Classic car show is coming up |

Classic car show is coming up

Roger Diez

Attention, classic car buffs! It’s time for the annual salute to beautiful machinery here in Carson City when the Silver Dollar Car Classic kicks off on Friday with a free street dance on Carson Street across from the Nugget.

The show moves to Mills Park for the rest of the weekend, with a show and shine under the trees and activities in the Pony Express Pavilion as well. Saturday night you’ll have your choice of attending an old-fashioned drive-in movie (also free), or checking out the Silver Dollar cars doing parade laps in between the racing action at Champion Speedway. Sunday, participants head out for a poker run, followed by presentation of awards for all the class winners. If you want to get out to the park early on either day, the Dayton Kiwanis is serving up a delicious pancake and sausage breakfast, and it’s available to the public for a nominal charge. Oh, by the way, Reno is having a little car show the following week — Hot August Nights, or something like that.

I’ve learned a little more about the August 3 Celebrity Race I’ll be participating in at Champion Speedway. My competition will be pretty fierce, with Robert Perea of the Gazette-Journal the other print media specialist in the group. Christina White of Channel 2 will represent the TV crowd, while the race will be heavy with radio types: Monty Wolf of KKOH, Scott Harjo from KBUL, and Bob Castle from the HAWK 92.9. Oh, and the two guys I’m most worried about: Top Gun pilots from Fallon, Commander Rinehart “Rhino” Wilke and Lieutenant Mike “Judy” Amos. I think I’m going to have to find a wingman to fend off that pair. The race is part of the Michael Hohl “Tribute to America” race night, and Champion Speedway will donate one dollar from each ticket sold to the Brian Sweeney educational fund. Sweeney, a former U.S. Navy Top Gun pilot and instructor, lost his life on Sept. 11, 2001.

The Champion Driving Experience and RWW Fabrication are providing the Bandolero cars to be used in the race, and Red’s Old 395 Grill is providing lunch for the participants during our July 28 orientation session. Come on out to Champion Speedway on August 3 and watch me make a fool of myself in a race car!

Joe Gibbs Racing announced last week that the team would switch from Pontiacs to Chevrolets for the 2003 season. General Motors intends to remain in Winston Cup despite the departure, and should have the new Grand Prix body style approved by NASCAR for 2003. There may be a new team or two in the Pontiac camp next season, particularly Cal Wells’ group, currently running Fords. I just hope that Joe Gibbs isn’t making the same mistake that Bobby Rahal made in CART with Honda a few years back.

After struggling with the Honda engine development effort for two or three years and missing the Indy 500 due to lack of engine power, Rahal switched to Ford. Of course, Honda came out with a new design the next season, and waxed everybody’s butt!

Speaking of CART, the beleaguered series received another body blow when event organizers canceled the German 500 at the EuroSpeedway. Although the track had filed bankruptcy, CART still planned to hold the Sept. 11 event until the series got the news last week from promoters that they would not be able to host the race. With the cancellation, the Rockingham 500 in England will be CART’s only European race this year.

There’s also other bad news for CART competitors. Drivers who had hoped to see a more level playing field with the new “car plus driver” weight formula may have to wait until next season before the new rule is implemented.

Pint-sized Cristiano da Matta has made the most of his weight advantage so far this season, tying the record of four wins in a row, and frequently taking the extra points for fast qualifying time.

I can sympathize with heavier drivers like Paul Tracy, because I’m going to be giving up a lot of weight advantage in my Aug. 3 race when I try to shoehorn my 220-plus pounds into a Bandolero car. Hey, J.P., how about some ballast in those other cars?

Roger Diez is the Nevada Appeal motorsports writer