Ready, set, GO
Rattlesnake Raceway began its season Saturday, hosting drivers and fans from around the West for a huge season-opener crowd.
There were seven categories of raceing during the event — Dwarf, Gen X, Hobby Stock, IMCA, Pro Stock, Street Stock and Super Stock. Each race consisted of 10 laps with heats beforehand to qualify the driver’s placement in the main race.
Jerry Roseland, a board member for the Lahontan Auto Racing Association, said Rattlesnake is the fastest racetrack in Nevada. He recalled radar had tracked speeds of 105 to 111 mph during the modified divisions.
Tami Buehn, treasurer of LARA and a race driver, said Saturday brought large crowds to the track; the pit area was packed with race cars and support vehicles. She said it was one of their biggest car counts for a regular night.
The season will extend to October. After the regular season, there will be a championship event. Roseland said LARA is looking forward to a big season and expects it to be one of their busiest. He noted that since the Fernley track closed, they expect more fans to come to Fallon.
Northern Nevada racing has seen several changes this year. Roseland said LARA met with other track officials in the area and established universal rules for the raceways; he said drivers would be able to travel to tracks without worrying about house rules.
“We all have the same rules,” Roseland said. “By having that, guys can tow to every track and be able to race their car, because they’ll be legal at every track instead of everyone having a different set of rules.”
Roseland said LARA was founded just after World War II. The modern Rattlesnake Raceway was constructed in the 1970s and has been the group’s home ever since. About 10 years ago, LARA ripped out the flatter track and banked it; at the same time, they added a secondary track for smaller vehicles and go-carts.
Racing has become a family event in Nevada. Roseland said the race community “takes care of their own” and works to make it accessible to everyone.
“If you don’t grow racers, they don’t just come out of the woodwork,” he said of efforts to appeal to children and teens.
Alongside the adult races, the season-opener featured boys and girls driving carts and other small vehicles. Roseland recalled there were drivers in the adult races who started on Rattlesnake Raceway as children.
While people of all ages are welcome, LARA is working to make the racetrack even more family-friendly. Roseland said they plan to designate a ‘family area’ where smoking and alcohol will be prohibited.
“That’s been a request for a couple years,” he said.
LARA is a nonprofit group serving the community. Roseland said their income goes toward donations to charities and supporting groups and interests around Fallon and Churchill County. This year, LARA is focusing their efforts to help Pets for Vets — an organization that rescues animals from shelters and trains them as companions for military veterans.