The season opened for Rattlesnake Raceway with bright LED lights and new look thanks to the direction of Rusty McMillan (pictured ahead of Zach Cail in the 6). The stock car racer leads the non-profit Lahontan Auto Racing Association that operates the dirt track in Fallon, Nevada.
“Rattlesnake Raceway’s revamping is a work in progress,” McMillan, 35, of Fallon, Nevada, said. “[Previous club president] Chris Lumsden did a lot for the track. When he had some health issues, I offered to run the track.”
McMillan brought a new perspective to the club. His résumé includes building two golf courses in Billings, Montana, and constructing ice roads to Prudhoe Bay in northern Alaska. McMillan presently works as a foreman for Campbell Construction Co. in Reno, Nevada.
He convinced the City of Fallon to help upgrade the facility by paying for new LED lighting.
“The City of Fallon saw the effort we were putting into upgrading the raceway, and they wanted to join the effort,” said McMillan. “They paid for the 1,500-watt LED lighting all around the track, and even ran all the wiring for us. The new lighting is a step up from our old 1,000-watt lights and it saves money because it is LED, requiring less power.”
McMillan also enlarged the pit area at Rattlesnake Raceway.
“We needed more room in the pits, so we cleaned up the junkyard and expanded the pit area to accommodate 130 cars,” McMillan said. “We leveled the infield and reworked the track. The city gave us permission to dig new clay from the area of Rattlesnake Pond, which is just down the road.”
The fan experience improved, too.
“We gutted the grandstands and put in all new treads,” said McMillan, “and added a 200-person grandstand in the pits. We laid down more grass in turn one and built up the tailgate area so there is better visibility and more capacity. Now, 2,000 fans can easily see the races from their own vehicle, or by sitting in the grassy area [in turn one] or grandstand.”
For modified driver Dave Sciarroni, the raceway’s improvements did not go unnoticed. McMillan started showing his construction skills by prepping the track midway through the previous season.
“Since the first day [Rusty] started prepping the track, the place has gotten better and better,” Sciarroni, of Reno, Nevada, said. “When we showed up this year, multiple lights had been added and every wall in the facility was painted. The pit area is clean, and the grandstands are new. It put a smile on my face when I drove into the pits for the first race this year. It has already shown to be worthwhile — the car counts have increased and there are more fans. Rusty breathed new life into the Nevada racing scene.”
This year marks the Outside Groove Director of Photography’s 51st year of covering auto racing. Adaskaveg got his start working for track photographer Lloyd Burnham at Connecticut’s Stafford Motor Speedway in 1970. Since then, he’s been a columnist, writer, and photographer, in racing and in mainstream media, for several outlets, including the Journal Inquirer, Boston Herald, Stock Car Racing, and Speedway Illustrated. Among Adaskaveg’s many awards are the 1992 Eastern Motorsport Press Association (EMPA) Ace Lane Photographer of the Year and the 2019 National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) George Cunningham Writer of the Year.