Roger Diez: Sample takes IMCA Modified feature
April 5, 2014
Last Saturday was opening day for the 3/8 mile clay oval at Fernley 95A Speedway. Competitors and fans braved fierce winds and cold temperatures, but at least the rain held off until the last checkered flag flew. Cory Sample won the IMCA Modified feature, a race plagued with yellow and red flags. He was followed home by B-Main winner Riley Simmons, Walter Ball and Melissa Natenstedt, who narrowly beat husband Shawn to the flag for fourth. Pro Stock honors went to Travis Peterson, with Rob Grace and Malen Gonzales second and third. Carl Barlow racked up yet another Hobby Stock win ahead of Jake Baker and Scott Tenney, while Stephen Crook took the checker in the Super Stock Four division, besting Dennis Crook and Justin McIlvain. And Anthony Adams won Pure Stock after leaders Rich Innis and Mark Serchio Jr. collided on the final turn of the final lap. Fernley 95A Speedway will be back in action next Saturday, with the first race at 2:30 p.m.
There may be a new rivalry brewing in the NASCAR Sprint Cup ranks after last Sunday's race at Martinsville. A pit road collision between Brad Keselowski and Kurt Busch sent tempers flaring and put Keselowski in the garage for repairs. When he came back out, many laps down and missing all his front bodywork, Keselowski proceeded to work Busch over whenever they were in close proximity, but stopped short of wrecking him. The pair has a history dating back to when Busch had some disparaging remarks for Brad when they were teammates at Penske Racing. Should the feud continue at Texas on Sunday, there could be more serious consequences, particularly at the speeds the cars carry there.
Busch went on to win the Martinsville race to his own and everyone else's amazement, becoming the sixth different winner in six races. Not only that, but his brother Kyle was the sixth new polesitter on the season, the first time since 1998 that has happened. Could we see yet another new winner (and polesitter) at Texas this weekend? A lot of talented drivers who are so far winless are waiting in the wings. They include six-time champion Jimmie Johnson, four-time champ Jeff Gordon, former title-holder Matt Kenseth, and former Texas winners Greg Biffle and Denny Hamlin.
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The IndyCar series kicked off its 2014 season last Sunday on the street course at St. Petersburg, Fla. Penske driver Will Power took the win, extending his momentum from the end of last season, despite a questionable restart that took out Marco Andretti and rookie Jack Hawksworth. Ryan Hunter-Reay, 2012 series champ, was second with Power's teammate Helio Castroneves third. Not so impressive was the third Penske driver, Juan Pablo Montoya, in his return to open-wheel racing. He was never competitive and ended up a disappointing 15th out of 22 starters.
The Formula 1 race on the Sepang circuit in Kuala Lumpur last weekend showed the strength of the Mercedes team this year. Engine failure sidelined Lewis Hamilton in Australia after taking the pole, but he roared back in Malaysia to win from pole, followed home by teammate Nico Rosberg, who won in Australia. This weekend in Bahrain, the pair was first and second in both Friday practice sessions. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel took his Red Bull racer to a podium finish at Malaysia, so that team appears to be coming back on form. Bahrain joins Singapore as a night event this year, the second Formula 1 venue to race under the lights.
Finally, Fallon's Rattlesnake Raceway holds its season opener tonight. IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Prostocks, Hobby Stocks, Rat Mods, 360 Sprints, and Gen-X classes are on the card along with Outlaw Karts.
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