A tale of two champions

Racing championships take solid teamwork - no matter the series.

S&S Motorsports of Carson City proved they and their driver are the best of 2004 by winning owner and driver championships in the Supermodified Racing League.

Highly respected in the racing community, Tom Silsby and Steve Shaw, owners of the baby blue No. 98 racecar, have worked together many years in open-wheel racing. They joined forces nine years ago to create S&S Motorsports. The winning crew includes Shaw and Silsby, driver Troy Regier, and members John Stewart, Rick Barba and Ed Silsby.

"We had a good season," said Silsby. "We stood to do a lot better, but little obstacles held us back."

Silsby is always looking for ways to improve an already outstanding racecar.

"We posted fast time at most racetracks we went to," he added. "We went faster last year than the year before and we'll go faster this year."

S&S does their own fabricating, builds their own chassis, wing design and more. All work is done in Carson City with the exception of tires and the motor. S&S uses Tom Reitz in Fresno, Calif., to build their motors.

"We're trying something a little different on the motor this year," Shaw said. "I think we'll be even faster."

Shaw said he and Silsby work with Regier to give him the car he wants.

"We take Troy's input and we use it," Shaw said. "We do what we can to give him the car he needs.

"And we're old-fashioned. We kept Troy as our driver through a gentleman's agreement - a handshake. If our word doesn't mean anything, it's not worth it."

Shaw and Silsby agree they respect Regier as a person and driver.

"He's got values - he's a good man," Shaw said. "He's a good person and we have a lot of fun together."

Regier, 38, has been the team's driver since mid-season 2003. He recorded his 50th career supermodifed win with S&S Motorsports at the season finale at The Bullring in Las Vegas.

"I think the season was good overall," Regier said. "We learned a lot about the car and each other. I'd like to have had more wins but we had some bad luck."

Regier said he may focus this season on getting more wins rather than setting fast times; 2004 was his fifth supermodified racing championship.

"Absolutely we had solid teamwork," Regier said. "I enjoy working with Tom and Steve and my brother in-law (Stewart). We should be strong this year."

Regier recorded three wins in the nine scheduled races in 2004. All wins were "hat tricks," - Regier recorded fast time, won his heat race and the main event at Meridian, Idaho (June 5); Rocky Mountain Raceways in Utah (July 3), and the Las Vegas Bullring for the series finale Oct. 2

Regier's goal is to win another championship. He laughed saying he's not sure how much longer he's going to be racing.

"This kids are growing up, playing soccer. I need to get the excitement, the thrill (of racing) back in me. I just got off my motorcycle to get some speed in me. But I look forward to getting more wins this year."

Two Carson City businessmen and sponsors of the S&S car offer similar opinions as to why they are longtime sponsors.

"I sponsor them because they're good friends of mine," said Don Jack, owner of Valley Chevrolet in Carson City. "Not because I think it'll sell cars. I've known them now for 35 years. Since the '60s."

Jack has maintained sponsorship on the racecar since 1998.

"I do it because they're friends and they're always in the hunt (for a championship). I will sponsor them whether they win or not. That's what they mean to me."

"Their championship justifies the viability of my product," said Ron Burdg, owner of Sierra Racing Products in Carson City, whose main product is brakes.

"We've been fortunate enough to have a number of championships - four NASCAR elite series, the World of Outlaws, Dirt Car World series, UMP series championship, and we've had the front row at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. the last four years in NASCAR's Southwest series - it proves we haven't deteriorated on the quality of product."

Burdg said he has sponsored S&S since he was asked in 1995.

"Somehow we got hooked up with them and they asked if my product could stop one of their cars," he said. "I said, 'Heck yeah. If you can race it, I can stop it.'"

Burdg and Jack said they will continue sponsorship with S&S Motorsports this year.

"As long as they're doing something in racing and are happy with the product, sponsorship will continue," Burdg said.

"It's a friendship thing, too. We've raced off the seat of our pants, we know what it's like. I've also been a contingency sponsor for the series."

Sponsorship for any team is sometimes hard to come by. S&S Motorsports will talk with anyone interested in sponsoring their racecar, whether it be expenses for fuel, tires, travel, entry fees, motor or oil, they will work a deal. The series takes them to racetracks in California, Arizona, Idaho, Utah and Nevada.

"It would be great if they could pick up a national hotel chain," Burdg said. "That would help with travel expenses."

Silsby said it's easier for sponsors to make monthly donations rather than one lump sum during the year.

"I know it's hard," he said. "But we'll take it just about any way we can. The cost of travel, entry fees, fuel and meals throughout the season just about equals the cost of the car."

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

Driver stats:

Troy Regier, age 38

Family: Wife of 17 years Sherrilyn; three daughters - Ashley, 9; Annie, 6, and Alysa, 4

Resides: Dinuba, Calif.

Wins: 3

Fast times: 7

Races: 9

Championships: 5

Car specs:

Weight: 1900 lbs w/driver

Wheelbase: Minimum 85" - maximum of 102"

Fuel: Alcohol, fuel injected; 18-gallon tank

Motor: 410 cubic inches; all-aluminum block and head; Direct drive, no transmission or clutch

Horsepower: Approximately 840

Tires: Hoosier

Wing size: 2400 square inches on top; 500 square inches for two nose wings

To be part of a winning team:

What: Sponsorship

Who: S&S Motorsports Supermodifed racecar

Call: Steve Shaw at 722-2388

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