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Racing Against the Rulebook: Chaparral Speedway

Eagle, Idaho—Things have changed. Today, in just about any type of racing, you “race against the rules.” The rule book sets limits on car weight, fuel used, wing size, engine size, tire size and rubber compound... etc. Talk about frustration! Especially for those who have been around racing circles for a while.

So when Adam Nelson, owner of the Chaparral Speedway, announced a no-holds-barred “Open Wheel Challenge,” earlier this year, everyone started licking their chops. The event attracted all kinds of small-track open wheel racers: Sprint cars and Supermodifieds, and set no limits on wing size, engine offset or cubic inches.  For one night, August 30, 2003, “no rules” was the rule at Chaparral, an older 3/8 mile high-banked oval track. And, as expected, the crowd was large, loud and lovin’ it!

Naturally, Troy and the Silsby team geared up for this challenge and hit the road to Idaho to be part of this Braggin’ Rights Bowl. They borrowed a “barn door” wing (now outlawed by most rulebooks) for the event, a giant 3550 sq. in. wing—nearly 50 percent larger than the limit for SRL wings (set at 2400 sq. in, so that the cars won’t go too fast).

The big wing called for several adjustments to the chassis set-up, but the team knows just how to balance that car, and Troy qualified 3rd.  During the heat race, Troy went high on the straightaway, roared into the marbles and sailed right out into the Idaho cropland—doing a great imitation of a potato farmer plowing his fields. Troy was all right, but the John Deere, er, #98 Supermodified came out of it with a badly damaged front end.

That didn’t even slow down the Silsby team. The crew went to work on a heroic repair “thrash” that was a sight to behold. They put Troy back on the track for the Main event—and what a race it was! During warm-up laps, #98 was trailing leftover dirt and dust like a row-cropping tractor!

Troy started out 8th—but mid-way through he had gained the lead. By the end of the 40-lap race, Troy had lapped all but two cars and they were only 50 yards in front of him.  When the dust settled, there was no question about who was literally the fastest in the land: Troy Regier and Supermodifieds.

Which all goes to show—you can use the rules to slow them down, but with a driver like Troy Regier—there’s just no stopping him. He’s a winner with or without that pesky rulebook.  


Jim Birges  (Supermodified big wing award winner) Jeff Russell
Weigt sprint car (Sprint car big wing award winner) Johnson sprint car
The #98 became “Spock” with it’s pointy-eared big wing “Tom, I had the plow set this deep for the potatoes”