MADERA, CALIF. -- The Supermodified Racing Association held its final race at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif., Saturday and for all the drivers, it was a great one.
The 50-lap main event of the annual Harvest Classic had 13 cars take the lineup. Jim Birges, driving the No. 89, Kenny White, in the No. 96, and Whitey Janssen of Dayton each went out during practice sessions with problems. Birges with a blown oil pan; White, weld on cylinder head failed; Janssen, steering wheel came off and he hit the wall.
C&M Motorsports of Reno and S&S Motorsports of Carson City participated in a practice session Friday as both cars had parts replaced and wanted to test them out. C&M held together Friday, but when put under more use Saturday, the weld on the cylinder head failed. They will not make the last race in Las Vegas, nor will Janssen.
The 50-lap main event was dogged by only one caution, which came on lap 3 when Lance Jackson slowed to a stop in turn 4. He was pushed to the infield and done for the night. The top-5 were Donnie Large, Tony Thomas, Lance Tatro, Kenny Kinchen and Bobby Dalton. By lap 10, the composition of the race had changed and battles for position were happening in every turn, down every stretch.
Lap 23 saw nose-to-tail racing between points leader Jeff Russell, Troy Regier of S&S, Dalton, Birges and Bryan Warf. Regier tried for several laps to take Russell high, or nose in below for a low pass, and each time lapped traffic hindered his efforts. On lap 33, Regier made a spectacular move on the back stretch out of turn 2, passing Russell on the outside and immediately pulling low in front of Russell to make an inside pass on the lapped car of Thomas heading into turn 4, blowing the fans away with his double-pass move.
The battle for positions behind him were nearly as good, as Warf and Birges took side-by-side laps, with Warf gaining position; Dalton fell back to finish the race one lap down.
Regier pulled about an 8-car lead over Russell and kept it to the checkered flag. Russell was second, Warf third, Birges fourth and Dalton rounded out the top-5. The remainder of the lineup was David Tuey, Tatro, Thomas, Large, Doug Reparetti, Larry Hinz, Kinchen and Jackson.
"Boy, that was a lot of work," Regier said after his win. "I don't like having to work that hard, but I was picking 'em off, one by one.
"The car was kind of tight going in and loose coming off. I had to feather it coming out of the turns so I wouldn't spin the tires.
"It feels good to be back in the Winner's Circle. I want to thank our sponsors; Regier Farms, Donn Simons and Artistic Fence, Ron Burdg and Sierra Racing Products, Paughco, and Capital City Auto Parts-NAPA."
"My car got loose on me after lap 28," said Russell. "Troy was good in 1 and 2, that's where he gained on me."
Warf also commented on loose conditions of the handling of his car.
"I was loose getting in and through the turns," he said. "Near the end there I almost looped it."
Regier was fast qualifier on the night, turning in a 12.531-second lap on the 1/3-mile paved oval. He finished second in the trophy dash to Russell, Birges was third and Warf fourth. Tuey won the 360 trophy dash over Kinchen, Tatro and Jackson.
In the heat races, Warf won the 410 heat over Regier, Dalton, Russell, Birges and Thomas. Tuey won for the 360s, over Jackson, Tatro, Large, Hinz, Riparetti and Kinchen.
"We learned a few things on the car during practice Friday that seemed to make it better," said Steve Shaw, co-owner of the No. 98 S&S Motorsports racecar.
"Then Saturday we changed the tires on the car and it all went away. But Troy did a good job of driving the car with what we had. We always seem to be chasing the setup on the car at Madera because of tires."
The SMRA's final points and race of the season is Nov. 1 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway's Bullring. Regier is 38 points behind Russell for the championship. Regier "owns" fast time at The Bullring in a supermodified.
For information on S&S Motorsports, visit www.ssmotorsportsracing.com, and on the SMRA go to www.smraracing.com.