Variety is one of the things...
Variety is one of the things that makes Supers so interesting. Note the visible differences in engine, chassis, suspension, and body configuration in this photo of Kelly Miller (No. 76) running side-by-side with Charlie Shultz (No. 7).
Imagine a car with the speed of an Indy Car and the handling of a Midget. Imagine a car so fast in the corners that it'll try to suck your head off your shoulders. Imagine 847 hp dangling next to your left leg. Imagine no more. We are going to introduce you to one of the most exciting forms of circle track racing there is and take a look at the demographics and technical details of these wild race cars.
Welcome to the world of Supermodified racing, possibly the best kept secret in American motorsports. Fans of the Supermodifieds call them the ultimate short-track racing machines on the planet. They are viciously fast, handle like they're glued to the track, and deliver heart-stopping, edge-of-your-seat excitement.
Supers, as they are affectionately called, are largely home-built race cars with monster engines, different-sized tires, and mammoth wings on the top of the car. They are lightweight open-wheeled machines with tube frames scantily clad in aluminum bodywork. If we could picture Steve Kinser rear ending Michael Schumacher, that's a Super. Part Sprint car, part F-1 ride, the Super is a hybrid that sits a razor-thin 3 inches off the ground. In the hands of a capable driver, these cars can do things that a Nextel Cup car could only dream about.
Supers are raced primarily on short tracks under a mile in length. It's not uncommon to see a pack of winged Supers three and four abreast, darting in and out of traffic, and even changing lanes in the middle of the of the turns.
This view shows the low and...
This view shows the low and left nature of the weight distribution of the Super. Bobby Santos III is getting a push at the start. Note that the wing covers up the 2500 Silverado push truck. You can also see the monster intake stacks on his offset engine.
Coast To Coast
Supermodified racing is a cult phenomenon. It is club racing in one area of the country and a touring series in another. Bare-to-the-bones, big-block race cars on one coast, and highly tunable chassis with small-blocks on the other.
There are four sanctioning bodies putting on Supermodified events in the USA. The New York-based International SuperModified Association, or ISMA, is the largest of the four and a true touring series. In 2006, ISMA Supers will visit 12 tracks in 6 states and Canada during their 16-race schedule. Routinely packing the grandstands, it is not unusual for 30 cars to show up for the ISMA shows, which run from May to October.
ISMA's West Coast counterpart is the Western States Supermodified Racing League, or WSSRL. It is the youngest sanction and an outgrowth of the old Supermodified Racing League. This year, its first full year of competition, it will sanction 11 races at 6 tracks. Two smaller sanctions are the Colorado-based Englewood Supermodified Association (ESA), which puts on five races at two tracks, and the Midwest Supermodified Association (MSA), sanctioning 11 races in Ohio and Michigan.
The Most Outrageous Race Car
Not only is ISMA the biggest sanction, but it is also the home of the baddest of the bad. An ISMA Supermodified is unlike any other race car in the country. The first thing you'll notice about it is the wing. It resembles a Sprint car wing, with 24 square feet of surface area and multiple foils across the back. But any similarities to Sprinters end when the cars hit the track. The wing moves as the car is in motion. It lies flat when the car runs down the straightaway and then pops back up when the car races through the turns.