FERNLEY - The Legends cars had the track to themselves at Reno-Fernley Raceway Saturday night when they ran a qualifying race for the National Legends Dirt Track Championship to be held in Wichita, Kan., later this year.
John Burritt of Sparks took the win after several lead changes and some fast and furious racing as Northern Nevada Legends drivers were joined by Californians from Napa and Cupertino. In all, 20 cars took to the track for the 30-lap main event.
Michael Morrissey Jr. of South Lake Tahoe led the first two-thirds of the race from the pole, easily pulling away from the field on the restarts. His main challenger was Reno's D.J. Krentz, who took over on lap 21 when Morrissey's car suddenly slowed coming off turn 4 and coasted to a halt on the front straight. Krentz held onto the lead through a couple of more restarts, but Burritt blasted by him on the final green flag run, and held on for the victory.
Krentz fell to third when Gary Warren of Reno, who had run with the front pack all night, passed him two laps from the end. Bob Oliver of Sparks took fourth place, while Morrissey got his car restarted and came back to finish fifth. Carson City driver Jovon Halen ran as high as sixth, but had mechanical problems late in the race and pitted for repairs, dropping him out of contention. He had the consolation of winning the six-lap trophy dash, however, and finished second to Burritt in the first heat race. The second heat race went to Warren, with Oliver in second place.
Nine cars answered the bell for the second "main," a make-up race for national points. Bob Oliver won this one wire to wire, chased home by Sonny Wahl of Las Vegas. Bumper Larue of Napa, California, finished third in the 12-lap race, with Larry Henkes of Reno fourth and Barney LaRue of Napa fifth.
Also on hand was a vintage stock car, a 1936 Ford Coupe driven by Al Hummel of Reno. Hummel's car is the type the Legends design is based on, and he pleased the crowd with some demonstration laps and acted as pace car for the 30-lap main.
This Saturday night, Reno-Fernley Raceway hosts the Sprint 100 Racing Association, with 25 or more cars expected to take to the track. Also on hand will be a full stock car program with special purses. Hot laps begin at 5 p.m, with racing at 7. The Legends will return to the track on Sept. 16.