The weather was more cooperative at Fernley 95A Speedway last Saturday, but the warm weather kept the water truck busy knocking down the dust. Mark Serchio Jr. took the Pure Stock main, with Rich Innis in second. This duo should provide some close and entertaining racing all season. Stephen Crook Jr. beat Dennis Hainline and Kenny Martin to the checker in the Super Stock 4 main, and Joe Frock chased down and passed Bobby Wilson for the Dwarf Car win. Calvin Riles ran third. In the Hobby Stock main, Carl Barlow staged one of his patented “last to first” runs, winning after starting at the rear of the field. Brian Moore ran second, with Rick Miller third. Rob Grace won the Pro Stock main after two red flags for cars in the wall. Jim Hall and David Rauscher come home second and third. I the IMCA Modified main, Cory Sample won his second straight, beating Riley Simmons and Daren manning to the flag. Perennial winner Shawn Natenstedt was unable to stay with Sample, and stopped in the infield with a mechanical problem on the last lap. Fernley 95A Speedway will be back in action on April 26.
I had an interesting time at the Carson City Community Center on Tuesday night, as physicist Dr. Diandra Leslie-Pelecky explained the physics of NASCAR racing to a small but enthusiastic crowd. The event was put on by the Carson City library, and attendees got a signed copy of Dr. Leslie-Pelecky’s book, “The Physics of NASCAR: The Science Behind the Speed.” She became interested in the subject while changing channels in 2005 and seeing a car suddenly lose control and spin into the wall. As a physicist, the mechanics of that intrigued her, leading to a year spent interviewing drivers, crew chiefs, and race officials, and even driving at the stock car racing school at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. At the seminar on Tuesday she discussed car construction, aerodynamics, engine metallurgy, coefficient of friction, and other subjects in the most entertaining and understandable way. You can find out more by going to www.buildingspeed.org, or if you have a Sirius radio, listen in at 2:50 Pacific time when she joins Dave Moody and Angie Skinner to bust NASCAR myths.
We now have a two-time winner in the NACAR Sprint Cup series, as Kevin Harvick dominated last Saturday night at Darlington. It seems like Harvick either wins or finishes in the bottom third this season. With two wins, he is a lock for the Chase, as long as he finishes the first 26 races 30th or better in points. The points race is interesting, in that three of the top five and top of the top ten point-getters remain winless on the season. If there are not 16 winning drivers this season (and history says there won’t be), then the remainder of the Chase positions will be filled on points. Notable non-winners thus far are former champions Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, and Matt Kenseth. NASCAR has a bye weekend for Easter, one of the rare off-weekends of the year for the Sprint Cup teams.
IndyCar’s Long Beach Grand Prix last Sunday saw a surprise winner, as Mike Conway drove to victory after an overoptimistic pass attempt by Ryan Hunter-Reay triggered a chain reaction accident that took out most of the front-runners. It’s on to Atlanta for the series next weekend.
Formula One is back in action this weekend in Shanghai, China. It will be interesting to see if F1’s new green initiatives make an appreciable difference in Chinese air quality. The Mercedes team drivers, Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg, have so far been the class of the field this season. Now if the team can just keep them from taking each other out while battling for the lead, they should have a good result this weekend as well. Meanwhile, former juggernauts Red Bull and Ferrari have struggled. In fact, Ferrari has admitted to aspiring to be the second-best team this year, after replacing team principal Stefano Domenicali with Marco Mattiacci last week. And Red Bull took a hit in constructor points when the FIA’s International Court of Appeal upheld Daniel Ricciardo’s disqualification in Australia.