Tuesday, October 8, 2002

Binns bags IMCA win

Binns bags IMCA win

By Matthew J. Sullivan

An exciting conclusion to the season at Redwood Acres Raceway happened in the featured IMCA modified event between Bill Binns and Gary Lowblad with Binns taking the feature victory. Also visiting the Acres were the NCI-4 modifieds. In their main event, the 4 brought home the main event victory. In real stock action, Rick Fox took the victory home in the first day’s action while on the second day, Jimmy Thornbury won after finishing behind two cars that were later deemed illegal. In the sportsman division, David Henderson took his first ever main event win. Phil Wood continued his dominance in the mini stock division winning all five races that were held for the class on the weekend.

On the first night of mini stock action, Phil Wood won the trophy dash over title rival Jason Rhodes. In the heat race, Rhodes had big trouble as going into turn one on the outside of Matt Wolf as Wolf got loose and collected Rhodes car. Both cars hit the wall with Rhodes’ car ending up sitting on the wall itself. Thankfully, neither car was damaged severely and both were able to continue for the rest of the events. Wood took the victory over Rhodes, Brian Murrell and Joe McDonald Senior.

Wolfe and Rhodes brought the field to the green flag in the first of the weekends two main events for the mini stocks. Within a mere two laps though, Wood had taken his car to the lead. An unfortunate incident happened coming off of turn four on the second lap when Murrell, McDonald and Tosh Frye were collected in a wreck that forced Frye out of action. After the restart, it was smooth sailing for Wood as he took the win over Rhodes, Wolf and Chad Grammer.

The second day seemed to be a mirror image as the first, at least as far as whom the winner was. In the heat race Wood won over Rhodes, Wolf and McDonald. In the main, Rhodes took the early advantage over the field and ran away with the lead. By lap five, Wood had moved his way into second and he began to slowly chip away at Rhodes’ lead.

With five laps to go, Wood began to close in fast. With three laps remaining, Rhodes ran into the slower car of Grammer. Wood took advantage and closed on the back of Rhodes’ car. With one lap to go, coming off of turn two, Rhodes made an outside move on Grammer. Wood found enough room in the bottom lane and made a brilliant pass by both Grammer and Rhodes. Mini stock champion, Phil Wood continued his dominance on the weekend taking home trophy number five over five time runner up Rhodes, Murrell and McDonald.

In the sportsman division trophy dash, Roger Sanderson took the win over David Henderson, Al Acuna and Shawn Andrews. In the heat race, Pat Walsh held off a hard charging Sanderson to win with Acuna and Henderson following closely behind. With the sunshine on the track Sunday, Walsh and Sanderson led the field to the green flag.

Walsh held the lead early but didn’t run away from Sanderson or the rest of the field. Sanderson kept the pressure on Walsh’s bumper and on lap 10 he made his way past Walsh. Henderson and Acuna took advantage of Walsh running the high line and moved past him as well. On lap 19, Mike Marcelli, driving the car normally piloted by his father, sportsman division champion, Angelo, spun resulting in the caution flag. It was deemed that Andrews had spun out Marcelli and he was sent to the back. After the restart, on lap 21 Jim Norris got loose off of turn two. As he corrected his car, it went into back straightaway wall. Henderson took advantage of Sanderson on the resulting restart and took the lead on the green flag. Sanderson kept the pressure on Henderson but could not make a move. When the checkered flag fell it was David Henderson taking home top honors over Sanderson, Acuna and Walsh.

The NCI-4 modifieds made a stop at Redwood Acres Raceway for a fourth time. In the trophy dash, Jerry Shaha won over John Barker and Phil Wood who had taken off the front fenders of his car to compete in the division. Shaha won again in the heat race with Cody Barba and Wood behind him. On Sunday’s main event, Brian Murrell and Robbie Robinson led the field to the green flag. Robinson took the early advantage while Barba followed behind him in second. By lap 7, Barker had moved his way past Barba into second position. A lap later he passed Robinson and set sail to the checkered flag. Shaha moved to third on lap 16 but that was the best that he could do as Barker took home the win over Robinson, Shaha and Barba.

The real stock division once again put on a fine show for the fans. In the trophy dash, Mike Peeples took the win over Donnie Hyman, real stock champion Rick Fox and Doug Way. In the first of the nights two heat races, Jeff Neely won over Chad Gurney and Hymie Yellon. Peeples won the second heat with Gary Adams and Fox in hot pursuit.

Bill Middleton and Yellon led the field to the green flag. Middleton took the early lead. On lap 4, Mike Peters made his way past Middleton into the top position. A lap later Middleton hit the wall. At the same time, Gurney spun on the backstretch collecting Cecil Arispe. When the green flew again, Craig Huffman spun but no caution resulted. On lap 9, Steve Kimberling got hit and spun out resulting in another caution flag.

When the field took the green flag again the order was Peters, Aaron Byers, Yellon, Fox and Lissa Uselton. Fox took third on lap 10 and two laps later he took the second position away from Byers. Lap 15 saw Peters try to fend off the car of Rick Fox. After a three-lap duel between the two, Fox took the lead away. On lap 22, Peeples and Neely who had made their way through the field challenged Peters for second. Fox took home the win over Peeples, Neely, Peters and Byers.

On Sunday’s heat races, Mike Peters took the win in his heat followed by Neely, Huffman and C.J. Bowling. In the second heat, Jimmy Thornbury held off Byers, Peeples and Hyman. Chad Trump and Ryan Thompson brought the main event to the green flag. Thompson took the lead and tried to put some distance between him and the rest of the field. On lap 6, Peters and Byers spun and blocked the track coming off of turn four resulting in a red flag.

After the restart, Trump tried to apply some pressure to Thompson. Thornbury took the second position away from Trump on lap 10. Meanwhile, Peeples began to make his presence known. Within a matter of a few laps, he moved from fourth, to third, to second and then to first. On lap 23, Neely and Hyman made contact going into turn one and both went into the wall. After the restart it was clear sailing for Peeples as he took the checkered flag over Thompson, Thornbury, Adams and Byers. After the race, it was determined that both Peeples and Thompson’s cars were illegal and the official victory went to Jimmy Thornbury.

The IMCA modifieds had center stage for the two-day event. David Sullivan won the trophy dash over Cottonwood’s Randy Houston, Bill Binns, and Kelly Peacock. In the first heat race, Todd Coburn took the victory over Erv Pettinger and Willie Thompson. Gary Lowblad won the second heat over Ken Scales. Lowblad and Scales brought Sunday’s main event to the green flag. Lowblad took the lead over Clarence Reddick.

On lap 6, Joshua Dorman cut a tire and stopped between turns three and four resulting in the first caution flag. A battle between Lowblad and Reddick ensued for the lead. Lap 11, Derrick Crayford spun out for a caution. On the restart, Lowblad and Reddick continued their duel for the lead. Meanwhile, Houston, who had moved into the third position began to challenge Reddick for the second place slot.

Ken Scales spun coming off of turn four. Behind him, several cars tangled in a huge wreck ending the day for all of them. Under the caution, Alton Whetstone had problems and pulled his car into the infield. When the green came again it was still Lowblad leading with Houston second. Houston had taken the position while coming to the caution. Houston made several attempts to pass Lowblad and at one point had good position on his inside but couldn’t make it stick.

On lap 56, Allen Gibney lost his engine coming off of the fourth corner. Behind him, several cars got into his oil and spun most notably, Houston, Reddick and David Furia. The positions behind Lowblad shuffled with Bill Binns in second followed by Sullivan and Bob Strauss. With a slick track and a slightly ill handling Lowblad car, Binns took his chance after the restart. The two raced side by side for two laps, almost touching wheels in the corners. Lowblad held Binns tight on the inside but couldn’t hold him off as Binns took the lead away. When the checkered flag fell, it was Binns with the win followed by Lowblad and Strauss.