Dave Carlson, Pioche resident, has been racing mini sprints competitively for the last five years. Driving his blue and orange No. 12 car, Carlson’s team, Nevada Outlaws, even own their own track in Ely, where they host other races for other categories, such as the modified car racing circuit. This weekend, they return to their Ely track for the Western Modified Series. Carlson said there will be 40 to 50 modified cars there, with six to eight mini sprints competing.
Carlson says a sprint car is, “a smaller version of the World of Outlaws V8 series in Vegas.” The cars run on a 1,000 cc motor, and says they weigh about the same as a four wheeler, around 800 lbs. With top speeds around 110 to 120 mph, the sprint cars race along dirt tracks, and have only rolled over for Carlson, “a few times,” he says. He said repairs aren’t too bad on the vehicles after a race.
The Nevada Outlaws are just over halfway into their season, and Matt Elmer, also a Pioche resident, is trying to recapture the first place position of the series. Running in the series with Carlson in the No. 55 black and red car for the last four years, Elmer was originally on pit crew. Then knew he wanted to race. Last year, Elmer stayed in first place the whole season, but this year is trailing by 10 points. He’s been racing with Carlson for four years. With three to four races left in the season, which runs from Memorial Day to Labor Day every year, Elmer has to stay on top if he’s to reclaim the honor. “I sure like doing it,” Elmer said.
The remaining races of the series should be held in Ephram, Utah, at the Wild Bill’s Raceway. One of Carlson’s most visited raceways, he says most of the series’ races will be in Utah with a larger number of competitors in the mini sprints. Most racers in Ely, he said, are in stock cars, like the race Carlson hosts this weekend.
But it’s not just Carlson and Elmer doing all the work. They have their own pit crew, alternating between Robbie Hansen, Craig Christiansen, Dale Albrecht a.k.a. Wild Bill, and Matt Fretwell sometimes called Chew Two, all of Pioche. Gary Elmer from Panaca, has pitted a lot of races for the team as well.
It’s not the love of money, victory or fame that keeps this local team running, but the, “love of the sport of racing,” Carlson said.