Roger Diez: Fernley track reverts back to old name
For the Nevada Appeal
I spoke with Matt Ramthun last week to get an update on what is happening at the Fernley track. For one, the track is reverting to the name used in 2012, Fernley 95A Speedway. There have been a few minor schedule tweaks, and plans for some big non-racing shows at the facility. More news on those later. Although the racing season doesn’t kick off until late March, the track is holding a swap meet on Feb. 8. Anything automotive related is welcome — race car parts, street car and hot rod stuff, and motorcycle and off-road bits and pieces. The fee is $25 for a space to sell your stuff, and the event is free to attend if you’re just shopping for parts.
The 2014 national racing season kicks off next Saturday with the 52nd Rolex 24 at Daytona. It will also mark the first race of the new TUDOR United SportsCar Championship, an organization created by the merger of the American Lemans Series and the Rolex Grand Am Series. Coverage on FOX starts at 11 a.m., with continuing coverage on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports 2. There are 68 teams entered in the race, and there will be drivers from other professional racing series in the field. From the NASCAR ranks, drivers entered include AJ Allmendinger, Jamie McMurray, Michael Waltrip, and Nelson Piquet Jr. IndyCar stars include 2013 champion Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, and Juan Pablo Montoya. Several ex-Formula 1 drivers are also entered, Nick Heidfeld being the most prominent of the bunch. Dario Franchitti is also on the entry list, so perhaps he hasn’t retired from racing altogether but only from IndyCar competition.
The Chili Bowl Midget Nationals are underway in Tulsa, Okla., this weekend. In addition to Minden’s Tanner Thorson, NASCAR star Kasey Kahne is also entered, driving the No. 71 Jason Leffler Tribute/Chevrolet/Beast. Kahne is teaming up with Tony Stewart to field the car, which Stewart raced at the Chili Bowl in 2012 and 2013. The car will be raffled off (less engine) to raise money for a trust to benefit Leffler’s son, Charles. To register to win or to make a donation, go to http://www.starnetdp.com/Charlie-ChiliBowll/intro.html on the web. Entries will be accepted until 3 p.m. Sunday.
The first test of the new Formula 1 chassis is less than two weeks away. The test will take place at the Jerez circuit in Spain on Jan. 28, at which time fans will get their first look at some of the new 2014 cars. Red Bull, Mercedes, Williams, and Caterham will unveil their new designs at the test, while McLaren is set to introduce their new car on Jan. 24 and Ferrari on Jan. 25. This season will see the biggest change in technical regulations from one year to another in Formula 1 history, and the teams will only know how close they are to the mark at Jerez. There is a new engine formula (1.6 liter turbo), a more robust energy recovery system, and a reduction in aerodynamic downforce all to be evaluated. The teams will all run on a new Pirelli tire design, and it was recently announced the Pirelli will be the sole tire supplier to the series through 2016. There will be two more tests, both in Bahrain, prior to the season opener in Australia, so the teams will get three chances to tweak things before a wheel is turned in anger.