The annual Dirt Track Championships at Rattlesnake Raceway was held this weekend.
On Saturday evening, despite one slight delay for a passing shower, all the heat and qualifying races were held. Unfortunately, on Sunday afternoon, after several Dash-for-Cash races were run, the rains came and eventually forced the officials to call off the main events.
While moisture is a good thing in dirt track racing, once the surface gets too wet it becomes almost impossible to drive on, let alone race.
So a driver's combined totals from the heat and qualifying races will be used to determine the Dirt Track Champions rather than an all-out final race.
During the deluge several drivers reflected on the season just past. For one of them it was a season of improvement as well as multiple championships.
"I won two championships back-to-back at Rattlesnake Raceway, one at Lovelock Speedway, the state title again and finished second in the region as well," Shawn Natenstedt said. "And I finished 13th in the nation, which was a vast improvement from last year and pretty remarkable for us, a little race team. This year was a big one for me as we made a lot of improvements and won 20 out of 34 races. "
Reflecting on his improvement, he allowed that last year, after running in 50 races, Natenstedt only had 18 victories. Then he thanked his sponsors, Silverado Casino, Carson Plains Casino, TSM Shocks and Six Feet Deep Clothing.
Next month he also plans to compete in the annual IMCA Duel in the Desert at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
The rest of the class champions were savoring their first titles at this high-banked track.
Richard Italiano, who lives in Spanish Springs and won the Hobby Stock title said. "I had another one at RFR in 2000 but it's my first one here. You know I had a lot of support here from the other hobby stock drivers as it's kind of racing with your peers. You can't do it alone as you need good guys you can trust and race with and that's the way I take it; you owe them and they owe you."
Then he gave special thanks to his wife Denise, daughters and the hobby stock racers he competes with.
Jesse Gonzalez, the Pro Stock title champion said, "This is my first championship, it meant a lot of work and I remember why I don't run for points any more. Next year I'm going to try and run the modified way more than the pro stock and just pick and chose with the pro stock.
His much-appreciated sponsors are, Sponsors Eternal Image, Integrity Pest Management, Competition Carburetion, COD Garage, RWW Fabrication, wife Beth and brother Malen.
For Duncan Lee, winning the Rat Modified title was the realization of a long held dream.
"It's something I probably started dreaming of when I was about 16-years-old, doing something with cars, race cars, hot rods or something," he said. "I eventually got to race a little bit in my late 20's but that really didn't work out for a variety of reasons. But I always had in the back of my mind that I still wanted to race so to realize that dream 50-years after, because I'm 68 now, means an awful lot."
One champion, in the Gen-X class, has the pleasure of racing with his younger brother.
Looking toward next season John Schilling said, "I think more or less I'll just play around next year and have fun. Try and teach little brother and girlfriend, who has her own race car, as well as give them pointers."
His younger brother Justin claimed the division's Rookie-of-the-year honors in the final race of the season. Asked about this he said, "I think it's pretty good as it can get pretty hard sometimes as you never know what can happen."
Asked about sponsors John thanked his father, John Sr., their company Schilling Tile and Stone as well as Gold Mountain Properties and Hal's Auto Painting.
The Bomber class had a crazy last race of the season. During the event both contenders were collected in an accident after another driver lost control of his racer.
Due to being tied going into that night both were awarded co-championships and both reflected on what it meant to them.
"It's the first championship I've ever won," Alex Pettit said. "So I need to thank everyone that's helped me this year including Rusty Baglin, Nice and Tidy Cleaning Service and Arnold's Wrecking Yard."
Then the other co-champion Bryan Kaster said, "It's my first one too and makes me feel pretty good. I worked my butt off and would like to thank everybody that helped me including my wife Yolanda (A Gen-X racer) for letting me do this, my parents as well as Fallon Lightning Lube and Fallon Motor Sports."
The races Saturday night were almost incident free although there was a mess during the Pro Stock event that caused a long caution period.
This was after the UNR Football game ended and the track announcer, an UNLV grad as well as a Fallon lawyer lost his bet on which team would win.
What followed was a comedic paying of what was due not to mention a crowd favorite.
So as the caution period ended Steve Evenson showed up on the flag stand dressed in a grass skirt and coconuts and waved the green flag. It was a huge hit with everyone.
•This was supposed to be the championship weekend for two Northern Nevada Kart Club classes. But like at Rattlesnake Raceway the event at Desert Park Raceway was rained out.
No word yet if there will be a make up date or if the season is officially over.
•The Reno-Fernley Raceway oval hosts the two-day Fernley Jackpot 2010 Shootout this weekend. On Saturday hot laps begin at noon and end at 2 p.m. while racing is scheduled to start at 3 p.m.
Sunday's main events are slated to start at noon and end by 5 p.m. as payout is at the Silverado Casino at 6 p.m.
Only four classes are listed, Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Pro Stocks and Dwarf Cars although 360 Outlaw Sprint cars may be included. The Modifieds run under IMCA rules although this is not a sanctioned event.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•NASCAR's Las Vegas Trio spent the weekend racing at the Kansas Speedway. On Saturday Kyle Busch started second and finished third while Brendan Gaughan has one of his best finishes of the years coming from 22nd to end up ninth at the end.
In Saturday's Sprint Cup event the Busch brothers had so-so finishes with Kurt ending up 13th while his younger brother Kyle was 21st.
•Over in California, at the Dodge Amateur Nationals local motocross racer Brian Sjorgren had a great weekend. He was first overall in both the Collegeboy and 450 Intermediate Modified classes and finished second overall in the 450 Intermediate stock motos.
Rattlesnake Raceway - Dirt Track Championships
•Saturday, Oct. 2
Heat Winners - #1 Shawn Natenstedt, #2 Jay Sears
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1. Shawn Natenstedt, 2. Jay Sears, 3. Nick Reid, 4. Jesse Gonzalez, 5. Steve Boucher
Heat Winners - #1 Jesse Gonzalez, #2 28
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1. Rob Grace, #2 Jeff Olschewka, #3 Craig Neiman, #4 Ken Gotchal, #5 Chris Smith
Heat Winners - #1 Jim Renfro, #2 unlisted, #3 Chris Neal
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1. 15, #2 Chris Neal, 3. Richard Italiano, 4. Mike Olsen
360 Outlaw Sprints:
Heat Winner - Arnie Martin
Qualifying Race (15 Sprints) - 1. Jeffrey Macedo, 2. Galen Reese
Heat Winner - Annette Rinehart
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1. Brandon Thunder, #2 Chris Jimenez, #3 Annett Rinehart, #4 Timothy Hoult, #5 Kyle Olsen
Heat Winners - #1 Duncan Lee, #2 Steve Somg;eu
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1. Duncan, 2. Glenn Lee, 3. Lee Ketten, #4 John Scherer, #5 Wade Lumsden
Heat Winner - Jason Clayton
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1 Dennis Crook, #2 Shaun Merritt, #3 Jason Clayton, 4. Justin McIlvain, 5. Stephen Crook
Heat Winners #1 Aaron Benham, #2 John Schilling
Qualifying Race (20 Laps) - 1. Cody Thunder, #2 Aaron Benham, #3 John Schilling, #4 Yolanda Kaster, #5 Justin Schilling
•Sunday, Oct. 3
Slow Dash for Cash Winners - (Rat Mods) Lee Ketten, (Hobby Stocks) Alec Childs, (360 Sprints) Galen Reese, (Pro Stocks) Chris Smith, (Bombers) Alex Pettit, (Mod Minis) Shaun Merritt
Regular Season Champions:
IMCA Modifieds - #1 Shawn Natenstedt, #2 Jay Sears
Pro Stocks - #1 Jesse Gonzalez, #2 Josh Ogg
Hobby Stocks - #1 Richard Italiano, #2 Dean Clark
360 Sprints - #1 Bob Cooney, #2 Jeffrey Macedo
Bombers - #1 Bryan Kaster & Alex Pettit*, #2 Annette Rinehart
Rat Mods - #1 Duncan Lee, #2 Garry Naps
Mod Minis - #1 Will Ritchey, #2 Stephen Crook
Gen-X - #1 John Schilling, #2 Cody Thunder
* - Both were declared co-champions of their class.