Appeal Features Writer
More than 50 cars from the increasingly popular legends race series will converge at Silver State Raceway Saturday night as drivers compete for the "Best in the West Legends Shootout," featuring the biggest cash purse race offered for these cars in Northern Nevada.
Coming from Salt Lake City, Denver, Southern Nevada, Washington and California, drivers will compete for more than $2,000. Several local drivers are expected to do well against the visiting "hot dog" racers.
John Burritt, who is the points leader in the legends division at SSR, has 10 wins, with 21 top-5 finishes in 23 starts. Burritt will race Saturday as well as George Weeks, C.J. Bawden, Mike Wright and Shane Kline, all in the top six in points. Mike Morrissey Jr., last year's division champ, will compete also, driving the No. 16 car of Ray Greathouse.
"This race will have the best drivers of other race tracks here to compete for this money," said Robert Kline, director of competition. "Our guys are good and these hot dogs are sure to give them a run for their money. Just because they have the home track advantage doesn't mean it's wrapped up. Reggie Hamilton from Washington won the race here two years ago. He's a good driver."
The prize money was put up by Auto Diesel Electric of Reno. Other sponsors include 7up Bottling Company of Reno, Bob Schwartz of Schwartz Radios, Larry Burton, and an anonymous donor has put up $50 to the fast qualifier of the night. Current holder of fast time in a legends car is Shane Kline, 1997 track champion with a 14.86.
"It's going to be extremely tough, these guys are fast," said Kline, referring to the competition. "To win this race would be the ultimate, because you're dealing with the best on the West Coast. Even though we have home track advantage, it doesn't mean much."
The legends cars run 1200cc Yamaha (motorcycle) motors producing 120 horsepower. They have a wheel-base length of 73 inches and a maximum front wheel to front wheel-base of 60 inches. Drivers use Sunoco Racing fuel or regular 95-octane fuel.
In addition to racing on asphalt, the cars race on dirt, road courses and drag race. They are all five-speed transmissions and turn about 10,000 rpms on the front straightaway.
Begun in 1992 by Humpy Wheeler, president and general manager of Lowe's Motor Speedway in North Carolina, there are now more than 3,000 cars racing in the United States, Great Britain and Canada, with some programs started in Europe.
Legends car racing is completing its fourth year of competition at Silver State Raceway. The Best in the West Shootout is expected to be the largest turnout of legends cars ever at the Carson City track.
"Our guys are gonna have their hands full," said Robert Kline. "It's not going to be a cake walk."
"It's (main event) 50 laps - and I've won every 50 lap race we've had here at Silver State," said Shane Kline. "I know how to set up the car for these 50-lappers. It will be a big surprise to me to see someone from out of state win this.
For information, call 885-2079.