Roger Diez: Lots of hardware handed out
Fernley 95A Speedway put the 2012 racing season to bed last Saturday with their awards banquet at the Boys & Girls Club in Reno, hosted by Club chef and Pro Stock driver Chris Coclich. In addition to crowning the season champions, awards were given for Sportsman of the year to Hobby Stock champ Royce Goetz of Dayton and Pro Stock champ Gary Nevers of Carson City. IMCA Modified driver Melissa Natenstedt of Fernley and Reno Pro Stock driver Scott Deutsch received Most Improved Driver awards, while Mechanic of the Year trophies went to Jerry Crowley and Brandon Nevers. In addition to Goetz and Gary Nevers, other division champions were: Travis Barr of Reno, Pure Stock; Justin McIlvain of Sparks, Mod Mini; Carson City’s Shane Ramthun, Dwarf; and Sean Natenstedt of Fernley, IMCA Modified. More than 200 people were on hand for the banquet, including new track owner Dan Simpson and his staff. Dan will be bringing his King of the West Sprint Car series to the track in 2013, and has a lot of physical improvements to the property planned.And NASCAR crowned three champions at Homestead-Miami Speedway last weekend: James Buescher is the new Camping World Truck champion, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. captured his second title in a row in the Nationwide series, and Brad Keselowski brought Roger Penske his first Cup championship. The Sprint Cup championship battle looked close until Jimmie Johnson retired with a blown rear-end gear, handing Keselowski the title. Johnson’s bad luck was Clint Bowyer’s good fortune, as Bowyer ended up nipping Jimmie for second in the title chase by a single point. And an exuberant champion was young Brad, who had obviously been sampling the sponsor’s product (Miller Lite) in an interview on Wind Tunnel later in the evening. As Tommy Kendall quipped, “Interesting that a guy who kept Jimmie Johnson from getting a six-pack looks like he has had a twelve-pack.”The NASCAR Awards banquet will take place in Las Vegas this coming Friday, preceded by Tony Stewart’s annual “Stewie Awards” broadcast on Thursday evening on SiriusXM NASCAR radio.The only major-league series still running is Formula One. Their season will wrap Sunday with the Brazilian Grand Prix, televised on SPEED at 8 a.m. PST. Only Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is close enough in points (-13) to take the championship away from Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel. If Alonso wins the race, Vettel has to finish fourth or better to take the championship. Red Bull has already clinched the constructor’s championship, which has a rumored payout of over $100 million. It will be the last F1 airing on the SPEED network, as the television contract goes to NBC Sports for 2013 and beyond. Lee Diffey has been tapped to head up both the F1 and IndyCar broadcast teams at NBC Sports. Fortunately, he will be joined by the existing team of David Hobbs, Steve Matchett, and Will Buxton for the F1 commentary.