Roger Diez: Reno-Fernley preparing for Shootout
For the Nevada Appeal
There is a big post-season race scheduled at Reno-Fernley’s 3/8 mile clay oval on Oct. 9-10.
I spoke with track owner Rich Cable this week, and he told me that the 2010 Shootout event, The Fernley Jackpot, is offering a $20,000 purse. Heat races are scheduled for Saturday with 30-lap mains beginning at noon on Sunday. Modifieds must comply with IMCA rules, and the Pro Stocks will follow the 2010 Rattlesnake Raceway rule book. Hobby Stocks also are on the card along with Dwarf Cars and/or Sprint Cars, depending on entries. Cable says he expects upwards of 100 entries.
In other local racing news, veteran racer Jerry Allec Jr. called to let me know that his long-time pit crew member, Jason Batis, has won the Strictly Stock championship at Diamond Mountain Speedway at the Lassen County Fairgrounds. Batis finished in the top three in every race on his way to the title. Allec also raced a partial season, finishing sixth in the points. Allec also will race in the West series at Roseville at the end of the year. And his daughter Samantha Schultz, a 14-year-old freshman at Carson High, got her first laps in a stock car this season in preparation for running at Reno-Fernley in 2011.
Another local racer, J.R. Williams of Carson City, took fourth place in the USAC Utah Midget series last weekend. The 75-year-old Williams spent 2010 racing in Utah, Nevada, and California. The only other active Midget driver is Floyd Alvis, who competes in BRCA events. Williams is planning on running more BRCA and Capitol Cities races in 2011 since they are closer to home. He has carried sponsorship from Carson Dodge/Chrysler and Les Schwab Tires since returning to Midget competition in 2003. Williams will run two more races this season – on dirt at Chowchilla Oct. 30 and on pavement at Irwindale Thanksgiving weekend.
At the very top levels of the sport, 2010 is the season for close championship battles. With one race to go in the IndyCar series (Homestead/Miami next weekend), Will Power holds a narrow points lead over defending champ Dario Franchitti. They are the only two drivers with a shot at the title. Not so in Formula 1, where five drivers still have a realistic shot at the World Driving Championship. Red Bull’s Mark Webber has been swapping the lead with McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton, and going into this weekend’s Singapore race Webber holds a five-point advantage, 187-182. Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso is third with 166, closely pursued by Hamilton’s teammate Jensen Button with 165 and second Red Bull driver Sebastian Vettel with 163. And NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series has arguably the strongest field of championship contenders since the inception of the Chase format.
A post-race teardown after his Loudon victory last Sunday threw a monkey wrench into Childress Racing’s Clint Bowyer’s prospects. Citing illegal modifications to the rear bodywork of the car, NASCAR levied a 150-point penalty, fined crew chief Shane Wilson $150,000, and suspended both Wilson and car chief Chad Haney for six races. Richard Childress has appealed the penalty, saying that the penalty was based on a measurement that was sixty-thousands of an inch, and could have been caused by a tow truck pushing Bowyer to victory lane after he ran out of fuel. In addition, other drivers also hit Bowyer’s rear bumper in congratulatory fashion after the checker. For his part, Bowyer feels he was “made an example of” by NASCAR, after his team was warned about being close to tolerance after Richmond two weeks ago. Because of the warning, Bowyer said the team had made “triple sure” that his Loudon car met all tolerances.
If the penalty stands, Bowyer will have to win a lot of Chase races and count on some bad luck for other Chase drivers to catch up. And bad luck at Loudon put three other drivers in the same boat. Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart (who ran out of gas late in the race), and Matt Kenseth (who wrecked) fell to 10th, 11th and 12th respectively until Bowyer’s penalty dropped him to last place.