Long night at Reno-Fernley Raceway
Appeal Motorsports Columnist
FERNLEY – It was a long night at Reno-Fernley Raceway Saturday night, as yellow and red flags combined with over exuberant track watering to slow the program.
It was also Kid’s Ride Night, with youngsters getting an opportunity to tour the track in race cars, a very popular event.
Five stock car divisions competed, with large enough fields to require a B main in the Hobby Stock and Pro Stock classes.
The Pure Stocks led off the evening’s festivities, with 14 entries. At the green flag Aaron McIlvain of Silver Springs began his run toward the front but was interrupted when Susanville driver Mitch Murphy hit the wall between turns one and two, bringing out a red flag.
Murphy was OK, but his car wasn’t. McIlvain snatched the lead on the restart, and that was the race as far as the win went.
Second-place was very much in doubt, however, with Fernley’s Doug Davis and Yerington’s Joshua Long going at it tooth and nail, and Brandon Martin of Reno, Walter Ball of Silver Springs and others scrapping over top five places.
At the checker it was McIlvain, Davis, Long, Ball, and Fernley’s Matt Sherman, who wrested fifth from Martin on the last lap. McIlvain and Long each won a heat race.
Twenty-seven Hobby Stock cars were on hand, necessitating three heat races and a B main. Chris O’Neill of Winnemucca wasted no time getting by Polesitter Cody Myers of Browns Valley, Calif. to take the lead. Paul Gardella of Washoe Valley followed him through and took up station in second.
The battle of the race was for third, with rookie Shane Ramthun of Carson City holding off veteran Dean Clark lap after lap. Behind them, another group of cars jockeyed for an opening, with some spirited racing giving the crowd a great show.
O’Neill pulled out a comfortable lead, but everybody behind him was going for position on the last lap, and a near photo-finish ensued at the checkered flag. David Ausano of Fernley somehow found a hole and shot through for second, with Gardella, Clark, and Joe Specchio III of Fernley going three wide for third, fourth, and fifth respectively.
O’Neill, Ausano, and Sun Valley’s David Rauscher took heat race wins, while William Richey of Reno won the B Main.
Modified Minis were up next, with lots of passing and close racing, and a surprise finish. Matt Borges of Tracy, Calif., held the lead from the pole in the early laps, but he was being stalked by the Crook brothers, Dennis of Fernley and Stephan of Sparks, as well as Carson City’s Brian Coclich. Both brothers worked their way by, relegating Borges to third. Behind him were Coclich and a pair of lady racers, Melissa Natenstedt of Fernley and Danyale Urban from Sparks.
The Crook boys battled each other for the lead, with Stephen a nose ahead coming through turn four on the last lap. Then disaster struck, as the Crooks tangled and spun. Borges charged past for the win, followed by Urban, Natenstedt, Coclich, and Fernley’s Robert Pearson.
The Pro Stock division also fielded 27 cars, with three heats and a B main. At the green flag for the Main Polesitter Jason Chapman of Fernley grabbed the lead, holding it for the first 10 laps. Carson City’s Matt Ramthun moved to second and began looking for a way around Chapman’s car.
Carson City’s Gary Nevers ran third in the early going, but Randy Reid of Sparks was working his way through the field, obviously the fastest car on the track. Ramthun got by Chapman and led several laps, but at about the halfway point Reid blasted by him and never looked back. Sean Natenstedt of Fernley and Loyalton, Calif., driver David Ellsworth came from deep in the field to challenge for top five positions.
At the checker it was the flying Reid with the win, followed home by Ramthun, Chapman, Ellsworth, and Natenstedt. Nevers finished sixth. Reid, Natenstedt, and Jake Holland of Calpine, Calif. scored heat race victories, with Ellsworth the B main winner.
The quick and exciting IMCA Modifieds were the last group to take to the 3/8 mile clay oval. Gene Kay of Yerington, in his first outing of 2005 at Reno-Fernley Raceway, shouldered his way past Truckee’s Russell Rosario in the early laps to take the lead. Carson City’s Steve McGee passed Rosario for second and took up station behind the flying Kay.
Back in the pack, Robert Miller of Gardnerville began one of his patented runs through the field, and was soon on McGee’s tail. The pair battled for several laps, with Miller using the high groove to finally take over second. Miller then set out to reel in Kay, but didn’t have enough race left to do anything about it.
Kay took the checker, followed by Miller, McGee, Reno’s Joe Frock, and Darren Manning of Sparks. Frock and Bill Smith III of Sparks won the heat races.
Next Saturday night Reno-Fernley Raceway will feature the IMCA Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Dwarfs, Modified Minis, and the Extreme Mini Bomber Flagpole Race. Racing will begin at 6 p.m.
n Contact Roger Diez at Racytalker@aol.com