Check Out Our Sports Photo Galleries Contact Us
Tracks prepare for new season
by Dan McGee
Mar 18, 2013 | 6999 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by Dan McGee — Promoter Dan Simpson watches as the scraper picks up more of the dirt in the area of Turns 3 and 4 at the Tahoe/Reno/Fernley Speedway. The oval's racing surface is undergoing major renovation and improvement.
Tribune photo by Dan McGee — Promoter Dan Simpson watches as the scraper picks up more of the dirt in the area of Turns 3 and 4 at the Tahoe/Reno/Fernley Speedway. The oval's racing surface is undergoing major renovation and improvement.
slideshow
Tribune photo by Dan McGee — Rocks are all over the TRF Speedway's racing surface so dirt is being picked up and processed in a shaker that removes everything but the pebbles. Then the clay will be put back down for a smoother and faster racing surface.
Tribune photo by Dan McGee — Rocks are all over the TRF Speedway's racing surface so dirt is being picked up and processed in a shaker that removes everything but the pebbles. Then the clay will be put back down for a smoother and faster racing surface.
slideshow
Tribune photo Dan McGee — At Rattlesnake Raceway, Allan Fudge swings a concrete block into position, while Pete Olsen carefully uses a front loader to put in its correct location. Both men were busy Saturday putting the foundation for a new bleacher section at the track. Later they positioned new poles for lighting.
Tribune photo Dan McGee — At Rattlesnake Raceway, Allan Fudge swings a concrete block into position, while Pete Olsen carefully uses a front loader to put in its correct location. Both men were busy Saturday putting the foundation for a new bleacher section at the track. Later they positioned new poles for lighting.
slideshow
Tribune photo by Dan McGee — Although it's empty right now, this area outside Turn 1 at Rattlesnake Raceway is going to get a section of new bleachers for more spectator seating. A bridge over the entrance to the pits (road in the foreground.) will also be constructed to allow for easier access to this new area.
Tribune photo by Dan McGee — Although it's empty right now, this area outside Turn 1 at Rattlesnake Raceway is going to get a section of new bleachers for more spectator seating. A bridge over the entrance to the pits (road in the foreground.) will also be constructed to allow for easier access to this new area.
slideshow
FERNLEY/FALLON — As far as oval track racers are concerned, spring is here. All over the region they are either getting their cars ready or going out of the area to race.

At the same time, groups of people are working to make changes and improvements on two local tracks. Right now, time is short as their seasons begin in early April

Last year, the newly renamed Tahoe/Reno/Fernley Speedway (Formerly 95A Speedway) had power problems but this shouldn't happen this year.

"We're up to two good generators and there'll be a third shortly," promoter Dan Simpson said. "And there will be solar and wind later this year but I'm not sure when that will get done."

The pit entrance has been moved to an existing gate close to the highway and the area opened up. While pit parking remains the same during the regular shows, things will be different when the King of the West sprint cars are here.

"When we're ready to do sprint cars they'll go down to the back of the parking lot and stage down there. Then they'll push off in a straight line so they are fired less than half-way and drive the rest of the way onto the track so we don't have to run push trucks onto a wet track," he said.

This means the grid normally used during the regular shows is where the sprint cars drive onto the track. During a regular show it will once again be where the cars line up prior to going onto the track.

Drivers sign in at a new shack and pits by back straight has been changed to allow big rigs to park at an angle. So the place where drivers meetings used to be held will be removed.

This summer LED units will replace the existing track lighting.

"The first models are supposed to show up next week so we can try them and make sure they'll function," he said.

In the future, after they are built, a Jumbotron (Large video screen) will be installed in addition to a scoreboard.

In the grand stands, the seating area is being cleaned and repaired. It's also going to be expanded so the tailgate area has been eliminated, as new bleachers will be installed there.

"The goal is to get the new seats in as fast as we can and we hope to have at least another 500 before the first KWS race. And hopefully after that we'll have another 500 every month," he said. "In the upper area, one of the houses will be gone and there'll be a new and improved media center for the announcer, scoring and reporters."

By the first race Simpson hopes to have the first flush toilets installed although portable units will be used as a backup. For the time being the pit area will use the portable units until flush toilets are installed there.

Most noticeable is the oval, which is undergoing major changes.

"We moved the track 20 feet back towards the banking in Turns 3 and 4 and cut 10 feet out of the other end so it's approximately 10 to 20 feet longer," he said. "The straights will be 70 feet wide and the turns 90 feet wide."

Over the years, the front straight has actually been raised and now it's being lowered to increase the depth of the wall. Now any impacts will occur at the lowest level of the concrete blocks rather than the top row.

All the dirt is being ripped then scraped up and run through a shaker that's removing all the rocks larger than a pebble. What remains is pure clay and will put back onto the track.

Before the clay is returned to the racing surface, the crew is digging down to a foot below where the new racing surface will be.

"It's going to be a lot smoother and hopefully there'll be no rocks in the racing surface larger than a quarter inch," he said. "It's a huge improvement from the way it was as there were boulders in the track."

On the infield, the Outlaw Kart track is being moved more to the center but offset towards the bleacher area. This will allow the water trucks to operate while the karts are racing.

"It's going to be bigger than what it was last year so we'll be able to run 250s and 500 karts on the new track," he said.

The kart track is also going to be part of a short track that will allow TT scrambles and flat track motorcycle racing to be run.

During Street Vibrations the facility will host one of the AMA professional flat track races but those riders will use the large oval.

Needless to add, Simpson and his crew have a rather full plate.

"Right now we're just concentrating on getting the track raceable," he said. "The track will be very different, smooth and drivers will need new gearing so they can throw their notes away."

Right now the Play Day is slated for April 6 so the crew doesn't have much time and are working at a furious pace. A week later on April 13 the season begins.

Asked if he's excited, manager Matt Ramthun said, "Yes!"

•Over in Fallon, dedicated volunteers are making major changes and improvements to Rattlesnake Raceway. Like their brethren in Fernley, they too are rushing the calendar as their first race is on April 6.

One major change is a new 1,200-seat bleacher section added on the Turn 4 side of the seating area.

Eventually bleachers will be installed on the outside of Turn 1 for even more seating. In the future, a bridge is planned to allow easier access to the new seating.

Inside the oval four light poles have been removed with a single one that will be in the center of the Outlaw Kart track when it's moved. Removal of those light posts will allow Mud Bog racers longer runs for their events.

On the track there is going to be a "ledge" by the wall in the corners. It should increase the banking to about 20 degrees and the water truck can use this flat area to get around the corners.

Fencing is being improved where necessary and the blocks at the top of Turns 3 and 4 are being reset.

The clock is ticking for the volunteers as Play Day, when drivers can test and tune their cars, is on March 30. That day is mandatory for all rookies.

While the regular season begins April 6, the first big show won't happen until June 3rd so the volunteers have some extra time before all the improvements must be complete.

Currently both groups are working as fast as they can so they'll be ready for their season opening events. Once the green waves the oval track season is off and running.

OTHER RACING NEWS

•Robert Hansen, who is promoting Arenocross, announced half-priced tickets for the event are available through Ticketmaster. The half price offer ends on November 1.

•One of the fun events last year was the Sand Box Grand Prix held at the Fernley Lion's Motocross Track. The 2nd annual edition for bragging rights happens this weekend and pits local motocross racers against the desert racers that compete with MRANN.

Saturday's action begins at noon when the Mini Bikes, Women, Vintage and Bomber bikes take to the track. Following that is the Pee Wee event and the day ends when the bigger bikes having a team race.

On Sunday action begins at 8 a.m. and classes run 45-minute races and the day ends with a two-hour team race.

•The Busch brothers spent the weekend at the Bristol Motor Speedway. On Saturday, in the Nationwide event, Kyle started 13th and finished first.

Kyle started Sunday's Sprint Cup event from the pole but wound up second while older brother Kurt began 19th and used to determined drive to wind up fourth at the end.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
Featured Businesses