THE LAST RACE

The last supermodified race at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon Oct. 6, 2007

First, I must say that I am getting older and the memory is not what it used to be. This story is written from my memory, my photos, what I saw, what I heard and the Internet. We all know what’s on the Internet is the truth.

This race was advertised as SMRA Supermodified vs. Winged Sprint Cars. There were 14 race cars there. There were five winged sprints cars and nine offset supermodified cars. There were several veteran drivers plus one who seemed to be a very young man. This young man whom I didn’t know his age or his racing experience was Nick Tomlinson. It turns out he was 12 years old at the time of this race, driving a winged 360 sprint car. When I saw him on the track, it looked like he was driving by looking out the side of the car as if he could not see over the hood. He did seem a lot shorter than the other drivers. At the drivers’ meeting, it was determined that he would start in the back of the main event. As the leaders caught up with him, he was to pull off into the pits. That is what I overheard at the drivers’ meeting.

The heat races were excellent with a combo of supers and sprint cars. The main event was all set with SMRA rules that inverted the top eight qualifiers. This put Kyler Barraza, driver of a sprint car, on the pole. This was followed by top west coast super drivers Jim Birges, Troy Regier, Rick Veenstra, Martin McKeefery, Brian Ware among others like top sprint drivers Matt Hein, Andy Alberding, Gary Davis, and bringing up the rear, Nick Tomlinson for a total of 14 starters.

At the start Barraza took off with the rest of the supers and sprints. Battling in the pack, Regier and Veenstra moved up to 2nd and 3rd. On lap 25, Veenstra got loose and went for an off track excursion. There was a yellow flag, Barraza was leading and Regier was second. It was a battle for the lead. I watched Regier making moves on the inside, on the outside, trying his best. By the end of 40 laps, Kyler Barraza was the winner. This was only the fourth time that a sprint car has won this race in 20 years. Kyler was the first driver with a 360 engine to win. After all that great racing, I don’t remember seeing Tomlinson pulling into the pits, but he must have because I didn’t see him at all after the first few laps.

Some people say supermodified racing is dead on the west coast. I don’t think so. A few weeks ago, in Meridian, Idaho, there was the JP Memorial Classic Supermodified Reunion with cars and drivers from several west coast states. I would call that the drop of the green flag, the revival of supermodified racing on the west coast.

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