I had the pleasure of meeting up with late model racer, Roy Degeer, during the weekend of racing held at Mesa Marin Racetrack in Bakersfield California. Degeer lives in Bakersfield and runs a semi-custom home construction company called ViceRoy Homes. The expanding home market in and around Bakersfield has been very busy, keeping Degeer occupied taking care to see that his customers get the amenities and custom touches that they desire and that their budgets can afford.
The 47-year old driver has driven late models on dirt primarily, and still gets out to do some dirt track racing during the season. This is his 3rd season with the #10 car and second season as a late model regular at Mesa Marin Raceway. The car has a Victory Circle chassis, and the team builds and assembles the suspension and drive components. The team is made up of his family and extended family. His son Roy, his daughter’s boy friend and a long time associate make up the core car crew. The wives and girlfriends venture along and form their own cheering section in the stands and always join up after the race in the pits to help with getting things in the hauler for the trip home.
Degeer made about 12 of the 18 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Late Model races this year at Mesa Marin and still collected enough points to finish 11th for the season. One of the weeks he didn’t make the Mesa Marin show he was back out on the dirt competing in a 100-lap endurance race at Hanford, and brought home a very respectable 4th place finish. The season saw no victories for the ViceDegeer Homes team, Degeer says that victory is elusive, but they did manage to get 6 top 10 finishes with 3 of those being in the top 5. He credited the Mesa Marin track for coordinating a tire program for the late models, getting a few free tires during the season helps out a long way. Degeer expressed interest in getting to Irwindale to race as well as the Bullring at Las Vegas, but schedules and equipment restrictions made it a stretch.
The late models usually run features of 40, 50/ or 75 laps, the RacingWest.com 125 was going to make the drivers and crews set the cars up for a long race and getting the set up was going to be a very important factor in the late model feature.
Degeer got caught up in a racing incident in the 1st qualifying race, he was blacked flagged for rough driving and still came back for a 10th place finish. He explained "that there are two things that a driver can do when there is contact in the turns, one is to back off the throttle and risk being tangled up in the spin and risk getting into the wall or throttle up and drive through. It’s racing short track style and happens to everybody if they race long enough." Degeer had a decent run in Sundays race holding his 10th starting position going up or back just by one or two positions until his car just went away and he wound up finishing 11th.
With this years Late Model schedule finished up, Degeer and the family are going to take their off road vehicles and head out and enjoy the sand and desert. Roy’s son is building a street stock racing car to run next season, keeping the family and friends together at the track going racing and as Degeer says, "getting the most bang for your buck when your driving late models."
It was a pleasure to watch him run a smooth. patient race as well as spend a few moments getting to know about his racing program. Thanks Roy! Be Fast, Be Safe!