Roger Diez: Racers press on through rain in Fernley
May 18, 2018
There was a good crowd at Fernley 95A Speedway last Saturday night to see the SCCT Sprint Car series. It was Mother's Day weekend, but unfortunately Mother Nature was in a bad mood and rained on the parade. The second storm of the evening started as the cars rolled out for the main. The green flag was displayed, but two cars hit the wall out of turn four, and that was it. It was a particularly sad situation for Gardnerville's Tanner Thorson, who was looking forward to racing in front of his home town crowd. Fans did get to see some fast and furious sprint car heat races, and the IMCA Modified race was a barn-burner. Gardnerville's Robert Miller led from the pole, but by mid-race had his hands full with California driver Ryan McDaniel. Unfortunately for McDaniel, the first rainstorm halted the proceedings eight laps short of the scheduled 30, and Miller took the win. It was his fourth Modified feature win in a row, all at different race tracks. The next race at Fernley 95A will be on Memorial Day weekend, with racing starting at 2 p.m. on May 27. All track classes plus chain races are on the program.
Today is a busy one for race fans. Not only is it the first day of qualifying for the Indy 500, but the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series' All-Star race, prefaced by the All-Star Open, runs at Charlotte this afternoon. Indy qualifying in on ABC at 1 p.m., while the All-Star coverage starts at 5 p.m. on FOX.
Last weekend recap: Kevin Harvick continued his Cup series domination at Kansas, with his fifth win of the season. Formula One Mercedes driver Lewis Hamilton appears to be back on form, winning the Spanish Grand Prix from the pole in a one-two Mercedes finish. Also emerging from a dismal season start, Will Power took his Penske Chevrolet to his third annual win at the Grand Prix of Indianapolis.
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Kansas wasn't a good experience for Kyle Larson, who lost 20 points as did owner Chip Ganassi. Larson's crew chief lost $50,000 and the car chief on the No. 42 Ganassi Chevy is suspended for two races. The reason? Another rear window violation. This is getting to be ridiculous. Given several cars didn't even get to qualify at Kansas because NASCAR's inspections took too long, you'd think they would be thorough enough to catch a problem they're already well aware of.
I heard a recent proposal on the Sirius/XM NASCAR channel I like, though. It was to program the computerized inspection stations to automatically and randomly check certain items on a car. Say the station checks 40 points. So have the computer randomly check 20 of the 40, different for each car. The teams never know what's going to be checked, so they have to make sure everything is right. This would speed up the inspection process considerably. Then institute random checks, like the Department of Transportation does for commercial drivers. As cars come off the track, the teams get the message: Cars 17, 24, 95, 12, 19, and 1 — report to the inspection station. Then penalize discrepancies heavily with fines, loss of starting position, suspensions, etc. I think a system like that would go further in keeping the teams honest, while reducing inspection times. Fans don't want to see inspections, they want to see racing!
Next weekend is one of the biggest in all of motorsports: Formula One at Monaco, the Indy 500, and NASCAR's longest race, the Coke 600, all crammed into one glorious frenzy for fans of speed and spectacle. And here in Northern Nevada, we get live local dirt track racing on top of it. Race fans, start your DVRs!