Thursday, August 1, 2002

Spencer holds off Walker to win

Spencer holds off Walker to win

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The late model cars made their fourth visit to the 3/8-mile paved oval in Eureka, California and they didn’t disappoint. Though there was a low turnout of cars there was not at a low level in the action as Rick Spencer held off local favorite, Jimmy Walker to take the win in the main event. In the local action, young Gary Adams took the victory in the popular real stock division. Veteran driver, Pat Walsh, made a bold pass and won the main event in the sportsman division while Phil Wood once again showed his strength in the mini stock division taking home the top honors.

Jaison Chand took the mini stock trophy dash victory over Dan Brown. In the first of the two heat races in the division, Matt Wolfe took the win over Tai Frye who was making his first appearance of the season and Brian Murrell. Phil Wood won the second heat over his season long challengers Jason Rhodes and Chand. In the main event, Wood showed his strength early as he took the lead in the first few laps of the race; a lead he would not relinquish. On lap 3, Rhodes made his way to second and tried to chase down Wood along with Brown and Chand. Wood, was just too strong and he took the victory over Rhodes, Brown and Chand.

Rick Fox broke the real stock track record for the second race in a row with a new fast pace of 19.531. In the trophy dash, Mike Peters won over Dan Maxwell, Shawn Craig and Fox. Craig Huffman won the first of the three heat races for the real stock class over Carl Bowling and Brett Alverson who was driving in Bill Middleton’s car. There was a alarming event in the second heat race when Jimmy Thornbury and Lissa Uselton made contact coming off of turn four. Uselton’s car looked as if it were going to hit the wall severely but fortunately she suffered only minor damage to her right front quarter panel. Thornbury also escaped major damage to his car. James Henry took the win over Travis Maytanes and Ryan Thompson. In the third heat, Rick Fox had radiator troubles. Dan Maxwell won over Fox’s title rival Craig and Donnie Hyman.

Four spots were open for the drivers in the ‘B’ main event to move on to the ‘A’ main. Filling those four places were winner, Huffman, Ryan Walters, Chad Trump and Cecil Arispe. The main event was tempestuous to say the least. Chad Gurney and Uselton led the field to the green flag. A full first lap would not be completed however as a major accident in turn three involving several cars ensued. Among the most heavily damaged were Fite, Fox, Craig, Peters, Curt Vance and Hyman. Under the caution flag, Maxwell and Doug Way had an exchange in which Maxwell spun out Way. Both were black flagged and parked for the evening.

After the restart and a few laps of racing, Uselton spun while trying to pass another car bringing out a caution flag. Fortunately for her, she did not loose a lap and was able to continue on. Once the green fell again, Gary Adams began to show his muscle. On lap 8 Adams took the lead from Aaron Byers. On lap 12, Byers and Dana Porter spun while fighting for second position. That same lap, Maytanes pulled his car into the infield. Under the caution Byers was not pleased with his placement in the lineup for the restart. He showed his discontent and he was black-flagged and parked for the rest of the night.

After another restart, Gurney spun and almost collected Craig who had returned to the track to run for valuable points. The green fell again and Adams pulled away from the rest of the pack. Another incident developed for second between Henry and Mike Peeples. Both spun but the caution flag was not brought out. Adams ran clean the whole night and ended up with the winner’s trophy. Finishing second making a great charge from his win in the ‘B’ main was Huffman, followed by Arispe, Uselton and Fite.

It seemed to be a night for the veterans in the sportsman division as a veteran driver took each victory in the class. Angelo Marcelli won the trophy dash over David Henderson and Pat Walsh. Ed Peters, who had been out of competition for several years, took the heat race win over Walsh and Marcelli. The main event had the most exciting episode in the first corner of the first lap. Peters and Henderson brought the field to the green flag. Going into that first corner, Walsh made a daring move to the inside of Peters and Henderson to make it three wide. Fortunately for everyone, Walsh made it through unscathed in what turned out to be the winning move. On lap two, Peters got loose and spun off of turn two but there wasn‘t a caution flag thrown. Walsh stretched out his lead while Marcelli, Henderson and Scotty Turner tried to chase him down. Henderson had problems on lap 20 and was forced to retire. Walsh held his lead and took the win over Marcelli, Turner and Peters.

In a fight between two Ferndale, California drivers, Larry Pries took the heat race win over Jimmy Walker, Rick Spencer and Shawn Hayes. Pries made the heat race action even more exciting as he took the lead and the victory away from Ed Peters on the last lap over the race. Second was Spencer followed by Hayes and Walker.

Peters and Preston O’Dell brought the field to the green flag in the main event. It was short lived for Peters though who broke on the first lap and was done for the night. On the restart, O’Dell took the early lead. While racing with Pries, Hayes made contact with him and spun Pries out. The caution was thrown and Hayes was sent to the rear of the field. On the restart, O’Dell led over Spencer and Walker. On lap 12, Chuck LaHorgue had problems and went into the pits. Three laps later, Pries spun between turns three and four. Coming to the caution flag, Spencer made a bold pass on O’Dell and took the lead. After a few laps of green racing, O’Dell spun forcing another caution flag.

After the restart, Hayes got loose and spun off of turn four, billowing smoke from his tires trying in vain to save his car. Eureka driver, Jason Winfrey drove into the smoke but didn’t make it through as his front end slammed in to the right front wheel of Hayes car. Both Hayes and Winfrey were done for the night. Walker tried his best to make a move on Spencer. Both had a lot of horsepower down the straight-aways but it was Spencer’s better handling car that helped him hold off Walker for the lead and the eventual victory. Second was Walker followed by O’Dell and Pries.

The next race at the Acres is the regular show of mini stocks, real stocks and sportsman cars on August 17. The late models return two weeks later on August 24.

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