Another play day at Fallon’s Rattlesnake Raceway |

Another play day at Fallon’s Rattlesnake Raceway

Roger Diez

Last Saturday’s test and tune day at Fernley 95A Speedway saw an excellent turnout. The IMCA Modified division was the best-represented with more than 15 cars on hand. Today is the second play day at Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon, so if you need some track time on your new race car this will be your last chance before the local racing season starts.

As many predicted, Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Phoenix saw the first two-time winner of the 2015 season crowned. Kevin Harvick, despite some late-race concerns, drove to a convincing victory, his fourth straight at the one-mile oval. It was also his third Phoenix race to lead more than 200 laps, and his seventh race in a row in the top two finishing positions. The last time a driver accomplished that feat was Richard Petty in 1974. Petty went on to score 11 top two results in a row. I wouldn’t bet against Harvick tying or beating that statistic. Harvick and crew chief Rodney Childers are already being touted by some as equal to the Jimmie Johnson/Chad Knaus duo. I’ll believe it when Harvick scores his fifth or sixth championship.

After sitting out the first two races of the season and returning to the No. 55 Toyota for Las Vegas and Phoenix, Brian Vickers is again out of the car. Vickers suffered a recurrence of the blood clots that sidelined him in 2013. There’s no timetable for him to return at this time, so Brett Moffitt is back in the seat for this Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana. Moffitt’s regular ride, the No. 34 Front Row Motorsports Ford, will be driven this weekend by Chris Buescher in his first Sprint Cup start. We wish Brian the best and hope for a speedy recovery.

Qualifying at Fontana had a different look Friday. Something that will hold throughout the rest of the season. Instead of having the cars parked nose-in on pit lane, they will now be parked nose-out, making entry to the track much easier. According to NASCAR, the nose-in configuration was so media could get photographs of the drivers sitting in the cars, and also the length of the hoses from the cool-down units would only allow access from the nose-in position. Those issues have been addressed, so the potential hazards of having cars backing out in front of competitors coming down the pit lane are no more.

The Formula One season kicked off in Melbourne, Australia Sunday, and the Mercedes juggernaut picked up where it left off last season. Teammates Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg qualified one-two, with a comfortable margin over the rest of the field. The race went the same way, with Hamilton scoring his first win of the season and Rosberg taking the runner-up slot. Four-time champion Sebastian Vettel took the final podium position in his debut race with Ferrari after a spirited battle with Williams’ Felipe Massa. Only 18 cars qualified and a mere 15 started the race. Valtterri Bottas of Williams bowed out with health problems before the start and the Marussia team was unable to get its cars up to speed for qualifying. McLaren’s Kevin Magnussen and Danil Kvyat of Red Bull also didn’t start the race. Kvyat’s teammate Daniel Ricciardo was disappointed with his sixth place result. McLaren’s Jensen Button finished 11th, just out of the points, but ran to the checker, putting in more laps in a row than the car had done in testing. At this point in time, the 2015 season is beginning to look like another Mercedes benefit, the only question being which of its two drivers is going to be the champion.

The FIA, sanctioning body for F1, last week announced the German Grand Prix has been canceled, dropping the number of races from 20 to 19. No reason was given for the cancellation.