Congratulations to all the class champions at Fernley 95A Speedway.
Last Saturday, Carson City's Gary Nevers won the Pro Stock division championship by two points, Carson City's Shane Ramthun won the Dwarf Car championship, and Royce Goetz of Dayton took the championship in Hobby Stock. Fernley's Shawn Natenstedt won the title in the IMCA Modified division, Reno's Travis Barr is the new Pure Stock champion, and Justin McIlvain of Sparks won the Mod Mini championship. Although he didn't win the title, Carl Barlow of Silver Springs won his fifth Hobby Stock main in a row, and the fifth in a row starting at the back of the field.
Fernley 95A Speedway will have a two-day shootout on September 29-30, with drivers from all over the western United States competing. Matt Ramthun told me that he expects as many as 200 cars in all for the event. Purses are based on 20 cars in the main and are as follows: $2500 to win for the IMCA Modifieds, $2000 to win for Pro Stock, $1500 for Dwarf Cars, $1000 each for Hobby Stock and Mod Minis, and $600 to win for Pure Stock. In addition, Dale Bertram is adding another $500 each for the IMCA Modified and Hobby Stock winners. Because of the number of cars and the heavy schedule, racing will start at 3 pm on Saturday and noon on Sunday. Spectator gates will open two hours prior to the scheduled racing start. Campers and motorhomes will be allowed to camp overnight on the top tier of the tailgate section. General admission is $8, with discounts for kids, seniors, disabled, and military in uniform.
Another champion was crowned last weekend, as the IZOD IndyCar series wrapped its season with a 500- mile race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Ryan Hunter-Reay became the first American driver to win the title since Sam Hornish Jr. in 2006. Hunter-Reay, driving for Andretti Autosport, had to finish fifth or better after Penske driver Will Power crashed early in the race. His fourth-place finish behind winner Ed Carpenter and the Target-Ganassi Hondas of Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon sealed the deal. It was Power's third consecutive second-place finish in the championship, although he did manage to win the road course championship.
With one race down and nine to go in NASCAR's Sprint Cup Chase for the Championship, Jimmie Johnson is still looking strong for his sixth title run. He finished a strong second at Chicagoland Speedway behind Brad Keselowski, who is now three points up on Johnson in the standings.
Defending champion Tony Stewart is third in points with Denny Hamlin and wild card qualifier Kasey Kahne tied for fourth. Jeff Gordon's poor finish last week has him in a big hole, last in the Chase standings and 47 points behind Keselowski.
Gordon's fledgling mustache has disappeared, perhaps in an attempt to change his luck. Gordon has the second best average finish of all drivers at Loudon, at 8.9, and the second-best driver rating at 109.3, so he has a good chance to start digging himself out of that hole.
Formula 1 is also back in action this weekend, with a spectacular night race in Singapore. It is the only night race on the F1 schedule, and is absolutely breathtaking to watch. You can catch it on SPEED TV at 5 am tomorrow, or do like I do and let the DVR record it for watching at a more leisurely time.
In other NASCAR news, the sanctioning body on Tuesday reinstated A.J. Allmendinger, who successfully completed NASCAR's Road to Recovery substance abuse program. Allmendinger said that he is looking forward to resuming his racing career, and is keeping his options open. He was a guest of Roger Penske at the Fontana IndyCar race, fueling speculation that he might return to his open-wheel roots.