Once again the Modifieds (NASCAR Division 1) open and closed the night’s racing with two feature races. It was also the final night for drivers to gain national points.
“The car was good, the track was good at the beginning and the car was a little tight. We set up for the end and in the last 10-laps the car came really good,” Shawn Natenstedt said after winning the first Modified feature.
That race was all his as the Fernley driver jumped into the lead as soon as the green waved. Two cautions slowed the pace but the results were still the same as at every restart as Natenstedt took off in the lead.
At the checkered Tom Purcell was second followed by Jake Holland, Robert Miller and Darren Manning, who claimed fifth place.
The second feature, ending the night’s the night’s racing was a different story.
When the green waved Don Childs, who had been frantically repairing his car from an incident in the first main, jumped into the lead followed by Mark Skender.
Behind them things were tight in the pack until Jim Turner spun on lap 5, collecting Purcell, Holland and Travis Petersen. Fortunately everyone was able to continue.
Up front however the story was Childs and Skender. But behind the leaders Robert Miller was carefully working his way forward while Purcell and Holland, both UNR students, were also heading to the front.
Six laps later Miller used an outside move to take second and the chase was on as he steadily closed on leader Childs. A short time after that Purcell cleared the pack, as did Holland, and they set off after the lead duo.
With three to go the margin between Childs and Miller was less than two seconds. Then a caution bunched everyone up for a three-lap dash to the checkered.
When the green waved Miller found he didn’t have much grip on the inside and slipped back while Purcell, then Holland got past. Up front Childs took off and roared away to claim the victory followed by Purcell, Holland and Miller.
During the trophy presentation, a delighted Childs, who led every lap, said. “Amazing, amazing, it was unreal, I just knew somebody was there. After that heat race I was completely wrecked out and I was just hoping to get some laps.”
Then he described how bent the front end of the car was and how he just hoped to get in some laps.
“I had no clue it would be like this so I guess it’s better to be lucky than good,” he said. “The biggest thing I’ve got to do is to thank Shawn Natenstedt for all the help he’s given me this year and making this car fast, it wins because Shawn helps me at the shop and in the garage. I also need to thank my wife Rene as she helps me a ton, is the money and the brains behind this and I just drive the thing.”
Purcell added that he too was racing with a front end that had been knocked out of alignment.
Back in the pits Natenstedt said, “In the second race we were good but somebody jacked me in the left rear and gave me a flat so I came in and we put a tire on it. The car was good just didn’t have enough off the corner, we made it work, got a top five out of that.”
Then Natenstedt added he clinched the track championship and only needs a good finish in the final race of the season to take the state championship.”
Leading the big car part of the program were the Hobby Stocks but when their main began a mini hurricane started blowing almost blinding clouds of dust into the Turn 3-4 area. Fortunately this hardly bothered the drivers.
However, the track officials began to have the water truck spray the infield to cut the amount of blowing dust.
First on point was Jacob Baker followed by Rocky Goetz, who was celebrating his 20th birthday. Behind them the pack had a jam worthy of any rush hour.
Dean Clark brought out the first caution when he spun on lap 6. On the restart Baker and Goetz took off with Carl Barlow closing fast on the two leaders.
Just a few laps later Barlow swept past his two younger rivals and took off leaving everyone in his dust. Behind him Baker and Goetz were now battling for second.
Then Lady Luck played her cards.
Roaring down the front stretch an exhaust header bolt on Barlow’s new engine broke putting a hole in the oil filter, which caused quite a spectacular fire. He then dove onto the infield by Turn 1 to get to off the track where the arriving emergency crew made quick work of the fire.
While he wasn’t hurt Barlow was very frustrated by this turn of events as the race would have been his.
Once things were back to normal the race resumed with Baker, Goetz leading Brian Moore and David Partelow.
Then things got crazy again when, tearing down the back-stretch, Moore wound up spinning to the top of Turn 4 after his and Partelow’s car seemed to get locked together. Others around them had to take some creative evasive action to escape from being involved in the wild scramble.
Up front however a delighted Baker claimed his first feature win with Goetz very close behind in second followed by Dwight Bolton and Sandy Clark.
“Yea, it’s my first feature win and this is my first full season on dirt so in a way it is my rookie season,” Baker said, “It was mostly luck and being able to drive. I really want to thank my mom and my dad and all my sponsors including Casazza Oil and RWW Fabrication”
When the Pro Stock feature began B.J.Pearson grabbed the lead followed by Gary Nevers. Rounding Turn 4 Pearson the spun out of the lead handing it to Nevers.
On the sixth lap Robby Grace was spun after contact with Ed Goss, who incurred the ire of the officials and was sent to the pits. Just before the caution Joe Specchio Jr. took the lead and when racing resumed he was off and running.
After that the race was for third with Scott Deutsch, Grace, Al Goss and Pearson making it a four-way duel.
But it was Specchio’s night as he ran away with the victory followed by Nevers, Pearson, Deutsch and Goss.
Unfortunately on the cool down lap Goss was spun after contact with Grace. Track officials quickly surrounded them making sure nothing else would happen.
Once the track was cleared the officials then held the trophy presentation.
But after he won the race, Specchio saluted the crowd and said, “It feels awfully good, was a long time coming this year and it feels good to see the checkered flag. Been working on it all year and made some changes from last race to this race, big changes then we made some more changes between the heat race and that’s the best its driven all year. Got to thank my wife Barbara, and Shawn Natenstedt especially, Missy Natenstedt and all my guys.”
After finding out how both Childs and Specchio gave him special thanks, Natenstedt said, “I appreciate that, for those guys to win is kind like a win in my book because I’ve been helping them every week.”
The Mod Mini class was on hand but only three cars showed up. Unfortunately only one was able to have a trouble free run and the winning driver was either Justin McIlvain or Stephen Crook.
The Dwarf Car feature was all Shane Ramthun as he led from green to checkered in a run away victory.
After climbing out of the car, no mean feat for a tall person, Ramthun said, “That was really, really hard, I worked my tail off and just tried to hold it. It’s my second time being in the car and it was different for me. I also have to thank Vukie Wilson Sr. and Bobby Wilson, who put me in the car.”
Even before the Pure Stock Mini feature began there was action when the car driven by rookie Michael Hayes lost its front left wheel while the car driven by Al Bishop decided to stall. Once the track was cleared the race could begin.
When the green waved, Casey Justice and Mark Serchio led the charge into Turn 1. Heading down the backstretch, Serchio held the point.
The only caution came on Lap 6, when Bishop tried to return to the race only to have his car stall at the top of Turn 4. Once he was pushed to the pits racing resumed.
Once again Serchio took off with Justin Schilling and Bryce Phillips in hot pursuit. Behind them 14-year-old Travis Barr was heading toward the front with the leaders in his sights.
With less than five laps to go, Barr used an inside move at the end of the front straight to take the lead and the victory. Phillips was second followed by Schilling and Serchio, who faded to fourth.
“That was one tough race, the track was real slick and not in the best condition for me,” Barr said. “That pass for the lead was a little iffy as I was kind of hoping it would stick down there since it was pretty slick during our hot laps.”
Now the track goes dark until the 24th when it hosts its final NASCAR race of the season.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•This weekend Rattlesnake Raceway hosts its final points race of the season with a special sponsor, the Northern Nevada Dairymen. And like the pros, the winners will be presented with milk to drink.
Racing begins Saturday at 6 p.m. with all the classes including the IMCA Modifieds and 360 Outlaw Sprint cars.
•The Busch brothers were at the Richmond International Raceway this weekend in an event that sets the final field for the Sprint Cup Championship. And both brothers are locked into to this year’s Chase.
Kyle Busch won Friday’s Nationwide event after starting third. In Saturday night’s Sprint Cup event he started 13th and finished sixth behind older brother Kurt, who ended up fifth after starting 11th.
Reno-Fernley Raceway - Sept. 10
Main #1 (25 Laps) - 1. Shawn Natenstedt, 2. Jake Holland, 3. Tom Purcell, 4. Robert Miller, 5. Darren Manning
Main #2 (25 Laps) - 1. Don Childs, 2. Tom Purcell, 3. Jake Holland, 4. Robert Miller, 5. Shawn Natenstedt
Heat Winners - #1 Robby Grace, #2 Scott Deutsch
Main (25 Laps) - 1. Joe Specchio Jr., 2. Gary Nevers, 3. B.J. Pearson, 4. Scott Deutsch, 5. Al Goss
Heat Winners - #1 Royce Goetz, #2 David Partelow
Main (25 Laps) - 1. Jake Baker, 2. Rocky Goetz, 3. Dwight Bolton, 4. Sandy Clark, 5. Dean Clark
Heat Winner - Race Shelton
Main (20 Laps) - 1. Shane Ramthun, 2. Glen Sciarani, 3. Roy Peterson, 4. Race Shelton, 5. Leo Mayfield
Pure Stock Minis:
Heat Winners - #1 Travis Barr, #2 Justin Schilling
Main (20 Laps) - 1. Travis Barr, 2. Bryce Phillips, 3. Justin Schilling, 4. Mark Serchio, 5. Loghan Cologna