With Duffys on the line, it was four days of hard racing and Wednesday's mains began with a bang. In the final lap of the Kid Kart main, the trio of Jarrett Gilmer, Zach Corbitt and Jerett Tachovsky were dueling for the lead.
Going through the final turn before the front straight, Corbitt made his move but Gilmer didn't give an inch. The resulting contact sent him flying through the air and apparently gave Corbitt the win.
However, since a red was displayed with the checkered the order reverted to the previous lap and Gilmer won the Duffy even though his race ended with a belly flop on the asphalt. Fortunately he wasn't injured in the nasty looking wreck.
The first local to win was 14-year-old Cody Kay, who won the Junior Sportsman main.
"It was awesome. Neil McCoy set the kart up really good, my dad, mom and family were out there to help me," he said after the race.
The Kid Kart Heavy got Thursday's action off to a dramatic start.
Exiting the final turn, Anthony Sawyer appeared to be the winner but 7-year-old Tachovsky had different ideas. He chose a tighter line that let him accelerate, get the lead and earn his first Duffy.
Asked about that pass he said, "He (Sawyer) went super wide so I just stayed on the inside and passed him cause he was kind of slow on the straight at the beginning."
Two prominent racers were in attendance. One was Tony Kart West owner Buddy Rice, winner of the 2004 Indy 500 and 2009 24 Hours of Daytona.
"I started go-karting when I was 11 or 12 years old in Phoenix," he said. "In other organized sports you start really young and in go-karting you can start as young as 4 or 5.
"I'm trying to help give back to karting a little bit for what it was able to get me where I'm am. And to give kids a place and opportunity to showcase their skills. Hopefully other people will come around, see them, sign them to deals and help them get started in motorsports."
Early rain scrambled the race order and caused many crashes as drivers refused to slow down on a slick track. Fortunately no one was injured.
It was a good day for San Jose driver Clayton Snow, who scored two victories although he had to prevail in a place-swapping duel in Super Sportsman.
"I was trying to make a two-man race but Mike (Botelho Jr.) is a local here and he kept it in there," Snow said. "But I knew where I had to be and got it done.
Cody Kay scored another victory but only after retaking the lead on the final lap of the Junior Super Sportsman Heavy main then having to hold off a final charge by Taylor Miinch, who came up about six inches short at the checkered flag.
One parent helping his son Flinn was Buddy Lazier, winner of the 1996 Indy 500. Unlike Rice, he began racing first in motocross then switched to sports cars.
Lazier added that he, and most professional open wheel drivers, use karting in the off-season to stay sharp and in shape.
"Karting has come such a long way for the youth to get a lot of motorsports experience and I think it's really, really good for these young men and women," he said. "And I'll tell you something, one that really attracts us as a family; it's a really nice group of people, very competitive but it's very much a family atmosphere out here."
All during the four days of racing, passing was going on in places it doesn't usually happen. Most times things worked well but other times, well it didn't work and karts were sent off into either the dirt or barriers.
And due to the hard racing, there were several pile-ups, most around the Turn 1 and 2 areas at the end of the straight. Fortunately the only injuries to drivers were minor although several karts were mangled.
Friday's Super Sportsman Heavy main was probably the most emotional victory for locals. In the final laps Bobby Kelley and Brendan Phinny were battling for the lead with Mike Botelho Jr. right behind them.
Coming out of the final corner, with the checkered flag in sight, Botelho tightened his line and began a charge that carried him to victory. At the fence fellow NNKC members, as well as his ailing father, were cheering on the 26-year-old Reno resident.
His victory was even more dramatic as, due to mechanical problems he wasn't able to qualify, race in his heat and to start at the back.
After being hugged by almost everyone in the post-race area, Botelho said, " I had no idea, I was just trying to stay in third then I saw them racing really hard and thought I just may be in the cat bird's seat for this one. And God was on my side as I got that second Duffy but I just can't believe I started dead last."
Later that afternoon, when he was awarded his Duffy and elevated to expert status, Botelho Jr. dedicated the victory to his father, Mike Sr., who is battling cancer but was there to support his son.
By then Botelho had scored a pair of runner-up finishes while, on Friday, 8-year-old Jeremy Kay Earlier finished second in the TAG Cadet main.
Saturday was another day where the racing on the track was as hot as the weather. After just placing in two other events, Cody Kay lined up for the Junior Super Sportsman race.
Once again the race came down to the final laps when Kay was battling with Kiel Spaulding and Camden Geise in a place-swapping duel.
Going into Turn 3 Kay made his move that resulted in a lot of bumping as all three drivers jockeyed for the point. Coming out of Turn 4, and headed toward the top of the track's hill, he was in the lead with a small gap over his two competitors.
That was enough to insure his third Duffy of the week and give him the honor of winning the most championships at this meet.
"Coming into 3, Kiel (Spaulding) got beside me and I held my own going into 4," Kay said. "There was a little bit of bumping but I made sure I kept the inside and my momentum up. It's awesome and thank God the Nationals were here."
Another hard fought race was the Junior 1 main. Up until the final lap the winner wasn't determined then two passes in two turns earned an 11-year-old from Alpine, California very first Duffy.
"Sonny Cervelli had a good gap on my and I didn't know if I could do it," Riley Reyes said after taking the win. "But I knew that was my last shot in Turn 6 so I threw it in there and luckily got the pass."
The final race was the TAG Junior main but a red flag brought it to a sudden halt after a kart spun exiting Turn 9.
Another driver took evasive action and spun while a third, blinded by the dust piled into that kart.
Raquel Martinez got the worst of it but after being checked by the REMSA medic, was helped back to her pits by family members.
After a long clean-up, racing resumed but the winner was determined in the post-race inspection where the apparent victor's kart failed and the Duffy went to Louie Pagano.
For the past several years the 2-Cycle Grand Nationals finish when the Lake Speed Achievement of Excellence award is handed out. Its namesake is a six-time IKF champion and the only American to ever win the World Karting Championship.
This year's winner was NNKC driver Mike Botelho Jr., a racer known for being a hard, yet clean driving and who is always willing to help another competitor. The presentation ended the Grand Nationals on a very positive note.
•Two oval tracks will be in action this weekend on Saturday.
Rattlesnake Raceway, in Fallon, has a 6 p.m. start to its program that also includes a 4-Cylinder Demolition Derby. Then at 7 p.m. the American Valley Speedway, in Quincy, Calif., hosts another of its regular shows.
OTHER RACING NEWS
•NASCAR'S Nevada Quartet was in Indianapolis this weekend. At O'Reilly Raceway Park Kyle Busch ended up 10th, and T.J. Bell 15th, in Friday's Camping World Truck race.
On Saturday, at the same track, Kyle Busch was second with Brendan Vaughan ending up 12. In Sunday's Brickyard 400, at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway mechanical ills dropped Kyle to 38th while his brother Kurt Busch finished 27th.
•The Lovelock Speedway had a two-day show to help celebrate the town's Frontier Days.
On Friday Billy Church was the Hobby Stock winner while Malden Gonzalez was the IMCA Modified victor. Friday's winners were Zach Cail (Outlaw Karts), Dalton Smith (Dwarf Cars), Jeffrey Macedo (Mixed Class), Rocky Goetz (Hobby Stock), Kevin Kentopp (Pro Stock) and Shawn Natenstedt (IMCA Modifieds).
IKF 2 Cycle Grand Nationals
Desert Park Raceway
•Wednesday, July 22
Kid Karts Main (10-Laps) - 1. Jarrett Gilmer, 2. Jeret Tachovsky, 3. Zach Corbitt, 4. Ethan Barett, 5. Courtney Batterton
Super Sportsman Main (22-laps) - 1. Brendan Phinny, 2. Mike Botelho Jr., 3. Bobby Kelley, 4. Derek Zimmerman, 5. Alex Schutte
HPV-1 Cadet Main (22-Laps) - 1. Michael Womack, 2. Riley Reyes, 3. Zane Smith, 4. Sonny Cervelli
Jr.Sportsman Main (22-Laps) - 1. Cody Kay, 2. Kiel Spaulding, 3. Shawn Sharkey, 4. Raquel Martinez, 5. Camden Geise
TAG Masters Main (22-Laps) - 1. Robert Logan, 2. Jared Woolf, 3. Mat Kattanek, 4. Davide Harwin, 5. Daniel Bordogna
•Thursday, July 23
Kid Kart Heavy (10-Laps) - 1. Jerett Tachovsky, 2. Anthony Sawyer, 3. John Paul Maxwell, 4. Enrique Jaime, 5. Zach Corbitt
Senior Sportsman (22-Laps) - 1. Clayton Snow, 2. Mke Botelho Jr, 3. Luis Martinez Jr., 4. Alex Schutte, 5. Bobby Kelly
Jr. Super Sportsman Heavy (22-Laps) - 1. Cody Kay, 2. Taylor Miinch, 3. Trent Hindman, 4. Camden Geise, 5. Jake Craig
Jr. 1 Heavy (22-Laps) - 1. Jarred Campbell, 2. Brenden Baker, 3. Riley Reyes, 4. Joesph La Rosa, 5. Noah Hermansen
HPV-3 Senior (22-Laps) - 1. Clayton Snow, 2. Brendan PHinny, 3. Sergio Pena, 4. Wesley Boswell, 5. Michael Hogg
•Friday, July 24, 2009
Rookie Sportsman (22-Laps) - 1. Brennen Mankin, 2. Riley Reyes, 3. Parker Thompson, 4. Michael Womack, 5. Christian Brooks
Super Sportsman Heavy (22-Laps) - 1. Mike Botelho Jr., 2.Bobby Kelly, 3. Brendan Phinny, 4. Clayton Snow, 5. Dylan Nobile
HPV-2 Jr. (22-Laps) - 1. Taylor Miinch, 2. Keil Spaulding, 3. Tyler Palmer, 4. Cody Kay, 5. Austin DeMent
TAG Cadet (22-Laps) - 1. Dave Manthei Jr., 2. Jeremy Kay, 3. Tate Holleran, 4. Curtis Paul, 5. Flinn Lazier
TAG Senior (22-Laps) - 1. Kyle Shriver, 2. Bobby Kelly, 3. Michael Hogg, 4. Andrick Zeen, 5. Kelsey Nilsson
•Saturday, July 25, 2009
IAMI Cup (22-Laps) - 1. Andrick Zeen, 2. Michael Hogg, 3. Bobby Kelley, 4. Mike Botelho Jr., 5. Zach Dericco
Jr. Super Sportsman (22-Laps) - 1. Cody Kay, 2.Kiel Spaulding, 3. Camden Geise, 4. Jake Craig, 5. Tyler Palmer
Junior 1 (22-Laps) - 1. Riley Reyes, 2. Sonny Cervelli, 3. Brenden Baker, 4. Jarred Campbell, 5. Cole Davis
HPV-4 Senior (22-Laps) - 1. Kyle Shriver, 2. Nick Johnston, 3. Bobby Kelley, 4. Wesley Boswell, 5. Derek Zimmerman
TAG Jr. (22-Laps) - 1. Louie Pagano, 2. Shawn Sharkey, 3. Austin Self, 4. Trent Hindman, 5. Cole Loftsgard