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.

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