If ever there were a mythical beast in the racing world, it would have to be that of the supermodified race car. A creature so powerful and incredibly intimidating on the asphalt racetrack, only those with no fear or guts of steel dare challenge its strength.
The Supermodified Racing League will make its only appearance in Nevada this year at Champion Speedway tonight. The group will bring 15 methanol-consuming, fire-belching beasts to tame the asphalt of the high-banked oval track.
Most of the cars are now running 410 cubic-inch motors, averaging 832 horsepower. Weight of the car, fuel and driver must be at least 1,925 pounds before the main event. After-race weight distribution must be at 68 percent or less on the left and 32 percent right. Tire sizes are staggered, at 15 inches wide by 25 inches tall on the left rear, 17 inches wide by 28 inches tall on the right rear. All cars run on Hoosier tires.
"We're increasing laps from 30 to 40 on our main events to make it a better show for the fans," said Ken Coventry, executive director for the series. "This also gives the drivers a better opportunity to compete for a win if they're starting from the rear of the field. We're helping out as much as we can to make these shows good for the fans."
Coventry said all the top drivers are expected to race at Champion Speedway, barring any big mishaps from Thursday's Fourth of July race in Salt Lake City.
"There's a tight points battle going on between Lonnie Anderson and Troy Regier," said Coventry. "You can bet they'll be there."
Also competing tonight will be Carson City residents Eric Silsby, in the light blue No. 98 S&S Motorsports ride, and Dale Lamborn, also in an S&S chassis-built car, No. 98n.
Silsby is in his third season with the S&S team and comes off his first-ever feature win, June 22 at Twin Falls, Idaho.
"It was great," Silsby said of his win. "I'm not only happy for myself, but dad (Tom Silsby) and Steve.
"The cars were always fast, it was just time for the driver to step up. I got a couple of good breaks, too. I'm happy for the guys and our sponsors -- Valley Chevrolet, Sierra Disc Brake, Paughco, Shaw Construction, Quality Heating and Sheet Metal and the S&S guys, the team."
Lamborn, 1995 champion in the then limited sportsman division at Champion Speedway, will be in the S&S Motorsports-built No. 98n, a 482 stroked, big block motor with 861 horsepower. Lamborn comes off a third-place finish at Twin Falls.
"This is a brand new engine built by Rex Hutchison of Sacramento; the same guy who built Rick Veenstra's motor. Rick won the last two races here," said Lamborn.
Lamborn said he is excited about tonight's race and hopes to have a lot of the series drivers here. He also feels he has a very good chance for a top-3 finish, if not a win.
"The advantage goes to me and Eric this year. I feel I've got one of the top three cars on the tour. I only have to talk to Eric about it (the win) for 30 or 40 laps," he added with a laugh.
Lamborn said he's having a good year this season working with the Silsbys. He considers Tom Silsby a "one of a kind" man in his knowledge of chassis building and racing. In the future, he feels Tom will be one of the main producers of chassis for the supermodified series.
"I got a little discouraged last year and sold my car," said Lamborn. "I wasn't happy and didn't know what I was going to do. Then I started talking to Tom and now we've got a good team going. I'm looking forward to racing at home.
"Eric's going to get a few more wins this year, too. I've been a winner before and when it clicks, it just clicks. Nothing can hold you down."
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Supermodified Racing League, also Hobby Stocks and Legends
WHEN: 6 p.m., Saturday July 6
WHERE: Champion Speedway, 1210 Race Track Road, off Bigelow, via Snyder Avenue
COST: Adults $18; Juniors/Seniors $12; ages 6-12 $6; 5-younger free
INFO: 267-3723 or visit www.championspeedway.com