“The bike worked great, thanks to Concours Auto Body and Gil Grieve,” Robert Underwood said after taking the checkered flag. “My grandparents came out and helped me pit and alternate gas was good. The course selection was very, very good, I had a good ride and I was out for a daily cruise.”
Going into the race Cory Vannoy stood a good chance of taking the overall points championship but an early crash ended his hopes. Fortunately, while his bike was pretty bent, Vannoy seemed to have emerged with just bruises.
Up front Underwood took off and left everyone in his dust. Behind him Irving Powers and Ross Neeley were dueling for that spot.
At the end of the first lap Underwood led by over five minutes while Neeley and Powers were just over a minute apart. Behind them the spread was over 12 minutes between the leader and eighth place.
In the end Neeley got second place while Powers, who finished third, decided to ride smart and go for the title.
“Neeley went by me and we were going after each other,” Powers said. “He started getting a little bit of a lead then had a problem in the rocks. After I saw him go down I thought I should take it easy and get it done.
“I went down and slammed my elbow so I’m kind of shaky. This means everything, it was a struggle all year long, at Mason Valley my bike blew up so it made it a lot tougher and tighter with the points so I’ve been borrowing bikes and trying to make it”
Then Powers gave special thanks to McCoy’s Off Road, the Honeas, VCMC and several other individuals that helped him in his quest.
Asked about Underwood’s performance his sponsor, Gil Grieve said, “We had a very good year but we didn’t do the MRANN series this year but we did the Northern California District 36 series. He finished second overall there, he won the Pro Four Stroke class in the Best in the Desert series and in Baja they were 11th overall. I’m proud of him as he stayed healthy, kept the machine together so he’s been very, very good.”
As a final reward to Powers, his boss Brandon Thompson gave the 20-year-old Monday off to recover and celebrate his championship.
The complete results from both Saturday and Sunday will be posted this week at; www.racemrann.com.
•For the past 26 years promoters from all across the country have headed for the Eldorado Hotel and Casino and the RPM Workshop. Now in it’s 37th year this meeting precedes the one at Daytona during NASCAR Speed Weeks in February.
The first general session began on a somber note. Race Promotion Monthly, and Workshop found Stew Reamer passed away this August.
Roger Marsh, executive director of National Fellowship of Raceway Ministries, gave a tribute to Reamer, who was the spokesman for the short track industry.
Dave Moody from Sirius/EM radio was this year’s keynote speaker. He’s known as the “Godfather,” due to his broadcasts of races and his radio show that was done live at the Brew Brothers on Thursday and Friday.
He spoke about the importance of a track’s announcer because that individual is the best connection between a track and the fans.
“They are the ringmasters of your circus and are part of the show,” he said. “Stock car racing as my mentor Ken Squire said is common people doing uncommon things.”
He’s also has some strong opinions about how the industry is doing and noted that, while some tracks might be having problems others aren’t.
“I see a lot of really good short tracks around this country that are packing their grandstands, have great car counts, that have fantastic programs and it’s got nothing to do with what’s on TV that night. I’ve never seen a race on TV that held a candle to any race I’ve been at in person. TV, it’s good when you can’t be there, radio is great when you can’t be there, but personally I’d rather be there.
“If you just look around this building this weekend you get great reasons to be optimistic. There are a lot of great, energetic promoters out there that under stand the difference between throwing a show and throwing a good show out there. I remain very optimistic about the health and future of the short track racing industry.
The Workshop is broken in to general sessions then break out meetings that address specific problems or concern. This year’s theme was, “Brand your racing and Sell Your Brand.”
Every general session began with 37 tips on how to run an operation efficiently, attract more fans and how to see the product a track offers.
While there were several first time attendees, many come either on a regular basis or every few years. One promoter in attendance came all the way from New Zealand.
One of those regular but occasional visitors is Tom Curley, A former Promoter-of-the-Year he’s also known for being in the production trailer when CBS televised the first flag-to-flag broadcast of the Daytona 500 in 1979. He helped the director and producer that day as neither of them had ever seen a stock car race before.
His reasons for being at the Reno Workshop have been echoed by many over the years.
“I like to get back out west just because you learn things,” he said. “There are promoters that have different problems than we have out east and I like to find out what’s going on in various parts of the country because more times than not I can go out with some new ideas.
“We got in trouble when NASCAR started their 20-year meteoric rise and I think that most of us as short track people could ride the coat tails and it didn’t happen. We lost our energy, and our core values of how to promote and I think a few years ago we recognized that and started to get back to some basics on promotion. We had some blips, certainly the energy crises two years ago was far more dramatic than the recession for short tracks out east anyway.”
He too is optimistic about the future of the industry and pointed out that in a recession short tracks and bars usually do pretty well. While one sells cheap beer the other offers affordable, family entertainment.
Then Curley said, “We had quite frankly one of our better years out of the last five even with the recession so I’m pretty optimistic right now. I think the more we read and hear about the problems with the big guys the better it is for us in the short track world if we take care of our own business.”
The trade show that accompanies the Workshop offers a variety of vendors. There are sanctioning bodies like IMCA and ASA as well as one booth showing safety vests for track workers, transponders to make scoring automated, sites that keep track of points and finishes and even one that offers a type of insurance aimed at keeping rain losses down.
One regular vendor is Hug High School hall of fame member Darrel Rents. He’s the executive director for INEX a company that sanctions, builds and helps tracks that race Legends cars.
Despite the attendance being down 13 percent, RPM boss Stewart Doty was pretty up beat. Especially after what he was hearing from the promoters and a pole done when Saturday’s general session began.
“We just polled the people in the room and a majority, by 7 to 1 probably, said they expected to be up or even next year in both car counts and attendance, he said. Traditionally recessionary times are good to short tracks; we have a good product, a good price point. They’re optimistic so I’m optimistic.”
Armed with new ideas, information and optimism the promoters are now back home and planning for next season.
MRANN Series - Round 10
Fallon - Dead Camel 100
• Sunday, Dec. 6
Big Bikes Overall: 1. Robert Underwood, 2. Ross Neeey, 3. Irving Powers, 4. Kyle Fenner, 5. Sean Berryman, 6. Cliff Townsend, 7. Josh Wilson, 8. Zakk Audenried, 9. Jason Thorne, 10. Rodger McCabe, 11. Ryan Hamel, 12. Matt Zulim, 13. Carter Forsmark, 14. Bill Pindar, 15. Jason Stelzriede, 16. Jim Menesini, 17. Paul Ziegler, 18. Mark Dowers, 19. Trevor Johnson, 20. Tim Fitzpatrick
• Saturday, Dec. 5*
- (6 & Under) 1. Aleea Howe, 2. Ezra Belingheri, 3. Jesse White, 4. Anthony Edberg, 5. Kai Kapahee
- (7 & Older) 1. Dallas Serpa, 2. Aidan Howe, 3. Jake Madsen, 4. Benjamin Niles, 5. Michael Lampe
- (7 & Older) 4 Stroke: 1. Aaron Rapp, 2. Riley Harvey, 3. Brieanna McAuliffe
— (Beg.) 1. Donavyn Morris, 2. Julian Corridori, 3. Justin Lavallee, 4. Devynn Muhlenberg, 5. Devon Anderson
— (Ama.) 1. Nathan Wright, 2. Max Madson, 3. Levi Thompson, 4. Austin Wilson, 5. Asa Howe
— (Exp.) 1. Austin Serpa
— (Nov.) 1. Zane Roberts, 2. Wyatt Montz, 3. Dylan Dziminski, 4. Quinn Chapman, 5. Nathan Vance
— (Ama) 1. Dean Berg, 2. Samauel Jacobus, 3. Ryan Roseman, 4. Marcus Loll, 5. Schuyler Minnick
— (Exp.) - 1. Joe Haney, 2. Ricky Dahlberg, 3. Kenny Worley, 4. Weston Minnick, 5. Brody Honea
* - Results for Saturday Women were not included in finish sheets