Thrills and spills at Reno-Fernley Raceway
Appeal Motorsports columnist
FERNLEY – Reno-Fernley Raceway’s five-division Labor Day show featured thrills, spills, and some exciting racing on Saturday night.
Two families will be doing a lot of bodywork before the next race, as both the husbands and wives rolled their racecars in multi-car incidents.
The Pure Stock division was first on the track, with Mike Langevin of Silver Springs coming off a year’s hiatus to lead the main for the first half-dozen laps. The race was halted by a red flag on lap four when Kim Neese of Fernley and Reno’s Charissa Hast got together on the back straight and both rolled. Fernley’s Matt Sherman was also involved, with Hast’s car landing on top of his at one point in the incident. Sherman was able to rejoin after repairs, but the two ladies were done for the night.
On the restart, Langevin battled Aaron McIlvain of Silver Springs for the lead, then lost the position on another restart after a caution period for a tangle between Brandon Martin and D.J. Singley.
But it was Tori Edgington of Fallon, not McIlvain, who surged to the front and began building a lead. Langevin hung with the leaders until his throttle linkage broke and he had to be pushed to the pits, bringing out the final yellow flag of the race.
On the restart Edgington and McIlvain went side by side for the last two laps, with McIlvain surging ahead off the last turn to take the win. Edgington finished a close second, with Martin, Darrick Rauscher of Lemmon Valley and Sherman rounding out the top five. McIlvain and Sherman were the heat race winners.
With 29 entries, the Hobby Stock division ran three heats and a B main to determine the 18 starters for the main.
David Ausano of Fernley took the lead at the green flag, with the rest of the pack snapping at his heels. A yellow flag for a spin by Sun Valley driver Steve Rauscher bunched the field, and on the restart Shane Ramthun of Carson City, Dean Clark of Silver Springs and Chris O’Neill of Winnemucca moved into the top five. Ramthun’s run was soon over, as a flat tire sent him to the pits and brought out another caution.
Joe Specchio III of Fernley snatched the lead from Ausano on the restart, and drove away while Ausano and Clark swapped second place.
At the checker it was Specchio, Ausano, Clark, Rick Miller of Sun Valley, and B main winner Joe Pierson of Fernley in the top five spots. Heat race wins went to Miller, Clark, and Gary Serpa of Stagecoach.
The Modified Mini field saw a new driver take the lead at the green. Dave Sciarroni of Sparks, who has driven everything from Late Models to Legends to Outlaw Karts, decided to try the Reno-Fernley oval and led the first six laps, with half a dozen veterans of the division beating and banging on each other behind him.
After a yellow for a spin by Fernley’s Cary Hilton, Dan Andreason of Sparks snatched the lead on the restart, as Sciarroni was picked off by one veteran after another. On lap 9 there was an instant replay of the double-rollover incident in the Pure Stock race, with two cars getting together, then into the wall, then rolling over. Interestingly enough the two drivers involved were Doug Hast of Reno and Bob Neese of Fernley, the husbands of the two ladies involved in the earlier incident.
On the restart Melissa Natenstedt of Fernley took over second place and set out to catch the flying Andreason. It was not to be, as Andreason took the checkered flag for the win, leaving Natenstedt to settle for second. Robert Pearson of Reno was third, followed by Matt Borges of Tracy, Calif. and Danyale Urban of Sparks. Pearson and Borges won their heat races.
The Pro Stock division provided some very fast racing, with Dean Cichowicz of Mound House taking the lead at the start, and Carson City’s Gary Nevers tucking in behind him. Jake Holland of Calpine, Calif., David Elsworth of Loyalton, Calif., and Joe Specchio, Jr. of Fernley ran nose-to-tail with the leaders.
Two very fast drivers, Randy Reid of Sparks and Loyalton, Calif., driver Jim Smith, started at the back but quickly moved into the top 10.
A yellow flag for debris bunched the field, but Cichowicz’s car slowed on the race back to the yellow and he pitted, done for the night. This put Ellsworth into the lead on the restart, and he never looked back. Another yellow for debris late in the race gave the rest of the field a shot, but Ellsworth was not to be denied. At the checker it was Ellsworth, Nevers, Pat Couch of Oregon House, Calif., Holland, and Fernley’s Shawn Natenstedt. Heat race winners were Reid and Couch.
The last race of the night featured the speedy IMCA Modifieds. Allen Boles, patriarch of a growing racing clan, took the lead at the start and held off a series of challenges from Bill Smith III and Rich Hill, both of Sparks for the first five laps. Then a caution for Byron Hutchinson of Fernley, who fetched up against the front street wall, bunched the field. Hill took the lead on the restart, followed by Robert Miller of Gardnerville, who had worked his way up from his mid-field starting position.
Tonopah’s James Thibodeau moved into third, and Miller was putting heavy pressure on leader Hill. Miller finally got by and immediately began building a lead, but disaster struck for Thibodeau who slowed on the front straight and coasted to the pits. When the checker waved, it was Miller with yet another victory, Hill in second, Smith III third, and Fernley’s Sean Natenstedt, doing double duty, in fourth. Conrad Wilson of Reno rounded out the top five. Miller and Hill were the heat race victors.
Next Saturday, 318 Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Dwarfs, and Pro Stocks are on the agenda at Reno-Fernley Raceway. General admission is $8, $5 for seniors, $3 for kids from 6-12, and children 5 and under are free. Racing begins at 6 p.m.
n Contact Roger Diez at Racytalker@aol.com