- Supermodified racing
Supermodifieds are a class of open wheel race car that compete on paved short tracks throughout the
United Statesand Canada. The class was founded in the 1950s and is especially popular in the Northeast and Great Lakes regions.
Supermodifieds are generally constructed from aircraft-quality chromium-molybdenum ("chromoly") frame tubing with steel and aluminum components. The bodies are fabricated from fiberglass and aluminum. The cars are powered by aluminum, fuel-injected V8 engines that run on
methanol fueland can produce in excess of 800 horsepower.
Supermodifieds are built with engines and driver compartments offset to the left side, with the engines themselves mounted in a specially-fabricated box placed outside the frame rails. This allows weight distribution to favor the left side (often as much as 70%) and thereby aid cornering around the left-hand turns of an oval track. The giant wings mounted on the roof of the cars bear a resemblance to those found on sprint cars and serve a similar purpose, designed to keep the cars on the track and allow them to make tight turns at high speed. The racing slick tires used on a supermodified are among the widest used in pavement oval racing.
Like sprint cars, supermodifieds do not have starters or transmissions and are push-started.
The combination of high power, light weight, and high cornering ability allow supermodifieds to average over 120 miles per hour on a 1/2-mile oval and 150 mph on a 1-mile oval, with top speeds over 190 mph. They are thought by many to be the fastest short oval track race cars in use.
There are currently four supermodified racing sanctioning bodies in North America.
The largest of the four is the
Oswego, New York-based International SuperModified Association (ISMA). The cars in this series are unique in that the wings are designed to automatically tilt with the airflow over the car, lying almost level with the ground on straightaways and standing up in the turns to increase downforce.
Although ISMA's first season was held in 1976, the series can trace its roots back to the beginnings of supermodified racing in the 1950s. The series' home track is
Oswego Speedway, considered the birthplace of supermodified racing and where the Oswego Classic has run every year since 1957. This race, while run using ISMA-spec cars, does not count for points in the ISMA championship.
The other major event on the ISMA schedule is the Hy-Miler Nationals, held annually at Sandusky (Ohio) Speedway since 1978. Races are also run at other tracks across the Northeast and Midwest, with one annual race at
Delaware Speedwayin Ontario, Canada.
Notable ISMA competitors, past and present, include
Dave Simard, Bentley Warren, Doug Heveron, Joe Gosekand Johnny Benson.
Established in 2001, the
Sandusky, Ohio-based Midwest Supermodified Association (MSA) runs on six tracks, primarily in Ohiobut also with visits to Indianaand two tracks in New York, including Oswego Speedway. Drivers from the MSA frequently take part in ISMA races at or near their home tracks, such as Sandusky and Oswego.
The SuperModified Racing Association (SMRA) governs supermodified racing in the
Western United States. The SMRA grew from the defunct Western States Supermodified Racing League (WSSRL), which ran one season in 2007 at tracks in Arizona, California, Idaho, Utahand Washingtonbefore disbanding. Of these tracks, only Rocky Mountain Raceway in Utah and Madera Speedway in California have returned, with a third track, Magic Valley Speedway in Idaho, making up the 2008 SMRA schedule.
The SMRA has a much more liberal rulebook than its eastern counterparts, with less restrictions on engine placement (rear-engined cars were universally banned in the 1980s) and allowing other such advancements as
The smallest but oldest of the four currently-operating sanctioning bodies for supermodified racing is the
Colorado-only Englewood Racing Association, which was formed in 1965 at Englewood Speedway. That track closed in 1979 and the series now runs a 9-race schedule, eight of which are at Colorado National Speedway in Erie, with one race at I-25 Speedway in Pueblo County.
* [http://www.ismasupers.com/ International Supermodified Association (ISMA)]
* [http://www.midwestsupers.com/main/index.php Midwest Supermodified Association (MSA)]
* [http://www.smraracing.com/ Supermodified Racing Association (SMRA)]
* [http://members.tripod.com/~erasupermodifieds/ Englewood Racing Association]
* [http://www.supermodifiedscorecard.com/site/index.php Supermodified Scorecard] , a supermodified fansite
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