S&S Motorsports makes changes, improves performance
For the Nevada Appeal
MADERA, CALIF. — After contemplation and making many changes to the chassis and setup of their No. 98 supermodified racecar, co-owners Steve Shaw and Tom Silsby made key changes that made a noticeably positive performance on the handling of the car at Madera Speedway in Madera, Calif. Saturday.
“Overall, the handling was better,” Shaw said. “The car responded to the adjustments we made. I think it was a better combination (of changes).”
Driver Troy Regier, of Dinuba, Calif., posted the fourth-fast time in qualifying and used it to his best ability to finish second in the trophy dash as well as the 10-lap heat race. The dash was won by AJ Russell of Clovis, Calif., while Jim Birges of Fresno won the heat race with Lonnie Adamson finishing third.
“There is nobody who prepares their racecar as well as Tom and Steve do,” Regier said. “They’re they best at detail.
“They made improvements to the car and we are honing in on some other things. Jim (Birges) ran a good race and I was moving in on him. We gained a little bit tonight.
“I have not lost my desire to compete. I’ll keep on trying and keep on winning. I’m not done, yet.”
The 50-lap main event featuring 14 supermodifieds was slowed early on with two cautions for solo spins on laps 9 and 10. Pole-sitter David Tuey led for the first four laps until Birges took over the lead on lap 4 with Bobby Dalton running second and Regier having moved his way to third after starting seventh.
Also moving through the field was Russell. With the lead cars already moving through lapped traffic, Russell made an inside move on Regier making his way to second on lap 19. As Russell moved in on leader Birges the two came upon two slower cars down the back stretch with Birges attempting to drive the high line and Russell diving underneath the slower cars. Russell was the lucky one gaining the lead coming out of turn 4 on lap 25.
On lap 32, a small puff of smoke came from underneath the No. 7 car of Russell as he entered turn 3. One lap later as he drove out of turn 4, another puff of smoke appeared, a small fire broke out from the engine and Russell slid into Lance Tatro in the No. 72 putting them both into the wall in turn 1-2.
“It looks like an oil line gave out,” said Richard Russell, AJ’s father. However, after refiring the car later in the pits, there was no oil leak and no more fire.
At the restart of the race, Birges was back in the lead with Regier hot on his nerf bar. It appeared as a repeat of the Vukovich classic from May 9 was at hand. Both cars were equal in handling and speed and it was Birges who became the first repeat winner of the 2009 Supermodified Racing Association season. Regier placed second with Jeff Russell finishing third. Rounding out the field were: Dalton, Lonnie Adamson, Tuey, Tatro, Kenny Kinchen, Willie Northammer, Kyle Vanderpool, Lance Lackson, AJ Russell, George Greenway and Larry Hinz.
“The car was good,” Birges said. “I was losing oil out of the breathers, but we were like gold. Finally, luck went our way. We won even after dropping a cylinder.”
Shaw said the combination of changes made to the car are better, but is skeptical with the number of changes already made this year.
“From here we’re going to create a baseline and improve on what we’ve got; tweak them a bit,” Shaw said. “With this new wing design it creates better down force at the smaller racetracks. Now we need to learn and see what the car wants to work with it. I think we’ve made some great strides tonight.”
Regier holds the points lead in the 2009 series, which next races July 2 at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and July 4 at Rocky Mountain Raceways in Salt Lake City.
For information, visit http://www.smrasupermods.com.