Tuesday, June 4, 2002

Acres Action Sharp And Prompt

Acres Action Sharp And Prompt

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Racing at Redwood Acres was exciting on Saturday, June 1, as the late model tour cars made their first visit to the fast 3/8-paved oval in Eureka, California. Originally, the cars had been scheduled to make a visit earlier in the year; however, the race was rained out. Mike Sackett of Myrtle Point, Oregon took the hard fought victory over Rick Spencer. All of the defending champions of the Acres regular racing action won; Shawn Craig in the real stock division, Shawn Andrews in the sportsman division and Phil Wood in the mini stock class.

The racing action was fast in all of the classes, in fact the entire race time lasted from 7:00 to about 9:45. In the mini stock trophy dash, Wood took the victory over Jason Rhodes and Dan Brown. Jason Chand who was also in the race had motor problems; something that would plague him for the rest of his evening.

Racing action was intense in the heat race. Wood quickly made his way to the front as Rhodes and Troy Boyce attempted to chase him down. Bad luck struck both drivers; on lap 2 Rhodes spun between turns three and four, a lap later in the same part of the track, the same thing happened to Boyce. Boyce was fortunate enough not to loose any positions to cars but he lost a lot of track position to Wood who went unchallenged. Boyce finished second with Mac Collado third.

The 20 lap mini stock main event was fast and furious as Brian Murrell led the field to the green. Soon after, Boyce took the lead and made an attempt to move out to a sizeable lead. That wouldn’t be the case though as Wood made a charge to the front from the back and passed Boyce on lap seven. A few laps later Boyce went into the pits and didn’t return. Wood took the sizeable advantage and won the race over Brown, Rhodes and Collado.

The real stock field was strong again at the Acres. Rick Fox won the trophy dash over Shawn Craig, Donny Hyman and young driver Travis Maytanes. In the first of the three heat races another youngster, Gary Adams fought off a hard charging Marty Walsh. The second heat consisted of a lot of bumping and grinding. On lap 3, Aaron Byers and Mike Peeples made contact resulting in a caution flag. On the restart a tight battle ensued between leader, Chad Gurney, Steve Kimberling and Byers. Gurney held off the challenge for the victory. The third heat was calmer with Doug Way taking the victory over Craig and Fox.

Because of the high car count, a B-main event was held allowing only the top two in the race to transfer to the main event. Adams and Walsh continued their hard fought battle in the first heat with Walsh coming out the victor with Adams taking the second transfer position. The 25 lap main was very exciting as Peeples led the field to the green flag. On lap 6, Bill Middleton spun to bring out the caution. After the restart, Craig who had made his way quickly through the field took the lead. By lap 14, Rick Fox had made the pass for second and set his sights on Craig.

On lap 20 when going into turn three, Peeples blew his motor. Keith Conn and Doug Way hit the oil and hit the wall ending both of their nights. On the restart, Fox applied as much pressure as he could on Craig, trying to force him into making a mistake. Maytanes spun on lap 22 but there was no caution. Shawn Craig took the checkered flag with Fox, Hyman, Walsh and Lissa Uselton behind him.

Defending sportsman track champion, Shawn Andrews took the trophy dash victory over Acres veteran Pat Walsh, sportsman rookie Scotty Turner and second year sportsman driver David Henderson. Angelo Marcelli, Walsh and Andrews were closely contesting the lead in the heat race. Marcelli held off all challenges and took the heat race victory. Rookie Jim Norris led the field to the green flag, disaster struck in turn four on the first lap when rookie Joe McDonald spun. Al Acuna tried to avoid McDonald’s spun vehicle but ended up hitting the wall ending his night of racing. Ed Peters also spun his car but avoided damage to his car.

After a restart, Peters took the early lead. On lap 7, Turner lost his car coming off of turn two. Peters slowed up for the incident but was spun by Walsh also trying to avoid Turner’s car. After a quick restart, Andrews took advantage and passed Norris. He quickly caught up to Walsh and began to make an attempt for the lead. On lap 16, Andrews was successful and passed Walsh. That same lap, Norris lost power and took his car to the pits. Lap 18, Henderson spun but he continued on. Andrews held off Walsh on the restart and took the victory with returning driver Roger Sanderson third and Marcelli fourth.

In late model action, Mike Sackett won the six-lap trophy dash over fan favorite, Jimmy Walker, Mic Moulton and Larry Pries. The heat race was fast as David Miller took the victory over Rick Spencer, Bill Ward and Sackett. The main event action was exciting to say the least as Spencer led the field to the green flag. Paul Peeples who started on the outside got a good start and took the lead going into turn one and led the field for the first twelve laps however on lap thirteen he had car problems and pulled his car into the pits allowing Spencer to take the lead.

On lap 21, Walker pulled his ill handling racecar into the pits and did not return. Sackett made his way to second and began to apply pressure to leader Spencer. Several times Sackett tried to make the pass on Spencer but he couldn’t get the run. The two fought tooth and nail for many, many laps bumper to bumper. Finally on lap 27, Sackett saw his opportunity and took it passing Spencer for the race lead. Though it seemed that he was faster, Sackett didn’t draw a very large lead over Spencer.

As the two hit the “slower” cars Sackett pulled out to a larger margin. Sackett had trouble passing Miller however allowing Spencer to close back up to him. Sackett made the pass with Spencer passing Miller a few laps later. With only a few more circuits left in the race, Pries, Luke Hall and Preston O’Dell were collected in a wreck with Pries suffering the brunt of the damage. Mike Sackett held off the rest of Spencer’s challenges for the lead as he took the victory with Moulton third, Bill Ward fourth and David Miller fifth.