By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Fernley, NV
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Fernley, NV --
A veteran racer from the little town of Trona CA, Chris Smith survived a last lap flat tire as he fended off the challenge of Dean Cichowicz to score the $2000 win in the 30 lap pro stock feature at the $25,000 High Desert Shootout at Reno-Fernley Raceway on Sunday night. A member of a long time racing family, Smith learned his sport at the now closed Pearsonville Speedway and has done much of his recent racing in Victorville CA. Smith won the opening heat race on Saturday night and earned the pole for the 30 lapper when the inversion option came up zero for a third straight year. He led all 30 laps, opening wide margins under green, but the final yellow flag fell on lap 29. As he took the green for this last time, his left front tire went flat. Cichowicz was able to retake second from Yreka’s Leonard Phearson on the restart, but couldn’t find a route around C Smith as he protected his line. C Smith got his biggest career win with fellow front row starter Cichowicz second ahead of Phearson, Al Goss and Medford OR pro stock regular Jim Hill. With nearly 50 cars on hand, Saturday night’s action included five heat races that advanced just ten cars into the 30 lapper. On Sunday, a C Main and a B Main determined the other 12 starters.
C Smith won the first heat on Saturday night ahead of Marysville racer Kevin Pendergrass and Andy Aust, an 8 time winner in Chico CA this summer. Cichowicz outraced Phearson and Pat Couch in heat 2 and Carson City NV veteran Goss won heat 3 over previous week feature winner Randy Reid and Jason Chapman. Oregon’s Hill won heat 4 in front of point runnerup Jim Smith and Joe Specchio Jr. Travis Peterson got the heat five win ahead of Kenny Schmitt’s truck and C Smith travelmate Dave Tompkins. Only the top 2 in each heat advanced, but the third place finishers got the up front starting spots for the 20 lap B Main which transferred 12 cars into the rich A Main. Aust was never headed in the B Main as he won it wire to wire. After a second place run in the 20 lap C Main, David Ellsworth came from 12th to finish second behind Aust. Dennis Ashley also came through the C Main and charged from 14th to finish third. Chapman ran fourth ahead of C Main third place finisher Kevin Mills. Roy Peterson put his truck in sixth ahead of Marysville CA racer Jeff Olschowka and Marysville champion Jerry Bartlett. Bartlett was able to transfer despite heavy contact with the back wall on lap 2. Couch got into the fence in turn 2 when he was passed for second by Chapman on lap 16. Matt Ramthun had put on a show coming from 7th to win the C Main. Mills had taken the lead from Quincy CA star Craig Niemann on lap 2 and set the pace until he was passed by Ramthun on lap 18. Ellsworth also got by to finish second with Mills settling for third ahead of Ashley, Olschowka, Niemann and Phil Shelby. Susanville star Tom Caniff saw his weekend end as David Rausch spun right in front of him on the start. Marysville CA star Chris Warner blew on lap 13 and a smoking Rod Brown had to pit. Both Ramthun and Niemann were early dropouts in the B Main.
C Smith and Cichowicz brought the 22 car A Main field down for the green flag in the 30 lapper, but Cichowicz was slow to get up to speed and he fell back to around 10th as C Smith took a quick lead over Goss, T Peterson and Hill. Nevers made contact with the wall for a lap 2 yellow flag and Reid raced into third on the restart. Cichowicz was back to fifth on lap 5 and he gained fourth with Hill’s spin on lap 6. As C Smith opened a large lead, Reid grabbed second from Goss on lap 8. At the midway mark, Cichowicz retook third from Goss and Phearson was fourth a lap later. Second place Reid began to smoke and Cichowicz was the new race runnerup on lap 19. A spin by T Peterson forced a lap 22 yellow flag and Phearson raced by Reid on the restart for third when Reid slipped slightly into the infield. Phearson began to challenge Cichowicz for second and he made his pass on lap 29. Reid spun to drop out of the top five and he then stalled high in turn 4 to force the lap 29 yellow flag. This set up a one lap restart and Ashley restarted in the rear after pitting. C Smith had his left front tire go flat as he took the final green flag, but he was able to protect his bottom line and the lead. Cichowicz had retaken second from Phearson, but he couldn’t find a way around C Smith on that final round. Phearson ran third with Goss, Hill, Chapman, Smith, Ashley and Ellsworth also on the lead lap. Ashley and Ellsworth had raced all 70 laps that the division put in on Sunday. Aust led the lap down cars ahead of Schmitt’s truck and Mills.
Summary Heat 1-Chris Smith, Kevin Pendergrass, Andy Aust, Erica Harmon, Kevin Mills. Heat 2-Dean Cichowicz, Leonard Phearson, Pat Couch, Jerry Bartlett, Craig Niemann. Heat 3-Al Goss, Randy Reid, Jason Chapman, Roy Peterson, David Rausch. Heat 4-Jim Hill, Jim Smith, Joe Specchio Jr, Craig Eubanks, Ruben McElroy. Heat 5-Travis Peterson, Kenny Schmitt, David Tompkins, Archie Flynn, Jeff Olschowka. C Main-Matt Ramthun, David Ellsworth, Mills, Dennis Ashley, Olschowka, Niemann, Phil Shelby, Mike Calhoun, James King, Gary Nevers, Eddie Levan, Vince Melone. B Main-Aust, Ellsworth, Ashley, Chapman, Mills, R Peterson, Olschowka, Bartlett, Nevers, King, Harmon, Specchio Jr. A Main-C Smith, Cichowicz, Phearson, Goss, Hill, Chapman, Smith, Ashley, Ellsworth, Aust, Schmitt, Mills, R Peterson, Specchio Jr, Nevers, Harmon, T Peterson, Olschowka, Reid, King, Bartlett, Pendergrass.
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