Racing heats up at Fernley track today |

Racing heats up at Fernley track today

Roger Diez
For the Nevada Appeal

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal

After a two week layoff, the clay oval at Fernley 95A Speedway will be back in action tonight. Racing starts at 5 with spectator gates open at 3 p.m. Ticket prices are $12 for adults (13 and older), $8 for kids 6-12 and seniors over 63, and free for kids under six and military with ID. IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Super Stock 4s, and Pure Stocks divisions are on the program for tonight.


After being involved in two wrecks and finishing 13th at Bowman Gray Stadium, Mackena Bell was fired up and motivated for the K&N Pro Series East race at Five Flags Speedway in Florida Friday night. She finished just out of the top 10 at Five Flags last season, and wanted to better that finish. Bell was 13th in practice at 17.783, and bettered her time in qualifying to a 17.531, but remained in 13th on the starting grid. She ended up finishing 11th in the race.


There are now four two-time winners in NASCAR's Sprint Cup division, pretty much guaranteeing all of them a spot in this year's Chase for the Championship. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the latest double victor, winning last Sunday's Pocono outing. He joins Jimmie Johnson, Kevin Harvick, and Joey Logano as the only multiple winners thus far. Junior is now at the top of the Chase grid with two wins and 476 points, one ahead of Johnson, although he's third in overall points behind Jeff Gordon (498) and winless Matt Kenseth (482). Johnson said in an interview last week he didn't think there would be 16 race winners this season. If true, that would leave one or more Chase spots to be filled by non-winners with high point totals.


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So who will win on Sunday at Michigan? Well, the Ford teams are strong there, and it's right in the manufacturer's back yard. Brad Keselowski is a hometown boy, so he has some extra motivation. But Greg Biffle may just score his first win of the season on Sunday. Biffle has four wins at the track, the most of any active driver, and the best Michigan driver rating at 110.0. However, the Chevrolets were strong in qualifying, with Kevin Harvick's pole speed of 204.557 mph the fastest in the series since Bill Elliot's 1997 Talladega 212 mph mark, back in the pre-restrictor plate days. Jeff Gordon, looking for his second win of the season, starts outside the front row.


This is also the weekend for the 24 Hours of Lemans, possibly the most famous endurance race on the planet. Manufacturer involvement is heavy, with exotic hybrid prototypes entered by Audi, Porsche, Toyota, and others. Toyota set pole time on Thursday, but the big story was a crash that destroyed the No. 1 Audi entry. Driver Loic Duval survived the crash with only scrapes and scratches, but has not been cleared to drive in the race. The team has been working around the clock to rebuild the car from a spare chassis. It was truly one of the most frightening wrecks I've seen in more than 40 years of involvement in racing. It looked more like a plane crash than anything. It's a tribute to the safety equipment in today's race cars the driver escaped with only minor injuries.


Finally, we bid a sad farewell to NASCAR legend Junie Donlavey, who passed away last week. Donlavey was a legend, with 863 starts as a car owner in NASCAR's top series. In a career spanning more than five decades, Donlavey's drivers included Ricky Rudd, Benny Parsons, Dick Trickle, Ken Schrader, Dick Brooks, and Jody Ridley.

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