Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Surprise winner at the Acres

Surprise winner at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

In only his second race in the sportsman division at Redwood Acres Raceway, Jim Norris won his first ever main event win by avoiding a late race tangle between Acres veteran, Angelo Marcelli and second year sportsman driver, David Henderson. Mike Peters made his way through heavy traffic in the real stock class to claim the victory while Jaison Chand scored his first victory of the season in mini stock action.

A close battle in the mini stock trophy dash saw Chand and defending champion, Phil Wood battle hard for the four-lap race. In the end, however, Chand took the victory over Wood and Ron Miller in his “Cow Car.” The heat race action was tight as well and again Wood and Chand battled hard for the top spot. This time Wood took the victory over Chand and Mac Collado. The first two races were a prelude to the 20-lap main event as Miller and Brian Murrell led the field to the green flag.

Going into turn one, Miller took the lead but by the end of lap one it was Chand who took command of the race followed by Collado. After a lap six caution flag a tight battle between Collado and Wood ensued that lasted until a caution flag flew on lap 14 when Chad Grammer and Murrell made contact between turns three and four. During the caution, Wood made a visit to the pits to correct his ill handling racecar. On the restart, Chand pulled out to a sizeable lead as Collado and Jason Rhodes battled for the second spot. At the checkered flag, Chand was the victor followed by Collado, Rhodes and Wood.

The real stock division again had quite a large turnout of cars with 18. In the trophy dash, Marty Walsh took the victory over defending points champion Shawn Craig. In the first of the three heat races, Gary Adams came from the back to the front to take the victory after taking the lead on the white flag lap. Behind him were Chad Trump and Chad Gurney.

The second race was even more exciting as Ron Peters forced his car past Doug Way on the last lap coming off of turn four. Third was Bill Middleton and fourth was James Henry. The action was tight in the third heat as Aaron Byers and Goinn paced the field. On lap four, Walsh spun but kept a yellow flag from coming by getting back into the action. On lap 6, Rick Fox took the lead and never looked back to claim the victory over Craig, Donnie Hyman and Byers.

Because of the high car count, a ten lap B-Main event was run with the top two finishers transferring to the main event. Taking those two positions were Adams and Craig Hoffmann. The main event was exciting as Middleton and Craig Baker led the field to the green flag. By lap two, Way led. On the same lap, Hoffmann, Craig and Walsh made contact resulting with Craig not returning to the racing action.

After the restart, Fox took the lead. On lap eight, Peters took second and began to close in on Fox and eventually he took the lead. On lap 13, Goinn spun in turn three. Under the caution flag, Mark Williams made a pit stop as well as Fox. Peters went on to take the victory over Travis Maytanes who fought hard for his second place finish with Walsh whom placed third.

Coming off of his great victory of the last race, Al Acuna used won the sportsman trophy dash over David Henderson and Shawn Andrews. Angelo Marcelli and Ronnie O’Neill paced the field in the heat race. Marcelli took the lead going into turn one and never looked back as he went on to the victory over Scotty Turner and Henderson.

The thirty lap main was close and tight as Marcelli and Jacob Winfrey led the field to the green flag. Marcelli took control of the lead as the rest of the field jockeyed for position. On lap 5, defending sportsman track champion, Shawn Andrews and veteran Pat Walsh tangled with Walsh spinning. Andrews was sent to the back and the field regrouped and took the restart.

On the restart, Turner got loose and lost several positions. The next lap, rookie Joe McDonald and Walsh tangled resulting in another caution. Under the caution, Andrews pulled his car into the pits and did not return for the rest of the action. The racing resumed again as Marcelli and Acuna fought in what was a repeat of the last race at the 3/8 mile paved oval. On lap 21, Henderson made a move under Acuna and took second position. After two more laps a caution flag was thrown when track officials noticed that Acuna was leaking water. He pulled his car into the pits and did not return.

After a restart, on lap 25 Turner and Winfrey made contact. The black flag was given to Winfrey and he pulled his car off of the track. With cool tires, on the restart Henderson took advantage and made a move on Marcelli coming off of turn two with two laps to go. Going into turn three, the two made contact, Marcelli hitting the wall with his rear end and Henderson continuing on. From third place came Jim Norris who patiently had bided his time and avoided all of the incidents. He avoided the Marcelli-Henderson incident and passed Henderson coming to the white flag and onto the victory. Second was Turner with Henderson and returning driver Ed Peters in fourth.