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Northern Nevada Racing Recap
by Dan McGee
Dec 26, 2010 | 2338 views | 0 0 comments | 7 7 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Dan McGee - Shawn Natenstedt, "The Fernley Flash," scored three championships this past season at the Lovelock Speedway, Rattlesnake Raceway and was the Nevada State IMCA champion. Then he raced to third overall at the Duel in the Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after racing in this area came to a close.
Tribune photo by Dan McGee - Shawn Natenstedt, "The Fernley Flash," scored three championships this past season at the Lovelock Speedway, Rattlesnake Raceway and was the Nevada State IMCA champion. Then he raced to third overall at the Duel in the Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway after racing in this area came to a close.
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Tribune photo by Dan McGee- Terry West (48) created the new Clone class for NNKC and then won the division's first ever championship. Here in the season's final race, he's leading second and third place, Dave Schilt (12) and his sister Becky Knapp (13).
Tribune photo by Dan McGee- Terry West (48) created the new Clone class for NNKC and then won the division's first ever championship. Here in the season's final race, he's leading second and third place, Dave Schilt (12) and his sister Becky Knapp (13).
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Tribune photo by Dan McGee - This past season was a good one for young Ross Neely of Chester, Calif. Here he coasts into the finish at the end of MRANN"s UTA sponsored race that clinched the series points title while this summer he won his second Virginia City Grand Prix.
Tribune photo by Dan McGee - This past season was a good one for young Ross Neely of Chester, Calif. Here he coasts into the finish at the end of MRANN"s UTA sponsored race that clinched the series points title while this summer he won his second Virginia City Grand Prix.
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Hard racing, dramatic comebacks, two new venues along with another one reopening and a triple championship for one small team highlighted the 2010-racing season.

The biggest news was owner Rich Cable's announcement of the Reno-Fernley Raceway's clay oval reopening but this time it will be the first NASCAR dirt track in the state. Five classes are listed and the season begins April 23rd, with 14 NASCAR Saturday races over the summer and ends with a two-day shoot on October 8-9.

For one small team a season for hard work and equally hard driving earned Fernley based Shawn Natenstedt a triple crown as he won championships at both Lovelock Speedway and Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon as well as claiming the IMCA Modified Nevada state crown.

But it wasn't easy.

Out at Lovelock defending IMCA Modified champion Jeffrey Macedo and J.D. Jured gave Natenstedt a run for his money but they had to settle for second and third in the points race.

In the sprint car class young Spanish Springs driver Dalton Smith won the spring car division. And a special track on the infield, has given Lovelock a thriving Outlaw Kart scene where Aliyah Garretson and Zach Cail won their respective divisions.

Over at Fallon's Rattlesnake Raceway, two divisions not only had close points races but also featured two spectacular crashes and come back drives.

In the IMCA Modified division, Natenstedt had to face a determined Jay Sears as well as Gene Kay making his return.

The biggest threat to Natenstedt "The Fernley Flash," was Stead resident Jay Sears. However a crash that sent his car flying and ended with Sears being cut out of the racer seemed to have finished his year.

Sears fooled everybody coming back the next week, giving chase and at the end was only 26 points behind champion Natenstedt.

In Pro Stocks Spanish Springs driver Josh Ogg chased eventual champion Jesse Gonzalez for most of the season. He too had what appeared to be a season ending, rolling crash that most people thought wrote off his car but Ogg came back and ended up only five points behind Gonzalez at the end.

A three-way battle in the Bombers ended when both Bryan Kaster and Alex Petitt wrecked in the final race. As both were essentially tied they were awarded co-championships followed by Annette Rinehart, "The Leadfoot Grandmother."

At Rattlesnake Raceway points leaders and the previous week's winners start at the back. Despite this Richard Italiano won the Hobby Stock title with his patient but determined style of getting through the pack.

The Hobby Stock class is the largest at Rattlesnake and still growing. Chris Neal, a former GenX champion and handicapped driver, is probably the only Hobby Stock racer that has his fellow competitors are rooting for him to win a race. He came close this year and should score that first win in the coming season.

Down in Quincy, California, at the American Valley Speedway, the closest points fight ended when Bob Higgins won the IMCA crown by a single point over a determined Erica Harmon, who lives in Chester, California. The Dwarf Car champion was Nevadan Derek Rosse, while Ashlee Nieman won the Mini Stock title and Craig Nieman topped the Pro Stocks.

The Northern Nevada Kart Club also had hard racing and close finishes. In fact two divisions, TAG Masters and the new Clone class had their champions determined in the final race of the season.

Going into that final event club president Brian Rivera and Dan Harris were tied. Doing what he had to do, Rivera out drove the pack and won the title by 13 points over Harris.

This year the club introduced it's new Clone class, low power karts that are an inexpensive entry-level division. A season long duel ended when Terry West, who is the father of the class, beat Dave Schilt by only 18 points.

Next year West, a veteran of many types of racing, is going to switch to cars and will campaign an IMCA Modified.

Mitch Kennedy, who has been working to bring back the 125-shifter class, won that division's title. And while Mark Nason won another 80 Master's title young Mike Botelho beat him to take the 80 Senior championship.

Not to be outdone by their elders the youngest drivers in the Kids Kart class had their own close points finish. At season's end Gavin Van Cott won the title by just one point over Nolan Wyman and Bank Sombatsiri, who were tied in points for second.

Switching to the two-wheeled world young Ross Neely scored a double this year. The Chester, Calif. rider not only won his second Virginia Grand Prix but took the MRANN points championship after a season long duel with defending title holder Irving Powers.

MRANN has two fall championships in the Novice and Amateur Classes. Timothy Hill won the Open Amateur title by just one point over Doug Ferreira while Jack Rader Jr. took the Novice title by eight points when he beat Dino Rosa.

Several of MRANN's Saturday only classes also had close finishes and two of them were in the V Women divisions. Leslie Crawford won the Novice title Kim Polimeni by just four points while there was an eight-point spread for the Amateur crown when Sherry Blair won over Kari Cashen.

Big news for motocross riders is that they now have two new venues to race on.

Livfast/Exit 28 opened this fall and will be part of a three-race dealer challenge series in the spring with one of the events at the hilly, technical course at Stead.

The Nevada GFI Volvo series also opened a new track located just yards off the highway east of Chilcoot, California.

Two of the closest points races were in 125 2-Stroke Novice where Justin Minsch claimed the title by one point over Tanner Leach while Zach Parker won over Zack Kisman in the College Boy ranks by just two points. And five classes ended the season with ties.

The other motocross series, Sierra Motocross Racing Association, lost its last race of this season due to weather and related safety concerns. While only one class ended with a tie in points there were plenty of others that finished with riders close in points.

In the 65 Beginner group Dalton Chard won the title by only three points over T.J. Taylor while, in 30+ Junior Bryan Hammond won over Sonny Snodgrass by the same amount.

Even thought both top riders didn't run all the races Tony Evans managed to outscore J.L. Bitz by two points to claim the 250-450 pro division. Another close finish was in the 30+ pro class when Rich Thorwaldson managed to outscore his brother-in-law Scott Stillmock by a single point.

Stillmock's daughter Hope, now a freshman at Fernley High School, wound up the women's champion while her aunt Shalie Thorwaldson came in second.

Now everyone, except those motocross racers that are competing in the E-Street winter series has a few more weeks off. And racing in our area begins with a bang on the weekend of February 20.

MRANN begins its 2011-racing season when the Trail Blazers club hosts that series first race on February 19-20. Saturday is for the Pee Wees, Mini Bikes and V Women riders while the big bikes go on Sunday.

And motocross fans won't want to miss the annual visit of the Arenacross series that visits the Reno Livestock Center on February 18-20. As usual the pros and some supporting classes compete on Friday and Saturday while Sunday is for the amateur riders.

Until then many are taking a brief time out but spring isn't too far away and once again racers will line up for their favorite sport and passion.
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