Roger Diez: Get comfy for a long day of racing Sunday | NevadaAppeal.com
YOUR AD HERE »

Roger Diez: Get comfy for a long day of racing Sunday

Roger Diez

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal
Nevada Appeal | Nevada Appeal

Congratulations are in order, first to Ed Carpenter for winning the pole for the 97th Indy 500, and second to Jimmie Johnson for his NASCAR All-Star race victory. Carpenter, the owner/driver of a single car team, beat the might of the Penske and Andretti organizations to capture his first Indy pole.

And Johnson, known as “five-time” for his five Sprint Cup championships, is now also “four-time,” the first driver to win four All-Star races and only the second to score back-to-back wins. It has to be a little frustrating for Johnson’s competitors, who must be feeling like swimmers competing with Michael Phelps or opposing football teams dealing with Colin Kaepernick. Congratulations also go out to the latest inductees into NASCAR’s hall of Fame: Dale Jarrett, Maurice Petty, Fireball Roberts, Tim Flock and Jack Ingram.

• • •

This is one of the biggest weekends in motorsports, with three classic races on the docket. The Indy 500, billed as “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing,” may no longer have the mystique of the past. In days of yore, the race featured engineering innovation like the turbine car, the Novi roadsters, the four-wheel-drive Lotus 56, and a variety of chassis and engines. Now part of a “spec” series with one chassis and two engine manufacturers, it is nevertheless an interesting race with sustained speeds of well over 200 mph. I sat in on a conference call on Tuesday with the ABC broadcast team, who answered questions about the race and ABC coverage from the motorsports press. Topics ranged from the resurgence of Andretti Autosport and the doldrums the once-dominant Target-Ganassi teams is suffering to the void in IndyCar left by Danica Patrick’s departure and the chances of the four women in this year’s field. On the technical side, ABC will utilize 84 cameras to cover the race, which should give TV viewers the most in-depth look at the race ever.

• • •

NASCAR’s Coca-Cola 600, the series’ longest race, will run on Sunday evening after the Indy 500. Sadly, no driver is attempting the “double” this year (nor for the last several years), although Kurt Busch passed his Indy rookie test and is considering an attempt in 2014. I expect the drivers who ran in the Showdown and the All-Star race last weekend to have an edge in the 600 as they learned a lot last Saturday night. Engine failures also can be an issue, as the engines have to run longer than they are normally designed.

• • •

And finally, the Monaco Grand Prix will kick off Sunday’s activities very early due to the time difference. It is certainly the most glamorous, and arguably the most difficult, of all the races on the Formula 1 schedule. The season is shaping up to be a duel between Red Bull and Ferrari, with Mercedes and Lotus snapping at their heels. Sadly, the once-dominant McLaren team seems to have missed the mark with this year’s car, and the Williams organization, one of the most successful F1 teams ever, has yet to score a championship point this season.

• • •

There’s also local racing on tap, with the Fernley 95A series taking to the 3/8 mile clay oval at Reno-Tahoe-Fernley Speedway tonight. Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Pure Stocks, Dwarfs, Mod Minis, and Outlaw Karts will be in action. Last weekend’s King of the West sprint car doubleheader provided fast, exciting racing. Rico Abreu took the Friday main with a last-lap pass, and Jonathan Allard dominated Saturday’s show to take the win. Rodney Sweet of Winnemucca won the Dwarf Car main on Friday while Susanville’s Galen Hainline took the checker in the Mod Mini main. On Saturday it was Dwight Bolton of Gardnerville in front at the checker in the Hobby Stock main, Carson City’s Al Goss taking a hard-fought Pro Stock win, and Shaun Ternora holding off the amazing 11 year old Buddy Kofoid to take the KWS Lites victory.

• • •

Finally, we want to remember the reason for the Memorial Day holiday, those members of the military who gave their lives to keep us free. Thank you, and Godspeed.