Wednesday, July 17, 2002

A ‘hooked up’ Potts takes the IMCA victory

A ‘hooked up’ Potts takes the IMCA victory

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Making one of two appearances at Redwood Acres Raceway this season, the IMCA Modifieds visited the 3/8 of a mile-paved oval for some hard-charging racing action. Setting a new track record at a 16.465, Petaluma’s Richie Potts started from the back to work his way to the front and to take the victory in the main event. Capitalizing on real stock points leader, Shawn Craig’s misfortunes, Rick Fox took the victory and closed in on the championship leader. After making a bold pass on the outside with a few laps to go, veteran Al Acuna took the sportsman main event victory. In the mini stock class, Jason Chand resolved the motor problems he had been having the past few races and took victory honors in that class.

The limited street stock class made their second appearance at the Acres this season. In the trophy dash, Craig Johnson took the victory over Orion Moshier. The two repeated the process in the main event as Johnson again took the win over Moshier. Due to the low car count, however, the class didn’t run a main event.

Defending mini stock track champion, Phil Wood won the trophy dash over Dan Brown. The heat race action was intense as Chad Grammer, Jaison Rhodes, Wood and Brown battled for the victory. Coming off of turn four on the last lap, Rhodes made an attempt to pass Grammer on the inside. The two touched sending Grammer into the infield and Rhodes to the checkered flag first. Officials ruled that since Rhodes caused the incident he would be placed at the tail end of the finishing order. This gave Wood the victory over Brown, Glenn Bernald and Brian Murrell.

Leading the field to the green in the main event were Murrell and Matt Wolfe. Going into turn one on the start of the race, the two made contact and spun. Both had to start at the rear of the field for initiating the incident. On the restart, Brown took the lead over Rhodes. On lap 7, Wood, who had car problems and was using Grammer’s car, got loose and lost a lot of track position to the leaders. Meanwhile, Brown, Rhodes and Jason Chand were tightly contesting for the lead position.

Wood got loose again in turn 3 and this time lost a few positions. With five laps to go, Rhodes got loose and lost second position to Chand. Chand made a bold attempt to pass Brown on the high side with two laps to go and made it stick as he took the lead and the victory. Second was Brown, third was Rhodes while fourth went to Glen Bernald.

In sportsman competition, long time Acres racer, Angelo took the trophy dash victory over another veteran Al Acuna. In the heat race, Acuna gave the crowd a hint of things to come in the main event as he made a strong pass on the outside of rookie Jim Norris on the last lap of the race to take the victory. Norris and another rookie, Joe McDonald, brought the main event to green. Going into turn 3 on the first lap, David Henderson made contact with Norris. Henderson spun and caused a chain reaction that collected Pat Walsh, Scotty Turner and Acuna. Walsh and Turner weren’t able to return to the race while Acuna suffered only minor damage.

On the restart, McDonald lead over Redding visitor, Kyle Cattanach. The battle for the lead was intense as Cattanach put the pressure on McDonald. Going into turn one halfway through the race, Cattanach made a mistake and got loose. This allowed Acuna, Henderson, and Marcelli to get by. With just a handful of laps to go, Acuna moved to the top groove and made his car stick as he drove past McDonald and began to pull away. Henderson passed McDonald as well did Marcelli but it was too late in the race as Acuna won over Henderson, McDonald and Marcelli. It was determined after the racing action that a few of the sportsman competitors were illegal. Acuna’s victory withheld with second really belonging Marcelli, third Cattanach and fourth Ed Peters.

The real stock division had another great car count. Rick Fox broke the track record setting a new time of 19.566. In the trophy dash, Travis Maytanes took the victory over Shawn Craig by just a bumper. Gary Adams won the first of the three heat races over Ryan Walters and Dana Porter. The second heat was won by Chad Gurney with second going to Hymie Yellon and third place being Steve Kimberling. In the fast heat, Marty Walsh won over Donnie Hyman and Doug Way.

Because of the high car count the division ran a B main event with the top two finishers transferring to the main. Filling those two spots were James Henry and Porter. The real stocks put on yet another awesome main event race. Craig Huffman and Kimberling brought the field to the green flag. On lap 2, Hyman made contact with the turn two wall forcing his night to a close. On the restart, Aaron Byers began to apply pressure on Huffman. Returning driver, Dan Maxwell made a daring attempt going into turn one making it three wide on lap 8. Everybody came out okay with Maxwell leading. On lap 9, Huffman spun coming off of turn two. At the same time, Lissa Uselton spun coming off of the corner. Both lost a lot of track position but didn’t lose a lap.

Fox, who had started at the back of the pack, began to make his presence known. On lap 10 he passed Byers for second. On lap 12, Fox took the lead away from Maxwell. Fox caught a break in the points on lap 13 when his title rival, Craig had an axle brake on the right rear of his car ending his night. On the restart, Maxwell and Walsh spun. Coming to the caution, Maxwell made contact with Kimberling spinning him out. All of the drivers continued on without any major damage. On the restart, Fox led Byers and Way. Fox stretched out his lead and ended up taking the winner’s trophy over Byers, Mike Peters, Way and Walsh.

Long time IMCA veteran Richie Potts showed off his fast car as he set a new track record at Redwood Acres Raceway. In the trophy dash, David Sullivan took the victory over Bill Vance. The first of the two heat races led to misfortune for one driver, Lester Agee who made severe contact with the wall ending all of his racing action for the night. Gary Crawford took the win over Lakeport racer, Bob Strauss and Charlie Krown. In the second heat, Kelly Peacock won over Sullivan, Potts and Vance.

The main event was clean and green from start to finish. Crawford and Lance Walker brought the field to the green flag. Peacock took the lead early. By lap 8 it was Peacock, Krown, Sullivan and Potts who had all ready passed six cars from his last starting position. Potts passed Sullivan and on lap 15 he passed Krown on the inside for second position. On lap 19, Potts took the high line and passed Peacock and stretched out to an insurmountable lead over the rest of the competition. The rest of the race was for second as Peacock tried to hold off Vance and Sullivan. Vance eventually got by Peacock but it was too late in the race as Potts took the victory over Vance, Peacock and Crawford.

Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Fair Night Races Exciting At The Acres

Fair Night Races Exciting At The Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

With a packed grandstand and the fair atmosphere in the air, a nice field of late model cars arrived for two thrilling nights of racing at Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka, California. Night one saw Myrtle Point, Oregon’s Mike Sackett take the main event honors while night two saw another Oregonian, David Miller take the victory and the overall fair race bonus.

Along with the late models, the real stock, mini stock and sportsman divisions showed up for their regular night of racing action. The first race of night one was a prelude of the racing action to come for the next two nights as Rick Fox took the trophy dash victory over Shawn Craig by a bumper. In heat racing action, Jimmy Thornbury, Dana Porter and Donnie Hyman each took the trophies in their respective heat races.

The high turnout of real stocks forced a “B” main event with the top two cars transferring to the main event. Taking those positions were Mike Peeples and Thornbury in that order. The “A” main event action got started with a bang... literally as Keith Conn and Ryan Thompson made contact going into the first turn on the first lap. Chad Gurney trying to avoid the incident spun and Travis Maytanes, who had nowhere to go rammed into the back of Gurney’s car ending the night for both drivers. Fox took his car to the lead after the restart and fought off several challenges from defending champion, Craig, winning the first night of racing for the real stocks. Third was Porter and fourth was Doug Way.

There was a larger field of mini stocks for both nights. In the first night, Jason Rhodes took the trophy dash victory over Phil Wood and Dan Brown. In the heat race, Rhodes and Wood raced wheel-to-wheel in an exciting race which saw Rhodes win again over Wood, this time by about a foot. These two continued their battle into the main event.

Rhodes took the lead on lap one and tried to stretch his lead over the rest of the field. Wood worked his way through traffic and caught up to Rhodes and began to make an attempt to pass him on the outside. Lap 9, Wood took the lead but didn’t pull out to a big margin over Rhodes and Brown who made his way to third. While working traffic on lap 12, Wood lost the lead to Rhodes. By lap 18, however, Wood regained the lead and never looked back taking the victory over Rhodes, Brown and Jerry Shaha who was making his first appearance of the season.

In the sportsman trophy dash, David Henderson took the win over Roger Sanderson and Shawn Andrews. Points leader going into the night, Scotty Turner won the heat race over Pat Walsh and Al Acuna. The main event action was bumper to bumper and rousing to say the least as Walsh and Henderson brought the field to the green flag. Ed Peters, who had been having problems with his car smoking all afternoon pulled his car into the pits and was done for the night. Sanderson and Jacob Winfrey made contact coming off of four early in the race but both continued on. Lap 9, rookie Joe McDonald spun for a caution. On the restart, Walsh continued to hold his lead over Henderson.

Lap 24, Andrews who had been working on passing Sanderson got too aggressive and spun Sanderson off of turn two. Sanderson let Andrews know how he felt about the incident and because of that, Sanderson was given a one lap penalty while Andrews was sent to the rear of the field. After the restart, Henderson tried his best to make a move on Walsh but all attempts were thwarted as Walsh won over Henderson, Angelo Marcelli, and James Norris.

The late model trophy dash was fast as Crescent City driver, Howard Ford took the victory over David Miller, Larry Bayless and Randy Hvall. Roger LaHorgue took the first late model heat race win over Preston O’Dell. Unfortunately, LaHorgue had car problems and didn’t race the rest of the two nights. An accident in the second heat race between Ford and Dennis DelBiaggio took both cars out of racing action for the rest of the weekend. Shawn Hayes of Redding won over Mike Sackett and Miller.

Local favorite, Larry Pries and Sackett led the field to the green flag in the main event. Sackett took the early lead over Pries as the field sorted itself out. Lap 3, Paul Peeples had a motor problem and was done for the night. On lap 7, Hayes spun in turns three and four. After the restart, Sackett stretched out a tremendous lead over the field. On lap 31, Hayes spun in turn 3 while trying to move out of the leaders way. A few laps later, Bill Ward hit the wall coming off turn two. On the same lap, Mic Moulton spun his car in turn four. The rest of the race was clean as Sackett took the victory over Bayless, Miller and Hvall.

The second night of racing was even more exciting. Doug Way took the trophy dash victory in the real stock class over Rick Fox and Travis Maytanes. Mike Peeples, Jimmy Thornbury and Way took the trophies home in the three heat races. The main event action got off to a rough start as Fox had problems with his car going into turn one on the first lap and spun into the infield. Later that same lap, Gary Adams and Way made contact and spun. Adams, who had a flat tire was slow on the inside coming to the caution flag. Behind him came Thornbury who had nowhere to go and rammed into the back of Adams ending the night for both drivers.

After the restart, a battle for the lead ensued between Mike Peeples, Travis Maytanes and Donnie Hyman. Peeples took the lead on lap 19 and looked to stretch his lead over Hyman, Maytanes and Shawn Craig who had moved his way through the field. While working his way through traffic, Peeples was slowed. Hyman took advantage of Peeples’ unfortunate break and took the lead. Craig also took advantage and made his way to second. Hyman took the victory over Craig, Peeples and Maytanes.

Dan Brown took trophy dash honors over Jason Rhodes, Phil Wood and Brian Murrell. In the first of the two mini stock heat races, Chad Grammer held off a hard charge by Mac Collado and Jason Shaha while in the second heat Brown held off Rhodes, Murrell and Matt Wolfe.

Jaison Chand, who had been having motor problems all weekend and Grammer led the field to the green flag in the main event. Wood made a quick charge to the front as he began to chase down Chand. Shaha began to leak fluid on the track and a yellow flag was thrown to check his car as well as the track for any fluids. After the restart, Wood again made a challenge on Chand and by lap 11 he took the lead. Lap 17, Collado who had been making a strong charge through the field lost his power plant and pulled his car into the infield. Wood took the victory over Rhodes, Brown and Chand.

Scotty Turner won the sportsman trophy dash. Second was Shawn Andrews followed by David Henderson and Pat Walsh. Roger Sanderson took the heat race win over James Norris, Al Acuna and Angelo Marcelli. Joe McDonald and Sanderson led the field in the main event. Early, Acuna and Sanderson made contact in turn three resulting in a caution. After a lap five restart, Andrews took advantage of cool tires and after several attempts at passing leader Norris he took the lead on lap 10. On lap 15, Acuna and Sanderson again made contact. Acuna was black flagged and done for the night. Andrews went unchallenged for the rest of the race as he took the victory over Norris, Henderson and Walsh.

The late model trophy dash was fast. Randy Hvall won it over Bill Ward, Larry Pries and Mike Sackett. The most exciting event happened in the first of the two heat races when Shawn Hayes and Luke Hall made contact in turn 3. Hayes car climbed over the hood of Hall and flipped over Hayes’ car. Hayes clambered out of the car uninjured. To his delight, his car suffered only slight body damage and he was able to make it back out for the main event.

Fan favorite, Jimmy Walker, who had been having problems with his car all weekend, took the victory over Ron Peters, Preston O’Dell and Mic Moulton. Walker did not make a qualifying attempt earlier in the day has he and his crew took the car back to the shop for an engine change. The second heat race had it’s share of the action as well as Larry Bayless and David Miller made contact coming off of turn two. Mike Sackett ran into the back of Randy Hvall trying to avoid the incident and tore up the whole front wrap of his car. On lap 9 of the 10 lap race, Miller made a bold pass on the outside of Eric Graham going into turn one and took the victory over Hvall, Graham and Rick Spencer.

Miller and Spencer brought the field to the green flag in the main event. Miller took the advantage as Spencer fell in behind him. On lap 16, Hall and Pat Walsh, who was running in the late model class as well made contact in the backstretch. Both cars slid onto the track in turn three but nobody was damaged. At the same time, Walker broke a rear-end and made contact with the wall going into turn 3. A few laps later, O’Dell spun in turn one from some fluid that Walker had left on the racetrack as a result of his problem.

After the restart, Spencer again tried to put the pressure to Miller. On lap 31, Graham got into the wall. Once the field got going again, Sackett passed Ward on lap 36 after a long battle with him. A few laps later, Pries moved Ward out of his way for position. On lap 47, Sackett passed Hvall for third. Two laps later, Ward went into the pits. With five laps to go in the sixty-lap feature, Moulton and O’Dell made contact resulting in Moulton hitting the wall in turn 3.

Miller got a good jump on the field on the restart as Spencer tried to hold off Sackett for the second spot. On the last lap coming off of turn two, Sackett got loose trying to get under Spencer. When Sackett lifted off of the throttle to save his car, Hvall got into the back of him and sent him into the infield. Sackett came through the infield and back onto the track on the front straightaway, luckily with nobody hitting him. Miller took the victory over Spencer, Hvall and Pries.