"The competition is so close, it's impossible to predict a champion," says Cicconi. "Any of these guys can win it."
Ironically, Supermodifieds have been around for decades; however, there are fewer than 100 full-time teams racing today. But don't think they're a dying breed. Supermodified racing is alive and well, at least under ISMA's umbrella. It seems that everywhere the Supers go, the fans follow.
Last year during their stop at Lee USA Speedway, promoters had to hold up the start of the heat races because fans were still filing into the grandstands. By the time the line dissipated, Lee's 5,500 seats were full. They were all there to see the Supers. That's a good sign for the struggling short-track owner, if you can get the Supers to come. "We actually said no to at least five or six speedways," said ISMA President Howie Lane. "Only because we didn't have the dates." With that kind of demand, the future for Supermodified racing is a bright one.
If the sanctions and their teams can work together to generate more publicity and maybe a little television coverage, the most outrageous racing on the planet won't be the best kept secret in motorsports for much longer.
Supermodified racing isn't just a northeastern phenomenon. For years, guys like Davey Hamilton and the members of the legendary Vukovich family pounded the pavement at short tracks on the West Coast in the Supermodified Racing League (SRL). Midway through their '05 season, SRL owner Davey Hamilton sold the league to driver Rick Cameron, who finished Fifth in the '05 points. Cameron renamed it Western States Supermodified Racing League, or WSSRL, and looked to take the series to the next level. "I wanted to grow those [West Coast] markets, particularly Southern California, which is the largest automotive enthusiast market in the world," said Cameron.
Young guns Kyle "The Smile"...
Young guns Kyle "The Smile" Carpenter and Bobby Santos III share a smile. Both are expected to win races this season.
While they look similar, WSSRL Supers are different from the ISMA Supers. The biggest difference is the motor. WSSRL cars run small-block engines up to 350 ci and, at most tracks, they are required to run mufflers. Even so, the fuel-injected motors deliver over 800 hp and 700 ft-lb of torque running on methanol. The engines are all aluminum, with no one on the West Coast running the cast-iron blocks found in the east.
Unlike an East Coast Super, West Coast Supers feature fully adjustable suspensions, which can be controlled by the driver during the race. The fuel, shock bias, and crossweight can be adjusted on the fly. A WSSRL car also has a smaller fixed wing as opposed to the movable monster found in ISMA. The WSSRL wing can be adjusted horizontally; move it forward to loosen the car and backward to get it tighter. Those adjustments have to be made in the pits.
Like ISMA and most other forms of motorsports, WSSRL faces a slew of challenges, including rising fuel costs, keeping car counts up, and maximizing purse structures. In almost every case, the solution to these problems is through sponsorship, and Cameron is taking his bid to attract sponsors to the airwaves.