The local racing season is well and truly underway, with dirt track action at Thunder Bowl Speedway in Mound House, Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon, Lovelock Speedway, and as of last weekend, Reno-Fernley Raceway. Nevada Motorsport Productions is operating Reno-Fernley's clay oval this season, with a very ambitious program combining Fast Fridays and Super Saturdays. They had some teething problems on opening night last Friday, but things ran very smoothly for the Saturday show. Next up is a stock car and modified show on May 1. Also that weekend will be the fifth running of the Reno Historic races at the Reno-Fernley road course. Corvette is the featured marquee this year, and the grand marshal is Bob Bondurant, whose driving school has been operating for nearly 40 years.
Action starts at 7 p.m. on Friday, and the vintage cars will run from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. A contingent of historic NASCAR stock cars will join Corvettes, Jaguars, Ferraris, Porsches, and exotic Formula 1, Can Am, and vintage sports racing machinery. The beauty of vintage racing is that the $15 price of admission gets you up close and personal with the cars and their drivers, who have lovingly restored these machines and take great pride in racing them. Tickets are available at the race track, the National Automobile Museum in Reno, and Dynamic Motorsports on South Virginia Street, and include admission for the Friday test and tune day as well as both Saturday and Sunday racing. Oval ticket prices are $7 for general admission with discounts for kids and seniors.
Local racer Mackena Bell has been improving her Super Late Model performances at Toyota Speedway in Irwindale, Calif., where she is a NASCAR Drive for Diversity participant. Mackena improves her finishing position at every race, finishing 11th in her last outing. However, her sponsorship package is a little short of a full season, and she is competing for rookie of the year (currently second in the rookie standing). So to get the funds to complete the season she is holding the first annual Mackena Bell golf tournament at Empire Ranch Golf Course on May 9, with a shotgun start at 1 p.m. The cost is $75 per player, and $100 to sponsor a hole. Entry deadline is May 1, so if you want to have a lot of fun and support a local racer, call Shannon Bell at 882-2936 to register.
Dallas Colodny is another local driver who is racing at Irwindale this weekend in the Auto Club Late Model division. Dallas is currently leading the rookie of the year standings in his division with two top-five finishes, and is third in the points, only 10 points out of the lead.
For more of Roger Diez's column go to nevadaappeal.com/sports
And Bobby Hodges will be running the NASCAR Whelen Late Model division at All American Speedway in Roseville on May 1. Northern Nevada should be proud of the accomplishments of these three young racers.
A not-so-young racer did us old guys proud in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix last weekend, as Mark Martin dominated the one-mile oval in the desert. Martin, who has finished second in NASCAR's top division point standings four times, is very much in the championship hunt this year and appears to be having the time of his life. With momentum on his side, I hope he'll be just as racy at the Talladega Superspeedway this weekend.
After two very wet races in Malaysia and China, the Formula 1 teams face a very different challenge this weekend in Bahrain. Not only will they be dealing with triple-digit temperatures, but high winds and possible sandstorms are predicted for tomorrow's race. So far this season the big topics have been the technical regulations regarding rear diffusers, the discrepancy in performance between the hard and soft compound tires, and the surprising turnaround in the fortunes of perennial powerhouse teams like Ferrari and McLaren. Teams that have never before won races, Brawn GP and Red Bull, are at the top of the standings, Ferrari has yet to score a point, and 2008 champion Lewis Hamilton has only four points to his name after three races. It brings to mind the ancient Chinese curse, "May you live in interesting times."