Midgets put on show at Fernley

FERNLEY - The Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) brought three divisions . . . Midgets, Midget Lites and the nostalgic Vintage Midgets to Reno-Fernley Raceway and provided some fast, exciting racing on Saturday night.

Gary Dickenson of Santa Rosa, Calif. grabbed the lead at the green flag and held off rookie Darrin Bolton of El Dorado, Calif., Glenn Carson of Newark, Calif., and Dave Pugsley, Jr. of Oregon for the first five circuits until he spun in turn four bringing out the first caution of the race.

Fremont, Calif. Driver Rob Russell took the point on the restart and was very much in command of the race for the next 20 laps. Behind him Matt Streeter of Lathrop, Calif., moved into third behind Bolton, with John Sarale of Stockton, and San Jose, Calif. driver Thomas Meseraull battling for fourth.

The caution flag flew again on lap 19, and Sarale moved to third on the restart behind Streeter and the flying Russell. Another caution on lap 23 set up the final run to the checker, but Russell had developed an oil leak the slicked his brakes and rear tires. Meseraull, now in second place, had to check up to avoid the out-of-control Russell, and his lost momentum gave Russell the victory. Meseraull came up short in the final charge to the checker but maintained second place ahead of Sarale, Bolton, and Streeter.

Meseraull was fast qualifier at 17.27 seconds, while Sarale and Rick Faeth of Santa Clara, Calif. won the heat races. Faeth also won the special trophy dash.

The Midget Lite Race started off with a bang as Jeff Griffin of St. Helena, Calif. rode up the front straight wall and flipped as the cars went five-wide into turn one on the start. This brought out a red flag while a relatively unscathed Griffin was removed from his mangled racecar. Jared Adams of Folsom, Calif., took the lead on the restart, but Doug Hunting of Elk Grove, Calif., charged from mid-pack into third on the first lap, then into second on the next circuit.

The red flag flew again on lap five as Scott Kinney of Citrus Heights, Calif., laid his car over on its side in turn three. Kinney was uninjured, but his attempt to restart the car failed and he was pushed to the pits. Hunting made short work of Adams on the restart and never looked back.

Teammates Cameron Beard and Greg Bardonnex of Visalia, Calif., battled side by side for third, with Beard securing the position and then taking second from Adams a couple of laps later. Matt Sherman of Carmichael, Calif., moved into fourth while Bardonnex slowed and eventually dropped out of the race. Ripon, Calif., driver Brian Corso and Tyler Franklin of Roseville, Calif., battled for fifth behind Hunting, Beard, Adams and Corso while Hunting ran away and hid from the rest of the field. Beard's car failed him on lap 17, and Franklin also dropped out under the caution flag. Hunting maintained control on the restart, but the final three laps saw positions changing behind him, and at the checker the top five finishers were Hunting, Sherman, Chad Compton of Elk Grove, Richard Bailey of Napa, Calif., and Greg Griffin of St. Helena, Calif. Griffin and Beard captured the two heat race wins.

The Vintage Midgets put on two demonstration races, showing the crowd what racing was like in the "old days." The finishing order doesn't matter much, as a lot of the racing action is staged to provide thrills. Nostalgia is the name of the game with the Vintage Midgets.

Two of the regular track divisions, the 318 Modifieds and the Dwarf cars, rounded out the show.

In the 318 Modified main, John Scherer of Sparks took control immediately, but Fernley's Rick Looney soon began to work his way through the pack from his last-place start. By lap four Looney was hounding Scherer and was soon by him and into the lead. As Looney stretched his lead, Don Hughes and Larry Silas of Wadsworth staged an entertaining battle for third, with Hughes finally winning the position. At the checker the order was Rick Looney, Scherer, Hughes, Silas, and Richard Rabe of Silver Springs, with Wally Looney, making a rare appearance, finishing sixth, one lap down. Scherer was the winner of the single heat race.

The Dwarf cars provided some fast, exciting racing with lots of position-swapping. Billie Canham of Sparks took the early lead with Fallon's Tim O'Neil hot on his heels. Vuki Wilson of Minden started at the rear of the field but didn't stay there long, moving past Justin Kimsey of Round Mountain for third in the early going.

A caution flag bunched the field when Billy Wilson of Minden had suspension failure and limped slowly to the pits. Vuki Wilson grabbed second on the restart, and then began a charge for the lead. Wilson and Canham raced nose to tail and side by side for several laps while Carson City's Barry Lane closed on the lead duo.

Now it was a three-way battle as Lane took them three wide off turn two. Contact with Wilson put Lane into the infield, but he recovered without causing a caution flag. Wilson took the lead, but Kimsey was on the charge, moving into second in the closing laps.

At the checker it was Vuki Wilson, Kimsey, Canham, Bill Brown of Carson City, and O'Neil. Wilson won the first heat race, and Stuart Goehring of South Lake Tahoe took his very first heat race victory after spinning on the opening lap.

This Saturday is Toys for Tots night at Reno-Fernley Raceway. A new, unwrapped toy is the price of admission. For those spectators paying cash, the track will donate all proceeds of the night to the Toys for Tots Foundation. Spectator gates open at 3 p.m., racing begins at 6.

n Contact Roger Diez at Racytalker@aol.com


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