Editor's note: This is the second of two features on supermodified race teams from Northern Nevada competing in the American Speed Association/Western States Supermodified Racing League touring series.
Reigning and three-time champions of the American Speed Association/Western States Supermodified Racing League - S&S Motorsports of Carson City - is the team everyone wants to beat. The driver of the No. 98, Troy Regier from Dinuba, Calif., has seven supermodified championships.
With the sale of the famous No. 98 "Baby Blue Dust Bunny," the team is starting from scratch with a new car.
Co-owners Tom Silsby and Steve Shaw have been working on a new chassis and all the accompanying body parts and fittings. Silsby began work on the chassis Nov. 18 after last year's car was sold to Carson City driver Dale Lamborn.
"It takes a few months to put one of these cars together," Silsby said. "We've made some minor modifications to the chassis, but it's pretty much the same chassis."
"And because of the design of these cars, most everything has to be fabricated," said Shaw. "You can't just buy parts from a race shop. In our case, Ron Burdg from Sierra Racing Products, does all our custom machine work and parts fabrication. We want to thank him for his work and parts in the building of this car."
It's difficult to describe a supermodified race car. It sort of looks like a dragster, but the engine is mounted on the left side of the car, not in the rear. It is an open-wheel car that races on oval asphalt tracks (ASA/WSSRL touring series).
It has 500 square-inches of nose wing for downforce, enabling it to reach fast speeds; and 2,400 square-inches of wing on top, again for downforce and stabilization during the race. It is the fastest, short-track asphalt race car in the world. And, the most unique.
One driver who has proven time and again he is more than capable of taming the savage beast is Regier, who admits he hasn't given racing much thought this off season.
"I've gone to Baja (California) three times on my motorcycle, a Yamaha YZ450," Regier said. "I haven't been thinking about racing.
"But with the car Tom and Steve have built - they've given me everything I've asked for. If I don't win, it's my fault."
Regier is anxious to see what the new car feels like. Though he hasn't set any goals for the 2007 season, he is looking forward to the challenge of other teams stepping up their programs to beat him.
"I hope they (other drivers) give me a challenge, I like challenges," he said. "I know Tom and Steve have worked every day on that car, even Easter, they're so dedicated to give me such a good car.
"But I will take things race by race, lap by lap. Once I'm at the track I'll be right back in race mode."
After a three-year absence from the racing community to focus on his family, Dale Lamborn is ready to return to action in a supermodified. Lamborn purchased the No. 98, chassis number 3, from S&S Motorsports, and has painted it his favorite color.
"It is the familiar bright yellow," Lamborn said. "I've always liked yellow. It's easier to see on the track, too. Other drivers can see you when you come up to pass."
Lamborn was the 1995 late model stock car champion at the former Champion Speedway in Carson City, and switched to supermodifieds soon after.
"The (supermodified) car is easier to work on, in the long run," Lamborn said. "This year I want to get myself in position to win some races. I have the car and crew."
Helping Lamborn are both of his sons, Travis and Branden. He doesn't have any sponsors yet, a financial necessity for all race teams, but lists his businesses, Empire Framing Contractors and Empire Builders as sponsors. His partner is Eric Dargert.
"My wife, Leah, is my sponsor. It's hard (financially) when there are no races in your home state."
Lamborn said the TV contract with VS television (and ASA/WSSRL) will help expose the series to new fans.
He also has set-up sheets on the car from Silsby and Shaw and will use that information for himself.
"I will take what they have and contour it to me," Lamborn said. "The car may be the same, but the drivers are different."
Lamborn is a building contractor and framer. He feels his chances are good to pick up a win since he's raced against the "big guns" before.
"Historically I qualify pretty well. We have good equipment and we're not a green team. Once I get used to the G-force, I'll get back into the swing of things.
"Troy won't slow down, we have to catch him. But you may see more winners in winner's circle this year."
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at email@example.com or 881-1223.