Here's taking it to the road course

I know a lot of NASCAR fans don't like road races, but they sure provide a lot of excitement.

Twice as many cars finished on the lead lap at Sears Point (oops, Infineon) than usually finish in any oval track race. And with a two-plus minute lap time, cars can make a stop under green and still stay in contention. Of course, I may be a little biased, since I cut my teeth on road racing (at Sears Point, in fact). But local oval track racers Brian Colodny and Tom Waters have tried it and switched, and Jim Bawden is teetering on the edge.

And now that we have a road course in the vicinity at Reno-Fernley, maybe more of our local racers will give it a try. I guarantee you'll enjoy it!

Just to confuse the issue, I have to admit that I, a road racer, had the best time of my life on a racetrack last Sunday doing practice runs at Reno-Fernley's 3/8 mile dirt oval for next Saturday's second annual Brian Sweeney Memorial media/celebrity race.

I had made a couple of halfhearted attempts at dirt track racing before, but getting on the track with a couple of pilots from the Top Gun school at Fallon Naval Air Station made it kind of special. Those guys are as crazed on the ground as they are in the air! If you missed my story on the experience in Thursday's Nevada Appeal, you can buy copies at the front desk of the paper on Mallory Way. Better yet, show up at Reno-Fernley Raceway on July 5 and watch me swap paint with local media celebrities from TV, radio, and print. The money goes to a great cause, the racers have lots of fun, and you can watch some terrific racing. Not us, the rest of the REAL racers that run at Reno-Fernley every weekend.

Other local racers have been having some success, too. I got an email the other day informing me that the Colodny boys, sons of local stock-car racer Brian Colodny, have been tearing up the California Outlaw Kart circuits. Last weekend Dallas qualified seventh out of 43 karts in the 125cc division and won his heat race. He finished fourth in the A-Main. Younger brother Hunter was third quickest qualifier in the Pro Stock division, took second in the heat race and won both the trophy dash and the A-Main.

The best part of the whole evening was that World of Outlaws and NASCAR Winston Cup star Dave Blaney was in the stands watching the races. Scouting for young talent for the big leagues, perhaps?

Monday night there will be a test and tune session at Thunderbowl Speedway in Mound House in preparation for the July 12 TT Motorcycle and Quad races. Bring your bike or quad and you can run the course for just $15. There's no fee for spectators.

The Fourth of July is this Friday and it's the height of the racing season. I'm going to miss the live broadcast of the Pepsi 400 at Daytona because I'm going to be out at Reno-Fernley Raceway that night racing in the second annual Brian Sweeney Memorial race.

Set your VCR and come on out to cheer (or boo) me or your favorite TV or radio celebrity. It's all for a good cause and it should be great fun. If you didn't see my midweek article on last Sunday's practice session, I'll give you a brief recap. Last year, media types from Channel 2, several radio stations, two newspapers (the Nevada Appeal and some Reno paper) and a couple of Top Gun pilots from Fallon Naval Air Station mixed it up in Bandolero racecars at Champion Speedway. This year the event has moved to Reno-Fernley, and a number of gracious and too-trusting Hobby Stock drivers have loaned their racecars for the event.

Michael Hohl Motors is the main sponsor, with Port of Subs, Racer Wholesale, and Suzy Q's Stain Busters also stepping up to the plate for the event. If you're around for the holiday weekend, put Reno-Fernley Raceway on your calendar for Saturday night. You'll be glad you did.

Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal motorsports columnist


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