Another wild night of racing at Fernley |

Another wild night of racing at Fernley

Roger Diez
Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist

FERNLEY – Reno-Fernley Raceway dodged the threatening raindrops on Saturday night, but overcame a power outage to finish out the five-division show with some exciting racing.

The Pure Stock division led off the evening’s action, and it seemed as though the outside wall on the exit of turn two had developed magnetic properties. Soon after the green flag flew and John Schilling of Stagecoach took the lead, Fallon’s John Hall fetched up against the aforementioned section of wall, bringing out the first caution flag of many to come.

During the brief green flag run, points leader Jason Flores of Reno charged from the last row of the grid into second place, and grabbed the lead on the restart while Schilling slid back to fourth place. Mandy Ellsworth of Loyalton, Calif., was the next driver to find the turn two wall, bringing out another caution while her bent race car was towed to the pits.

On the next restart Gordon Hughes of Sun Valley smacked the now-battered wall while Sarah Sherman of Fernley and Schilling spun to avoid him. Stephen Foster of Sparks fell victim to the ravenous wall on the next restart while Reno’s Kayla Cole scraped the wall further down the back straight. Finally, the field got a long green run and Flores opened up a gap on the field.

Pete Moore of Fernley spun out of contention while running second, setting up a fierce battle for runner-up position between Reno’s Tim Cremeans and Lynda Crook of Fernley. Cremeans’ car started running rough and backfiring down the straights, and Crook got by for second. At the checker it was Flores with almost half a lap lead to take the win, Crook second, and Cremeans third. Schilling hung on for fourth ahead of Hughes, who recovered from his wall-banging incident to finish fifth. Earlier heat race victories went to Cremeans and Crook.

The tone of the Hobby Stock race was set immediately when Fernley’s Joe Pierson spun in front of the whole pack in turn one on the first lap. On the second attempt, Pierson took the lead and began to pull away from second place Chris Van Rockel of Penn Valley, Calif.

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Behind Van Rockel there was a tight battle for third between David Pearce of Stagecoach, Reno’s Jerry Morrow, and Billy Anderson of Round Mountain. This continued until Pearce spun in turn two, bringing out the caution.

On the restart, Joshua Ogg of Sparks tangled with Carson City’s Jeff Wilson in turn three to bring out another caution, which led to contact at the start/finish line on the next restart between Morrow and Anderson, sending both to the pits. While all the caution flags and restarts were going on, Rich Italiano of Sparks was patiently working his way from the rear of the field toward the front, and he took the lead on the next restart.

Three more caution flags would slow the action and bunch the field, the final yellow setting up a one-lap sprint to the checker. Italiano held on for the win, while Carson City’s Shane Ramthun mounted a late-race charge to finish second ahead of Farren Steitz of Los Banos, Calif., Fernley’s Scotty Slatter, and Doval Hopper of Sparks. David Clark of Sliver Springs and Joshua Ogg each won a heat race.

After an unscheduled intermission for generator repair, the Dwarf cars took to the track with their largest field of the season. Fernley’s Richard Duncan grabbed the lead at the green flag, but it took Reno’s Rick Frock just a few laps to track him down and pass for the lead.

Billy Wilson of Minden quickly moved from fourth to third to second, staying in contact with Frock but not close enough to challenge. Polesitter Danyale Urban of Sparks dropped to third, then to fifth as faster cars moved up the running order.

The pace was furious on the first long green run, but Minden’s Reece Wilson managed to charge through the field to third place while behind him Carson City drivers Derek Rosse and Jeff Shurley tussled over fourth. The third member of the Wilson Clan, Vuki, lurked just outside the top five as the leaders worked their way through lapped traffic.

Frock looked to have the race well in hand, but a late-race caution flag bunched the field and set up a two-lap shootout for the win. Despite heavy pressure from the two younger Wilsons, Frock held on to take the victory. Billy Wilson finished second followed by Reece Wilson. Fourth was Rosse, and Vuki Wilson managed to crack the top five with a last lap pass. The Wilson brothers, Billy and Reece, took a heat race win apiece.

The Pro Stock field was the smallest of the evening, but it nevertheless put on an exciting show. Reno’s Mark Hain took the point at the drop of the green flag and began to open up a gap on second place Joe Specchio Jr.

While Reno drivers Scott Doich, Mike McMordie, and Jay Sears battled for top five positions, Hain checked out and opened up a full straightaway lead. Travis Peterson of Spanish Springs came up from the rear of the pack to take over fourth, then third, and Sears moved into second.

But Hain, with his huge lead, looked to have it sewed up until Billy Church of Carson City stalled his car in turn four and brought out the caution flag. The field bunched up and on the restart Sears pulled alongside Hain to challenge for the lead. After running side by side for a couple of laps, Sears finally nosed ahead into the lead, leaving Hain to fight over second place with Peterson.

In the closing laps Hain and Peterson came together off turn four, putting Hain into the outside wall on the front straight and ending his race. An unhappy Hain exited his car and gestured his displeasure to Peterson before being towed to the pits. On the restart Specchio recovered a few of his lost positions and took over second from Peterson.

Sears held on for the win with Specchio second, Peterson third, Reno’s Kenny Schmitt fourth, and Doich rounding out the top five. Sears and Specchio each won their respective heat race.

The final race of the evening was for the largest field of cars, the IMCA modified division. Much like Hain in the previous race, Shawn Natenstedt of Fernley got the jump at the green flag and began to motor away from the field.

Behind him Fernley drivers Nick Reid and Joe Specchio III fought with Larry Wright of Yerington and Reno’s Bill Pearson over second through fifth. The first caution flag came out for Carson City’s Tom Purcell who spun in turn two after being hit from behind.

Natenstedt again pulled away on the restart, followed by Specchio, Alex Stanford of Chowchilla Calif., and David Ellsworth of Loyalton, Calif. The next caution was for Reid, who spun into the infield.

On the restart, Stanford mounted a challenge to Natenstedt and the pair ran nose to tail and side by side until Stanford finally found an advantage and surged into the lead. Natenstedt’s car seemed off the pace from its early stint in the lead, and faded back.

Pearson stalled in turn four, bringing out the final caution of the race as he was pushed to the pits. Stanford again demonstrated his dominance on the restart, and ran effortlessly to the checkered flag.

Rich Hill of Sparks, who had run in the top five the latter half of the race, came home second, followed by Carson City’s Steve McGee who moved into third with a late-race charge, Ellsworth was in fourth, and Garret Steitz of Los Banos, Calif. in the fifth position at the finish. The three heat race winners were Natenstedt, Bill Smith III of Sparks, and Mike Mendenhall of Cobb, Calif. Joe Frock of Reno, doing double duty in both Dwarfs and Modifieds, won the B Main.

The 3/8 mile clay oval at Reno Fernley Raceway will be dark next Saturday night. Racing will resume on June 16 with the Western All Stars Super Late Model Series featured, along with Pro Fours, 318 Modifieds, Sprint 100s and the Legend cars. Spectator gates open at 3 p.m., with racing action starting at 6. For more information, call (775) 575-7217 or go to on the Web.The 3/8 mile clay oval at Reno Fernley Raceway will be dark next Saturday night. Racing will resume on June 16 with the Western All Stars Super Late Model Series featured, along with Pro Fours, 318 Modifieds, Sprint 100s and the Legend cars. Spectator gates open at 3 p.m., with racing action starting at 6. For more information, call (775) 575-7217 or go to on the Web.