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.