Reno-Fernley Raceway report |

Reno-Fernley Raceway report

Roger Diez
Appeal MotorSports Writer

Five racing divisions provided the entertainment Saturday night at Reno-Fernley Raceway, and the racing was fast and furious.


The Pure Stock division led off the racing action, with 2006 division champion Brandon Martin of Reno making his first 2007 season start in the familiar No. 5 car. Greg Salaces of Carson City took the lead at the green flag, but Martin came through the pack like a hot knife through butter and soon passed Salaces for the lead.

Reno’s Tim Cremeans settled into second after passing Salaces, but by that time Martin had checked out. The race was halted with a red flag after Reno drivers Michael Geirrine and Kim Robbins hit each other and the Turn Four wall. No serious injuries resulted, but Geirrine was checked out by paramedics after complaining of sore ribs.

Martin took off on the restart, pulling away from Cremeans, Salaces, John Schilling of Stagecoach, and the rest of the field. Points leader Jason Flores of Reno joined the lead group, advancing from fifth to fourth, then to third. But Flores was running out of race and the checkered flag flew before he could reel in Cremeans.

Martin took the win, Cremeans was second, Flores third, Schilling fourth, and Salaces hung on to round out the top five. Earlier heat race victories went to Fernley drivers Pete Moore and Lynda Crook.


The Hobby Stocks ran next, and it seemed as though No. 5 would be the lucky number of the evening as Rich Italiano of Sparks surged into the lead after running the first lap side by side with Carson City’s Jeff Wilson. Italiano never looked back, dominating the rest of the race.

Behind him Wilson battled with Silver Springs drivers David Clark and Jimmy Berhorst, and Carson City’s Shane Ramthun for second place. Italiano opened up the gap until Reno driver William Packer Sr. fetched up against the back straight wall while being lapped by the raging second-place battle.

Dayton’s Shane Cuthbert and Billy Anderson of Round Mountain both lost power and had to be pushed to the pits during the caution. When the green flag waved again, Italiano once again checked out. Berhorst and Wilson tangled in turn two on the restart, but got moving again before the caution came out. Ramthun took over second with Clark third, and Mike Leach of Silver Springs running side by side for fourth with Sparks driver Josh Ogg.

After another brief caution for the stalled car of David Pearce of Stagecoach, the green flag waved for a two-lap shootout. Italiano cruised to the win, with Ramthun second. Ogg nipped Clark for third on the last lap, and Leach rounded out the top five. Heat race winners were Ogg and Jerry Morrow of Reno.


The Dwarf Car division was the third main event of the evening, and the usual suspects were up front at the finish. Joe Frock of Reno was the early leader with Fallon’s Tim O’Neill second, but Minden’s Reece Wilson didn’t take long to pass them both to take over the lead.

Once in front, Wilson opened a big lead, only to lose it when the caution flag flew for a spin by Yerington’s Leroy Kay. On the restart, Billy Wilson of Minden joined brother Reece at the front, but Reece soon opened a gap. Frock ran third, followed by Skip Hempler of Zephyr Cove and points leader Derek Rosse of Carson City, up to fifth from the back of the pack.

After another short caution for a spin by Reno’s Bret Wilkins, Rosse charged into second on the restart. A multi-car incident in Turn Three brought the caution out immediately, but most cars involved were able to continue.

Billy Wilson re-took second on the restart, then slid high in turn two, allowing Rosse to get by again. Wilkins brought out the caution again, stalling in turn one. Hempler grabbed second on the ensuing restart with Rosse in third and Billy Wilson battling with dad Vuki Wilson for fourth.

Rosse caught and passed Hempler on the white flag lap while Reece Wilson romped home to the checker. Rosse was second, Hempler third, Billy Wilson fourth, and Vuki Wilson fifth. The heat races were also Wilson family property, with Reece and Billy splitting the heat wins.


The tone was set for the Pro Stock main with a six-car pileup in Turn Four on the initial start. A number of cars sported damaged bodywork on the second attempt at a start, and Carson City’s Big Al Goss took over the lead from Reno’s Michael Reed on lap two.

Jesse Gonzalez of Fallon moved up from the rear of the field to fourth with right front sheet metal flapping in the breeze. A caution for debris bunched the field and Vince Malone of Sparks took advantage on the restart to move to third, while Travis Peterson of Spanish Springs advanced to fourth.

Goss built a gap to second place John Vaughn of Reno, battling for third with Peterson, and Malone and Gonzalez fought over fifth. Fernley’s Joe Specchio Jr. joined the front-runners, taking over third when the caution flag appeared for the stalled car of Fallon driver Rob Grace. The restart was short-lived, as the yellow flag waved immediately for a spin by Peterson.

Specchio and Gonzales lined up behind Goss for the next restart, and Specchio soon passed for the lead. Goss lost two more spots, then pitted. Gonzalez snatched the lead from Specchio after a brief tussle, and that was all she wrote. Gonzales cruised to a convincing win, bodywork still flapping in the breeze.

Specchio finished a distant second, while Peterson recovered from his spin to take third. Mike McMordie of Reno came home fourth, and Malone rounded out the top five. Peterson and Specchio took the heat race honors.


The final race of the evening saw another caution-fest, as the IMCA Modified division had trouble putting consecutive green flag laps together. Polesitter Mike White of Fallon took the lead on the second attempt at the start, after running the first lap side by side with Fernley’s Joe Specchio III.

Yerington’s Gene Kay surged to second, spinning Sean Natenstedt of Fernley in the process. The caution flew for separate spins at both ends of the track, and White spun in Turn One on the restart, bringing out another caution.

On the next restart Dayton’s Robert Smotherman went side by side with Rich Hill of Sparks for the lead. After another caution the battle resumed, and Bill Smith III of Sparks passed both Hill and Smotherman to take the lead. As Smotherman tried to re-take the position the pair tangled on the back straight. Smotherman fetched up against the wall, bringing out the red flag, and Smith was black-flagged for his part in the incident.

Hill took the point on the restart with Lovelock’s Jeffrey Macedo, Darren Manning of Sparks, Kay, Natenstedt, and Specchio in tow. Another caution for White, who spun and stalled at start/finish, and Kay went side by side with Hill on the restart.

Hill got loose in Turn Four, and that was all Kay needed. Kay’s car, almost on two wheels in the corners, opened a gap that was erased by yet another caution, this time for Minden’s Doug Lippincott spinning in Turn Two.

Two more yellow flags waved in quick succession in the final laps, but Kay hung onto the lead through them all. At the checker it was Kay, Hill, Manning, David Ellsworth of Loyalton, Calif., and Natenstedt taking the first five spots. Kay and White split the heat race victories.


Reno-Fernley Raceway will be dark next Saturday night. Racing will resume at the Raceway’s 3/8-mile clay oval on August 25 with IMCA Modified, Pro Stock, Hobby Stock, Pure Stock, and Dwarf Car divisions. For more information, call 775-575-7217 or visit