Roger Diez: Local race fans have plenty of options this weekend | NevadaAppeal.com
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Roger Diez: Local race fans have plenty of options this weekend

Chad Lundquist/Nevada Appeal
Nevada Appeal | Nevada Appeal

For classic car, motorcycle, and hot rod buffs, it’s that time of year again. Today is the Legends of the West car and bike show in downtown Carson City, featuring a show and shine, live music, gunfighters, crafts, food and raffles. The highlight will be the Carson City Sheriff’s Office 10th annual Extreme Motor Officer Training event. Police officers from Nevada, California and Utah will compete on an obstacle course laid out on Carson Street in front of the Carson Nugget. I watched the event last year, and it is fascinating to watch the riders maneuver those big bikes through tight formations of traffic cones. Carson Street will be closed from Robinson to Telegraph streets, with side streets from Spear to Proctor also closed. The event kicks off with a pancake breakfast at the Elks Lodge and goes all day, finishing up with the awards ceremony at Jimmy G’s Cigar Bar at 7:30.

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If you want to see some fast and furious dirt track racing, Reno-Tahoe-Fernley Speedway’s 95A series will be back in action tonight, with spectator gates open at 3 p.m. and racing beginning at 6 p.m. The evening will kick off with a makeup race for the IMCA Modifieds, followed by a regular racing program featuring Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Modifieds, Pure Stocks, Mod Minis, KWS Lites and Outlaw Karts. General admission is $12, with kids 6-12 and seniors $8. Kids five and younger and military personnel in uniform are free.

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Carson City’s Mackena Bell is also racing tonight in the K&N Pro Series East 175 lap race at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Va. SPEED usually televises the K&N races at noon on Thursdays, but not necessarily the first Thursday after the race. Check your listings if you want to watch Mackena in action.

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The NASCAR Sprint Cup series makes its closest visit to our area this weekend, racing at Sonoma Raceway. I have been to a number of Cup races at the track, and I raced, flagged, and announced there for many years. But since my announcing duties at Reno-Tahoe-Fernley take precedence this weekend, I’ll have to be content to watch the race on TV. I know a lot of NASCAR fans don’t appreciate road course races, but when Bruton Smith took the track over 15 years ago he bulldozed down a lot of the hills, giving the track an amphitheater feel. There are lots of good spectator vantage points now, with great sightlines over much of the track. And the racing has improved considerably over the years. When NASCAR first came to Sonoma, you could count on one of a handful of drivers going to victory circle. Now, more than half the cars in the field are legitimate contenders, and there’s bound to be lots of blocking, bumping, and banging. If you go, take plenty of sunscreen and drink lots of liquid, because Sonoma can get really hot this time of year (I’ve noticed that the favorite liquid of race fans at Sonoma seems to be Budweiser). Today’s qualifying session will be Sprint Cup’s first “group” qualifying instead of single car qualifying.

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If you’re staying home, you can watch coverage of the 24 Hours of Lemans on SPEED. The race started at 5:30 this morning our time, and will appear on SPEED throughout the day, interspersed with NASCAR qualifying and Speed Center. There are 56 entries for the 81st running of the race, with the two-car Corvette team going for their eighth win in 13 tries. Both Corvettes will carry in-car cameras. The number 2 Audi R-18 E-tron Quattro prototype will start on the pole.

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If you don’t have the patience for a 24-hour race, check out the IndyCar series at Iowa Speedway on Sunday. It will be the series’ sixth race in five weekends, and Andretti Autosport is on a roll. Ryan Hunter-Reay’s victory at Milwaukee last Saturday made him only the second two-time winner so far this season, joining teammate James Hinchcliffe. Iowa is a very fast 7/8th mile oval, and the Indy cars are scary fast there.