Motorsports Wrap Up
Submitted by Carson Now Reader on Mon, 04/02/2012 - 10:29am
Local race fans will soon get a taste of live racing, as two dirt tracks, a road course, and a drag strip all begin their seasons this month. Next Saturday night the quarter mile dirt oval at Fallon’s Rattlesnake Raceway will open their season, with Hobby Stock, Pro Stock, GenX, Rat Mod, Super Four, and 360 Sprint divisions in action, as well as four divisions of Outlaw Karts. General admission is $10, with $5 tickets for seniors, kids less than 64” tall, and kids under 5 years old free.
April 14 marks the opening of the Fernley 95A Speedway (formerly Reno-Fernley Raceway) 3/8 mile clay oval. Fernley 95A will run on alternating weeks to Rattlesnake, affording drivers the opportunity to race for points at both tracks. Ten points races are scheduled for IMCA Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Dwarf Cars, Modified Minis, and Pure Stocks. Box stock Outlaw Karts will run heats at the start of each night’s racing, with mains during intermission. In addition there will be the traditional two-day shootout at the end of September. The track will be back under IMCA sanction for the 2012 season. Grandstand admission is $8, with a $5 admission for seniors and kids 9-12. Kids under 9, military in uniform, and disabled persons are free. Admission to the tailgate section is $30 for a carload, $15 for a car and driver, and $8 more for one passenger.
Also on April 14, Top Gun Raceway in Fallon has a test and tune session, with the first points race of the season to follow on Sunday the 15th. And for those who prefer turning left and right, the Reno-Fernley road course will host a Reno Region Sports Car Club of America Performance Driving Experience (PDX) session and time trials on April 21. There will also be a Pro Control Driving event titles “Mustangs and Messerschmitts” on Sunday, April 22.
Easter weekend is dark as far as most major auto racing series are concerned. NASCAR will return to action on April 13 with the Texas Nationwide race. IndyCar will be at Long Beach that weekend, and Formula 1 will resume with the Chinese Grand Prix. The American Lemans series will also be at Long Beach with the Indy cars, and the NHRA drags will hold the third annual four-wide drags at Charlotte.
Fernando Alonso’s win in the rain on March 25 was nothing short of miraculous. His Ferrari, which was a mid-pack car in the dry, came alive in the wet conditions while multiple pit stops to change tires scrambled the field. The win puts Alonso at the top of the points with 35, followed by McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton at 30, his teammate Jensen Button at 25, and Red Bull’s Mark Webber at 24. Sergio Perez’ surprising second place in Malaysia vaulted him into fifth with 22 points ahead of defending world champion Sebastian Vettel. The young German champion finished out of the points in Malaysia, getting his season off to a less than stellar start.
The Izod IndyCar series kicked off its season in grand fashion with back-to-back races. Helio Castroneves scored the win in the season opener at St. Petersburg to break a long dry spell. One of the highlights was his post-race fence-climbing tribute to the late Dan Wheldon. Other highlights included a new crew in Race Control and a much cleaner race than last year’s, especially in turn one. Pole sitter Will Power was lucky to salvage seventh place after a bad pit strategy call, and defending champion Dario Franchitti finished in 13th. Power overcame a disqualification in qualifying and a ninth-place starting position to seize victory at Barber Motorsports park this past Sunday, while Castroneves hung on for third to maintain the points lead. Franchitti fought handling problems but salvaged a top-10 finish while teammate Scott Dixon took second place in both the race and the point standings, two counters behind Castroneves.
NASCAR’s second short-track race of the season at Martinsville appeared to heading for a 1-2-3 finish for Hendrick Motorsports until a late caution for David Reutimann’s stalled car set up a green/white/checker finish. Leaders Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson were wrecked on the restart, and Ryan Newman shot through the carnage to take the win, holding off A.J. Allmendinger at the checker. Reutimann, needless to say, was not the most popular driver with the Hendrick guys after the race. Kevin Harvick dominated Saturday’s Camping World Truck race, scoring his 14th series victory.