Another near capacity crowd filed into Carson City Raceway at Fuji Park for round No. 4 of the AMA-sanctioned Les Schwab Speedway Championships, as "AAA" presented Charter Media Nite.
CCR track builders Vuki and Bob Wilson had their work cut out for them as torrential thunderstorms fell on Carson City Friday afternoon and flooded the back straightaway. Early Saturday morning CCR officials cut trenches into the track to drain the water. After working all day, they were finally able to get the surface ready to go before race time. In fact, the track came back in fine fashion and produced multi-groove racing lines throughout the night.
Four-time national champion "Flyin" Mike Faria made his first appearance at the Fuji Park facility and early on looked to be the man to beat as he easily handled the competition. But, as the evening progressed, motor issues began to hinder his performance.
"We had some motor problems tonight and were unable to get them resolved," said Faria, who lives in Reno. "But this is a great track and I hope to make it back out for some more races this year."
However, Charlie "The Edge" Venegas also made a special appearance and was ready to capitalize on Faria's misfortunes. Venegas, who resides in San Bernardino, Calif., showed great form and also established himself as one of the favorites to take the overall win.
In the Charter Media Division One handicap main, Tommy Hedden pulled out the win over Nate Perkins, Bart Bast, Chris Kerr, Venegas, and Carson City's "Jamin" Jim Estes.
The final ride of the night featured the Charter Media Division One scratch main event. Venegas qualified into the event along with Nate Perkins, Tommy Hedden, and Bart Bast. However, as the foursome began digging in for the start, Venegas discovered a misfire in his motor and immediately threw his arm up.
Announcer Eric Breeze then informed the crowd that in Speedway racing, any rider who experiences difficulties at the starting line has two minutes to resolve the situation, or face elimination. Referee Rick Janniro and pit steward Dave Garibay kept a close eye on their watches, as Venegas' mechanics frantically tried to diagnose the problem. A loose ignition wire was discovered and work was under way as the clock continued to tick away. Then, with only five seconds to spare, his crew bumped off the bike and Venegas had brand new life.
So once again the riders dug in at the starting line. Starter Mark Joiner loaded the riders up to the tapes one last time and triggered the starting gate switch. It was a perfect start, as all four riders charged hard elbow-to-elbow into turn No. 1. As the pack exited turn No. 2, it was Venegas scrambling out to a slight advantage. However, he couldn't establish a comfort zone, and was repeatedly challenged in each corner.
On the final lap, Venegas drifted a bit wide in turn two, giving the rest of the pack another shot at the win. As they thundered down the back shoot you could throw a small blanket over the entire field. However, as they entered turns three and four, Venegas dug deep once again in the outside dirt and crossed the finish line in first. So as the final checkered flag of the night flew, it was "The Edge," followed closely by Bast, Hedden and Perkins.
"That was unbelievable," Venegas said. "I thought we were done when they found the loose wire, but my crew did a great job fixing it. This surface reminds me of some of the tracks I've ridden over in Europe. The dirt was great on the outside and that's where I love to live."
Venegas, who promotes a speedway in Southern California, was complimentary of the Carson City Raceway facility.
"This program has great potential and I really hope they can find a permanent home in 2006."
Next on the CCR schedule is "Valley Chevrolet Nite" fueled by "AAA" featuring round No. 5 of the Les Schwab Speedway Championships on Aug. 13.
On tap will be Charter Media Pro Speedway (divisions 1, 2 and 3), Michael's Cycle Works Xtreme Quads, DC Motorsports Peewee Speedway, Party Supplies & Rentals Peewee Quads, and the Ponderosa Stamp EconoBox drags. CCR officials also hope to add the Xtreme Sidecar Series to the Aug. 13 program.
Carson City Raceway is located at the Fuji Park Fairgrounds rodeo arena at the corner Highway 395 and Old Clear Creek Road, across the street from Costco.
Pits open at 5 p.m., grandstands open at 6 p.m., and the show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are: Adults $9, seniors $7, teens $5, juniors $3, and kids 5 and under are free.
For more info on the Les Schwab Speedway Championships, contact CCR at (775) 882-2460, or CarsonCityRaceway@charter.net.