MADERA, CALIF. -- Sometimes you have to be in the right place at the right time. Sometimes you get lucky.
Saturday night at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif., Troy Regier of Dinuba, Calif., driver of the No. 98 S&S Motorsports supermodified racecar based in Carson City, was both.
The league opened its series with the Vukovich Classic, a 50-lap main event at Madera Speedway, named for driver Billy Vukovich III. The track nearest to his home, Regier likes to do well in front of the crowd, which was calculated to be more than 2,600. The drivers did not disappoint them.
Teams from Northern Nevada were lined up in the second, sixth and back of the field positions. Amy Barnes and Eric Silsby of DNA Racing did not make the trip due to driver and crew chief illness.
The 96 car's motor blew a piston, Dale Lamborn in the No. 48 had ignition problems and a leaky valve-cover gasket, leaving the 98 car to take on the rest of the field.
"I'm a little disappointed," Lamborn said of his first outing. "I think we have the new-car gremlins.
"There were a few things that went wrong, but we got them fixed and I think we'll have a better run in Tucson. I think every team out there had problems."
"We broke a piston," said Courtney Lewis, owner of the No. 96 car based in Reno. "We'll get the motor out and see if we can fix it (soon enough) to be in Tucson (Ariz., May 12)."
The race was a three-car battle between Jim Tartaglia, Jeff Russell and Regier. Russell led nearly the entire race, while second and third were swapped between Regier and Tartaglia. Tartaglia passed Regier on lap 30 and set his sights on Russell.
"I kept trying to make adjustments on the car to make it better," Regier said. "I wanted to put myself in position to win."
On lap 48, Tartaglia made a hard charge into a turn to take Russell, but didn't have position quite right and hit and spun Russell. Russell restarted at the end of the lead lap, in the fourth position, and from the hit, Tartaglia lost his nose wing, important for down force and speed.
Regier was in second.
On the restart, Regier was able to move quickly inside Tartaglia for the lead and the win.
"At first the car wouldn't turn, then we got it to turn too good," Regier said. "The rear end kept wanting to come around on me."
"We struggled a little bit to get the car going," said Steve Shaw, co-owner of the racecar with Tom Silsby. "We weren't as good as we should have been, but Troy kept trying and trying.
"It's a new car and we'll learn what it will take to perform correctly. We'll work on a few things and be ready for Tucson.
"We owe a big thanks to Donn Simons of Artistic Fence. He came in with big sponsorship for us and it is greatly appreciated."
Regier posted fast qualifying time, finished second in the trophy dash and first in his heat race.
The ASA/WSSRL next races May 12 at Tucson Raceway Park in Tucson. For information, visit www.wssrl.com.