Roger Diez: Action returns to Fernley 95A Speedway
After several weeks dark, Fernley 95A Speedway is back in action Saturday evening with a full program of stock cars, modifieds, and a special visit by dwarf cars. Gates open at 3 p.m., racing starts at 6:30. Come out and cheer for your favorite local driver.
Martin Truex Jr. has had a really good week. After winning last Saturday night at Kentucky with a truly dominating performance, on Wednesday evening he won the ESPY award for best driver, beating out Brittany Force (NHRA), Lewis Hamilton (Formula 1) and Josef Newgarden (IndyCar). It was the third time a NASCAR driver has had that honor in the last four years. It was fitting the host of the show was one of Truex’s former competitors, Danica Patrick. She’s the first woman to host the ESPYs in the show’s 25-year history. It seems Danica is searching for a new post-racing career — based on her performance at the ESPYs, I think she can rule out standup comedy.
As the regular season winds down, 2018’s “Big Three” continue their stranglehold on victories in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series. Truex’s Kentucky win was No. 4 on the season for him, just a single race win behind Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick. And with each week that goes by, points loom larger for the rest of the drivers vying for one of the 16 playoff berths. Right now Alex Bowman is on the bubble, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. is on the outside looking in. The Brickyard 400, just six weeks from now, is the cutoff race for deciding playoff participants. With just seven races left and nine playoff spots still open, at least two drivers, and probably more, will have to qualify on points. One driver who’s overdue for a win is Kyle Larson, the only Chevy driver who consistently runs up front. His performance at Kentucky was nothing short of amazing, driving from last to second before a broken track bar put him to the rear again. And he still managed a top-10 finish in ninth! Other possible new winners in the next seven races include Ryan Blaney, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliot, Kurt Busch, and Denny Hamlin. A.J. Allmendinger is always a threat at Watkins Glen, and you can never count out seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson.
After a week of rest, Formula 1 returns this weekend for the German Grand Prix at Hockenheim. It will be the series’ fourth race in five weeks, and the last before the summer break. There was no German Grand Prix in 2017, but Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton is the most recent winner in 2016, his third German GP victory and second at Hockenheim. The only other current driver to win at Hockenheim is Fernando Alonso with three victories to his credit. Points leader Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari has never won his home grand prix. According to the oddsmakers, Hamilton is all but a lock to win on Sunday with Vettel the second most likely winner. Then the odds increase for Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes), Max Verstappen (Red Bull), Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull) and Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) in that order.
Finally, congratulations to four-time IndyCar champion Scott Dixon on his win at Toronto last Sunday. The victory puts him on top of the points with 464, 62 ahead of defending champ Josef Newgarden. The next race is at Mid-Ohio, where Dixon has won five times in the last 10 seasons, so things are looking good for championship No. 5 for “Dixie.”