Clean and green night at Reno-Fernley Raceway
Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist
Clean and green were the watchwords at Reno-Fernley Raceway Saturday night, as four of the five racing divisions on the program ran caution-free mains.
It was also a good night for female racers, with two of the ladies taking main event wins. It was also Make-A-Wish night, with a dollar of every paid admission going to the Foundation, and a collection taken up in the grandstands by drivers at intermission.
The Pure Stock Mini division started the program, and Tori Edgington of Fallon took the lead at the green. Points leader Brandon Martin of Reno started the race at the rear of the field, but quickly began a charge through the field, taking over third place by the time he reached turn one.
Fernley’s Matt Sherman held off the charging Martin for several laps as Edgington extended her lead. Martin finally found a way by Sherman and set out in pursuit of Edgington, catching her as lapped traffic intervened.
Although Martin rode Edgington’s rear bumper for the remaining laps, she protected the low groove and held him off to take the win. Sherman came home a distant third, followed by John Schilling of Stagecoach and Fernley’s Tracy Sinkovich in fourth and fifth respectively. Although he came up short in the main, Martin won both the heat race and the dash convincingly.
Next came the Pro 4 division, and defending champion Missy Natenstedt of Fernley took command at the start, trailed by Kenny Martin of Reno, Carson City’s Brian Coclich, Skip Wise of Bishop, Calif., and Reno’s Steve Young. Danyale Urban of Sparks peeled off into the pits immediately after the green flag.
Natenstedt built up a lead while division points leader Coclich tried in vain to catch Martin. Pole sitter Wise slid back to fourth and lost ground to the leaders, while Young went a lap down early in the race. Natenstedt was never seriously challenged and romped home to the checker ahead of Martin, Coclich, Wise, and Young (two laps down). Missy also won the heat race, while Coclich was the victor in the dash.
In a performance worthy of the Guinness Book of Records, the Hobby Stocks ran the third caution-free main of the evening, a complete departure from last weekend’s event which was strewn with red and yellow laundry. Carl Barlow of Silver Springs took the lead at the green flag, followed closely by Sparks driver Rich Italiano and Mason Myers of Browns Valley, Calif.
The front three broke away from the next pack, led by Josh Ogg of Sparks. Ogg was the leader of a tight four-car train made up of Billy Anderson of Round Mountain, Carson City’s Mike Kinkel Jr., and Dean Clark of Silver Springs.
Shane Ramthun of Carson City soon got clear of the third pack and began reeling in this four-car battle. Meanwhile up front, Italiano continued to work on leader Barlow, finally finding some speed and an opportunity to pass two laps from the end.
Italiano shot into the lead and held off a frustrated Barlow to take the win. Barlow had to settle for second ahead of Myers. Ogg stayed ahead of his pursuers to take fourth, with Anderson rounding out the top five. Anderson and Kinkel won the heat races, and Myers took the dash victory.
The Dwarf division provided some fast and furious racing, lots of passing, and the only caution periods of the night. Reece Wilson of Minden got the jump on pole sitter Billie Canham of Sparks at the green and began to pull away.
Minden’s Vuki Wilson started dead last due to his position as points leader, but had passed seven cars by the time the first lap was in the books. The first caution came after two laps as Fallon’s Tim O’Neill hit the back straight wall, ending his evening.
Reece Wilson retained command on the restart, with Carson City’s Jeff Shurley, Skip Hempler of Zephyr Cove, and Canham tucked in his wake. Hempler soon mounted a challenge for second place while Vuki moved to fourth, then to third. Hempler briefly dropped back while Vuki snatched second place away from Shurley.
Again the yellow flag flew, this time for Matt Sherman of Fernley, who stopped in turn two with suspension problems. This set up a dash to the finish between Reece Wilson, Vuki Wilson, and Hempler. Hempler got a run off of four two laps from the end and shot into the lead. Reece slowed while Vuki pursued the flying Hempler to the checker.
At the flag it was Hempler, Vuki Wilson, Billy Wilson, Reno’s Joe Frock in fourth with a late-race charge, and Canham rounding out the top five. Heat race victories went to Hempler and Reece Wilson, with Vuki Wilson taking the dash win.
The Pro Stocks also ran green flag-to-flag, although the checker and the yellow waved simultaneously when Jake Holland of Calpine, Calif., had his second encounter of the night with the back straight wall. Matt Ramthun of Mound House grabbed the lead from outside the front row, and looked like he was headed for an easy victory. Behind him, a snarling pack of cars argued over second place.
Gary Nevers of Carson City led the tight formation, followed by Reno driver Mike McMordie, Brett Youngman of Grass Valley, Calif., Yerington’s Roy Peterson, Scott Doich of Reno, and Pat Couch of Oregon House, Calif. Ramthun built a big lead over this battle, while Jim Smith of Loyalton, Calif., was working his way up through the field.
Just past the halfway point, McMordie took over second and began to reel in Ramthun. McMordie closed on the leader with a big gap back to what had become the third-place battle, with Youngman now in possession of the spot. Ramthun and McMordie circulated in lockstep, matching rev for rev, while Doich and Travis Peterson of Spanish Springs worked on getting by Youngman.
McMordie finally found an opening coming off turn four and blew by Ramthun, whose car seemed to have lost its earlier speed. McMordie pulled away, while the next pack caught Ramthun in the closing laps. McMordie took the checker, Ramthun held on for second, Doich and Travis Peterson got by Youngman to take third and fourth, with Youngman rounding out the top five. Fernley’s Joe Specchio, Jr. and Chris Smith of Coalinga, Calif., won the heat races, and the dash win went to Travis Peterson.
Next Saturday marks the second visit this season by the BCRA Midgets, this time with the Midget Lites and Vintage Midgets along for the ride. IMCA Modifieds and 318 Modifieds will fill out the program. Spectator gates open at 3 p.m., with racing action starting at 6 pm. For more information, call (775) 575-7217 or go to http://www.renofernleyraceway.com on the Web.