By Roger Diez
The clouds broke just in time to start off a fast and furious evening with a beautiful Nevada sunset at Reno-Fernley Raceway on Saturday night.
Just over 100 cars in four divisions were on hand. Pure Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Street Stocks and IMCA Modifieds were all on hand and the racing was fast and furious.
After the dust had settled from the heat races, the first main event of the evening was the Pure Stock division. This entry-level division boasted mostly local drivers from Reno, Fernley, Fallon, Silver Springs, and Yerington, with one entrant from Bishop, Calif.
Del Navrkal caused the first stir, spinning on the back straight on the first lap and causing a complete restart. At the green Navrkal and Jerry Roseland took off, followed by Kyle Arnett and Kim Neese. The lead pack began opening a lead on the field when the yellow flag waved for a spin by Keith Pierson at the start/finish line. Roseland led at the restart with Navrkal and Arnett racing side by side for second.
Navrkal dropped back to fourth, but surged back into second a couple of laps later after another caution. Navrkal took the lead at the halfway point, lap 10, and held it to the checker. Early leader Roseland hung on for second, followed home by Aaron McIlvain, Adam Richards, and Charrisia Hast in fifth. Sixth through 10the were Neese, Lori Hetrick, Neva Doiel, Shannen Touchstone, and Keith Pierson.
So many Hobby Stock cars were on hand that they had to run a B main to fill the field. In the A main, Truckee Paxton led the first three laps, but was soon supplanted by Black Ramthun, youngest of the racing Ramthun family from Carson City.
Once Ramthun moved into the lead he appeared to be on his way to his fourth main victory in a row. Behind Ramthun the battle was for second between Paxton and David Pearce. Ramthun had built a 5-second lead when the first yellow flag flew on lap 13. He brought the field around slowly for the restart, then took off like a scalded cat. It was a pattern he was to repeat on every restart. Ramthun crossed the finish line well ahead of the field, but it all came undone in post-race inspection.
The Hobby Stock rules call for an open differential, and it appeared that Ramthun's diff was locked. Big brother Matt said the ruling would be appealed, as worn parts in the limited slip unit apparently caused the lockup. A final ruling was expected this week.
Meanwhile, Dean Clark was awarded the win, moving up from second. Ramthun's disqualification moved everyone else up a notch, and Chris O'Neill took second with Rich Italian third, Joe Specchio Jr. fourth, and Mike McGovern rounding out the top five. Sixth through 10th were "Little Joe" Specchio, Kevin Boles, David Pearce, Deedee Pierson, and Gary Bayne.
The Street Stock division also put on an exciting show. Rod Brown moved to the front early while Carson City's Gary Nevers began moving up from deep in the field, taking over fifth by lap nine. David Ellsworth took over the lead on lap 11, while points leader Craig Eubanks worked his Thunderbird up through the pack along with Eddie Levan and Dean Cichowicz. After a caution and a brief red flag, racing resumed on lap 16 with Ellsworth on the point, challenged by Shawn Natenstedt who passed for the lead on the next circuit.
By this time Eubanks had moved into third spot, followed by Nevers in fourth, Jim Smith, Kenny Schmitt, Dennis Ashley, and Levan. Natenstedt slowly pulled away from the field to take the checker, while Eubanks moved into second three laps from the end. At the finish it was Natenstedt, Eubanks, Ellsworth, Nevers, Ashley, Levan, Schmitt, Smith, Tim Carr, and Tony Lewis in the top 10.
The potent and fast IMCA Modifieds was the last race on the card, and the racing was wild and wooly. Robert Miller of Gardnerville, usually considered the man to beat in IMCA Modified, started deep in the field due to not having been present for the heat races. As the cars were sorting themselves out in the early laps, a multi-car crash in turn four scrambled the order.
When things got restarted Carson City's Steve McGee found himself briefly in the lead. Behind him raged a three-way battle for second among Steve Evenson, Galen Reese, and Nick Rogers. After another brief caution Rogers and Rich Hill hooked up in a battle for the lead, with Reese and Rick Davis right behind them. Miller meanwhile charged through the field to third, but took off just a little early on the next restart and was sent to the rear of the field for jumping the start. Rogers maintained the lead to the checker with Hill hounding him all the way. Reese took third, followed by Evenson and Conrad Wilson who moved into the top five in the waning laps. Carl Barlow took sixth, followed home by Miller, James Thibodeaux, Davis, and Russell Rosario.
Coming up on Saturday at Reno-Fernley Raceway are the 318 Modifieds, SORA Sprint 100's, Modified Minis and Pure Stocks.