And this time not only did the car warriors race but the new Outlaw Kart track also made its debut.
The IMCA Modfieds put on an epic show as two veterans dueled right down to the final lap to see who would score the year’s first victory.
“It was pretty good to come back from Chico with an all-right run and actually win the heat race,” Shawn Natenstedt said after the race. “I saw Jake (Holland) a few times in my side mirror, and once I saw him, I started driving a little bit harder. It was getting pretty rough but we hung on to win.”
Maylen Gonzalez jumped into the lead when the green flag waved for the Modified feature, but three laps later, things came to a sudden halt when Roger Donahue slammed into the Turn 4 wall.
Donahue was able to limp onto the infield but a broken steering ended his night. When racing resumed Gonzalez took off with Cory Sample hot on his back bumper.
They were soon joined by Jake Holland, who was being chased by Shawn Natenstedt, who started in the back.
A few laps later there was a scramble in Turn 4 that collected Gonzalez, Holland and Samples. Fortunately all were able to continue.
It happened when Holland and Samples were engaged and didn’t see Gonzalez, who was almost parked in Turn 4.
Up front, Natenstedt was rolling along but soon was being hounded by Holland. After that the race became their private duel.
Lap after lap, Holland would get beside Natenstedt only to fall back then close up again. In the end, they finished in that order.
When the dust settled Holland said, “I almost got him but he ran a flawless race. He didn’t make any mistakes when I got behind him. If he did I would have gotten by and left.”
Then he added that Natenstedt was running in the preferred and only smooth groove.
The victory capped a good night for Natenstedt, who said. “My wife in her brand new Sport Mod won her heat race and took second in the main. So all in all it was a great night for Natenstedt Racing.”
Since three classes only had a few cars apiece one feature combined Sport Mods, Rat Mods and the only Mod Mini racer. And it was a Scott Hammond benefit as he just ran away from the field with heat winner Missy Natenstedt coming home a distant second.
“It was good, this is a new car, chassis, motor, suspension and new tires,” Hammond said. “In the main I was starting on the outside pole, it was a quick one around to the green flag. So I stood on it and never saw anybody until the very end.”
Another dominating performance was in the Pro Stock feature where Jesse “The Rocket,” Gonzalez quickly too the lead and ran away to claim the win by over a half lap.
The race however was for second as Gary Nevers and Rob Grace, who had to repair his car after a heat race wall banger, dueled the entire race.
It was a nose-to-tail, side-by-side, place swapping fight to the finish where Nevers claimed second by half a car length.
The Hobby Stocks also put on a fight-to-the-finish race. But only after a race stopping incident on the very first lap.
Jim Renfro’s motor expired on the back straight and he exited the track trailing a cloud of smoke. And there was another car involved so contact might have happened as well.
That other car was driven by T-6 Air Racing champion Dennis Buehn. His short track debut was cut short by an apparent wall banger that took the nose piece off is car and put a bumper under the racer.
It took the officials a few minutes to remove the offending bumper from underneath Buehn’s car so he could be towed to the pits.
Earlier asked about racing a car rather than an aircraft he said, “you can get closer and more comfortable here.”
Once racing resumed Chris Neal used his outside pole position to rocket into the lead and take off. A short time later Mike Olsen was on his back bumper and the race was on.
Lap after lap Neal hung on as Olsen mounted a relentless attack. In lap traffic both men sliced their way past slower cars as they battled back and forth.
In the end Neal claimed the day with Olsen having to settle for the runner up position.
In Gen-X, the race belonged to Al Bishop, who was chased to the checkered by Mark Sechio.
Back in the pits Bishop said, “The track was good, the car handled great and it’s the same car as all I did was add paint and more stickers. I learned a lot in my rookie year and this year I’m on a mission.”
One change this year was the mandatory use of what are called Raceivers, little one-way radios the drivers use. This enables officials to talk directly to those on the track.
Several times they were warned of cautions, which helped get everyone in order during yellow flag laps. And the officials told the finishing drivers if they need to report to the tech pad for a post race inspection.
Four classes of Outlaw Karts were on hand to break in the new track that’s located on the infield just inside of the front straight. Those were Box Stock Beginner, Box Stock Intermediate for the older kids, followed by 250cc and 500cc karts.
In the Box Stock Beginner main, Caleb Gonzalez pulled the winning pass in the final turns to just beat Steven Slatter. It was a brother duel in the Box Stock Intermediate division as Jackson Dias bested Jacob Dias for the victory
Moving to the big karts Eric Taylor won the 250cc race while Nick Rogers swept both his heat and the 500cc main.
After the karts finished promoter Anthony Guerra said, “It went pretty successfully but we still have a couple of flaws to work out. And I’m thinking with the beginners, the single file works so much better.”
The Amsoil Northern Nevada Outlaw Kart series returns to the track on May5.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•Now that the Easter holiday is over this weekend has something for almost any race fan.
Both Lovelock Speedway and Fernley 95A Speedway (The former Reno-Fernley Raceway) open their seasons Saturday with a 6 p.m. start time for both tracks.
The desert racers in the MRANN series will be outside of Hawthorne for the Desert Bum race with the Pee Wees, Women and Mini Bikes racing on Saturday beginning at 9:30 in the morning. Then, starting at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, the Experts, Amateurs and Novice riders compete in separate races on a short 17-mile course.
Closer to home Exit 28 stages the second round of this spring’s Dealer’s Cup series. Practice is on Saturday with the racing beginning round 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
Motocross riders that compete with the SMRA series head north to the Honey Lake MX Park outside of Millford, Calif. Saturday is a SMRA points event while the track will stage GP style racing on Sunday.
And area drag racers begin their season at the Top Gun Raceway, located south of Fallon. Saturday is a test ‘n tune session then, starting around 9:30 a.m. Sunday, cars compete in the first round of the Summit ET series as do the Junior Dragsters.
Rattlesnake Speedway - April 7
Heat Winner - Al Bishop
Main (15 Laps) - 1. Al Bishop, 2. Mark Serchio, 3. Shawn Burton, 4. Shawn Hartzell, 5. Bryce Phillips
Mon Mini (15 Laps) - 1. Steve Singley
Heat Winner - Missy Natenstedt
Main (15 Laps) - 1. Scott Hammond, 2. Missy Natenstedt, 3. Glenn Lee
Heat Winners - #1 Rocky Goetz, #2 Carl “Fireball” Barlow, #3 Jim Renfro
Main (30 Laps) - 1. Chris Neal, 2. Mike Olsen, 3. Royce Goetz, 4. Pete Olsen, 5. Carl Barlow
Heat Winner - B.J. Pearson
Main (15 Laps) - 1. Jesse Gonzalez, 2. Gary Nevers, 3. Rob Grace, 4. Glenn Lee
Heat Winners ± #1 Cory Samples, #2 Shawn Natenstedt
Main (30 Laps) - 1. Shawn Natenstedt, 2. Jake Holland, 3. Cory Sample, 4. Malen Gonzalez, 5. Jeff Elerick Jr.
Box Stock Beginner:
Heat Winner - Steven Slatter
Main - 1. Caleb Gonzalez, 2. Steven Slatter
Box Stock Intemediate:
Heat Winner - Jackson Dias
Main - 1. Jackson Dias, 2. Jacob Dias
Heat Winner - Zach Cail
Main - 1. Eric Taylor, 2. Zach Cail
Heat Winner - Nick Rogers
Main - 1. Nick Rogers, 2. Terry West