By – Gerald Laurie
Troy Regier not only won the SaturdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s fifty lap Supermodified feature at the LVMS Bullring, he took the 2009 Supermodified Racing Association Championship by merely starting the feature. This was the eighth time Troy has won the West Coast Championship in recent years. Although many were expecting Troy to announce his retirement from full time competition in Victory Lane, no announcement was forthcoming and he refused to get specific when asked in the pits after the races.
There were 12 Supermodifieds in the pits with five additional competitors stuck on the East side of the Rockies by a huge Blizzard. One Colorado competitor called and said they had made twenty miles in four and a half hours and they all just packed it in and went home. Maybe next year.
The first event for the SMRA Supermodifieds was qualifying. Jeff Russell set fast time at 12.803 seconds on the 3/8 mile banking. Troy Regier was next fastest at 12.820 followed by Bryan Warf at 12.853, Jim Birges at 13.042, and A.J. Russell at 13.096.
The first eight lap heat lined up with Rick Cameron on the pole followed by A.J. Russell, Bryan Warf, Jeff Russell, and George Greenway. Justin Mack scratched from the line up with a blown head gasket suffered during qualifying. A.J. took the lead from the outside with Jeff following him through. Cameron held third over Warf and Greenway. The battle for the lead and the battle for third included heavy dicing as the followers tried to become leaders. Warf finally snookered Cameron on lap five and went off in pursuit of the leaders. Meanwhile, Jeff Russell was trying both high and low to get around A.J. However, at the eight lap checkers, A.J. held sway over Jeff, Warf, and Cameron. Greenway had headed to the pits after three laps.
The second heat line-up featured Willie Northamer, Tim Skoglund, Kirk Wartman, Jim Birges, Troy Regier, and Ray Stebbins. Skoglund and Birges blew around the top of turn one and then Birges dove low to lead lap one over Regier, Skoglund, Wartman and Northamer. Birges was very strong at the front and Regier was tight on his tail. Skoglund and Wartman were battling for third in tight formation as well. Stebbins headed for the pits on lap two. Birges and Regier ran lap after lap in the 12.6 to 12.8 second range, but Birges continued to lead to the end. At the Checkers, it was Birges over Regier, Skoglund, Wartman and Northamer.
The remaining eleven SMRA cars lined up for the fifty lap feature with Willie Northamer and Time Skoglund on the front row. Rick Cameron, Kirk Wartman, A.J. Russell and Jim Birges occupied the second and third rows. Bryan Warf, Troy Regier, Jeff Russell, George Greenway, and Ray Stebbins rounded out the field. Skoglund, Wartman, and Birges all scooted around Northamer on lap one with A. Russell in fifth. Lap two saw Birges slip into second place with Cameron to fifth as Northamer slid rearward. Birges passed Skoglund for the lead on lap three and headed for hills. Regier displaced Cameron from the top five on lap four. Skoglund, in his first Supermodified start was racing for all he was worth in second, but a whole herd of veterans were nipping at his heels as Birges headed for a different zip code out front. Bryan Warf and Jeff Russell were all over Cameron in sixth trying to work their way to the front. On lap six, A.J. used the lapped car of Stebbins as a pick to take third from Wartman. Regier relegated Wartman to fifthÃ‚Â on the eighth circuit. while Warf had finally passed Cameron.
Birges lapped Greenway on the ninth round. Lap ten saw Regier take third from Russell and Warf take fifth from Wartman. After ten laps the order was Birges over Skoglund, Regier, A. Russell and Warf. Second through fifth were in a real fur-ball while Birges had it set on cruise control. Jeff Russell was all over Cameron just behind the lead pack. Northamer lost the lead lap on the leaderÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lap eleven. Regier was going high and low trying to get by Skoglund who was rapidly catching the lapped car of Greenway. Tim was holding the preferred line and Regier was hunting all over for traction to get by. Cameron moved up a position at WartmanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s expense on lap twelve. Warf took over third from A.J. on lap thirteen. Regier finally displaced Skoglund on lap fourteen and set out after Birges from nearly a half lap back on lap fourteen. Jeff Russell took seventh from Wartman on lap fifteen. Regier ran a lap at 12.437 (Track Record is 12.596) as he rushed to knock down BirgesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s lead. Warf passed Skoglund for third on lap nineteen. After twenty laps, the order was Birges over Regier, Warf, Skoglund, A. Russell, J. Russell, Cameron and Wartman. All of the above were on the lead lap.
Birges times were falling into the mid 13 second range while Troy was catching him at nearly a second per lap. Regier passed for the lead on lap twenty two and A.J. Russell headed for the pits. Regier lapped Wartman on the lap twenty three and was pulling out a substantial lead as Warf was reeling in Birges. Warf took second on lap twenty six and Jeff Russell caught up with Skoglund to enter a battle for fourth. Regier lapped Cameron on lap twenty eight just as the yellow flew when Greenway coasted to a stop just past the start-finish line with copious amounts of fluid draining from the number eight.Ã‚Â Simultaneously, Northamer executed a half spin in turn two. Birges exited the track under the yellow with overheating problems. Apparently there was fluid in all four corners as well as draining off the front stretch. The red flag was thrown for a lengthy clean up and the cars were staged on the backstretch to await the restart.
When the cars were restarted, Regier had the lead over Warf, Skoglund, Jeff Russell, and Cameron. One or more laps down were Wartman and Northamer. Warf moved up on Regier and ran nose to tail with the leader. Russell finally cleared the lapped traffic and started his stalk of Skoglund for third on lap thirty one. There were two very interesting battles going on for the next segment with Warf hounding Regier and Russell all over Skoglund who was running a nearly perfect line to keep him at bay. At the forty lap juncture, Regier led over Warf, Skoglund, Russell and Cameron, all on the lead lap. Jeff finally disposed of Skoglund on lap forty one and set out to catch Regier and Warf. Regier lapped Cameron on lap forty two. The leaders were running laps around 13 flat and Jeff Russell was running 12.8Ã¢â‚¬â„¢s, but he was well behind. When the battle was finally over, Regier took the victory (he has won every Supermodified feature event ever run at the LasVegas Motor Speedway Bullring) over a hard charging Bryan Warf, a rapidly closing Jeff Russell, a nearly ecstatic Time Skoglund, and Rick Cameron.
It was my intention when going to Las Vegas to cover both the SMRA Supers and the USAC Midgets at the Bullring. However, I got drafted to call the race for SMRA when they came up short for officials, so I wasnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t able to devote the time to adequately cover the USAC portion of the show. I offer my apologies to Tommy Hunt and the rest of the USAC Officials and Competitors for not covering their portion of the show.
From inside the head of the idiot who drove 800 miles and spent 12 hours at a race track inside of a 25.5 hour timeframe, I am the Racing WidowÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Husband.
Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring
Qualifications: 1. 85 Jeff Russell, 12.803; 2. 98 Troy Regier, 12.820; 3. 91 Bryan Warf, 12.853; 4. 32 Jim Birges, 13.042; 5. 7 A.J. Russell, 13.096; 6.056 Kirk Wartman, 13.357; 7. 2 Rick Cameron, 13.413; 8. 89 Tim Skoglund, 13.726; 9. 8X George Greenway, 14.020; 10. 15 Willie Northammer, 14.368; 11. 34 Justin Mack, N/T; 12. 28 Ray Stebbins, N/T.
Heat 1: 1. A. Russell; 2. J. Russell; 3. Warf; 4. Cameron; 5.Greenway; 6. Mack, DNS
Heat 2: 1.Birges; 2. Regier; 3. Skoglund; 4. Wartman; 5. Northamer; 6. Stebbins.
Feature: 1. Regier; 2. Warf; 3. J. Russell; 4. Skoglund; 5. Cameron; 6. Wartman; 7. Northamer; 8. Birges; 9. Greenway; 10 A. Russell; 11. Stebbins; 12. Mack, DNS.