Another wild night of racing at Fernley
Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist
There were yellow and red flags aplenty at Reno-Fernley Raceway on Saturday night, but there were also checkered flags for drivers making last-lap passes in the main events for three of the five racing divisions in attendance.
The races were dedicated to long-time racer Alan Boles, who lost his battle with cancer recently, and a portion of the gate went to the American Cancer Society.
The Pure Stock division rolled out for the first race with Jason Flores of Reno charging up the inside at the start to lead the pack into turn one. While Flores opened up a big lead on the field Tori Edgington of Fallon, Fernley’s Lynda Crook, and Pete Moore of Fernley worked their way from the back of the pack to take over second, third, and fourth positions.
Then Moore spun in turn four, bringing out the first caution and allowing Edgington to close up on Flores for the restart. Flores and Edgington battled for the lead at the green while Crook dropped back into the field.
A few laps later Chris Christiano of Fallon spun in turn two in front of Crook, who was unable to avoid hitting him. This brought out the first red flag of the night, halting the action until track medical personnel verified that both drivers were OK.
Flores got a good jump on the next restart and pulled away while Edgington and Reno driver Tim Cremeans battled side by side for second. Edgington finally prevailed and set out in pursuit of Flores, reeling him in as the white flag waved.
The pair made side to side contact heading into turn one, raced side by side down the back straight, and battled to a close finish at the checker with Edgington taking the win. Flores had to settle for second, followed home by Cremeans, John Schilling of Stagecoach, and Moore rounding out the top five. Edgington and Cremeans scored a heat race victory each.
A large field of Hobby Stocks took the green flag next, and it took three tries to get the race underway. A multi-car pileup in turn two followed by a two-car tangle on the back straight aborted the first two starts. Finally, Billy Anderson of Round Mountain jumped into the lead on the third attempt and began to pull away.
As in the previous race, fast cars from the back shot through the field and Rich Italiano of Reno and Rick Miller of Sun Valley took over second and third spots, trailed by Sparks driver Josh Ogg and Brian Moore of Fernley. Miller got by Anderson for the lead after a side-by-side battle, but another series of caution flags and restarts slowed the action.
Then the red flag came out when Moore hit the wall after contact with Carson City’s Shane Ramthun and both cars were towed to the pits. When the race restarted, Miller and Anderson resumed their side-by-side battle with Italiano lurking just behind them. When the white flag waved Italiano made his move, pulling alongside Miller on the back straight and pulling ahead off of turn four to take the win by a car length. Italiano also won his heat race as did Miller and Ramthun.
The Dwarf cars were no more immune to caution flags than the first two divisions, with a four-car pileup in turn one on the first lap taking Minden’s Ronald Sampson and Jeff Shurley of Carson City out of the race immediately. On the next try Truckee’s David Richardson spun in turn four and was collected by Bill Brown of Carson City, sidelining both cars.
Richard Duncan of Fernley took the lead when the race finally got underway and seemed to have things well in hand until he inexplicably slowed and slid to eighth as cars streamed by. Minden’s Reece Wilson then took over the lead, followed by Derek Rosse of Carson City, Vuki Wilson and Billy Wilson, both of Minden, Reno’s Joe Frock, and Billy Canham of Sparks.
In the final laps Rosse began closing on Reece Wilson, and passed for the lead on the white flag lap. At the checker the order was Rosse, Reece Wilson, Vuki Wilson, Billy Wilson, and Frock. Rosse and Vuki Wilson took a heat race win apiece.
The Pro Stock division got its race underway on the first try with a minimum of fuss, and Big Al Goss of Carson City led the early laps. But Fallon’s Jesse Gonzalez was charging through the field and quickly worked his way into second place and chased down Goss for the lead. Several other cars also caught up, and Goss found himself in a fight for second with Carl Barlow of Silver Springs, Reno’s Scott Doich, and Travis Peterson of Spanish Springs while Gonzalez checked out.
Barlow and Peterson passed Goss for position, and then Billy Church of Carson City lost his driveshaft and coasted to a halt on the front straight with a small fire under the car, which brought out the red flag. The driveshaft imbedded itself in the front of Reno driver Kenny Schmitt’s car. The green and white flags waved simultaneously on the restart.
Gonzales had no problem holding on for the win, while Barlow came home second. Peterson crossed the line in third but was disqualified after hitting Barlow on the cool-down lap. This moved Doich to third, Ed Goss of Carson City to fourth, and Sparks’ Vince Malone to fifth. Gonzalez and Peterson were the winners of the two heat races.
The IMCA Modified Division main was the final event of the evening and the entry was large enough to require a B main to set the field. A multi-car accident on the back straight on lap one brought out yet another red flag. With the accident cleaned up the field re-formed and when the race restarted the crowd witnessed the longest green flag run of the night.
Darren Manning of Sparks took the lead and controlled the early laps while Rich Hill, also of Sparks ran second followed by Cobb, Calif., driver Mike Mendenhall, Steve McGee of Carson City, and Gardnerville’s Robert Miller. The leaders were soon negotiating lapped traffic, with Hill and Mendenhall swapping places as they tried to chase down the flying Manning.
And chase him down they did, with Hill finally taking over the lead in the late stages. Then the caution flag came out as Fernley’s Joe Specchio III spun into the infield in turn four, setting up a one-lap dash to the checker.
Hill got a good restart and held on to take the win. McGee took second, Miller was third, Manning faded to fourth, and Mendenhall had to settle for fifth. McGee, Miller, and Mendenhall were the heat race victors, and Shawn Natenstedt of Fernley won the B main.
Reno-Fernley Raceway’s clay oval is dark next Saturday night, but racing action returns on May 19 with Pure Stocks, Dwarfs, Pro Stocks, IMCA Modifieds, and a 50-lap Hobby Stock main. Spectator gates open at 3 pm, racing starts at 6. For more information, call (775) 575-7217 or go to http://www.renofernleyraceway.com on the Web.