Bobby G. On the Soapbox

On the Soapbox: 5 Things I Love About Supermodified Racing

As usual, I’m a day late and a dollar,(actually it’s a lot more than a dollar…), short. I had intended to post this yesterday on Valentine’s Day, but I found myself drawn to my other loves: grillin’, chillin’ & swillin’ and the fine lady that puts up with me.

For a long time, I’ve worked hard to understand what draws people to the supermodified division. When those emotions are defined, no matter who you ask, it always comes up as a generalized statement something like “Their cool” or “There’s nothing else like them.”  I want to understand more specifically why people love this division of racing like their spouse or kid. What is it that creates such a deep and lasting bond to this form of motor sport? Many people will not watch any other forms of racing, or if they do, scoff at and constantly compare it to their beloved supermodifieds, ranking other forms below the worst supermodified show they ever saw, for any number of, what would seem arbitrary to most, reasons.

So, I did my best. Not really thinking deeply but using the thoughts and feelings that came to mind first. I narrowed it down to five and put them in order from first to fifth.

Here there are:

  1. The Friendships
  2. The Uniqueness
  3. The Start
  4. The Stance
  5. The Smell

Now here’s why:

1. Any of us that are race fans can claim that our best friendships have started and grown strong because of being in the racing community.  For me, I really can’t say I have any other friends other than those I’ve gained from racing, but more specifically, the supermodified division. Many of my mentors have come from this division. Lifelong enduring and endearing relationships have been built around the supermodifieds. I think it’s because of the unique nature of the beast that it draws an even more passionate crowd to the fold. It’s a more tight-knit community because the cars are more scarce. It’s sometimes detrimental to the division this fact that supermodified racing attracts unique people that tend to want to keep the supermodified way of life to themselves, but once inside the circle, there’s no getting out. I cherish and love the friendships and acquaintances I’ve gained through the years of just being a fan of these awesome machines and I won’t ever believe that this bond we share will ever be better than those that claim the same from other forms of sport.

Click to see an album featuring some of the friends I’ve made in supermodified racing-Bobby G. & Friends
Steve Miller owned supermodified
You want unique? You got it. Handcrafted beauty abounds on the Steve Miller owned “Sweet 16”

2. Simply put; no two supermodifieds are the same.  Each one is hand crafted, and regardless of whether or not the same set of hands is crafting two supermodifieds at the same time, each will end up different when complete. This division is truly the last bastion of “Individual, Innovative, Engineering.” It starts with a vision of one person and is crafted into a meticulous work of automotive art that has no peer. If it doesn’t work, it’s cut up and rebuilt over the winter. Using old forms of machining, building and maintaining a supermodified is a time-consuming, deeply personal exercise in patience and skill that is becoming more scarce in a world of “gotta have it now.” The trades and skills used to do this task of love are being lost in a sea of computers and CNC design. Still, in the end, a better idea and a want to do it oneself can lead to a winning race car that costs less than most off the shelf forms of pavement racing.

Start of MSR feature at Winchester Speedway.
This is enough to “Put a little SHAKE in yer seat, a little RATTLE in yer feet, and make your eyeballs ROLL to the back of your head!”

3.  OK what form of motor sport doesn’t get your blood boiling, your hands sweating, and your heart pounding when it comes to starts. You’re right, many of us live for that overwhelming rush of uncertain, fear inducing, and exhilarating moment of a pack of snarling open wheel racers shooting off turn four for the drop of the green flag. For me though, it’s pretty tough to beat 20-24 ground pounding, methanol slurping versions of pavement racing rocket science winding up wheel to wheel and nerf bar to nerf bar at the start of a feature. It’s truly an almost perfect moment  nearing orgasmic sensations.

92scav-17 2-23 FB4. I think most men, while having to settle for the grocery getter, and most women, even though they could be considered mini-van MILFS, have a deep seeded wish to be behind the wheel of a low slung, two seat, ground hugging, wide tracking roadster. Admit it, you drool with envy every time a Corvette or Cobra idles up next to you as you sit behind the wheel of your boring four door.  How low can you go? Supermodifieds most often sit less than 3″ off the pavement. Sleek is sexy and supers have the corner on the market of low, wide and open cockpit appeal in all of short track pavement racing.

5. While most forms of American open wheel auto racing do use methanol as a fuel source, it seems like the smell of spent methanol shooting from the headers of a supermodified is all the more sweet. It’s like an aphrodisiac packed full of pheromones guaranteed to create a life long addiction to, and love of, the division.

What would you say are your top five reasons for loving the supermodifieds? Share your thoughts with a comment below. I’d love to read it!


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