FERNLEY - Gardnerville's Robert Miller pulled off yet another come-from-behind victory in the IMCA Modified division and Randy Reid accomplished a similar feat in the ground-pounding Pro Stock division at Reno-Fernley Raceway on a hot Saturday night.
Pure Stocks and the always entertaining Dwarf Cars were also on the NAPA Auto Parts Customer Night program
Rick Davis of Sparks took the early lead in the feature race for the IMCA Modifieds, with Carson City's Allen Boles glued to his rear bumper. Boles' grandson, Steve McGee, soon moved into third following the family patriarch. It didn't take Miller long to work his way into fourth, and when Davis got loose and spun after contact with Boles, Miller closed up for the restart. Miller picked off McGee on the restart, and an immediate yellow flag set him up for another restart pass to wrest the lead from Boles.
"We worked really hard to set the car up to run the outside groove," said Miller after the race. "It was wet slick down low, and the car really stuck up high."
Miller took the lead with another outside move in turn one and never looked back. Behind him there was some shuffling in the late stages, as James Foley of Sparks grabbed second and McGee got by grandpa Boles for third on the last lap. Reno's Rick Frock rounded out the top five. Heat race winners were Foley and Reno racer Conrad Wilson.
Rumors of protest filled the air after the Pure Stock mini main, which was won in convincing fashion by Aaron McIlvain of Silver Springs. McIlvain started dead last on the field while Reno's Darrick Rauscher grabbed the lead at the green flag, followed by the battling duo of Doug Davis of Fernley and Silver Springs' Walter Ball.
Ball soon pitted with overheating problems and McIlvain moved into the top five along with Yerington's Joshua Long, who had also started at the back. Rauscher made a miscue, sliding wide in turn four, and Davis took the lead but his car began smoking heavily. Reno's Brandon Martin then took over the top spot for a few laps, but McIlvain was coming. McIlvain reeled in Martin and proceeded to drive away from the field to the checker. Martin hung on for second, followed by the still-smoking Davis, Charissa Hast, and Long. Heat race victories went to Long and Matt Sherman of Fernley.
The Pro Stock race saw 22 starters for the main, the largest field of the evening. Slightly over half the field would survive to see the checkered flag.
Pat Couch of Oregon House, Calif. led the first half of the race, which amazingly stayed green for more than 15 laps. Yerington's Roy Peterson took up station mere feet off of Couch's rear bumper, with Loyalton, Calif., drivers John Hood and David Ellsworth battling Fernley's Joe Specchio, Jr. for top five spots.
The first yellow came out when Carson City's Matt Ramthun and Dean Cichowicz of Mound House tangled in turn four. The old saying "cautions beget cautions" proved true in spades, as Hood spun in front of the pack on the restart, involving several other cars. Randy Reid of Sparks and Loyalton's Jim Smith, both of whom started deep in the field, took advantage of the multiple restarts to work their way to the front. Specchio, Jr. tangled with Fernley?s Sean Natenstedt on the next restart, with Specchio's disabled car leaving the track on the hook. Reid took the lead two laps into the next short run, with Smith following him through into second.
After another brief caution the green flag flew for the final time, and Reid rocketed off with Smith in hot pursuit. The flying pair left the rest of the field in the dust, racing to the checker with Reid taking the win. Behind them a tight battle was resolved in favor of Carson City's Gary Nevers taking third just ahead of Ellsworth and Peterson. Ellsworth, Natenstedt, and Smith won the heat races.
The always-entertaining Dwarf cars put on a great show with another front-to-back victory by Reno's Reece Wilson. At the start it appeared that Shawn Salisbury of Minden had the field covered, building a good-sized gap to the rest of the field. Carson City's Barry Lane was in second, holding off Billy Canham of Sparks, Zephyr Cove's Skip Hempler, and several other cars as Reece Wilson and dad Vuki Wilson of Minden worked their way toward the front. Reece reeled in car after car, passing Lane for second and closing the gap to Salisbury.
As the leaders got into lapped traffic, Reece took big chunks out of Salisbury's lead. As the pair approached a group of four lapped cars Salisbury went low and Wilson high. The four slower cars stayed low, blocking Salisbury, and Wilson sailed into the lead.
A spin by Canham bunched the field under caution, and Vuki Wilson took advantage of the restart to move into third, with visions of making the finish a Wilson one-two. Reece took the checker, but Salisbury held Vuki off to take second. Lane finished a strong fourth, with Hempler rounding out the top five. Reece and Vuki Wilson won the heat races.
Next Saturday night is Reno-Fernley's annual Make-A-Wish Foundation benefit, sponsored by Michael Hohl Truck Center. A portion of the gate proceeds will go to Make-A-Wish of Northern Nevada, and many drivers donate their purse winnings to the cause. Racing begins at 6 p.m. Call (775) 575-7217 or check out www.reno-fernleyraceway.com on the web for more information.
n Contact Roger Diez at Racytalker@aol.com