Yet, despite the race-stopping action, the final event for IMCA Modifieds came down to an epic race between two veteran drivers.
“I won by maybe a quarter of a car,” Shawn Natenstedt said after winning the IMCA Modified feature. “I was cruising around and all of a sudden I saw this 3 car come by me then I had to get into a rhythm around the top as he was running down on the bottom. Then I said, ‘know what, he used the infield to pass me and I’m going to use it to pass him on the last lap,’ and it was good.”
When the Modified feature began, Mark Skender and Russell Rosario led the charge into Turn 1. A lap later, the first of four cautions slowed the pace.
On the second restart, Natenstedt used the outside line to grab the point as the field exited Turn 2, while further back, Robert Miller was working his way toward the front. When the third caution ended, the chase was on as Miller drew a bead on the leader.
Attrition was also cutting the field to only seven cars still running at the end. After the final caution, Miller took off, using the inside line and got passed Natenstedt.
For the remaining laps, it was a two-car duel with Darren Manning running a close third to the leaders. Behind them Missy Natenstedt held fourth with Rosario fifth.
Ripping through the final turn, Natenstedt took the inside line as he and Miller staged a drag race toward the checkered flag. In that final dash, Miller scraped the wall but still scored a very close second.
After the dust settled, and both leaders congratulated each other on a good race, then Miller explained his mixed feelings about the result.
“I just got into that last turn too hot and should have shut off earlier and grabbed the bottom but I didn’t,” Miller said. “I gave one away but that’s the best we’ve ran and that’s the way it goes.”
Manning was delighted with his third-place finish and said, “I finally finished a main event after not finishing one in a year. It seemed on the longer runs they kind of pulled away. We had more than anybody else but those two were the class of the field.”
The first feature of the night was the Pro Stock division and they gave a preview of what was to come.
Seven laps into the main, after Jesse “The Rocket” Gonzalez took the lead, the track’s generator began having problems. Rather than have the cars at speed when the lights went out, the race was stopped.
It took at least 20 minutes to get the problem solved.
However, six cautions gave the event a stop-and-go theme. But in the end no one was even able to get close to Gonzalez, who ran away with the victory.
Coming home second was Chris Coclich, followed by Gary Nevers and Josh Ogg.
The Pure Stock Mini feature had no cautions and right after the start, Al Bishop used an outside move to take the point. Further back point’s leader Travis Barr began to work his way toward the front.
With five to go, Barr caught Bishop and passed him for the lead. At the end they scored a one-two finish.
After the race the soon-to-be junior at North Valleys High School, said, “We had a good run from the back, a little bit of a mishap on the back straight away but we got all straightened out and got a win today.”
First on point when the Mod Mini feature began was Will Ritchey but it became a three-way fight for the lead. Next on point was Dennis Crook.
In the en,d Crook slowed and dropped out of contention as did Ritchey. Up front Stephen Crook took over the drove to the victory.
There was a good field of Dwarf Cars as those that competed in the DART series were also on hand. It took three attempts to get their feature going but in the end Derek Rosse held the point with Robert Miller giving chase.
Miller would soon take the lead only to have is motor expire in a big way that stopped the race so the track crew could clean up the big oil slick he left in Turn 1.
When racing resumed Rosse took off but this time Joe Frock was on his back bumper and the chase was on. The next caution came when the car of Rodney Sweet lost a wheel then that was followed, in quick order by two more cautions.
Finally the field got rolling again but this time Frock made quick work of Rosse, who fell back to third when Jesse Vankol took over second. And they finished in that order.
As usual the Hobby Stock was the largest of the night.
Soon after their race began Carl “Fireball,” Barlow began his charge from the back using the outside line. In fact he was able to pass everyone with his rim riding.
There were two race stopping incidents and the first was when Randy Boyd spun and was T-boned by Richard Italiano, who couldn’t avoid him. Fortunately both drivers were uninjured but the same can’t be said for their cars.
The next came when rookie Brittany Neese got her car turned sideway which flattened both left side tires. When the rims dug in they almost rolled her car and she would up sideways in the exit of Turn 4.
The quick reacting flagman then turned on the red lights and saved things possibly getting worse. After a quick clean up, the field took off again and Barlow just ran away from everybody although Royce Goetz tried to make a race of it.
“The race was pretty long because of the red flags but the car was good on the outside so I passed everybody on the outside,” Barlow said later. “The car just worked up there so I stayed there and this makes four in a row coming from the back to the front.”
•On Sunday, August 12, the American Valley Speedway in Quincy, Calif. staged its traditional Fair Race. It was a wild night, where champions were crowned and a feature was cut short.
Shawn “Mr. Rabbit,” Hartzel, showed up with his VW pickup and basically spanked the Mini Stock field with a sweep of his heat and main event.
But in the main Brittney Nieman’s third place earned her this year’s Mini Stock championship.
Just before the IMCA Modified feature was to begin, someone made a mistake and shut off most of the track lighting. Fortunately the Fair Ground maintenance crew was on hand and in less than 30-minutes they have all the lights back on.
Going into the event Erica Harmon had a one-point lead in the championship so the pressure was on.
By the time the field had gotten three green flag laps in they also had three cautions and, as a result, all their restarts were ordered to be in single file.
Up front the battle was between Mitch Murphy and Jeff Olschowka. Closely following was Russ Cazier and another car while behind them came the duo of Harmon and Richard Papenhausen.
After the second of two more cautions Murphy and Olschowka had contact, which also collected third and fourth place. Seeing her chance both Harmon and Papenhausen took the outside line and zipped around the four leaders.
Once the green waved again Harmon took off with Papenhausen on her back bumper. One lap later he would take the point and that was the winning pass.
Then things went badly wrong.
Cazier, slicing his way to the front apparently had contact with another car and hit into the back stretch K-rails. His car went airborne, turned on its side but came down right side up and slammed into the inside K-rail in a huge cloud of dust.
Olschowka’s car was clipped by Cazier’s and sent into a curving backwards slide that ended when he nailed the inside K-rail.
While Cazier was uninjured, Olschowka complained of a sore neck and the firefighters went into rescue mode, as he was unable to get out of his car.
The rescue crew, all firefighters, had to cut away the roof panel and use their Jaws of Life to remove a diagonal bar from the roll cage. Then it took several people to bend his seat and gently remove him from the car.
It took over an hour to accomplish this and send him to the hospital to be checked. As the track was close to curfew the race had to be called after only eight green flag laps.
Latest report was that Olschowka was uninjured but very sore from the mishap. As for his car, it’s going to need a lot of work or replacement.
While she didn’t win the race, her second place finish was enough to earn Harmon the IMCA track championship. Chris Nieman came second in point’s head of Matt Murphy and Russ Cazier.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•This weekend will be another feast for motorsports fans with a new, major event entering the mix.
On Thursday the Lucas Oil Off Road series moves into the new Wildwest Motorsports Park, located north of I-80 and east of the Mustang off ramp. Friday is for practice, with some qualifying, and is media day.
Gates open Saturday at 9 a.m. as practice qualifying and racing takes up the day ending with the 6:30 p.m. Pro 2 main.
On Sunday, once again gates open to the public at 9 a.m. followed by another afternoon of racing ending with the Pro 2 main that is set to start at 4:30 p.m.
Friday and Saturday evening, starting at 7 p.m., The American Valley Speedway in Quincy hosts the annual Dwarf Car Nationals.
Rattlesnake Raceway in Fallon, starting at 6 p.m., will also be in action Saturday evening as its championship day for the Amsoil Northern Nevada Outlaw Karts. All the other regular car classes will also be racing.
An hour later on Saturday, Diamond Mountain Speedway in Susanville, California will staging another of its point’s races.
Not to be left out area drag racers will be at Top Gun Raceway, located south of Fallon, both Saturday and Sunday. Action begins at 9:30 a.m. on both days.
And finally the weekend ends with SMRA’s first round of their fall series at the Lion’s Fernley Motocross Track located just west of the Veteran’s Cemetery. Usually around 10 a.m. is when the first motos begin.
95A Speedway - Aug. 18
Heat Winners - #1 Robert Miller, #2 Shawn Natenstedt
Main - 1. Shawn Natenstedt, 2. Robert Miller, 3. Darren Manning, 4. Missy Natenstedt, 5. Russell Rosario
Heat Winners - #1 Jack Randall, #2 B.J. Pearson
Main - 1. Jesse Gonzalez, 2. Chris Coclich, 3. Gary Nevers, Josh Ogg, 5. Scott Deutsch
Heat Winners - #1 Royce Goetz, #2 Rick Miller
Main - 1. Carl “Fireball” Barlow, 2. Royce Goetz, 3. Pete Baglin, 4. Jacob Baker, 5. Rick Miller
Heat Winners - #1unlisted, #2 Rodney Sweet, #3 Joe Frock
Main - 1. Joe Frock, 2. Jesse Vankol, 3. Derek Rosse, 4. David Richardson, 5. Frank Hinds
Heat Winners - #1 Dennis Crook, #2 Stephen Crook
Main - 1. Stephen Crook, 2. Unlisted, 3. Justin McIlvain, 4. Steve Singley, 5. unlisted
Pure Stock Mini:
Heat Winner - Al Bishop Jr.
Main - 1. Travis Barr, 2. Al Bishop, 3. Unlisted, 4. Loghan Cologna, 5. Mark Serchio Jr.
•Lovelock Speedway - Aug. 18
Heat Winner - Jeffrey Macedo
Main (10 Laps) - 1. Jeffrey Macedo, 2. J.D. Jurad, 3. Jeff Elerick Jr. (DNS)
Heat Winner - Chad Christiansen
Main (15 Laps) - 1. Damon Tupa, 2. Chad Christiansen, 3. Dickie Souza, 4. Shirley Reeves, 5. Loren Bianchi (DNF)
Heat Winner - Jeffrey Macedo,
Main (15 Laps) - 1. Jeffrey Macedo, 2. Robert Cooney, 3. Bob Cooney, 4. Larry Oliviera (DNF)
Heat Winner - Michael Ellison
Main (20 Laps) - 1. Michael Ellison, 2. Rick Ellison, 3. Audie Peterseon, 4. Sandy Clark, 5. Tim Russell, 6. Dahna Ellison (DNF)
•American Valley Speedway (Fair Races)- Aug. 12
IMCA Modified Main - 1. Richard Papenhausen, 2. Erica Harmon, 3. Bobby Higgins, 4. Bill Pearson, 5. Will Zinn, 6. Wade Lumsden, 7. Christopher Nieman, 8. Russ Cazier, 9. Mitch Murphy, 10. Matt Murphy
Mini Stocks Main - 1. Shawn Hartzell, 2. Lance Bain, 3. Brittney Nieman