Roger Diez: Action returns to Fernley speedway
September 14, 2018
Fernley 95A Speedway is back in action tonight, with IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Hobby Stocks, Gen-X, and Pro Stocks. Gates open at 3 p.m., and racing starts at 6. General admission is $12, kids 6-12 $8, and kids under 6 and military in uniform free.
Mother Nature has been playing havoc with NASCAR this season, and last weekend's races at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway were no exception. The weekend was rained out, and both Xfinity and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup races ran in front of a sparse crowd on Monday. Fortunately, all three of NASCAR's touring series are in Las Vegas this weekend, far away from Hurricane Florence which is battering the Carolinas. I just hope the next two tracks on the schedule, Richmond and Charlotte, won't be affected by the storm.
Unless there’s divine intervention on behalf of Will Power or Josef Newgarden, the 2018 season will see either a first-time champion in Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi or a fifth title for Ganassi Racing’s Scott Dixon.
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So the playoff fields are set in all three of NASCAR's top series, and the Camping World Trucks already have one playoff race in the books. Brad Keselowski snuck in another victory at Indy, his second in a row. Keselowski's Ford wasn't the fastest car in either of the last two races, but strategy, good pit work, and no mistakes were the keys to victory. And that's what it will take to get to the championship race at Homestead in November. Heading into the playoffs, both Kevin Harvick and regular season champion Kyle Busch have 50 playoff points, virtually guaranteeing them a pass into the second round. Alex Bowman and teammate Jimmie Johnson are at the other end of the 16-driver playoff field with no playoff points, so will probably need a win in the first round to advance.
Las Vegas has had one race a year since the first NASCAR event in 1998. This year there are two, and the playoffs begin at Vegas this weekend. Who will score the first playoff win to ensure their advancement to the second playoff round? The smart money is on one of the multiple winners so far this season. Kevin Harvick is the top pick, simply because he scored his second career Vegas victory last March. Martin Truex Jr. went to victory circle a year ago, and Keselowski has won there twice in the last five races. Dark horse possibilities are Jimmie Johnson with four Vegas victories, and Matt Kenseth with three. But Kyle Larson dominated at Darlington and is way overdue for a 2018 victory. His car has been superfast on the intermediate tracks lately, so I'm picking the kid from Elk Grove to go all the way on Sunday.
The IndyCar series season finale is also this Sunday, a double points race on the road course at Sonoma. Unless there's divine intervention on behalf of Will Power or Josef Newgarden, the 2018 season will see either a first-time champion in Andretti Autosport driver Alexander Rossi or a fifth title for Ganassi Racing's Scott Dixon. No other driver is close enough even with double points available this weekend.
Formula One returns to Singapore for the series' only night race. Last year Singapore was a disaster for Ferrari, with Sebastian Vettel taking out both himself and teammate Kimi Raikkonen on the first lap. It was a turning point in the season, leading to Lewis Hamilton's fourth championship. Hamilton and Vettel are vying for a fifth title, with a 30 point advantage to Hamilton with seven races to go. Vettel recently declared himself his own biggest rival. "I think the biggest enemy is me," he said. He will need a mistake-free remainder of the season if he wants to win his fifth championship.
Finally, NASCAR's silly season just got sillier, with announcements Jamie McMurray (No. 1 Ganassi Chevy) and Trevor Bayne (No. 6 Roush-Fenway Ford) won't be in those rides in 2019.