The Bay Cities Racing Association midgets make a much-awaited return to Silver State Raceway Saturday for the "Night Before Indy Challenge."
After a 3-year absence from Carson City, the 375-horsepower, 166-cubic inch engines are sure to be fast on the high-banked oval track.
Current BCRA points leader Glenn Carson of Newark, Calif., and fellow racer Sterling Pratz of Mill Valley, Calif., are two of the fastest pavement drivers on the circuit. Pratz set a new track record in Eureka at Redwood Acres Raceway on May 20, then finished the night off by winning the main event. Carson finished a close second.
The BCRA drivers range in age from 14 - Shain Matthews of Marysville, Calif. - to 65-year-old four-time titlist Floyd Alvis of San Carlos, Calif. Local pride will be placed with Carson City's Tom Weninger, driving a V6 Chevy-powered Prowler.
Driver Jerry Kobza will be flying in from Charlotte, N.C., and the man who showed up two years ago (to everyone's surprise) to race with the USAC sprinters, Sleep Tripp of Costa Mesa, Calif., is a confirmed entry to race with the BCRA drivers. Tripp is a 7-time USAC champ and 9-time New Zealand champion.
"Our car count has been better this year than in previous years," said Floyd Busby, press associate and scorer for the series.
"Since we're a regional organization, BCRA is a natural stepping stone for the Indy Racing League. We expect anywhere from 15-18 cars for this race. Everyone is looking forward to returning to Carson City. We've been gone too long."
Adding to this weekend's racing action is the first leg of the Tri-Holiday Sweepstakes for the late model sportsman. Qualifying will begin Saturday, with 10 positions from heat races transferring into the 150-lap main; 10 positions from Sunday's heat races transferring into the main, then 4 cars transferring from a 20-lap last chance "B" main.
Drivers from Nevada, California, Idaho and Oregon will compete for a first-place draw of $2,500 (with contingency sponsors) against some of Silver State's best - drivers such as Craig Paulsen, Chet Danburg and Dave Lester. Each of these drivers has several 100-lap main event wins to their credit, but it is Paulsen who is considered "King of the 100s."
This race is 50 laps longer, with Paulsen's expertise on tire management, an extra 50 laps should be no problem. Lester and Paulsen also have good insight as to how to set up their cars for best possible use of rubber.
Gates open at 5 each day, qualifying is at 6 with racing at 7:30 p.m. For information, call 885-2079 or visit www.silverstateraceway.com.
IF YOU GO
WHAT: BCRA Midget racing, Nevada Mavericks and Tri-Holiday Sweepstakes
WHEN: BCRA Midgets, Nevada Mavericks and late model sportsman qualify on Saturday/Nevada Mavericks plus 150-lap Tri-Holiday sportsman race on Sunday
WHERE: Silver State Raceway (East on Snyder (opposite Albertsons), right on Bigelow to Race Track Road
TIME: Gates open at 5 with racing at 7:30 p.m. each day
INFO: 885-2079 or www.silverstateraceway.com
ALSO: Public get-together of Midget drivers at 5:30 p.m. Friday for hot dogs, refreshments and autographs at the Ormsby House Hotel/Casino. Check the Nevada Appeal today and Saturday for your $1 off admission price coupon to the races.