Roger Diez: With racing shutdown, time to turn to movies | NevadaAppeal.com

Roger Diez: With racing shutdown, time to turn to movies

By Roger Diez

I hope everybody is well and following the guidelines for avoiding the spread of COVID-19. The worldwide pandemic continues to affect racing worldwide, and our local tracks are not exempt. Both Fernley 95A Speedway and Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon have canceled today’s scheduled test and tunes. Fallon’s March 27 car show and March 28 season opener have been canceled, as has the April 11 season opener at Fernley. As I get further information, I will share it here.

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Formula 1 has announced the postponement of the May 3 Dutch Grand Prix’s return to the F1 calendar after a 35-year hiatus, and the May 10 Spanish Grand Prix. The Monaco Grand Prix, scheduled for May 24, is canceled due to the logistics of closing the streets for the event. The sanctioning body had earlier announced the postponement of the Chinese, Bahrain, and Vietnam races. The FIA and Formula1 are studying the viability of rescheduling some or all of these events later in the year and hope to resume racing in June or as soon as it is safe to do so.

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NASCAR has postponed all events through May 3. The postponed races are Atlanta, Homestead, Texas, Bristol, Richmond, Talladega, and Dover. The plan is to return to racing at Martinsville on May 9, but no word as to whether spectators will be allowed. I don’t see how they will be able to make up nine canceled events (including Atlanta and Homestead-Miami), with a 38-race schedule and only 52 weeks in the year. The doubleheader at Pocono will help a bit, and I suppose they could do doubleheaders at Dover in August, Richmond and Bristol in September, and at Talladega and Texas in October. Everybody should probably bring a couple of backup cars for Talladega, since they’ll probably need them for the second race. 

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The IndyCar has announced the cancellation of races at Barber Motorsports Park, Long Beach, and Circuit of the Americas in Austin. The series plans to resume racing with Grand Prix of Indy on the Indianapolis road course May 9, followed by the Indy 500. There are currently no plans to make up the canceled races.

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The NHRA has announced the postponement of the upcoming Four-Wide Nationals in Las Vegas. The NHRA SpringNationals in Houston is still on the schedule for April 17-19, but that is subject to change depending on the public health situation at the time.

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So, what is a race fan to do with no racing at the track or on the TV? I’m glad you asked. Fortunately for us, there have been lots of movies made about racing, and a lot of them are available on DVD, Blue-Ray, or Netflix, Amazon Prime, and other outlets. Here’s a list of some of my favorites along with others that may appeal to fans of all forms of motorsport:

 Grand Prix, starring James Garner (1966); Winning, with Paul Newman (1968); The Love Bug (1968); Steve McQueen in Lemans (1971); The Last American Hero, Beau Bridges (1973); Greased Lightning, Richard Pryor (1977); Stroker Ace, Burt Reynolds (1983); Heart Like a Wheel (1983); Days of Thunder, Tom Cruise (1990); Talladega Nights with Will Ferrell (2006); Senna (2010); Rush, Chris Hemsworth (2013); and Ford v Ferrari with Matt Damon and Christian Bale (2019). Also, if you’re an Elvis fan, he did three movies featuring racing. They were Viva Las Vegas (1964); Spinout (1966); and Speedway (1968). If you have kids at home, the Cars animated movies are fun. One I do not recommend is Sylvester Stallone’s 2001 disaster, Driven. It is quite possibly the worst racing movie ever made. So, enjoy your social distancing, watch some racing movies, and we’ll see you at the track when this is over.