Women drivers win at Tahoe-Fernley
For the Nevada Appeal
It was a night for the record books at Reno-Tahoe Fernley’s 3/8 mile clay oval last Saturday, as women drivers won in both premier racing divisions.
Melissa Natenstedt surged to the front early in the IMCA Modified main, and spent the rest of the evening dueling with her husband Shawn. Shawn got by briefly, but Melissa took charge on the next restart and led to the checker. Shawn was second ahead of Walter Ball and Russell Rosario. The KWS Lite division also saw a family battle, as track owner Dan Simpson tried in vain to catch daughter Danielle. Danielle led from the green to the checker, pursued all the way by 11-year-old phenom Buddy Kofoid. Jeff Macedo was third and Dan Simpson fourth. The Pro Stock division saw Malen Gonzalez quickly cut through the pack to take the lead. Jack Randall kept him honest, finishing second ahead of Jim Klopp and Russ Cazier. Gonzalez’ car failed post-race inspection, handing the win to Randall. Carl Barlow staged another back-to-front run, taking the Hobby Stock win ahead of Rocky Goetz, Tom Haxall, and Dwight Bolton. Reese Wilson took the Dwarf car main with a tidy drive, finishing ahead of Sam Marson (in a Wilson car) and Tate Morehead. Attrition hit the Modified Mini field hard, with only Will Ritchey and Dennis Crook running at the checker, finishing in that order. Mark Serchio Jr. made good use of his new Pure Stock car, beating Bracee Langevin and Danielle Paine to the checker handily.
Tonight the King of the West sprint cars visit RTF Speedway. Series regulars will have to be on their game, because Tim Kaeding, two-time western series champion and winner of nine World of Outlaws races this season, will be joining the field. Also on the program are KWS Lites, Hobby Stocks, and Mod Minis. Racing is scheduled to start at 7 P.m.
What can I say about the NASCAR Sprint Cup Richmond race and its aftermath?
Motorsports writers, fans, drivers, and even the mainstream news and sports broadcasters have pretty much said it all. I was at the grocery store the other day and overheard a couple of Jeff Gordon fans bemoaning the fact that their driver had been cheated out of a Chase berth, and one of them was vowing never to watch NASCAR again.
If you haven’t heard about it, here’s the short version: Clint Bowyer spun out late in the race, causing a caution. Ryan Newman, who had been leading, had a bad pit stop and lost several spots. The caution, combined with late pit stops by Bowyer and Michael Waltrip Racing teammate Brian Vickers put Martin Truex Jr. into Chase while knocking Gordon out. NASCAR determined that these actions were intended to manipulate not only the outcome of the race, but the composition of the Chase field. They handed MWR a $300,000 fine, suspended executive vice president Ty Norris indefinitely, and gave all three MWR drivers a 50-point penalty. This dropped Truex Jr. out of the Chase and put Newman back in. Then on Friday, NASCAR CEO Brian France and President Mike Helton announced that collusion between Front Row Motorsports and Penske Racing further affected the race’s outcome. Both teams were put on probation for the remainder of the season, and due to “extraordinary and unprecedented circumstances,” Jeff Gordon will be added as a 13th Chase driver. NASCAR had to do something drastic, or the whole sport would be likened to the WWE. Cheating, or as racers like to call it, “rules optimization,” has always been a part of the sport. But a scheduled meeting between teams and NASCAR management tomorrow promises to “change the paradigm” in Helton’s words.
Personally, I think they should have given each MWR car a 100 point penalty, which would have also dropped Bowyer out of the Chase and sent a much stronger message. Of course, depending on how the sponsors react, the situation could end up costing the team a whole lot more than $300,000. If they lose 5 Hour Energy, NAPA, and a couple of other sponsors, it would put MWR in a world of hurt.