Track champions crowned at Fernley 95A Speedway | NevadaAppeal.com
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Track champions crowned at Fernley 95A Speedway

Roger Diez

Fernley 95A Speedway crowned its 2016 track champions last Saturday night, with trophies being presented after the main in each division. Fernley’s Jesse James capped off his season with the Super Stock 4 title with a second-place finish behind Justin Busch. Rick Miller of Sun Valley ran second to Jake Baker in the Street Stock main, but Miller won the championship by a wide point margin. The pattern became a trend when Reno’s Darrick Rauscher also ran second in the Pro Stock main, but he too captured the division title. Then Joe Frock of Reno started dead last in the Dwarf main and shot through the field to win, capping off the championship with a perfect season. Frock won every Dwarf heat race and main at the Speedway. Finally, Winnemucca’s Cory Sample took the green flag from the pole in the IMCA Modified main and led all the way to the checker, opening up a gap on every restart. In addition to the track Modified title, Sample is also classified third nationally in IMCA Modifieds.

Track owner Dan Simpson announced an ambitious schedule for 2017, with no weekly racing but big money events featuring sprint cars, midgets, dirt late models, and modifieds in addition to half a dozen concerts and several Lanternfest events.

The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup kicked off at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, and Martin Truex Jr. came back from a lap down to punch his ticket to the Round of 12. Truex’s No. 78 Toyota failed the post-race laser inspection station (LIS).

Truex’s team maintained that contact with Kevin Harvick had knocked the left rear wheel alignment out by .0001 inch, causing the LIS failure. However, NASCAR had revised the penalties for minor violations earlier in the week, so Truex’s win and advancement to the next round will stand. NASCAR has elected to penalize only P4 level failures at the LIS. Looking at the Chase points, Austin Dillon, Harvick, Kyle Larson, and Chris Buescher are the four drivers at the bottom of the heap. However, with two more races before the first elimination, anything can happen. Buescher is in the worst shape, 34 points down, while Larson is 24 points behind and Dillon and Harvick are each 23 back. Eric Jones scored his fourth win of the season at Chicagoland, giving him 40 bonus points to start the 12-driver Xfinity Chase. William Byron is top seed in the eight-man Camping World Truck Chase with five wins.

The Singapore Grand Prix saw a shift in the driving championship points. Mercedes driver and defending champion Lewis Hamilton finished third behind teammate Nico Rosberg and Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo in Singapore. The race, run at night in high heat and humidity on a tight and twisty, but fast street course, is perhaps the most difficult contest of the season.

The Verizon IndyCar series championship ended not with a bang, but a fizzle as contender Will Power coasted to a stop mid-race with engine issues. That gave Simon Pagenaud a clear shot at the title, which he captured by winning the race in dominant fashion at the twisty Sonoma road course. It was a fitting finish to Team Penske’s 50th year in racing. And the Captain has two drivers in the Sprint Cup Chase, so there could very well be more celebrating to come.

Sunday at the flat 1-mile New Hampshire oval, one of those Penske Sprint Cup drivers could move onto the next round. Both Brad Keslowski and Joey Logano won in New Hampshire in 2014, with Logano posting another win in 2009. Matt Kenseth has won three New Hampshire Cup races, including the last two. Other recent winners among active drivers include Jimmie Johnson (3), Tony Stewart (3), Ryan Newman (2), Denny Hamlin (1), Kasey Kahne (1), and Clint Bowyer (1). The Camping World Truck series starts its Chase at New Hampshire this weekend, and the Xfinity series is at Kentucky Speedway for its inaugural Chase event.