Every once in a while I like to write about what local racers are doing at other venues.
For instance, stock car pilots Brian Colodny and Tom Waters, fixtures at the local circle track for many years, have discovered the joys of road racing. The pair was introduced to road racing last November at Sears Point and I was there to watch them. Since then, both have become hooked and recently raced their Chevrolet Monte Carlo stockers at Willow Springs Raceway in southern California in the American Stockcar ChalSlenge division of the National Auto Sport Association.
Waters beat Colodny in the Saturday race, finishing fourth to Brian's fifth. Brian beat Tom on Sunday and the pair finished sixth and seventh, respectively.
"It's the fastest I've ever gone in a racecar," said Waters. "I was topping 135 miles an hour on the straight."
Waters turned the fastest race lap of the weekend, a 1:33.699 on the 2.5 mile circuit for an average speed of just a touch over 96 miles per hour. The part about road racing that both drivers particularly like, though, is that both brought their cars home with no body damage.
"We were unloading the car and somebody asked if we'd raced it," Colodny said with a laugh.
Last weekend the pair went out to Reno-Fernley Raceway to try out the newly-paved 1.2 mile road course at the facility. Both reported that the track is technical, but lots of fun. Two other sections are planned for the course, which will be a little more than three miles in length when completed.
NASA will run races at Reno-Fernley in July and August and both Tom and Brian plan to be there. They've also put up a website for their race team -- www.renotahoegamblers.com. They plan to use the team to help stimulate both business and tourism in northern Nevada. And Tom's employer, Michael Hohl Motor Company, has stepped up as a sponsor of NASA's ASC division.
And Brian isn't the only member of the Colodny family that's into racing. Sons Dallas and Hunter are both accomplished Outlaw Kart pilots. The boys have been racing in California with considerable success against large fields. Dallas has moved up to the quick 125cc class this season, and Hunter races both Box Stock and Pro Stock. He made his debut in the Pro Stock kart after the engine was freshly installed at the track, and promptly set fast qualifying time!
A.J. Foyt's IRL driver Airton Dare will probably be out for the rest of the season after crashing heavily in practice at Texas Motor Speedway. The crash fractured Dare's right leg and right arm, as well as causing additional hand and foot injuries. The arm and leg have been set and Dare will be transferred to an Indianapolis hospital Sunday for more surgery on the broken bones in his hand and foot. The accident was apparently caused by a suspension piece breaking in the fourth turn. Jacques Lazier will replace Dare at Texas and for the foreseeable future.
Bill Elliot's foot injury didn't prevent him from qualifying eighth for today's Winston Cup 500 miler at Pocono. However, qualifying is not a 500-mile race, and Awesome Bill may need some relief in the race.
As NASCAR Winston Cup driver Jerry Nadeau continues his recovery, it was announced that his replacement driver Mike Wallace would in turn be replaced by road racing expert Boris Said for the upcoming race at Sears Point.
Finally, a sad farewell to legendary race engineer Carroll Smith, who passed away on May 16 of pancreatic cancer. Smith began his career as a driver, and then hooked up with fellow Texan Carroll Shelby when he gave up his driving career to become an engineer. The pair took the Ford GT40 program to victory at the 1966 24 Hours of LeMans. Smith had many other racing successes including Cal Wells' championship-winning off-road team.
He also worked as a racing consultant with Ferrari and Callaway. But Smith is perhaps best known for his "To Win" books. Tune to Win, Prepare to Win, Engineer to Win, and other books are standard reference material for race engineers in all forms of motorsport. Godspeed, Carroll.
Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist.