COOS BAY — Brody Montgomery and his father, Justin, are putting around his No. 3 Super Late Model in the pit area at Coos Bay Speedway earlier this month, Tom Williams and Dyllan Sewell with their Sportsman Late Models flank them and first-year high schooler Tyler Tullus and his Hornet class are near.
All are from Bandon and make the 40-or-more-minute drive to Coos Bay Speedway to race and are part of a sizable Bandon contingent at the races.
Brody Montgomery is currently dominating the Super Late Model class this season, never finishing worse than fifth with four wins in five tries to hold a 78-point lead over second-place Chris Ray of Coos Bay.
But Brody Montgomery isn’t the only Bandon resident at the top of the standings.
Bandon residents hold the top four spots in Sportsman Late Model (Sewell, Wayne Butler, Williams and Charlie Withers), and Tullus currently sits atop the Hornet class with David Pellum in third.
So, why, then, are there so many good drivers in Bandon?
The easy answer is the Montgomerys.
They will build a roll cage for anyone who asks. It’s not the first step but it’s probably the most important in converting a road car into one suitable for a racetrack.
“Anyone that wants to get out on the track and race, we’ll do whatever we can to help ‘em,” Brody Montgomery said. “We like to have cars at the track. It doesn’t matter what they are it’s a lot of fun."
This is how Tullus got going.
Still in high school, Tullus wanted to get into racing and his father found a car that he got for $1. It was already stripped out but needed a roll cage, so they phoned around and got in touch with the Montgomerys, who happily helped out.
“A lot of the racers want to get out and help other people,” Tullus said. “It could be work, it could be money. Anything, really.”
From there, Tullus secured sponsorships by walking into businesses like Pastries and Pizza and Sammie's Laundry, to get some extra cash to put into the car or whatever other expenses.
“In Bandon, there are people there who will back you, even if you ain’t got a lot of money” Tyler’s father Dan said. “If you find a junk car, kind of like we did, have the initiative, put your foot out there, they’re willing to back you and help you get to the races.”
Tullus, and Montgomery and Hannah Robison who are other young drivers, also help to create a new generation of drivers.
Coos Bay Speedway owner/operator Drake Nelson has started a Junior Stingers division -- which also features a driver from Bandon -- intended to get even more people in cars and on the track.
“It’s something that we love to do,” Williams said. “We love to come out here and put on a show for the fans. That’s what it’s all about: supporting local racetracks so it doesn’t grow up in weeds.”