“After the Duel in the Desert” is a new race, which will be this weekend at the Pahrump Valley Speedway. The race is 40 laps and will feature IMCA Modifieds competing for a $1,500 purse. The race is designed to catch the racers coming into Las Vegas for the Las Vegas Motor Speedway’s Duel in the Desert Race. This Vegas race attracted 253 IMCA Modified cars last year.
Racer Tony Kinkade will be one of the many race favorites to win the 40-lap feature this Sunday. He will be racing all weekend long for he is also doing the Vegas race.
The PVT caught up with him at his home in Pahrump and asked him about his chances and what it was like to drive an IMCA Modified car.
Kinkade comes from a racing family.
“I started first with Modifieds at 21-years-old,” he said. “I have been driving ever since and I am 29 now.”
Kinkade loves the IMCA Modifieds because you can go anywhere in the United States and race and the rules would be the same. The class runs with a 395 motor with 600 horsepower. The motors are cast iron and the body of the cars are aluminum. The cars are capable of reaching speeds up to 75 mph on the 1/4-mile track in Pahrump and up to 120 mph at the 1/2-mile track in Las Vegas.
“I can go to North Carolina and race and they will have the same division and they will have the same rules,” he said. “Money is not really the option. Everybody has equal equipment and it comes down to the driver. You get in some divisions like late models or sprint cars and a lot of it is if you have the money you have the better equipment, where in Modifieds you don’t really need a lot of money to run good. We do it with a home-built car. My dad built our motors and we do the best we can with what we have.”
He said his father learned to build cars from his dad. The sport has just been around the family for a long time and everyone in the family is involved in it. The Kinkade family loves the sport of racing and it’s in their blood.
“We try to race as much as possible and when we can afford it. It’s pretty much is a hobby and if it led to something that would be great. We do it for the fun of it and I do it to win. It’s a family thing. My girlfriend is in it and so is my daughter. We work hard at it,” he said.
The Kinkades travel all over the country to race. They have raced in Kansas, Nebraska, Texas and Colorado.
“I have raced all over Nevada and we are actually from California. I just returned from racing in California. We went to Paris and Victorville, Calif.,” he said.
“My grandfather was around racing a long time. Dad grew up at the racetrack and I grew up watching him. I learned from watching dad do it. My brother has driven, but he is not into the driving, he is more into the mechanical aspects of racing,” he explained.
Kinkade considers the safety record of his class to be very high.
“Hardly anyone ever gets hurt in one. We have had a few freak accidents like Kiefer broke his neck one time and a guy died in a fire, but other than that I never hear of anyone ever getting hurt,” he said.
He even said he has flipped the car with no problems and then raced the car the same day in the main event.
The cars are just wild to drive and take a lot of hard work to keep them going on the track because of the fact they have a tremendous amount of horsepower, but no traction from the tires. When asked what it was like to drive a Modified on the track he replied, “It’s a lot of work and they are wild and out of control. Your adrenalin is going and you run out of breath and you have to be more athletic than what people think. There is a lot of thinking that goes on. You have to follow the line and you have to follow the groove of the track. You got to be on point and one mistake you can crash.”
Kinkade is looking for another big win. In the past he has won few championships and a few big races. He took the Turkey Classic in Victorville, Calif. This race usually attracts about 200 racers and runs through the Thanksgiving weekend at the Victorville Auto Raceway. He said he also has won at the World of Outlaws race in Paris.
He said the division is very competitive and who will win in Vegas and Pahrump will depend on who shows up.
“Jason Pike is always tough and Dan Fitzgerald,” Kindkade said. “It comes down to no mistakes in the car. Who prepped for the race, who gets the car right and that’s why we stick to IMCA. My dad and I do almost everything.”