Reflecting on the season past, LARA president Chris Lumsden said, “I would consider it better than average, it was a good season. We had large car count, good races, close races and close points.”
In fact the Hobby Stock title wasn’t decided until the final night when two brothers ended up two points apart after months of hard racing.
“We’re doing a lot of off season improvements and we’re beautifying the track,” he said. “We’ve already got the best dirt track and now we just need to make the facility match it.”
Among the improvements are new decking for the bleachers, adding a tailgate section north of the grandstands and enlarging the grass area by 50 percent south of the stands. And the tailgate section may also get some grass plus a new Conex container will be used for T-shirt sales and other things.
One big improvement will enhance spectator comfort.
“We’re also in the process of setting and building new bathrooms,” he said. “We’ll actually have running water, flush toilets bathrooms with sinks.”
And to help fans keep track of the leaders during a race, the scoreboard that came from the defunct Champion Speedway will be operational.
Safety is another area being worked on.
“We’re changing the fencing in front of the grandstands for insurance purposes and trying to make it safer for the spectators,” he said. “The track exit has been reshaped to allow more room for the grandstands and to allow a safety barrier fence. Eventually, hopefully before the end of this season, we’ll be putting up a bridge over the track exit,” he said.
That will allow spectators to be out of harm’s way as they cross over to a new section of bleachers on the banking outside of Turn 1, where a new gate to the pits it to be located.
On the track the pro stocks should return this season but the biggest addition will be a type of racers that’s been absent for a number of years — Outlaw Go Karts.
These little speedsters will race on a track of their own.
“We’re in the process of developing and I believe it’s going to be a true 1/8th mile banked oval inside our oval. It’s going to be a ring in a ring,” he said.
The effort to bring Outlaw Karts to Rattlesnake is spearheaded by Anthony Guerra Jr., or Jr. as he’s called.
His background with the karts goes back to 1997 when he actually ran a track for them first on then by the old San Jose Speedway. After moving here in 2000 he worked at Champion Speedway and ran their Outlaw Kart program until the facility closed.
“At the end of last season I began to talk with the people in Fallon and it’s escalated to this,” Guerra said. “We’re going to run on a 1/8th mile track, have three double points races plus championships. We’ll run four classes, Beginner, Intermediate, 250cc and the 500cc karts, an adult class.”
Lumsden feels this will be a good fit for Rattlesnake.
“It might lengthen our show a little bit but I think it will make for a better show,” he said. “There are a lot of cars that race at other tracks because the father races a stock car and son races a Kart. So they go to Lovelock and race there rather than here.”
Both men reported a rising interest in this new class and series.
“The track will be one of the biggest in Nevada and California,” Guerra said. The response was slow at first but now people are starting to find out about and seeing pictures on Face Book. Guys in Battle Mountain and California want to run with us.”
Lumsden echoed this sentiment and relates how several people have contacted him, want to know which class their youngsters can run in and are starting to look for karts.
“I’m just now getting privy to what the rules are so I can go back and call some of these people and say, ‘look your 7-year-old belongs in a box stock and this is what you do,’” Lumsden said.
Guerra also added that Lovelock is apparently going to expand their Outlaw Kart track but so far he’s been unable to contact with them. As both track’s schedules don’t conflict the karts might be able to run almost every weekend switching between Fallon and Lovelock.
At first a banked track for the karts was considered then that was changed due to the track’s Mud Bog events.
“We will run a flat track,” Guerra said. “Our first two races are once a month, then after the two-day show (The IMCA Iron Man where the karts are the supporting race.), we’ll run two to three times a month.”
Right now Guerra is very busy going over all the things like rules, tech and any loose ends promoting a series needs. He’s also working on sponsorship for his kart series and at present has Eternal Image as well as the potential for a couple more.
And he appreciates the support LARA is giving his program.
Looking ahead, both men are excited at the prospects for the upcoming season.
“I expect large car counts and I think we’ll see some new faces in Gen-X. There are a lot of younger drivers that figured out that at 14- or 15-year-old they can race in that class,” Lumsden said.
In fact the Gen-X class has the most women drivers in any group.
And Guerra, looking ahead he said, “Positive, excited, thrilled and a little bit nervous. But our association is willing to learn and better ourselves.”
Currently Rattlesnake Raceway plans a “Tune and Test” day on March 31 with the season opener, including Karts, on April 7. It promises to be a banner year for this bullring.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•On Friday afternoon this reporter spoke with Matt Ramthun about the possible reopening of the Reno-Fernley Raceway’s oval track. Both he and Vuki Wilson are trying to salvage the upcoming season after a change of ownership.
Currently they have the go ahead but there are some pretty big obstacles to getting the oval going again. Hopefully things can be resolved in the near future as both Ramthun and Wilson will meet with the new owners next week.
•The motocross track at Exit 28 is still continuing its weekend practice sessions that begin at 10 a.m. both Saturday and Sunday.