By David Sink
November 28, 2023 – Las Vegas, Nevada – Davey Hamilton Sr. plans to return to his roots this weekend with his participation in the Speed Tour Supermodified portion of the ‘RISK ON 360 Open Wheel Showdown’. He had originally planned on competing in the sprint car portion of the event as well, but his Kirk Morgan Racing team ran short on time getting a second car ready. So now his focus will be on Supermodifieds.
The Indy Car Series runner-up in 1996-97 and again in 1998 used Supermodifieds as a steppingstone to greater things early in his career. During his career he won most of the biggest Supermodified races on the West Coast including the Copper World Classic. He also won the 1997 Oswego Classic, which is considered the richest and most prestigious Supermodified race in the entire country.
After he stepped away from the Supermodifieds full-time to go Indy Car Series racing, he returned as a promoter to save West Coast Supermodified racing in the early 2000’s. He formed the Supermodified Racing League to give teams a traveling series on the West Coast. At the time, West Coast Supermodified racing was all but dead.
Now his career turns full circle as he prepares for the biggest West Coast Supermodified race seen in decades. Over 25 cars have already entered. He will be wheeling a Hyder built car that he had success with earlier in his career. He recently updated and restored it to racing condition.
“We’re still running this weekend, but unfortunately, not in a sprint car” explained Hamilton Sr. “The sprint car just didn’t get finished. They were supposed to have it back last week. My team just ran out of time. I wanted to do both. With the sprint cars paying 50k, it’s obviously big. I’ve been in this game a long time. Unfortunately, I’ve missed races before. Things happen. It’s a bummer for sure. Biggest race of the year and we’re not gonna be in it”.
With his focus solely on Supermodifieds he’s taking this seriously and feels he has a shot at the win.
“The thing is I haven’t pursued much in terms of racing until lately. I don’t drive for myself much. Even if I wanted to run for myself, I didn’t have the help. Finding people to work on my cars was getting impossible. I thought, well, I can work on them and put somebody else in them. I just couldn’t do both.”
“I’ve had a lot of Supers over the years. This car is one of the ones I had in the past. It was originally owned by the Triguero brothers and built by Hyder. When Larry passed away, I bought the team from the family and ran it for 3-4 years and had other people drive it while I was running Indy Cars. Tony Stewart, Lonnie Adamson, my dad, and a few other people. I sold it eventually to a guy I ended up buying it back from.”
“Over the last few years, I started putting it back together. I was taking my time because there wasn’t much going on out there. I was gonna restore it to be nice. Next thing I know they started getting races out West again. It’s been completely rebuilt. But it’s still old, it’s a twenty-year old car.”
Hamilton Sr. is coming off a second-place finish during the Speed Tour event at Madera, California in September and feels good about his chances of winning the Supermodified portion of the Open Wheel Showdown.
“We ran second. But honestly, we didn’t have the car right. It was the first time in twenty-two years to that track with that car. We didn’t have it quite right. My race craft sucked. I couldn’t get going. I had speed by myself. But with everybody out there I was cautious. It took me two thirds of the race before I figured out what I needed to do. I took me a while to remember how to do it, to be honest with you. I was sixth or seventh but got going at the end to get second. I felt good. I got a race under my belt and got the cobwebs dusted off. I feel like we got a good opportunity to get the win in Las Vegas”.
His father Kenny Hamilton was entered in the Supermodified portion of the event but had to withdraw due to knee surgery. His father is a West Coast Supermodified / Sprint Car legend who still competes at 82 years of age. When asked if the 61-year-old will be competing when he’s 82, much like his dad, he adamantly stated no.
“I love it for him. He has a passion for it. He has so much fun at the track. He has a lot of people around his car after the races. He’s a fan favorite, especially in Idaho. He planned on running this race. But unfortunately, he must have a knee replacement. He’ll be there but he’s not gonna race. When May comes around his ‘Pink Lady’ sprint car and Supermodifeied will be ready t go. He’ll be racing all season long.”
As the Open Wheel Showdown draws closer, you can tell by the tone of his voice Hamilton Sr. is taking this race seriously. He even had a t-shirt made for the event with his Supermodified boldly on the front. “It would be great to win the event. But hopefully we have a good weekend and at least get to do some racing in December” concluded Hamilton Sr.