made it clear to his team before the weekend that was the priority.
“The guys during the week were telling me, we shouldn’t practice that much and to be careful in the heat and I just said I’m going to win,” Shullick said after the race. “We’ll practice as much as we need to and that’s the mindset I took.”
Shullick rocketed to the front from the 12th starting spot in the 50-lap feature, eventually running down polesitter Rob Summers following a lap 15 yellow to take the lead right at the race’s halfway point. Shullick pulled ahead in a caution-free second half to score his first checkered flag at the World Series, which for the moment he was even more thrilled about then the season title itself.
“I love this place,” Shullick said emphatically. “I love the speed, I love being able to run high on the track right up next to the wall. I told somebody I’d like to race here every week. I don’t think the cars could take it, but I’d definitely love it. It’s a different kind of place for us. I’ve been close here a lot and had a good car last year. To win it finally means a lot.”
Despite being overjoyed with the win itself, Shullick was still proud of the career-best season he had wrapped up with Sunday’s win, his fifth of the season. In addition to the win at Thompson, his list of wins included sweeping both races at Delaware Speedway (ON) and both races in New Hampshire at Lee USA Speedway and Star Speedway.
“The most wins we’ve had before was two or three,” he said. “We got some momentum about halfway through the year. We made some motor changes and everything started clicking for us.”
Perhaps one the biggest topics in Supermodfied circles has been that Shullick was able to accomplish something his renowned racing father Dave Shullick, Sr had not been able to. Despite 21 career ISMA race victories, the elder Shullick’s never captured an ISMA title. On Sunday, “Shoe II” accomplished that feat, and that was something that was not lost to the second-generation driver.
“In a sport where your father is a legend you look for things he never did to make your own legacy and this is one thing he’s never done,” said Shullick. “He won a lot at Sandusky Speedway and Lorrain County, but he never won an ISMA championship.”
By capturing the title Sunday, Shullick becomes just the 15th different ISMA champion since the series was founded in 1976.
-By Connor Sullivan, Speed51.com Northeast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Jim Feeney
ISMA Supermodifieds Unofficial Results
October 18, 2015 – Thompson Speedway Motorsports Park (CT)
1. Dave Shullick Jr.
2. Rob Summers
3. Mike Lichty
4. Trent Stephens
5. Ben Seitz
6. Chris Perley
7. Bobby Santos
8. Mark Sammut
9. Otto Sitterly
10. Jeff Locke
11. Mike McVetta
12. Dave McKnight
13. Danny Shirey
14. Mike Netishen
15. Dave Duggan
16. Jon Gambuti
17. Brandon Bellinger
18. Bob Magner
19. Howard Page
20. Lou LeVea Jr.
21. Dan Bowes
22 Eddie Witkum Jr.
23, Timmy Jedrzejek
24. Mike Ordway Sr.
25. Jamie Timmons