Defending IMCA champ garners first win of season
May 3, 2014
Fernley 95A Speedway's third points race of the season last Saturday provided some excellent racing. The IMCA Modified main saw defending track champion Shawn Natenstedt take his first win of the season, holding off a charging Riley Simmons. Josh Ogg finished third after a steady run up front, Robert Miller was fourth, and two-time season winner Cory Sample charged from the back of the pack on a late restart to finish fifth. Rob Grace dominated the Pro Stock main, finishing half a lap ahead of David Rauscher and Conner Tatum, while Carl Barlow staged one of his patented charges from the back of the pack to take the Hobby Stock win over Jake Baker and Brian Moore. Kenny Martin was first to the checkers in the Super Stock 4 main, besting Justin Busch and Jesse James, and Fred White subbed for an ailing Jeremy Christen to take the Pure Stock victory over Mark Serchio Jr. and Rich Innis. Fernley 95A Speedway will be back in action on May 10.
NASCAR K&N Series East driver Mackena Bell of Carson City didn't score a top-10 finish in the delayed Blue Ox 100 at Richmond last Saturday morning, but was the best of the four Revolution Racing teammates in both qualifying and the race. She improved from practice to qualify 14th and held on to come home 15th in a caution-filled race. She was the only Revolution Racing driver to finish in the top 20.
There are now two drivers locked into NASCAR's Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship, as Penske driver Joey Logano took the win last Saturday night at Richmond in a wild finish after a late restart. Tempers flared after the race, with several drivers expressing their displeasure with others, leading to fisticuffs between Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears. For this extracurricular activity NASCAR fined Ambrose $25,000 and Mears $15,000, and put both drivers on probation until May 28. I guess the guy who gets in the best punch draws the biggest fine. The other big story of the night involved tires and fires, with a number of right fronts going up in flames. And poor Jeff Gordon, after dominating most of the night with a good long-run car, ended up second on the short sprint after the final caution. Gordon has been running so strong this season that he will almost have to see a checker soon. His teammate Jimmie Johnson was one of the drivers with a right-front problem and finished well down the order.
This weekend NASCAR visits Talladega, its longest track at 2.66 miles in length. Both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup series are racing this weekend. The Nationwide race will see the first outing in that series since 2012 for Darrell Wallace Jr., the up and coming Camping World Trucks regular. Wallace will wheel the No. 20 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. The Nationwide race airs at noon Pacific today, with the Cup race tomorrow at 10 a.m. on FOX.
NASCAR isn't the only series that has been plagued by rain this season. The IndyCar series race in Alabama was delayed by a downpour that left 2-3 inches of standing water on the track. Ryan Hunter-Reay redeemed himself from his Long Beach debacle to score the win. It is now the month of May, and this year there will be not one, but two IndyCar races at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Next weekend will see the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis, with the IndyCar contingent running on the former Formula 1 road course (with a few modifications). The Indy 500 two weeks later will have some extra added attractions, including former IndyCar champions Jacques Villeneuve and Juan Pablo Montoya as well as NASCAR star Kurt Busch. Busch will be the first driver to attempt the Memorial Day "double" in 10 years, and turned a lap at 220.884 miles per hour in testing on Tuesday. Some of the teams will also be adding a second, third, fourth, or even fifth car to their stable for the 500.