Perley Comes On Strong Late in World Series Supermod Race
Goes From a Possible Top Five to a Victory Late in the Going
By Mike Twist
The powerful winged ISMA Supermodifieds were also a part of World Series weekend at Thompson International Speedway (CT) and once again, they didn't disappointed anyone in the stands with their 50-lap feature on Sunday.

Former NASCAR Cup Series crew member Jeff Locke started the race on the pole and led early.  The former Lee USA Speedway graduate, and 2009 ISMA Rookie, pulled away in the early laps.  However, his lead was short lived.  Locke made contact with the lapped #92 car of Larry Lehnert and less than one lap later gave up the lead to Mark Sammut.  Another lap later, Locke was nearly a straightaway behind the leader.  Eventually, he would drop out of the race and finish in the 16th position.

Sammut would lead comfortably through the next several laps as many fan favorites, including Supermodified Legend Bentley Warren, young gun Bobby Santos, III and NASCAR Modified pilot Rob Summers, would drop out of the race.

Just a few laps from the end though, it would be Sammut's turn to run into trouble.  Going into turn two on lap 43 of 50, the center section of Sammut's wheel broke.  This was the second such failure this month for Sammut's team, as he suffered the same fate in a recent event at All-Star Speedway (NH).  Sammut slammed the outside retaining wall hard and the wheel and tire assembly sheared off and nearly cleared the backstretch catch fence.  Sammut was not injured.

The opened the door for Dave Shullick Jr. to take the lead. 

Meanwhile, Chris Perley was just moving into the top five.  The Supermodified star had started in the middle of the pack and only needed a consistent finish to lock down his sixth ISMA Super Modified championship.  After the last restart though, Perley was on fire.

Perley passed cars right and left and on the final lap caught up to Shullick.  He then drove right around him on the outside, making things look easy in the process, to go on to the race victory.

Perley himself did not even expect to be able to get up to win the race.

“I did not,” said Perley.  “We've always had a good car here and I love racing here.  I was just kind of settling into fifth or sixth place though.  The car was loose and really didn't want to go.  But I didn't give up on my car because this crew never gives up on it.  I was lucky.  This race played into my hand, but I'd rather be lucky than good any day.”

Perley's sixth ISMA championship ties him with Russ Wood for the most championships in series history.

Shullick, Wood, Mike Lichty and Justin Belfiore rounded out the top five finishers.

WORLD SERIES 50 Lap Feature:

1. Chris Perley (11)
2. Dave Shullick Jr. (61)
3. Russ Wood (29)
4. Mike Lichty (84)
5. Justin Belfiore (98)
6. Bobby Magner (41)
7. Jeff Holbrook (35)
8. Danny Lane (9)
9. Ben Seitz (88)
10. Ray Graham Jr. (90)
11. Dave Sanborn (24)
12. Dave Duggan Jr. (51)
13. Mark Sammut (78)
14. Brandon Bellinger (02)
15. Vern  Romanoski (5)
16. Jeff Locke (37)
17. Dave McKnight Jr. (94)
18. Bentley Warren (71)
19. Bobby Haynes Jr. (44)
20. Bobby Santos III (10)
21. Robbie Summers (97)
22. Larry Lehnert (92)
23. Artie Rousseau (616)
24. Eric Emhoff (2)

Chris Perley ended up in victory lane after the World Series Supermodified race.  (Rick Ibsen Photos)
Dave Shullick, Jr. ended up in the fence at Thompson because of a wheel failure.