Tales from the Reno-Fernley Raceway
Appeal Motorsports Writer
Reno-Fernley Raceway hosted the Dwarf Car regionals Saturday night, along with four stock car divisions, providing a large crowd of fans with lots of exciting racing action.
PURE STOCK WIN FOR FLORES
The Pure Stock division main was only a lap old when a multi-car accident at the front of the pack in turn one scrambled the running order. Leader John Schilling of Stagecoach was in front of the accident and maintained the lead on the restart, followed closely by Reno’s Tim Cremeans.
Doug Hast of Fernley ran third, but Lynda Crook, also of Fernley, was reeling him in steadily. Points leader Jason Flores of Reno, who had been caught up in the second-lap incident, was coming through the field and soon found himself in fifth.
A caution flag bunched the field, and Flores took advantage on the restart, moving into third. A close three-way battle for the lead ensued between Cremeans, Flores, and Hast, with Flores finally surging to the front with a pass on the back straight.
At the checker it was Flores with the win, Hast, Cremeans, Crook, and Schilling rounding out the top five. Hast was disqualified after the race, moving everyone behind him up one position and making Carson City’s Greg Salaces the fifth-place finisher. Flores and Pete Moore of Fernley won the earlier heat races.
HOBBY STOCKS – MILLER TIME
The Hobby Stocks rolled out next, and Chris Van Rockel of Penn Valley, Calif. led from pole position at the green, while Reno’s Rick Miller began a charge from mid-field toward the front.
It wasn’t long before Miller was on Van Rockel’s back bumper and then around him to take the lead. Meanwhile, David Clark of Silver Springs was also moving up, taking over third spot, then second. Clark was not able to get close enough to Miller to challenge, but a caution flag bunched the field, giving him a shot on the restart. However, Miller powered away when the green waved again, while Sparks driver Josh Ogg moved up to third and Billy Anderson of Round Mountain advanced to fourth. Carson City’s Shane Ramthun also came up to challenge for fifth.
In the closing laps Miller and Clark engaged in a close fight for the lead, while a three-way battle developed between Ogg, Anderson, and Ramthun for third. A late yellow bunched the field again with just a couple of laps to go, and at the checker it was Miller holding off Clark for the win, Ogg third, and Ramthun nipping Anderson by inches to take fourth.
Ogg was disqualified after the race, moving Ramthun to third, Anderson to fourth, and Doval Hopper of Sparks into fifth. Clark and Stagecoach driver David Pearce were the heat race winners.
SEARS TAKES PRO STOCK
Fernley’s Joe Specchio Jr. took the lead when the green flag waved to start the Pro Stock main, followed by Carl Barlow of Silver Springs, Reno’s Mark Hain, Scott Doich of Reno, and Carson City’s Al Goss.
Specchio quickly opened a lead on the field, while Hain slid wide in turn two and lost several positions. Reno’s Jay Sears moved into fourth, battling with four other cars over the spot, but a caution flag slowed the field and bunched it up for a restart. When the green waved again, Doich passed Barlow to take over second and the battle for fourth picked up where it left off.
Another caution flag flew when Al Goss spun in turn two, and Sears took advantage of the restart to take over second. This time Specchio couldn’t get away and Sears pressured him unmercifully, finally making the pass for the lead.
Travis Peterson of Spanish Springs had also worked his way up among the leaders, battling with Doich for third. Peterson’s car began smoking, although he didn’t seem to slow down any. The smoke got worse and worse, and finally the engine let go and Peterson attempted to coast to the exit ramp to the pits. As he coasted to a halt on the front straight, Al Goss slammed into him, bringing out a red flag. Both drivers were OK, but the same could not be said for their cars.
On the restart, Sears pulled away handily and romped home for the win, followed by Specchio, Doich, Reno’s Kenny Schmitt, and Barlow. Heat race wins went to Sears and Peterson.
IMCA MODIFIED -WHAT A LAP IT WAS
The IMCA Modified division ran early, yielding the last race to the Dwarf Car regional race. After a jumped start and a first lap caution, the race finally got underway on the third try.
Minden’s Kevin Boles took advantage of his front-row start to snatch the lead at the green, with Fernley drivers Bob Neese and Nick Reid in hot pursuit and Carson City’s Tom Purcell in fourth.
Darren Manning of Sparks spun in turn two and Fernley’s Byron Hutchinson plowed into him, bringing out a red flag. Both drivers were OK, but the restart didn’t complete a lap before the caution flag flew for a spin in turn three. There followed an object example of the old adage “cautions beget cautions”, as yellow flags blossomed from the flag stand every couple of laps.
While all this was going on, Robert Miller of Gardnerville, Sparks driver Rich Hill, and Steve McGee of Gardnerville moved steadily through the field and into the top five. During all the restarts, Boles managed to hold onto the lead, but as the white flag came out Miller was in position and made the move that put him into the lead.
Miller led only one lap, but it was the one that counted, and he took the victory. Boles, who led every other lap, had to settle for second, followed by McGee, Hill, and Yerington’s Gene Kay. Miller, Reid, and Robert Smotherman of Dayton each won a heat race.
SHURLEY AND THE 25 DWARFS
Twenty-five of the 26 Dwarf cars on hand answered the bell for the Dwarf Car Regional main event. Brian Quilty of Fair Oaks, Calif. took the early lead, followed by Round Mountain’s Justin Kimsey, Daniel Weger of Grass Valley, Calif., Carson City’s Jeff Shurley, and Steven Winters of Round Mountain.
Spins at both ends of the track brought out the caution flag, and Daniel Weger grabbed the lead on the restart with Shurley glued to his tail. Unfortunately, Shurley tangled with Kimsey in turn one a couple of laps later, sending both cars to the rear of the field for the restart.
Billy Wilson of Minden charged into second, Carson City’s Derek Rosse advanced to third, and Minden’s Reece Wilson drove up to fourth. As with the IMCA event, the Dwarf car race was plagued with cautions in the first few laps after each restart, but Billy Wilson took the lead on each restart.
Kimsey and Shurley were also taking advantage of the many cautions and restarts to move back up through the pack, and both were soon in the top ten. Billy Wilson, Patrick Weger of Grass Valley, Calif., and Reece Wilson held down the top three spots through all the restarts.
Skip Hempler of Zephyr Cove and Doug Martin of El Dorado, Calif., also moved into the top five. Then disaster struck as Hempler got by Reece Wilson and Wilson tried to retake the position going into turn one, putting two cars in a space just big enough for one and a half. They tangled in front of most of the pack, and when the dust settled the red flag was out and the race was halted to clear the carnage. Fortunately there were no injuries.
A series of yellow flags and restarts followed with Billy Wilson managing to hang onto the lead, but on the final restart, two laps from the end, Shurley timed it perfectly, got a hole shot on Billy, and shot into the lead.
Shurley, after coming from the back of the pack, drove to the checkered flag and victory. Rosse also passed a surprised Billy Wilson to take third, relegating Wilson to third. Patrick Weger was fourth, and Martin rounded out the top five. Shurley, Hempler, and Reece Wilson won the earlier heat races.
The 3/8-mile clay oval at Reno Fernley Raceway will be dark next Saturday night. Racing will resume on July 14 with New West Distributing/Coors T-shirt Night at the Races featuring IMCA Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars, and Pure Stock Minis. Spectator gates open at 3 p.m., with racing action starting at 6. For more information, call 775-575-7217 or go to http://www.renofernleyraceway.com.