Local racers begin season at Rattlesnake track in Fallon
For the Nevada Appeal
With all the national and international racing series seasons well underway, it’s time for local racing to get started. The quarter mile dirt oval at Fallon’s Rattlesnake Raceway will open their season Saturday, April 7, with Hobby Stock, Pro Stock, GenX, Rat Mod, Super Four, and 360 Sprint divisions in action, as well as four divisions of Outlaw Karts. General admission is $10, with $5 tickets for seniors. Kids less than 64-inches tall, and kids younger than 5 are free.
April 14 marks the opening of the Fernley 95A Speedway (formerly Reno-Fernley Raceway) 3/8 mile clay oval. Fernley 95A will run on alternating weeks to Rattlesnake, affording drivers the opportunity to race for points at both tracks. Ten points races are scheduled for IMCA Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Modified Minis, and Pure Stocks. Box stock Outlaw Karts will run heats at the start of each night’s racing, with mains during intermission. In addition there will be the traditional two-day shootout at the end of September. The track will be back under IMCA sanction for the 2012 season. Grandstand admission is $8, with a $5 admission for seniors and kids 9-12. Kids younger than 9, military in uniform, and disabled persons are free. Admission to the tailgate section is $30 for a carload, $15 for a car and driver, and $8 more for one passenger.
After an exciting wet race in Malaysia, Formula 1 is dark for the next three weeks. Fernando Alonso’s win in the rain was nothing short of miraculous. His Ferrari, which was a mid-pack car in the dry, came alive in the wet conditions while multiple pit stops to change tires scrambled the field. The win puts Alonso at the top of the points with 35, followed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton at 30, his teammate Jensen Button at 25, and Red Bull’s Mark Webber at 24. Sergio Perez’ surprising second place in Malaysia vaulted him into fifth with 22 points ahead of defending world champion Sebastian Vettel. The young German champion finished out of the points in Malaysia, getting his season off to a less than stellar start.
The Izod IndyCar series kicked off its season in grand fashion last weekend, with Helio Castroneves scoring the win to break a long dry spell. One of the highlights was his post-race fence-climbing tribute to the late Dan Wheldon. Other highlights included a new crew in Race Control and a much cleaner race than last year’s, especially in turn one. Pole sitter Will Power was lucky to salvage seventh place after a bad pit strategy call, and defending champion Dario Franchitti finished in 13th. The IndyCars are back in action this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama.
NASCAR returns to short-track action this weekend at Martinsville after Tony Stewart took his second Sprint Cup win of the season at the two-mile Fontana track. Stewart’s victory at the Martinsville track last October doesn’t bode well for the rest of the field. Interestingly, 14 of the last 18 races at the track have been won by Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Denny Hamlin. Points leader Greg Biffle still is looking for his first win of 2012, as are Gordon, Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, and a lot of other top-rated drivers. A win at Martinsville this weekend by one of the four Hendrick drivers would mark the 200th Cup victory for the organization and the 18th win at the track for Hendrick Racing.
All of NASCAR’s national series will be dark next weekend in celebration of Easter, and will resume at Texas Motor Speedway the weekend of April 13-14.
Finally, in honor of Sunday’s April Fool’s Day, here’s a prediction for Bruton Smith’s pending reconfiguration of Bristol Speedway to lure fans back. I predict that Bruton will make it a figure-eight track with motocross-style jumps and whoop-de-dos to inject some of the action that the fans have apparently been missing.