Before the night’s racing began, and after the National Anthem, the track took a minute of silence to honor those that died a week ago in Carson City and those killed and injured at the Air Races on Friday.
After the IMCA Modified feature ended winner Don Childs said, “I wasn’t the fastest car out there, but Natenstedt looked like he had troubles and is always the guy to beat here. I just bided my time until Jeff Elerick looked like he made a little mistake and I was able to jump on it. He just played into what I thought I was going to do and it worked out great.”
But it first it appeared the race would have a very different ending.
When the green waved Brian Milburn took the point but just two laps later the first caution came out when contact left Wade Lumsden stranded in Turn 4.
Once he was pushed to the pits racing resumed but by now heat winner Shawn Natenstedt had moved from the back to third. It took Natenstedt less than a full lap to take the lead and begin to put distance between him and the rest of the other cars.
Several laps later Lumsden made a brief return only to lose a wheel that soared over the Turn 4 fence before he limped back to the pits.
With about eight laps to go Natenstedt’s car began to smoke and he soon pulled out of the race in a huge plume of smoke. One benefit to the officials and fans was that the smoke drove away all the bugs that had been hanging around the track.
Natenstedt’s problems put Jeff Elerick into the lead with Childs second.
However, the Natenstedt’s caution bunched the cars. When the green waved Elerick went slightly wide in Turn 2, Childs saw his chance and dove into the lead.
That was the winning move as Childs stormed off to claim the victory and the bottle of milk. Right after the checkered flag three cars tangled in Turn 1 leaving Alec Childs car in need of a tow.
As usual the Hobby Stocks put the most cars on the track. When the green started their feature, Chris Neal took the point.
Back in the pack, brothers Pete and Mike Olsen were racing for the division championship and they began the night only five points apart.
Making up time in a hurry Carl “Fireball” Barlow was on the move through traffic as were the Olsen brothers. Nine laps later Barlow was able to get past leader Neal.
A quick spin on the backstretch dropped Pete Olsen out of contention for the victory but he rallied and began the long charge through the pack. Up front the leaders were having problems as getting through lap traffic wasn’t easy.
At the checkered flag Barlow won the race going away followed by Mike Olsen, Neal and Pete Olsen.
“The race was fast but some of the cars are too slow and there are too many of them all together,” Barlow said later.
After taking a long drink of ceremonial milk he added, “The milk is good and I’m going down to the pits to finish it.”
Only three Mini Mods made the show and Steve McGee made the night a sweep although Steve Singley kept him honest as he ran a close second.
“This bottle is cool and I’m going to keep it,” McGee said. “It was a pretty good race but the car was sputtering pretty bad as I could only run about half-throttle but we’ll get it figured out for the two-day show.”
When the Gen-X feature began Jesse James, a six-year veteran, only had to start the main to clinch the title. Not bad for a driver that has only been able to drive two full seasons.
During the parade laps things went wrong for second in points Yolanda Kaster as her car stalled and she needed a push to the pits.
Once the green waved Mike Hayes took off, led the first lap then his night ended when an axel damaged in his heat race gave up the ghost.
When racing resumed Al Bishop took off with Kevin Reuter hot on his heels. About a lap later Alex Petit’s car began to slow and caused a race-stopping incident when he had a small engine fire that ended his night.
Soon afterwards Bishop had a mechanical problem and pulled onto the infield handing the race to Reuter, who got the milk in the victory celebration on the front straight.
“Al Bishop always comes from the back and he’s right up there with me so I was just sticking behind him, trying to run the same groove but he must have had mechanical problems,” Reuter said, “After than I just tried to keep it on the floor and go from there. And the milk was delicious.”
Then he gave special thanks to Dennis Crook and Jesse James, who he credited as the reason he was able to race.
The honor of finishing the track’s points season when to the Rat Mod division. When their feature began Steve Young led the first lap before surrendering the point to Mark Rios.
Behind the leader Scott Hammond was on a mission as he headed toward the front and took the lead around lap six. About four laps later there was a quick caution when Rios spun after contact with Duncan Lee and both were put at the back of the pack.
Division champion Glenn Lee was unable to make the event so his father Mark took his place and drove to fifth place.
Duncan Lee eventually had to drop out of the race while Hammond left everyone in his dust.
Standing on the front straight with the winner’s milk in hand Hammond said, “The milk, it’s good and it’s cold. This is one of those races where patience really pays off as it was a rough track but the car was sticking good. And I need to thank Chris Jimenez, Eddy Berrylance and my crew.”
Back in the pits, Gen-X champion James was reflecting on his championship.
“It’s my first one and it means a lot as it’s been a very exciting and competitive season and I couldn’t have done without the help of Raber Fabrication, The Label Lady, Steve Singley, Project 29 and of course the crew chief, who is my significant other.”
Then he added special thanks to all the volunteers that making racing Rattlesnake possible.
Adding to the night was an intermission demolition derby that looked like auto mud wrestling.
Now the track goes dark for two weeks until the annual, two-day Dirt Track Championship is staged.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•This week’s racing kicks off Friday evening at the Exit 28 Motocross Park as the track hosts the Livfast Cup Fueled by Monster Energy. The three-day event has an Arenacross format with the Pro heats racing Friday and Saturday with a 7:30 p.m. start to their heats.
Supporting the pros are the 50cc and 60cc riders, a nightly whip contest, Dash-for-Cash and Saturday’s event ends with the Harrah’s Bikini Contest. Sunday, starting at 9:30 a.m., the amateurs get their chance on a safer course.
•Two tracks end their seasons Saturday with a 6 p.m. start for both of them. The Lovelock Speedway features the IMCA Modifieds, Outlaw Karts and make up main events for the B Mods and IMCA cars.
Closer to home Reno-Fernley Raceway ends its first NASCAR season and all division champions will be crowned during the evening.
•Correction: Last week the actual winner of the Mini Mod feature at the Reno-Fernley Raceway was Steve Singley. We’re sorry for the mix up in names.
•NASCAR’s Nevada Quartet visited Chicagoland Speedway this weekend.
Kyle Busch finished fifth in Friday’s Camping World Truck race while Brendan Gaughan ended up 14th. In Saturday’s Nationwide event T.J. Bell started 37th but engine problems dropped him to 43rd at the finish.
Rain canceled Sunday’s Sprint Cup event, which will be run starting at 9 a.m. our time on Monday.
Rattlesnake Raceway - Sept. 17
Heat Winners - #1 Alec Childs, #2 Shawn Natenstedt
Main (25 Laps) - 1. Don Childs, 2. Jeff Elerick, 3. Jim Turner, 4. Alex Childs, 5. Brian Milburn
Heat Winners - #1 Carl “Fireball” Barlow, #2 Mike Olsen
Main (30 Laps) - 1. Carl “Fireball” Barlow, 2. Mike Olsen, 3. Chris Neal, 4. Pete Olsen, 5. Aaron Benham
Heat Winner - Duncan Lee
Main (20 Laps) - 1. Scott Hammond, 2. MarriAndrews, 3. Mark Rios, 4. Steve Young, 5. Mark Glenn
Heat Winners - #1 Jesse James, #2 Kevin Reuter
Main (30 Laps) - 1. Kevin Reuter, 2. Kali Pope, 3. Sadie Pope, 4. Jesse James, 5. Sharlee Kaster
Heat Winner - Steve McGee
Main (15 Laps) - 1. Steve McGee, 2. Steve Singley, 3. Jessica Jiminez