Dwarf car community reacts to racing deaths
The deaths of two Dwarf car drivers at Reno-Fernley Raceway Saturday night sent shockwaves well beyond the local region.
Leroy Kay, 67, of Yerington, and David Richardson, 63, of Truckee, Calif., were killed on the last lap of their race on Fernley’s dirt track.
Kay has appeared in Fallon at Rattlesnake Raceway in the past. He placed second in the Dwarf cars first feature race on June 30, 2012, and was a winner in November 2007 at the Kris Kringle Race among the Dwarf cars, which are small cars with motorcycle engines (no larger than 1200cc).
Rusty Baglin, current racer and former president of Rattlesnake Raceway, said he did not know Kay personally but knew of him. And, of course, he is aware of the potential for crashes racers face.
“No amount of safety gear in a car never takes the danger out,” Baglin said, adding he flipped his car three years ago, inflicting a shoulder injury that required surgery. “You never know. Like my sprint car, I spend a lot of money on it to make it safe.”
Kay and Richardson were both veterans known as competitive drivers; however, their popularity extended off the track among the Dwarf car fraternity.
An example of that is evident from comments posted on the Dwarfs at Reno Tahoe, DART Racing Series Facebook page.
Janis Briggs Munroe noted “all of the dwarf community” is sharing the grieving in a post from Tracy, Calif., home of the Western States Dwarf Car Association.
“Racing is a dangerous sport be it sprint cars or dwarf cars. The two drivers were part of the DART Racing association and the larger WSDCA. It is a tragedy to all of motorsports and we are all heartbroken over it,” Munroe commented on a link.
Judi Madden also commented from Quincy, Calif., where the first two races of the season series (Richardson placed fourth in both of those races) were held.
“Words cannot explain how heavy our hearts feel. Our world has suffered a great loss. Two truly extraordinary men have been taken from us. They are loved and missed,” she posted.
From Vancouver, Wash., Troy Kunas noted that Kay and Richardson have raced as part of the Dwarf community, including appearances at the Dwarf national championships earlier this.
“The PHRA (Pacific Hardtop Racing Association) Dwarf cars would like to share our condolences with the family and friends of Leroy and David for their loss,” Kunas wrote. “Many of us have raced with both Leroy and David, and enjoyed doing so. They were both great guys to be around.”
DART Racing Series Facebook page also reports a celebration of Kay’s life will be held Sunday at 2 p.m. at the Casino West Convention Center in Yerington.
Roger Diez of Dayton, the track announcer at Reno-Fernley Raceway, observed that the bond of Dwarf car drivers is an exceptional one.
“Racers pretty much are like that anyway because that’s just what they do,” Diez said. “But I think the Dwarf cars more so than others because it’s kind of a specialty race car. It’s pretty much built and maintained by the owners and crews.
The Dwarf cars are scheduled to return to the Fernley track Saturday night. Racing starts at 6 p.m.