Roger Diez: Only few Pro Stocks, still strong night at Fernley | NevadaAppeal.com

Roger Diez: Only few Pro Stocks, still strong night at Fernley

Roger Diez

Last Saturday was a disappointing one for fans of Pro Stock racing, as only five cars showed up at Fernley 95A Speedway for the $1,500 to win purse. Further disappointment ensued when only four cars made the main. Bill Pearson was declared the winner after a controversial call on contact penalized Robert Miller, who finished second. Fortunately, race fans were treated to two good races in other classes. Chris Christiano won the $1,000 to win Hobby Stock main over a 20-car field. The Goetz brothers, Rocky and Royce, took the $500 and $250 second and third place money respectively. The IMCA field of 15 cars saw Chris Olexiewicz take the win over Cory Sample in second and Riley Simmons in third. The B Modified race was a two-car duel with Rusty McMillan taking the victory over Andy Welch.

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Winners being stripped of victory seems to be a pattern this year. It happened again at the 24 Hour of Lemans, when the GTE-Am class-winning Keating Motorsports Ford GT was disqualified for having too large a fuel cell and for refueling too fast. The DQ handed the win to the second-place car, the Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR. The two team Toyota Gazoo prototypes finished 1-2 overall, 17 seconds apart after 24 hours of racing.

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In NASCAR news the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup series is back after the Father’s Day holiday for the season’s first road course race at nearby Sonoma Raceway. This will be a new experience for the entire field, because the track will utilize Turn Five and Turn 6, the infamous Carousel, for the first time since 1997. When I was racing there, my favorite part of the Carousel was the exit, because that meant I had gotten through it intact and pointed the right direction! Based on past performance at Sonoma, defending winner Martin Truex Jr. and Kyle Busch have to be the favorites for a couple of reasons; both are two-time winners there, and both are members of the dominating Joe Gibbs Racing team. Stewart Haas Racing, winless on the season, has two former winners in their stable – Kevin Harvick and Clint Bowyer. And Ganassi Racing driver Kurt Busch has also posted a Sonoma victory. But that tricky Carousel is lurking to bite the unwary and overconfident. That turn just may be the key to victory or to a bad day.

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Open wheel series are also back in action this weekend; Formula One is at Circuit Paul Ricard for the French Grand Prix and the IndyCar series will tackle the longest road course on the schedule, the four-mile-long Road America circuit.

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Last year’s French Grand Prix was (surprise) a 1-2 finish for Mercedes, with Lewis Hamilton taking the win. But Ferrari showed great speed in Canada, on a similar circuit layout with long straights which give them an advantage. And after the ruling which stripped Sebastian Vettel of his win in Canada, his motivation level is around 200 percent. This weekend could be the race the Ferrari knocks puts an end to Mercedes’ unbeaten string.

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This will be the fourth race at Road America for the current iteration of Indy/CART/Champ Cars, and so far, it’s advantage Penske. Current points leader Josef Newgarden is the defending winner and teammate Will Power won in 2016. Ganassi driver and defending series champion Scott Dixon was the 2017 victor. But watch out for Circuit of the Americas winner Colton Herta, Andretti Autosport ace Alexander Rossi, and Grand Prix of Indy winner Simon Pagenaud to challenge for the win on Sunday.