Time to look back at this year’s oval track season as we get ready for the New Year and the 2017 season.
The Oval Track Season Review highlights months of hard racing for championships. It was a season that saw a new series, a class coming back from near extinction, one track being brought back to life and maybe the departure of another.
It certainly wasn’t a dull year.
Topping the list is of achievements is IMSA racer Cory Sample. His year ended with at least three track championships, the Iron Man title, the western regional title and being runner up in the national title.
For a western-based IMCA racer this is a incredible feat. And during this effort he scored his 100th IMCA Modified victory in a very close race.
To do this he and his father put on several thousand miles during the season and their efforts brought home a bunch of trophies.
The new series was the Evenson Law Office Iron Man, which consisted of two classes, IMCA and Hobby Stocks that raced 10 times over a 10-day period at five different tracks.
While Sample was the IMCA champ veteran Hobby Stock racer Bob Vaden earned that title.
Last year the Nevada Pro Stock Association breathed life into this almost extinct division. All of its racers were held at Fernley 95A Speedway in 2015.
Promoter Gordon Russell expanded it this past season and even helped open a long dormant track. All the races paid $1,000 to win and this helped to insure some pretty good fields.
After Robert Miller won the first one Scotty Slatter brought Gene Kay out of retirement and put him in his car. Now the rest is history as this pair dominated the series.
I understand that winning racer might be up for sale.
Next year the series will expand again and even head north to host a race at the track in Cedarville, California. Should be a banner 2017 for the Pro Stocks.
Years ago Hawthorne Speedway went dark. This past year it was brought back to life and hosted one of the opening rounds of the Iron Man series.
While their season was short this bodes well for next year.
Another track with a shortened season was Lovelock Speedway. Here again the Iron Man series made a two-day stop insuring good car counts.
And this is the only track that usually runs sprint cars. But this season only two championships were up for grabs and Sample took the IMCA one while Robert Shank was the Hobby Stock champion.
Rattlesnake Raceway had an action packed 2016 as their program includes Outlaw Karts as well as the Mad Metal Mud Drag Races on selected weekends.
And this year their season ended with a pair of two-day shows as well as the traditional Kris Kringle charity race that helps the track donate toys to needy families.
When the dust settled at the end of this season Cory Sample scored another of the three track championships he won in 2016 and on July 4th earned his 100th IMCA victory. On that day he also clinched the title in the first Evenson Law Office Ironman series.
Chris Jimenez was the Mini Stock champion while Dennis Crook took the Mod Mini title. Coming back to defend his title was Dave Ausano.
In the Rattlesnake Outlaw Kart series they don’t award points to the Beginner Class. For these youngsters just finishing a race is like winning as they are all earning their racing spurs.
Brysyn Simeral is the 2016 Box Stock champion while Jacob Dias took the 250cc class and Chris Annas won the 500cc title.
Look for all these classes to return next year and some of the beginner kart drivers will be moving up to the next class.
American Valley Speedway, down in Quincy, California is going strong, especially since Promoter Curt Nieman added new clay to the track before the season began.
The season featured several IMCA races where the winner got $1,000. Local resident Jeff Olschowka won most of those big payouts. But when the dust settled Chris Nieman is the IMCA champion with Ryan Spencer taking Sport Mod honors, Jared Morris topped the Hobby Stock field and Lary Whitebird won the Mini Stock crown.
Fernley 95A Speedway also hosted two Iron Man rounds as well as a couple of the NPSA rounds.
Sadly the car counts have been dropping over the past few seasons so the track ended its season in mid-September and didn’t even have an awards banquet. And the traditional two-day shootout was canceled although Rattlesnake picked up that event.
Cory Sample won another of his track championships here while Rick Miller was the Street Stock champion. Derrick Rauscher was the track’s Pro Stock champion, Joe Frock dominated the Dwarf Car class and Jesse James won the Super Stock 4 division.
There was no pure stock title winner as they were added to the SS4 class.
Currently it’s not known if 95A Speedway will host racing or not in 2017. Rumors are they’ll only host a few special events but those have yet to be announced.
As a result we might be saying good-by to the longest dirt track in our area.
Currently schedules are being worked on for 2017, the Iron Man series might or might not be extended to even more tracks and races while the Northern Nevada Pro Stock Association has already lined up a bunch of sponsors, tracks and is ready to go.
So beginning in late March dirt will be flying again as drivers and crews take to the tracks once again.
REPORTERS NOTE: There is a champion’s photo gallery at the end of this article.
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