Northern Nevada supermodified race teams ready

Rhonda Costa-Landers/Nevada Appeal Supermodified racecar No. 96 owner Courtney Lewis, seated, and crew chief Mike Burts, work on the racecar recently in preparation for the ASA/WSS 2007 season, which begins Apriil 28 at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif. The car is just one of five out of Northern Nevada racing in the series.

Rhonda Costa-Landers/Nevada Appeal Supermodified racecar No. 96 owner Courtney Lewis, seated, and crew chief Mike Burts, work on the racecar recently in preparation for the ASA/WSS 2007 season, which begins Apriil 28 at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif. The car is just one of five out of Northern Nevada racing in the series.

Editor's note: This is the first of two features on supermodified race teams from Northern Nevada competing in the American Speed Association/Western States Supermodified touring race series.

The American Speed Association/Western States Supermodified racing league opens its season April 28 at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif. The tour races in California, Arizona, Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Utah.

With five teams from Northern Nevada making up one-third of the average car count, chances are good the 2007 championship team will be a local one.

Driving for DNA Racing out of Minden are Amy Barnes and Eric Silsby. Barnes, 26, will be in the No. 67 car; Silsby, 39, will be in the No. 66.

"I'm ready for the season," Barnes said. "I'm more mentally and physically prepared than last year."

Barnes hits the gym at 5 a.m. to get her body ready for the demanding physical skills needed to handle an 800-horsepower, open-wheel racecar.

Barnes, who finished 10th in points in her rookie season, has specific goals for herself and DNA Racing. She wants to make the top-5 in points this season.

"I have complete confidence I can go to the top-5," she said. "I was disappointed with not getting rookie of the year last year. I only finished three out of the seven races I started.

"I want to beat other drivers and Troy's (Regier, current ASA/WSS champion) at the top of the list."

Silsby has raced eight seasons in a supermodified. Finishing fifth in points in 2006, he said it is consistency that will make the team better.

"There are things we need to learn with the car," he said. "Things we need to do to be more consistent.

"I would like not only for myself but the team to be better. These cars are capable of winning."

The DNA Racing crew consists of Dan and Kathy Barnes, Amy's parents and car owners; Glenn Koehler, Brenda Rhoades, Baron Bridgeman, Ambro Cornutt, Eric Silsby, and Amy's son Gavin.

Sponsors include Model Dairy, Rick's Plumbing and Sierra Racing Products. The team is seeking additional sponsorship. For information, call Amy Barnes at 690-8468.

"We had some quirks to work through last year," Silsby said. "But we're both excited for this year."

"We really want to thank Tom Silsby and Steve Shaw - S&S Motorsports - they've done a lot for us," Barnes said.

"But as a team, we've gotten better. We've come a long way in communicating. It's a lot better and I'm having fun now."

Finishing sixth in the points in 2006 was the team of C&M Motorsports of Reno, with driver Kirk Wartman from Boise, Idaho.

Owner Courtney Lewis along with crew chief Mike Burts of the No. 96 car are equally excited to get their car on the asphalt and go racing.

"We want to finish top-2 this year," Burts said. "If the cards fall right, we can beat Troy."

"If we are going to run second, we want to run second to Troy and run him hard," Lewis said. "With Kirk, we get good input from him in setting up the car. He has the knowledge and talent."

Wartman said he has been preparing for the season with a physical workout program, go-kart driving and snowmobiling to keep his motor skills sharp.

"My goal, I'd like to win a couple of races this year," Wartman said. "And finish top-3 in points.

"I think with Mike and Courtney spending a lot of time working on the car in the off season and the combination of the people I'm bringing to the team, we can do it."

The C&M crew include Kirk's dad, Vern Wartman, brother Kraig, Doug Stephenson, and Kirk's wife, Susan.

The team is seeking sponsorship. For information, call Lewis at 673-3987.

"We just need to stay on top of our game," Wartman added. "S&S is always good. We just need to do the best we can and be there when the opportunity arises. And be able to beat Troy.

"Troy's been a great help to me and I want to be there to race with him. You have to do your homework and when preparation meets opportunity, that's when it will happen."

Next week's story will feature Dale Lamborn of Carson City, who returns to the series after a three-year hiatus, and defending champions S&S Motorsports of Carson City.

Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at rcosta-landers@nevadaappeal.com or 881-1223.

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