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.

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