Regier, S&S Motorsports wins Supermodified championship
Perseverance pays off for team as driver records his 75th career win
By Rhonda Costa
Appeal Staff Writer
LAS VEGAS ” The odds were against Troy Regier heading into the final race of the Supermodified Racing Association’s season as he faced a 38-point deficit to points leader Jeff Russell of Boise, Idaho.
But as Regier, of Dinuba, Calif., has said before about his racing ” race to win or why bother ” he beat the odds and won not only the main event, but the 2008 championship, his fourth in just five and a half seasons with S&S Motorsports, which is based in Carson City.
Regier won by six points Saturday at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
“This championship means more to me than any of the others I have,” Regier said. “To know we did it straight up and not try to play any games. We run as hard as we can and to have this (championship) come in our favor, makes all the hard work worthwhile.
“I have to thank (co-owners) Tom (Silsby) and Steve (Shaw) for giving me the car I want. They have worked hard all year long.”
Regier posted second-fast time on the night, qualifying with a 12.682 seconds on the 3⁄8-mile paved oval. Fast time went to rookie Nick Haywood of Denver, Colo. with a 12.549. By qualifying in the top-six, Regier gained 10 points on Russell who qualified ninth. Russell did win his heat race; Regier finished third, which was a two-point advantage for Russell.
Drivers earn passing points in the main event, which worked to Regier’s advantage as he began in the 10th position, and Russell in the third. Regier began picking cars off as soon as he could to move to the front of the field. When the first caution flew for Rich Castor Jr. of Bennett, Colo., on Lap 6, Regier was fourth. On the restart, he was right on Russell, who continued to run in third, making the pass and taking Kurt Wartman of Boise two laps later for the second spot.
On Lap 16, race leader Justin Belfiore of Ipswitch, Mass., who when he came upon a slower car to lap it, hesitated just long enough Regier could make an inside pass and go three wide into Turn 2 and come out with the lead.
Regier skillfully used lapped traffic the rest of the race to keep his distance from the young hot-shoe of Bryan Warf, who was running and finished second to Regier; Russell finished in third ” gaining no passing points.
Rounding out the field were Eric Silsby of Minden, A.J. Russell of Charlotte, N.C., Haygood, Dale Lamborn on Carson City, Pat Whittet of Boise, Amy Silsby of Minden, Matt Gilbert of Firestone, Calif., Wartman, Harold Evans of Middleton, Colo., Jim Birges of Fresno, Calif., Belfiore, Bobby Dalton of San Martin, Calif., and Castor Jr.
Birges also won the six-lap, six-car trophy dash.
“I was going more for the win,” Regier admitted. “But if at all possible, getting the championship was on the back of my mind. What helped was Jeff’s qualifying and my qualifying and passing points. Getting those gave me the opportunity. And the car handled perfectly.”
Eric Silsby said his car was a bit loose but did what he could to hang in to stay in the top of the field.
“It went away at the end of the race and all I could do was drive it,” Silsby said. “But we finished, in one piece. And that’s always good.”
Eric’s teammate, Amy, was not happy with the handling on the car as a part in the steering broke during a practice session and sent her into the wall in Turn 4.
“We rolled the car into the trailer in one piece, and that’s a good thing,” she said.
Lamborn said he made adjustments to the car to try to tighten it up but admitted he made a mistake and made it too loose for the main event.
“It was real loose from the get-go,” Lamborn said. “I tried to get in the gas … it was a real handful. I was all over the place.”
Lamborn finished third in his heat race; Amy did not race her heat as she was working on the car, Eric finished fifth.
The No. 96 car of C&M Motorsports of Reno driven by Kenny White of Fresno, suffered possible rear-end damage and did not start the main event.
“The more I think about it, it could be the quick-change rearend,” said Mike Burts, C&M co-owner.
“I have such a feeling of elation to win this year’s championship,” Regier said. “And to do it from behind was awesome. My team never quits.”
“A good car this good doesn’t come that often, but Troy sure drives the hell out of it and that’s why he’s won five out of nine main events this year,” said Tom Silsby. “He would have probably won more had we not had those two DNF’s (did not finishes).”
“It was a good season for us even with those two freak breakdowns, two things that do not normally break,” Shaw said. “We did struggle to get those wins and like I’ve said before about Troy, he is one of the most amazing and talented drivers. He can do things with a racecar that seem impossible. And it’s always in his mind to win.”
“I’ve got to thank my sponsors as well as the team,” Regier said. “They are Sierra Racing Products, Donn Simons and Artistic Fence, NAPA Auto Parts (Capital City Auto Parts), Paughco and Regier Farms.”
Regier has won championships with S&S Motorsports in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2008. He has a total of eight supermodified championships and at The Bullring Saturday, recorded his 75th career main event win.
For information or to sponsor S&S Motorsports, visit http://www.sandsmotorsportsracing.com.