Monday, September 26, 2005

Linstroth, Shewry and Miller big winners in Eureka

Linstroth, Shewry and Miller big winners in Eureka

By Matthew J. Sullivan

A beautiful weekend ushered in the final race weekend at Redwood Acres Raceway for the 2005 season and it couldn’t have been more beautiful for several drivers. Citrus Heights native, Jay Linstroth took advantage of an outside front row start to dominate the fifty lap feature in the first leg of the Western Modified Nationals, Fortuna resident Glen Shewry ran away from the field in the inaugural sportsman division open race. Jason Belt won the Saturday night feature for the local real stock division while Trevor Miller won Sunday’s main event sealing the division title for himself.

Going into the weekend’s final two points races, three drivers had a chance of winning the title, Miller the points leader, Bill Middleton and Jason Belt. Acres veteran Doug Way grabbed the trophy in Saturday night’s dash over Jim Bailey, Belt and Miller. Barry Barnwell won the first heat followed by Bob Lima, Middleton, Belt and Way while Miller won the second heat with Shane Toole, Ray Demello, Ryan Walters and Troy Wood close behind. Brian Belt and Bryan Murrell lead the twenty car field in the twenty five lap main event. Off the start, Murrell grabbed the lead but by lap two Wood took over the top spot. Points leader Miller spun on lap four relegating him to the back of the field. After the restart, Wood and Walters tussled for the lead while Brian Belt watched the two. On lap twelve, Brian Belt spun resulting in a yellow flag. At this time Wood lead Walters, Jason Belt, Toole and Middleton.

On the restart, the action resumed up front with excellent bumper-to-bumper racing between Wood, Walters and Jason Belt. On lap fifteen, Belt moved his way to the outside and moved by Walters. A lap later, Belt used the same technique to get by Wood for the lead. Walters nabbed second from wood on lap eighteen. The next lap, Wood lost power coming down the front straightaway causing a major jam up but no major incident. By lap twenty, Belt held a sizeable lead over Walters, Toole and Way. Middleton suffered problems in the final laps from fifth and fell back while Miller drove his way to fifth. When the checkered flag flew, it was Belt over Walters, Toole, Way and Miller.

Sunday’s action started off with a trophy dash win for Miller over Way, Bailey and Belt. Jim Redd won the first heat race followed by Miller, Bailey, Toole and Walters while Way won the second head over Belt, Lima, Barnwell and Steve Kimberling. Nineteen cars started the second twenty five lap main event of the weekend lead by Chuck Essex and Rick Stone driving the car normally piloted by Gary Adams. Wood drove his way to the lead early while the field jockeyed for position. On lap three, Fred Taylor and Demello spun resulting in a yellow flag. When the green flew, Wood led Lima, Cecil Arispe, Bailey and Essex.

On lap four, Miller moved into fifth. Meanwhile, Wood and Lima fought for first while Arispe and Bailey fought for third. On lap six, Lima and Arispe spun between turns three and four bringing out another yellow. Arispe drove his car to the pits with a flat tire under the caution. The green flew again with Wood leading Bailey, Miller, Middleton and Essex. Miller got a good start and moved outside and past Bailey on lap six and on lap seven he moved past Wood for the lead. On lap eleven, Middleton got by Bailey and Wood to take the second position while Jason Belt moved his way to the third position. As all this was happening, Miller moved out to a huge lead over Middleton. By lap twenty it was Miller, Middleton and Belt with Way fourth and Toole fifth. Coming down to the finish, Toole and Way battled for fourth with Way eventually getting by. At the race’s end Miller wrapped up the race and the championship over Middleton, Belt, Way and Toole.

The sportsman division held its first annual open race. Glen Shewry won the trophy dash with Phil Wood following while Fergy Ferguson and Larry Pries didn’t finish the four lap race. Shewry won the first heat race over Rick Fox, Marty Walsh, Roger Sanderson and Ferguson earning himself the pole for Sunday’s main event. Aaron Byers won the second heat over Jerry Peterson, Brandon Barnwell, Angelo Marcelli and Shasta Raceway Park late model track champion Jerry Nichols. Sixteen cars started the fifty lap main event. Shewry took the lead off the start over Fox, Walsh, Ferguson and Redding visitor Richie Crowell. On lap six, Sanderson moved his way under Crowell. Coming off turn two, Crowell spun resulting in the yellow flag. Under the yellow, Peterson had mechanical issues and was pushed behind the wall.

On the restart, Shewry and Fox ran away from the pack while Walsh tried to hold off the advances of Ferguson. On lap eleven, Donnie Brown spun for a yellow. When the green came back out, the race went back to where it was before with Shewry maintaining a large lead over Fox while Fox maintained a larger lead over Walsh, Ferguson and everyone else. Ferguson continuously applied pressure on Walsh, giving him several bumps not resulting in anything of consequence. On lap nineteen, Barnwell made a great save as he got loose between turns one and two. As the race wound down, Shewry worked his way through the field while Fox gained little ground. On lap thirty-five, Ferguson finally found a hole under Walsh taking the third spot. It was a freight train behind him as Sanderson, Byers, Barnwell and Wood all got past Walsh. On lap forty-one, Wood spun off turn two but no caution flew. Shewry was held up by slower traffic in the final five laps which allowed Fox to close up but it wasn’t enough as Shewry lead flag-to-flag over Fox, Ferguson, Sanderson and Byers.

Jay Linstroth had fast time honors for the first leg of the three race Western Modified Nationals with a 16.433 qualifying lap. Oregon driver Ken Scales won the trophy dash over Lakeport racer David Sullivan, Anderson racer Guy Young and Linstroth. The first modified heat was won by Lakeport track champion Gary Lowblad followed by Jeremy Ammon, Rick Lavallee, Rob Taguchi and Rick Anderson. Derek Thorn won the second heat and pole honors for Sunday’s race over Linstroth, Tom Berry, Ed Schanuth and Willie Thompson. The third heat was won by Sam Potter with Kelly Peacock, Corey James, Jerry Dubach and Mike Morrisey behind him. B main event honors went to Lowblad while Ammon grabbed the second transfer position.

Thorn and Linstroth lead the twenty-one car field into turn one of the fifty lap main event. Linstroth got the jump on Thorn, drove his car deep into turn one and took the lead. Through the early laps, Linstroth and Thorn ran away from the pack while Schanuth held off Berry and Scales. On lap fifteen, Scales moved outside of Berry and took fourth position. Just after Scales’ pass, Berry suffered problems and pulled his car behind the wall. By lap eighteen, Scales moved past Schanuth for third. On lap twenty, Stan Gunderson spun off turn four bringing out the yellow. The top five on lap twenty was Linstroth, Thorn, Scales, Schanuth and Thompson.

After the restart, Morrisey spun off turn four blocking the track and bringing out the red flag. Fortunately, nobody ran into Morrisey. When the green came back, Scales tried to find a way past Thorn while Linstroth pulled out to a good size margin over the two. Scales finally made his way past Thorn and set his sights on Linstroth for the race lead. As this happened, Sullivan was making a real race out of it for fifth position trying to make the high line work. By lap thirty-five it was Linstroth, Scales, Thorn, Thompson and Richie Potts. On lap forty-two, Thorn’s right front suspension broke forcing him to stop on the track bringing out the yellow flag. This closed up Linstroth and Scales but it wouldn’t be enough. After the final restart, Linstroth pulled away from Scales while Scales pulled away from Thompson, Potts and Sullivan and that was how the race would finish. The second race of the Western Modified Nationals will be held October 7, 8 and 9 at Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson, California.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Brandon wins a thriller over Ferguson and Shewry

Brandon wins a thriller over Ferguson and Shewry

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was an unseasonably cold July night at Redwood Acres Raceway but the weather didn’t seem to affect the drivers in the sportsman, real stock, limited street stock or mini stock divisions as there was great racing all around. Geoff Brandon fought off an ill-handling race car and challenges from Fergy Ferguson and Glen Shewry for another win in the sportsman division. In the real stock division, Bob Lima drove by his teammate Jim Redd and held off Doug Way to win the main event. Joe Bonomini was able to fend of the strength of Jaison Chand and Jerry Peterson to take mini stock main event honors. Unfortunately, impending fog prevented the limited street cars from having their main event race.

Jaison Belt set quick time with a 19.764 in the real stock division which had a seventeen car turnout. Defending division champion Cecil Arispe nabbed the ‘A’ trophy dash win over Belt, Lissa Usselton and Barrett Barnwell while Troy Wood won the ‘B’ dash over Doug Way, Gary Adams and Jim Redd. Jim Bailey won the first heat race over Redd, Barnwell and Uselton while Wood won the second over Belt, Trevor Miller and Way. The twenty-five lap real stock main event was led to the green by Marvin Savage and Redd. The start was short-lived however when Adams lost control of his car, spun on the front stretch and hit the wall. Fortunately no other drivers were involved and Adams was able to continue in the race.

On the restart, Redd grabbed the lead followed by his Rat Pack Racing teammate, Bob Lima. By lap five, it looked to be just a three horse race for the win on this night as it was Redd holding off the faster cars of Lima and Way while Wood and Miller dueled for the fourth position. On lap twelve, Bailey got by Miller for fifth and on the next lap Lima saw his opportunity to get the lead and took it. Redd and Lima raced side-by-side until lap fifteen when Lima took the lead for good. Redd then had to fend off Way’s advances for second while Wood and Bailey continued to fight for fourth position. Redd and Way would swap the second position on a couple of occasions, Way would take the position on lap sixteen, Redd back by on lap eighteen. On lap nineteen, Wood lost control of his car and spun off turn four handing fourth to Bailey. A lap later, Way got back by Redd for second. At the finish it was Lima, Way, Redd, Bailey and Belt.

Fast time in the limited street stock division was set by J.D. Frey with a 17.450. Ken Demello won the trophy dash followed by Frey, Duane Mayo and Kavin Conn. The heat race would be the last event of the night for the division because of the threat of moisture from fog. Frey was able to get by Demello and take the win over Demello, Mayo, Conn and Mike Bradbury who made a return after a long absence from racing.

Jaison Chand set the pace for the mini stock division with a time of 18.639, a tenth and a half faster than the second fastest driver, Joe Bonomini. Chad Grammer, sporting new colors won the trophy dash over Glen Barnald, Brian McIntosh and Scott Baker. Chand moved his way from the back to the front in the first heat race winning over McIntosh, Grammer and Craig Baker while Craig’s brother Scott held off Bonomini, Bernald and Craig Huffman for the second heat race win.

With the addition of late arrival and long-time mini stock veteran Mac Collado, twelve cars took the green in the twenty lap main event. The race’s start saw Grammer take the lead over pole sitter Scott Baker. By lap three, Bonomini had advanced himself into the second position and by lap five he took the lead from Baker with Chand, Grammer and Peterson all able to get by Baker. On lap seven, Chand tried to get by Bonomini on the outside but it didn’t work. Peterson got by Grammer on lap seven as Chand continued to try to get by Bonomini. On lap fifteen, McIntosh pulled his car to the infield with problems and on lap sixteen Craig Baker spun and the caution flag flew. Coming to take the yellow, Bonomini was able to narrowly hold off Chand from taking the lead which proved to be the race winning move.

On lap seventeen restart, Collado lost control of his car and spun on the front stretch resulting in a red flag for his precarious position on the track. He pulled his car off the track for the night. When the green flew again, Bonomini continued to hold off Chand’s advances. Try as he might, Chand could do nothing to get by Bonomini and when the checkered flag flew it was Bonomini, Chand, Peterson, Grammer and Scott Baker the top five finishers.

The sportsman division had an excellent sixteen car turnout for qualifying with Geoff Brandon setting a quick lap of 16.087. The trophy dash had a little more excitement than it probably should have as Fergy Ferguson and Glen Shewry made contact resulting in Shewry hitting the wall. Fortunately both cars were able to return to racing later on. Phil Wood held off Brandon for the win. Brandon Barnwell took the win in the first heat over Al Acuna, Marty Walsh, Brandon and Mark Williams while Aaron Byers ran away from the field in the second heat and won followed by Larry Pries, Donnie Brown, Wood and Rick Fox. Seventeen cars rolled out for the sportsman main event with Pat Walsh arriving late and Mike Peeples being scratched due to an apparent tire issue with track officials. During tire warmups, Fox was black-flagged and unable to take the initial green.

Angelo Marcelli and Frank Billy brought the field to the green flag. Off the start, Billy took the lead while Marty Walsh grabbed second. Marcelli apparently had handling issued and fell back quickly. On lap five the order was Billy, Walsh, Ferguson, Brandon and Wood. On lap six, Brandon took a look on the outside and tried to get past Ferguson. The two dueled for several laps before Brandon took the spot on lap ten. The next lap Brandon powered by Walsh for second. On lap fourteen, Brandon got by Billy on the outside for the lead. Two laps later, Brandon got loose off of turn four and Billy regained the lead from him. Brandon then got by Billy on lap nineteen followed by Ferguson. By lap twenty the top five was composed of Brandon, Ferguson, Billy, Shewry and Wood.

Shewry got by Billy on lap twenty-one and tried to get by Ferguson and Brandon. It was apparent that Brandon’s car wasn’t handling very good and Ferguson filled his mirror, ready to take advantage of any mistake that Brandon would make. On lap twenty-seven, Wood got by Billy for fourth while Pries took advantage and passed Billy for fifth. On lap thirty-one, Pries got by Wood for fourth but it would be too little and too late for his chance to win. When the checkered flag came down it was Geoff Brandon winning a clean and green race over Ferguson, Shewry, Pries and Wood.

The next race is Fan Appreciation night this coming weekend Saturday August 6th at Redwood Acres Raceway. It should be another exciting night of racing in all four divisions.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Brandon sweeps fair races

Brandon sweeps fair races

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Geoff Brandon might want to take a trip to Las Vegas pretty soon because if he is as good at gambling as he is at racing, he’ll win big. That is just what he did both Friday and Saturday nights at Redwood Acres Raceway winning both main events in the sportsman division. Jason Belt won the real stock main event Friday night but his three race winning streak was stopped Saturday thanks to Shane Toole. Jaison Chand won Friday but also had his own two race win streak (three races for his car) come to a halt when Joe Bonomini won on night two. J.D. Frey continued his dominance in the limited street division winning on the first night but coming up short the next night to Adrian Betournay, driving the car normally piloted by his father.

Due to the low car turnout for the limited street stock cars, a trophy dash was not held both nights. J.D. Frey won Friday’s heat race with Kavin Conn, Duane Mayo and Ken Demello behind. In the ten lap main event, Mayo and Conn brought the six car field to the green. Mayo grabbed the lead on the first lap but on the second, Frey took charge taking the lead. After a spin on lap two by Terry Vallee which brought out the yellow, Frey pulled to a comfortable lead and took the win over Demello, Mayo, Conn and Vallee.

Demello held off a furious charge from Frey in Saturday night’s heat race for the win. In the main event, Mayo and Conn paced the field to the green for the second straight night. Unfortunately for Mayo, coming to the green he spun to the infield. Fortunately nobody suffered any damage and the race was able to restart with all six cars that started. On the restart, Vallee hit the front stretch wall hard bringing out the red flag. Vallee was fine but his car wasn’t. When the green came out again, Conn was leading the field. Meanwhile, Adrian Betournay who didn’t make it out Friday was moving himself into position and on lap four he snatched the lead away from Conn. Betournay never looked back taking the win over Demello, Frey, Conn and Mayo.

Jaison Chand continued his winning ways in the trophy dash for the mini stock division in Friday night’s racing action. In the heat race, Craig Baker did an excellent job fending off Chand and Jerry Peterson taking the win. Scott Baker and Chad Grammer lead the ten car field to the green flag in the main event Baker grabbed the lead early while Grammer had issues with his car and went to the pits. Peterson began to apply pressure to Baker while Chand moved his way to the front. On lap four, Chand saw an opening and took it going to the inside and passing Peterson and Baker. That same lap, Joe Bonomini drove his car to the pits. From there on, it was all Jaison Chand as he took the main event win followed by Peterson, Craig Baker, Brian McIntosh and Scott Baker.

Peterson won Saturday night’s trophy dash while Chand took heat race honors. Grammer and Bonomini took the field to the green in the main event. Bonomini nabbed the lead but he and the rest of the field were slowed on lap two due to a caution for debris. When the green flew again, so did Bonomini pulling out to what would be an insurmountable lead. Chand and Peterson were both able to maneuver their way to second and third but it was Joe Bonomini’s night as he cruised to the win followed by Chand, Peterson, Glen Bernald and Grammer.

The real stock division had their usual fine turnout of cars for both nights of racing. Jim Bailey won Friday night’s trophy dash and followed it up with a win in his heat race. Troy Wood also won in his heat. Bill Middleton and Barry Barnwell brought the field to the green in the main. However Middleton spun on the race’s initial start and was sent to the back for causing the caution. When the race resumed Shane Toole inherited the pole and took the lead. It didn’t take long for Bailey to find his way to the front as he grabbed the lead on lap three. Points leader Jason Belt also made his way quickly through the field getting to second by lap seven before a caution between Middleton and Wood brought out the yellow flag. After a few caution flags, Belt settled in and began to pressure Bailey for the lead. His persistence would pay off on lap seventeen in turn three when Bailey’s car bobbled leaving just enough room for Belt to take the position and go on to the win over Bailey, Trevor Miller, Ryan Walters and Middleton.

Wood won Saturday night’s trophy dash while Belt and Arispe both earned heat race winning honors. George Young and Toole took the field to the green flag in the main event and dueled side by side early in the going. Toole pulled his car out to a large lead after an early caution over Redd and Fred Taylor. The big battle was for second all race as Redd tried to fend off the challenges of Bailey and Middleton. Toole was too strong and took the main event win ahead of Middleton, Bailey, Redd and Young. Toole was driving the car normally driven by Bill Bradbury. Due to shoulder surgery for Bradbury, Toole will be driving the vehicle for the rest of the season.

The sportsman division had a stellar turnout of cars for both nights; eighteen for Friday, fourteen for Saturday. Acres veteran Larry Pries won the trophy dash while Frank Billy and Donnie Brown both took heat race wins. Donnie Brown and Phil Wood head the front row positions and lead the field to the green flag in the main event. Wood took the lead from Brown while Geoff Brandon tried to take second. After an early caution involving Brandon Barnwell, Mike Bourbon and visiting driver Dustin Knight, Wood pulled out to a twenty car length lead. On lap eight, Brandon made his way past Brown and set his sights on Wood. As the green flag racing wore on, Wood was able to maintain his distance over Brandon. It wasn’t until Wood got into slower traffic that Brandon really closed the gap.

By lap 22, Brandon was right in Wood’s tire tracks as the two tried to put a lap on Barnwell. Wood followed Barnwell for several laps before getting into the back of him in turn three, sending up a cloud of smoke and dirt. Unfortunately, Pries running third had nowhere to go and hit Barnwell, demolishing his car and ending his racing for the weekend. To Wood’s displeasure, he was sent to the rear of the field but was eventually pushed to the pits for the night. After the restart, the red flag flew when Ken Hallis, Knight, Billy and Mike Peeples were involved in an incident in turn three. The wreck ended the racing weekend for both Hallis and Knight. When the green flag came back, Brandon pulled away to the victory over Hyman, Rick Fox, Aaron Byers and Fergie Ferguson.

Brandon continued his winning ways Saturday night starting with a win in the trophy dash. Brown and Byers each won in their respective heat races and those two were the ones who brought the sportsman division to the green flag in the main event. Byers took charge with the lead while Ferguson and Brandon both were able to get by Hyman. On lap three, Peeples spun collecting Bourbon. Under the yellow, Wood’s drive line decided to leave his car and he was done for the evening. After the restart, Byers did his best to hold off the faster cars of Ferguson and Brandon. On lap ten, Brandon moved his way to the high side of Ferguson, got past him and then on lap twelve he got past Byers for the lead and the eventual race win. Byers was able to hold onto second followed by Ferguson, Brown and Barnwell.

The racing action resumes at Redwood Acres Raceway July 9th with the regular schedule of cars. The racing is sponsored by Sun Valley Floral Farms and is presented by KFMI Power 96.3.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Brandon wins, stretches point lead

Brandon wins, stretches point lead

By Matthew J. Sullivan

In front of a packed house at Redwood Acres Raceway, Geoff Brandon showed why he is the sportsman division point leader at the 3/8 mile paved oval by working his way through traffic and taking the main event win. Jason Belt backed up his win in the real stock main in the previous race with another win. Jaison Chand won the mini stock main, the second win in a row for his car which was driven last race by former Acres mini stock ace, Doug Pulver. J.D. Frey swept all three races for the second straight weekend in the limited street division.

The limited streets had a seven car turnout, but unfortunately the field would be decimated by the night’s end. Frey won the trophy dash over Duane Mayo, Kavin Conn and Richard Betourney. The heat race took two cars out of the night’s action, first Mike Adams on the first lap and later Betourney who made heavy contact with the rear of his car to the front stretch wall. Thankfully, Betourney was able to drive his car to the pits, assuring the fans of his well-being. Frey took the heat race win over Mayo, points leader Ken Demello and Conn. The ten-lap main event turned ugly from the get-go. Demello and Mayo were to pace the field to the green but coming to take the start, Mayo got loose and got into Demello which sent him hard into the front straightaway wall, ending his night. On the restart, Conn and Frey brought the field to the green. Conn tried his best to hold off the clearly faster Frey but it wasn’t enough as Frey took the main event win followed by Conn, Mayo and Mark Burris.

A good field of cars showed up for the mini stock division. Joe Bonomini won the trophy dash over Jerry Peterson, points leader Jaison Chand. David Henderson wrecked in the dash ending his racing for the evening. Bonomini held off Chand in the heat race followed by Peterson and mini stock rookie Craig Huffman. The twenty-five lap heat race was brought to the green flag by Huffman and Brian McIntosh, however McIntosh lost power and the race was restarted with Scott Baker taking McIntosh’s place as outside pole-sitter. On the restart, Baker took the lead over Huffman. On lap two, Peterson showed some muscle and took the lead from Baker and tried to stretch his lead from the rest of the field. Meanwhile, Bonomini and Chand were fighting their way through the field getting to second and third by lap three. A lap later, Chand took over second and tried to run down Peterson.

Chand was slowly reeling in Peterson when the caution flag flew on lap thirteen when McIntosh lost power again and stalled on the front straightaway. On the restart, Chand took advantage of his cooler tires as well as his track position and made a bold move to the inside of Peterson. The best racing for the rest of the main event was between Huffman and Craig Baker who swapped the fourth position several times in the race’s closing laps. Chand won over Peterson, Bonomini, Huffman and Baker.

The real stock division had another solid turnout of cars. Points leader Jason Belt took home trophy dash honors followed by Jim Bailey, Ryan Walters and Lissa Uselton. Bailey won the first heat race ahead of Belt, Trevor Miller and Ray Demello while Troy Wood took the second over Uselton, Cecil Arispe and Walters. The twenty-five lap main event was brought to the green flag by Bill Middleton and Barry Barnwell. Middleton spun between turns one and two and the race was completely restarted, this time with Bill Bradbury taking the pole from Middleton who started at the rear of the field. On the start, Bradbury grabbed the lead. Meanwhile, Bailey was on a charge to the front. He made a daring three-wide move on the outside on lap two and used that momentum to nab the lead from Bradbury by lap three. Belt was also making his way through the field getting by Bradbury on lap four for second.

The race’s first caution came out on lap four when Barnwell spun collecting Uselton. Barnwell was able to bring his car out for a few laps after the incident but Uselton was done for the night. Bailey lead the restart with Belt, Bradbury, Miller and Walters following behind. Walters got an excellent restart and moved into second ahead of Belt. Belt retook the position on lap seven. A lap later, Middleton and Wood spun bringing out the caution flag. After a restart, the yellow came again on lap ten when rookie Brian Belt spun. Flagman Tim McKeown gave Belt the black flag sending him to the pits for the rest of the night. After the restart another caution flew on lap thirteen when Jim Redd and Arispe made contact sending Arispe into a spin. Meanwhile, Bailey still held the lead over Belt, Walters, Miller and Bradbury. On lap seventeen, Bailey bobbled between turns three and four. Belt made a move to the inside and made the pass and went on to win over Bailey, Miller, Walters and Middleton who fought hard from the back to come back to the front of the field.

A strong sixteen sportsman cars arrived at the Acres to put on a show. Donnie Hyman took home the trophy in the dash over Phil Wood, Larry Pries and Geoff Brandon. After some late race contact between Pat Walsh and Donnie Brown, Al Acuna took the first heat race win followed by Hyman, Mike Bourbon and Brown. Rick Fox won the second heat over Angelo Marcelli, Mark Williams and Brandon Barnwell. The thirty lap sportsman main event was lead to the green flag by Williams and Fergy Ferguson who had his car fixed after an incident in his heat race. Williams nabbed the lead from Ferguson and looked to put some space between himself and second spot. On lap five, Barnwell spun in turns three and four causing a huge melee involving Marcelli, Mike Peeples, Brown, Acuna and Walsh. Of those involved, Marcelli suffered the worst damage and was forced to pit for several laps. Pries was sent to the rear of the field for his involvement in the incident.

Williams brought the field to the green followed by class rookie Frank Billy, Hyman, Ferguson and Brandon. On lap eleven, Ferguson got a run on Hyman coming off turn two and passed him towing Brandon and Wood with him. The next lap, Ferguson used the same maneuver to get by Billy with Brandon and Wood continuing to follow in his wake. Lap fifteen, Ferguson made a move to the inside of Williams to get the lead. Brandon continued to follow Ferguson taking the second spot. Brandon began to apply pressure on Ferguson staying in his bumper and rearview mirror as much as possible. On lap seventeen, Pat Walsh pulled his car into the pits and a lap later, Bourbon drove his vehicle to the pits as well. Meanwhile, Brandon continued to pressure Ferguson and on lap twenty-one he made his move for the lead. Wood followed Brandon into second. From there on, it all Brandon as he took the main event win over Wood, Ferguson, Williams and Hyman.

The next races at Redwood Acres Raceway are the fair races Friday June 24 and Saturday the 25. Along with the regular schedule of cars, the North State Challenge Series will be racing both nights as well.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Barnwell holds off Pries, Peeples wins in thrilling fashion

Barnwell holds off Pries, Peeples wins in thrilling fashion

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was the 13th, there was a full moon, mercifully it wasn’t Friday, but that didn’t prevent some craziness from happening Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. With the thunder roadsters back in town, there was a full plate of action for fans, drivers and crew members alike. Brandon Barnwell held off two Acres veterans to claim the Sportsman main event win, while former sportsman runner, Paul Peeples, Jr. won the thrilling roadster main event on the last lap. Bill Bradbury held off all challenges to claim the victory in the real stock main event, and Bryan McIntosh took home the trophy in the crash-marred mini stock main.

The limited street division was out to run, but the car count continued to struggle as only five cars timed in with Orion Mosher setting the fast lap at a 17.253. Adrien Betournay took the dash win over Mosher, Kenny Demello and Trevor Miller who was making his first start in the division. The heat race ended up being the division’s main event as Terry Vallee wasn’t able to make it out. During the race, Miller got sideways off the fourth turn and slammed nose first into the concrete wall. Miller was able to get out of his car, but his car was too heavily damaged to continue. With a two laps left in the 10-lap run, Betournay’s hood came up into his windshield forcing him into the infield. When it was over, Kenny Demello held off Mosher to win.

Craig Baker continued to set the standard in the mini stock division as he clocked in a 19.066 lap. Baker won the dash over Chad Grammer, Stacy Minnick and Scott Baker. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a full night of racing for Craig Baker as he suffered engine problems in the heat. Byron McIntosh took the win in that race over Scott Baker, Bryan McIntosh, Nick Karanopoulos and Minnick. Nine cars started the 25 lap main event with Karanopoulos and Byron McIntosh leading the field to the green flag. Karanopoulos took the lead on the first lap but his time up front would be short-lived. On lap two, Brian Murrell moved his way past Karanopoulos to take the lead. Karanopoulos slotted into the second spot but by the fifth lap he had moved back to the sixth spot as Bryan McIntosh, Scott Baker, Glen Bernald and Grammer all were able to get by him. On lap seven, Byron McIntosh spun off the fourth turn into the infield resulting in a yellow flag.

On the restart, Baker tried to forge his way to the front using the outside line. Unfortunately on the eighth lap in between the first and second turns, Baker got loose and hit the wall slightly bringing out the caution. Baker made his way to the back of the field which at this time was lead by Murrell, Bryan McIntosh, Grammer, Bernald and Karanopoulos. When the green came out again, Murrell stretched his lead while Grammer tried to get by McIntosh. The two raced doorhandle to doorhandle for several laps and were able to close the gap on Murrell. On lap 16, Grammar took the second spot and pulled outside of Murrell to battle for the race lead. On lap 18, Denzel Barrett blew his engine going into the third turn resulting in a small fire under his car. Just as the red flag came out, Murrell spun in the third turn. However, the red flag rules were his savior as he was allowed to keep his race leading position.

The green flag came out again but didn’t last long when Karanopoulos lost his left front wheel in the middle of turns three and four on lap 19 hitting the wall hard. Fortunately he was okay. The green came out once more with Murrell and Grammer continuing their fight for the front position. With two laps to go, Grammer made contact with Murrell in turn two spinning him out. The yellow flag came again with Grammer going to the back of the pack handing the lead over to Bryan McIntosh. It was a green flag, white flag restart with McIntosh leading Bernald and Scott Baker. In turn three on the last lap, Baker and Murrell made contact hitting the third turn wall. It was all in McIntosh’s mirror as he took the win over Bernald, Grammer, Murrell and Baker.

Dan Browne set a very quick 19.070 lap in the real stock division. Ryan Walters won the dash followed by Jim Bailey, Browne and Mike Peeples. Walters followed that up with a win in the first heat over Bill Bradbury, Barry Barnwell, Ray Rapp driving Ray DeMello’s car and Dan Bradbury driving Jim Redd’s car. Unfortunately in the heat, Browne smacked the wall in between the third and fourth turns which hurt his left front, ending his night. Doug Way nabbed the second heat win followed by Peeples, Bailey, Ray Robinson and Troy Wood. 13 cars started the 25 lap main with the front row comprised of Bill Bradbury and Rapp. Rapp got the jump off the start, but Bradbury was able to use the inside line to get by Rapp by the end of the first lap bringing Walters with him. On lap four, Peeples made his way past Walters to take the second spot, however Bradbury had built up a substantial lead over the field. By lap five, the top five was Bradbury, Peeples, Walters, Bailey and Barnwell.

On the eighth lap, Bailey made contact with Walters causing Walters to get loose and lose the position. On lap 11, Way moved his way by Barnwell for the fifth position and set his sights on Walters. On lap 14, Walters got on Bailey’s bumper and repaid the favor from earlier, but Bailey was able to maintain the third position. Four laps later, Walters got by Bailey to take the position. A lap later, Wood made contact with newcomer Nick Green sending Green spinning in the first turn. As he tried to get going, Green’s cooling system failed spilling water on the track and bringing out the yellow flag, much to Bill Bradbury’s dismay as he had built up an insurmountable lead over Peeples. The green came out and Peeples tried to find a way past Bradbury. On the last lap, Peeples tried to use the high line to get by but wasn’t able to get his car to stick as he lost the second spot to Walters. Bradbury crossed the line first to take the win over Walters, Peeples, Bailey and Way. Regrettably, the cars of Walters, Peeples and Way were deemed illegal in post race technical inspection which cancelled out all of their finishes for the night and realigning the top five in the main event, Bradbury, Bailey, Barry Barnwell, Ray Robinson and Dan Bradbury

The thunder roadsters made their second start of the year and had another solid turnout of cars, with a count of 21. Veteran Paul Peeples, Jr. had the fast lap of 17.113. Debut winner David Henderson took the dash win over Peeples, Troy Combs and Mark Arroyo. Peeples grabbed the win in the first heat followed by Rusty Olson, Combs, Ron Rosenthal and Mike Ward while Henderson took the second over Chris Sarvinski, Ray Elliott, Arroyo and Bill O’Neill. Ward and O’Neill shared the front row for the 25 lap main event. When the green flag dropped, Ward took the top spot with Ray Elliott filling the gap in second. On lap three, Elliott spun off the fourth turn sending up a cloud of dust which caught out Dave McMurray who hit the wall bringing out the caution flag.

The green flew for the restart with Ward leading O’Neill, Rosenthal, Combs and Mike Felhouser. Combs moved his way past Rosenthal for third, then by O’Neill for second, then the lead by O’Neill on lap five. On lap eight, Nyle Henderson spun bringing out the yellow. The top five was now Combs, O’Neill, Ward, Rosenthal and Olson. The green flew again with Combs pulling out to a huge lead over the field. On lap 10, Peeples moved into the fifth position. Peeples moved by Ward, then on lap 12 he took the second spot. O’Neill was freight-trained as Olson took third, David Henderson took fourth and Rosenthal took fifth. The front five settled themselves out and it looked as if Combs was going to go unchallenged as he hit slower traffic. Several times, Combs had problems maneuvering past slower cars and with each lap Peeples was able to gain ground. With two laps to go, Peeples was within enough distance to challenge Combs for the lead. On the last lap, the duo was nose to tail, still fighting traffic. Going into the third turn on the final lap, Combs move high to get around a slower car. Unfortunately for him, the slower car moved up allowing Peeples to take the inside line and cross the finish line first. Combs brought his car home second with Olson holding off Henderson for third and Rosenthal taking the fifth finishing spot.

12 cars took clock in the sportsman division, Rick Fox being the fastest with a lap of 16.673. Marty Walsh took the dash win over Fox, Aaron Byers and Brandon Barnwell. Walsh won the first heat over Al Acuna and Jerry Peterson while Angelo Marcelli took the controversial second race which saw contact between Fox and Lissa Uselton. Fox maintained the second position over Byers, Larry Pries and Ken Hallis who arrived after qualifications. Pries and Brown lead the field to the green in the initial start of the 30 lap main event. However, before the lap ended Frank Billy and Fox made contact sending Fox spinning in the third turn. Coming off the fourth corner, Brown spun into the infield hitting one of the Humboldt Towing trucks. Fortunately the damage was minor to Brown’s car and the two truck didn’t appear to have any damage whatsoever.

With Brown going to the rear, Barnwell inherited the outside front row starting position, and when the green came out he took advantage of his opportunity. Going into the first turn, Barnwell took the lead over with Pries slotting behind in second. The field settled out and on lap five it was Barnwell leading Pries, Marcelli, Walsh and Byers. On lap six, Walsh moved to the high line and moved his way past Marcelli the next lap. Meanwhile, Barnwell and Pries were running nose to tail maintaining a comfortable gap over Walsh. Each lap, Walsh gained ground on the front two and by lap 13 he was on Pries’ bumper. On lap 15, Peterson moved by Byers for the fifth position. The battle for second heated up between Pries and Walsh allowing Barnwell to pull out a bigger gap. Walsh had a run inside of Pries on lap 19 but backed off.

On lap 21, Peterson got into the back of Marcelli coming off the fourth corner. Frank Billy spun to avoid Marcelli and the yellow flag came out. Peterson was sent to the rear and the top five was now Barnwell, Pries, Walsh, Acuna and Byers. On the restart, the front trio pulled away from Acuna who had his hands full with Byers. Barnwell’s savior ended up being Walsh who continued to fight Pries for second, allowing Barnwell to race somewhat comfortably. When the checkered flag fell it was Barnwell, Pries, Walsh, Acuna and Byers the top five.

The next race at the Acres is May 20 as the BCRA midgets make their one and only stop to the north coast.

- Notes -

- It was very nice at the track, thankfully there wasn’t a huge wind blowing. It sure got cold though.

- What a shame for Trevor Miller. He finally is able to get out and race and he hits the wall. Hopefully Trevor will be back out soon.

- You have to feel for Troy Combs who lost the roadster main on the last lap. He drove a good race and tried to be as clean as he could with slower cars.

- Hopefully the cars caught up in incidents in the mini stock main will get back out this coming weekend. I hate to see so many cars have problems.

- Brandon Barnwell did a fine job holding off two veteran drivers in Larry Pries and Marty Walsh. It was a nice, clean run between all three.

- Thanks to all who bought tickets in the Chuck Essex raffle. It’s great to hear that Chuck is home. We hope to see you back out soon!

Sunday, May 1, 2005

Brandon makes a big return to the Acres

Brandon makes a big return to the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The race didn’t see its full distance, and the racing action ran right up to the 11:00 sound curfew but none of that mattered to Geoff Brandon, who returned to regular racing action with the first win in the sportsman division of the new season at Redwood Acres Raceway. Brandon had previously ran his number 26 in the same division several years ago but decided to take a break from local racing until now. Defending real stock champion Cecil Arispe served notice to his competition that he would be a force to be reckoned with this season as he ran away from the field for the win. Due to impending bad weather and the time crunch with the visiting North State Challenge Series, the mini stock and limited street stock divisions were not able to hold their respective main events.

The limited street stock class has a seven car turnout with J.D. Fry setting the pace with an 18.142 lap around the 3/8 paved track. Richard Betournay won the trophy dash over Ken DeMello, Fry and Kavin Conn. The heat race saw great action between DeMello and Fry as the two battled each other for the win. Unfortunately as this was going on, on the last lap Duane Mayo blew his engine going into turn one. DeMello made his way though but Fry hit the oil and spun. DeMello took the win over Betournay. Fry was able to recover and finish third, Terry Vallee fourth and Mike Adams fifth.

There was a seven car turnout for qualifying for the mini stock class with Jaison Chand and Glen Bernald missing getting times in. Defending mini stock champion Jerry Peterson set a quick time of 18.911, the only driver to get into the eighteen second bracket. In the trophy dash, Joe Bonomini won a close on over Peterson, class rookie Craig Huffman and Craig Baker. Peterson ran away and hid from the field in the heat race scoring the win over Huffman, Baker, Bonomini and Chand.

The real stock division had a fine turnout of cars with twenty-two showing up for the night. Lissa Usselton set the pace with a solid 20.052 lap for fast time honors. Trevor Miller took the trophy dash with Cecil Arispe, Usselton and Bill Middleton nipping at his heels. Arispe won the first heat over Bill Bradbury and Ryan Walters while in heat two, Ray DeMello won over Miller and Gary Adams.

Rookie Brian Belt received pole honors for the twenty-five lap main event and led the first three laps before the caution flag flew. Under the yellow, Adams was black flagged. Walters took advantage on Belt’s lack of experience on the restart and nabbed the lead away from him. Meanwhile, Arispe had quickly diced his way through traffic and began challenging Walters for the lead on lap four. On lap five, Rick Stone spun on the front stretch and blocked the track. At the same time Arispe made his move for the lead on Walters and got it. The yellow flag came out as Doug Way spun off turn two. Under the yellow the running order was Arispe, Walters, Brian Belt, Middleton and Bradbury.

After the restart, on lap 7 Adams suffered a flat right rear tire and brought his car back into the pits. Meanwhile, Middleton and Jason Belt were moving their way to the front of the field. By lap twelve Middleton was second with Jason Belt following in third, both trying to chase down Arispe. Three laps later, Jason Belt made his move past Middleton and set sail to challenge Arispe for the lead. Lap 19, Adams had problems again and the caution flag flew. On the restart, Jason Belt began to apply pressure on Arispe for the lead and continued to til the end. Unfortunately for Belt it wasn’t enough as Arispe won with Miller third, Middleton fourth and Walters.

The sportsman division had its highest car count in recent memory with fifteen cars taking time and seventeen making the main event. Longtime Acres veteran, Glen Shewry turned in a 16.347 lap for fast time and took the trophy dash win over Larry Pries, Aaron Byers and Al Acuna. Acuna won the first sportsman heat race over Pries and Angelo Marcelli while Fergy Ferguson won the second over Byers and Shewry.

Marty Walsh brought the field to the green flag in the thirty lap main event. The first seven laps turned out some great side-by-side racing for the lead between the front row starters Walsh and Donnie Hyman. For the first seven laps, it was nip and tuck between the two racing cleanly for the lead. The caution flag came out on lap seven when Byers spun. On the restart going into turn one, Walsh and Hyman made contact and spun in front of the field. Pat Walsh, Mike Peeples and Brandon Barnwell all spun to avoid the incident while division rookie Frank Billy climbed the wall in the mix up. Billy was done for the night.

Geoff Brandon inherited the lead and brought the field to the restart over Acuna, Pries, Shewry and Rick Fox. After a lap twelve caution, Pries and Shewry battled for third position while Acuna tried to find a way around Brandon. The red flag came out on lap seventeen when Pat Walsh spun in turn four collecting his son Marty Walsh, along with Byers who rear ended Marty Walsh’s car. After the lengthy cleanup, the field went back to green flag racing. The yellow came out once again on lap twenty three when Barnwell and Hyman made contact with Hyman spinning. When the green came out, Acuna again applied pressure to Brandon but time ran out when Barnwell spun off turn four on lap twenty-nine and lost the entire rear part of his body. Due to the 11:00 curfew, the checkered flag flew under the yellow with Brandon winning, Acuna second, Pries third, Shewry fourth and Fox fifth.

The second race of the season is Saturday May 14. Along with the regular schedule of cars, the BCRA and WMRA midgets will be visiting the Acres.