Sunday, September 24, 2006

Thompson wins wire-to-wire, Henderson, Bradbury lock up titles

Thompson wins wire-to-wire, Henderson, Bradbury lock up titles

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The end of a thrilling 2006 racing season at the Redwood Acres Raceway came Friday and Saturday night at the 3/8 mile paved oval. Joining the real stocks and thunder roadsters for the final weekend of action were the I.M.C.A. modified cars. Oregonian Willie Thompson took full advantage of his pole position and lead wire-to-wire in a clean and green modified main event. Troy Combs took the win in the thunder roadster main event, however David Henderson held a big enough advantage over Combs in points to take the championship. The real stocks held two main events, one for each night. Jim Bailey won on the first night while Steve Kimberling won on night two. Bill Bradbury comfortably won the 2006 real stock points title.

In what has seemed to be the norm for the real stock division this season, Ryan Walters had the quickest lap in qualifying turning a 19.414 lap. Bill Middleton won the dash over Dan Browne, Jim Bailey and Walters. Troy Wood won the first heat race followed by Steve Kimberling, Browne, Middleton and Jason Belt. Ryan Robinson won the second heat with Bailey, Barry Barnwell, Bill Bradbury and Jim Redd completing the top five.

18 cars started the 25-lap main event with the field brought to the green flag by Belt and Redd. Going into the first turn, Redd held the advantage over Belt. Doug Way spun in turn two on the first lap but didn’t bring out a yellow. Coming off of turn four on the first lap, Belt was able to move by Redd to take the lead. On lap three, Middleton took his car to the pits putting him out of contention. Lap four saw Barnwell move inside of Redd for second. That same lap, Robinson spun off turn four blocking most of the front straightaway. Kelly McBride, with nowhere to go hit Robinson in the right rear bringing out the red flag. Amazingly Robinson was able to continue, while McBride’s front end necessitated repairs that would keep him out for the rest of the night.

With the red flag being displayed, the field reverted to the previous lap of running which set Belt in the lead followed by Redd, Barnwell, Kimberling and Bob Lima. On the restart, Barnwell spun off the second turn, losing his third position. On lap 8, Bradbury moved into the fifth position. On lap 10, Redd began to drag bodywork. The yellow came out for debris the next lap. Redd went to the pits changing the top five order to Belt, Kimberling, Lima, Bailey and Bradbury.

The restart came and Bailey took advantage of cooler tires and the bunched up field. On lap 13 he moved outside and by Lima. The next lap, Bailey used the same move to get by Kimberling for second. On lap 16, Bailey moved to the outside of Belt but couldn’t get the grip he needed to get by. At the same time, Lima moved inside and by Kimberling for third. Bailey moved back to Belt’s outside on lap 18 and the two raced side-by-side for the lead. On lap 21 Bailey held the advantage but Belt fought back and was able to use lap traffic to retake the lead. Lima was able to move into second, but Bailey retook the position on lap 22 going into the third turn. Bailey tried his best to close the gap on Belt the final two laps but couldn’t muster enough strength as Belt crossed the line first over Belt, Lima, Bradbury and Browne. However in post race inspection, Belt’s car did not pass awarding the win to Bailey.

Saturday night’s action started off with an unfortunate incident for Ryan Walters during practice. Walter’s right front wheel came loose sending him hard into the turn two water barrels entering pit road. Fortunately Walters okay but his car was beyond repair. Dan Browne won the trophy dash over Jim Bailey, Bill Middleton and Bill Bradbury. The first of the two heat races started off with a scary incident involving Dana DeVane and Doug Way. Track workers had to use the jaws of life to extract DeVane out of her car. Thankfully, DeVane was awake and alert and track and medical officials were being cautious in taking her out of the car. Browne won the heat over Middleton, Bob Lima, Chuck Essex and Steve Kimberling. Bradbury took the second over Bailey, Ryan Robinson, Jim Redd and Barry Barnwell.

The 25-lap main with a depleted 12 car field was lead to the green fittingly by Nick Green and Barnwell. Green’s car started off the pace giving the lead to Barnwell over Robinson, Wood, Redd and Browne. On lap two, Browne made contact with Redd off turn two sending Redd into the infield. Browne moved to the back of the pack and the field went to back to green. Robinson spun off the second turn on his own, but the yellow didn’t come out. On lap four, Lima moved by Bradbury for fifth going into the first turn. Bradbury retook the position going into the third turn on the same lap. On lap five, Wood moved outside of Barnwell for the lead. Bradbury spun off the second collecting Redd and bringing out the yellow flag.

Lima was moved to the back of the pack changing the top five to Barnwell, Wood, Kimberling, Bailey and Essex. The green flag flew once again with Browne taking advantage and moving by Essex for fifth. On lap 9, Wood and Barnwell made contact bringing out the yellow. However, officials deemed Bailey responsible for the incident sending him to the rear of the field. Through all the confusion, Kimberling was now the leader over Wood, Browne, Essex and Robinson. The green flew for the final time with Kimberling looking to hold on and take his first main event win.

On lap 10, Browne moved outside of Wood for second but couldn’t get by. Three laps later, Browne moved to Wood’s inside to take the second position. On lap 14, Robinson moved outside of Essex for fourth, taking the position the next lap. Meanwhile Bailey was on a tear through the field, following Robinson past Essex. In the meantime, Kimberling held a comfortable 10-car length gap over second place Browne.

On lap 17, Bailey moved outside Robinson for fourth, taking the spot going into the third turn on lap 18. On lap 21, Bailey moved inside and past Wood for third. Meanwhile Browne was quickly closing the gap on Kimberling. With one lap to go, Browne closed to within five car lengths. Coming off the fourth turn the gap was closed to within one car length, but the margin was more than enough for Steve Kimberling as he was able to score his first ever main event victory. Browne, Bailey, Wood and Robinson rounded out the top five finishers.

The thunder roadster division had three visiting drivers making long tows to race. Included were Ed Hohman from Las Vegas along with Tryan Stutes and Luis Garcia from Texas. Rusty Olson set quick time with a 17.074 lap. The action in the trophy dash got a bit too wild between Troy Combs and Randy Olson with Olson suffering irreparable damage. Paul Peeples, Jr. was awarded the win. The heat races were 25-lap affairs with Chris Banfill winning the first over Hohman, Ron Rosenthal, Ray Elliott and Mike Ward. David Henderson won the second over Peeples, Jr. Randy Olson who was driving a Bill O’Neill car, Combs and LeRoy Marsh, Jr.

Marsh and Ward comprised the front tow for the 24 car 50-lap feature. Marsh was able to grab the early lead with Combs following in second, Randy Olson third and Peeples fourth. On lap two, Henderson looked inside of Peeples for fourth but didn’t have the line. With Henderson’s momentum broke, Rusty Olson moved outside and past Henderson on lap three. The front trio of Marsh, Combs and Randy Olson pulled away as the field settled and stretched out. Combs looked outside of Marsh on lap 10 but couldn’t find the room. On lap 14, Combs looked inside of Marsh but again Marsh held him off.

When the leaders hit slower traffic on lap 15, the racing really got intense. Combs moved to Marsh’s outside while Olson filled the gap behind Marsh. Olson moved inside of Combs on lap 18, but Combs was able to get back to Marsh’s outside on lap 20. Marsh got loose off turn four on lap 21 allowing Combs to take the lead. While the Marsh and Randy Olson continued to maneuver through traffic, Peeples and Rusty Olson began to close in. Combs began to fight heavier traffic giving Marsh and Randy Olson a chance to close while Peeples and Rusty Olson fought slower cars.

The yellow flag came out on lap 30 when Chris Lawrence and Jay Bahner had a meeting in turn four. The field bunched up and the green came out once again. On lap 32, Marsh got loose off the fourth turn, but he was able to hold on. Peeples looked to Randy Olson’s inside on lap 35 but couldn’t make the move. Three laps later, Randy Olson was finally able to get inside Marsh completing the pass off the second turn. Peeples was able to follow through. Combs had a 8-car length gap but the gap shrank when he got into slower traffic. With three laps to go, Olson was able to get on Combs’ bumper. That same lap, Henderson moved by Rusty Olson to take fifth. Randy Olson tried to mount a challenge but time ran out as Troy Combs was able to hold him off for the win with Randy Olson second, Paul Peeples, Jr. third, LeRoy Marsh, Jr. fourth and David Henderson fifth. However, Combs car did not pass post-race tech giving the win over to Olson.

The I.M.C.A. modifieds had their usual race in the Acres season finale. Stockton ace and defending race champion Jay Lindstroth took fast time honors with a 16.206 lap. The trophy dash was won by Scott Winters followed by Lindstroth, Ken Scales and Jerry DuBach. Tom Berry won the first heat followed by Eddie Laws, Guy Young, Willie Thompson and Gary Lowblad. Scott Winters won the second heat over Noel McCormack, Jerry Dubach, Dustin DeRosier and Terry Pittman.

17 cars started the 50-lap main event. Among the drivers who didn’t start were Young, Pittman and Richie Potts who wasn’t even able to get on the track. Thompson and DeRosier brought the field to the green flag. Thompson was able to take the lead while DeRosier was freight trained on the inside. Thompson lead Laws, Dubach, McCormack and Winters. By lap 9, Thompson had a three car length lead over Laws as he fought off Dubach for the second position. Winters moved inside and by McCormack on lap 14. Defending race champion Lindstroth fell off the pace and pulled his car to the pits on lap 15.

On lap 16, Dubach moved to Laws’ outside allowing Thompson to pull out his lead to eight car lengths. The two raced side-by-side for a lap before Dubach fell behind Laws. Thompson began to get into slower traffic on lap 27 but was able to make his way through on lap 29. The cars of Law, Dubach, Winters were just getting into the traffic on lap 29 and didn’t get through until lap 32. By this point, Thompson had a 15-car length gap

Dubach looked inside of Laws on lap 36 but couldn’t get by. Finally, on lap 41 Dubach got the grip and moved by Laws going into turn one bringing Winters with him. The gap looked to be insurmountable, but with the laps dwindling Dubach was able to narrow the gap to about four car lengths. But that was as close as it would come as Willie Thompson won the beautifully run race over Dubach, Winters, Laws and Lowblad.

With that, the 2006 racing season at the Acres concluded. 2007 should be another exciting season as the real stocks, limited street stocks, mini stocks, thunder roadsters and sportsman cars will be back at it again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Walsh, Grammer, Betournay 2006 champions

Walsh, Grammer, Betournay 2006 champions

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The thirteenth event of the season, the Judy Fox Memorial race at Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday night saw the 2006 points races in the sportsman, mini stock and limited street stock divisions come to an end with champions crowned in each division. Marty Walsh held off the toughest challenges of Glen Shewry to win once again in the sportsman division capping off a superb championship run. Craig Baker took home the trophy in the mini stock division but Chad Grammer was probably the happiest mini stock driver as his fourth place finish was good enough to claim the title. Class rookie Trevor Miller claimed victory in the limited street stock class while first year driver Adrien Betournay won the division champion. While the real stock and thunder roadsters still have another weekend of racing left, both divisions had great racing with Dan Browne winning the real stock main, and Troy Combs taking top honors in the roadster race.

Before the night’s racing action, drivers from all divisions brought their cars out to the track to do a few memorial laps in honor of Judy Fox as well as other loved ones who were either lost to cancer or have passed on from other circumstances. The field of cars was lead by Rick Fox, Judy’s son and Lissa Uselton who is a close friend of the Fox family. Ryan Walters set the quickest lap in time trials in the real stock division with a 19.338 lap. Jim Bailey won the dash over Walters Dan Browne and Bill Bradbury. Brian Belt won the first heat race followed by Ryan Robinson, Troy Wood, Steve Kimberling and Bailey. Browne won the second heat race with Bill Middleton, Walters, Doug Way and Barry Barnwell in his tire tracks.

Eighteen cars started the 25-lap real stock main event. Troy Wood and Chuck Essex took the field to the green flag and the start of the race. Off the start, Doug Way suffered problems and slowed on the track. Coming off the fourth turn, Middleton spun bringing out the yellow flag. Amidst the early race chaos, it was Essex taking the early lead over Barnwell and Wood. The green flag flew again with Barnwell moving to Essex’s outside, taking the top position on lap three. On lap four, Walters moved himself into the fifth position getting by Kimberling. Bradbury moved by Wood and began to harass Essex for second allowing Barnwell to pull out to a sizeable margin. On lap seven, Walters made his way by Wood bringing Browne with him. The next lap, Walters moved inside Bradbury for second but Bradbury was able to hold him off. The caution came out on lap 10 when Mark Mullin spun and hit the turn four wall.

Unfortunately for Barnwell, his large lead was erased, and on the restart he now had Essex, Bradbury, Walters and Browne within striking distance of him. On the restart, Walters moved to the outside of Bradbury for third, finishing the pass on lap 11. Walters then was able to maneuver his way by Essex going into the third turn on lap 12 taking the second spot. At the same time, Browne was able to get by Bradbury for fourth. Browne moved outside of Essex on lap 13, taking the third position on lap 14 in turn one. As the leaders hit slower cars on lap 16, Browne was able to get by Walters for second in turn one. The lapped traffic jumbled the running order with Belt and Bradbury able to get by Essex.

On lap 18, Browne was able to snatch the lead away from Barnwell going into the first turn. At the same time, Belt and Walters made contact, allowing Belt to get by. Walters regained the position going into the third turn on lap 19. On lap 20, Walters spun in the second turn into the infield. The caution flag did not fly however costing Walters any chance at a good finish. Meanwhile, Browne had stretched out to a comfortable lead over Barnwell, while Barnwell had a comfortable lead over Bradbury in third. With one lap to go, Belt moved to the outside of Bradbury but got loose allowing Bailey to take the fourth position. At the front, it was Dan Browne crossing the checkered flag leading a top five consisting of drivers with the last name started by ‘B’; Barnwell, Bradbury, Bailey and Belt.

In practice for the limited street stock division, Romeo Venza hit the fourth turn wall and was not able to make it out for the rest of the evening. Trevor Miller set the fast time with a 17.143 lap. The trophy dash belonged to Kenny Demello who was looking to gain points on division leader Adrien Betournay for the championship. Miller finished second with Mosher third and Betouray fourth. Mosher took the win in the heat race followed by Demello, Betournay, Duane Mayo and Scott Lyons.

The two title contenders Demello and Betournay lead the six car field to the green flag in the 10 lap main event. Demello was able to take the early lead while the drivers tried to sort themselves out. Miller moved by Mayo in the first turn on lap two while Betournay tried to move outside and by Demello for the lead. Mosher made his way past Mayo going into the third turn on lap three. On lap five, Miller found a line inside Betournay to take second bringing along Mosher. A few moments later, Miller got to the inside of Demello to take the lead coming off the second turn. On lap seven, Mosher was able to get by Demello for second. Betournay did the same move on lap eight. Unfortunately coming off turn two, Demello hit the wall ending his race and losing his chances at the championship. The restart proved to be a formality for Miller as he was able to hold off Mosher to take the win. Betournay took third winning the class title, Mayo finished fourth and Lyons fifth.

With only a few points separating mini stock points leader Chad Grammer and second place Brian Murrell, every position in every race was extremely important. Craig Baker set fast time with a 18.731 lap. The trophy dash was won by Baker followed by Stacy Minnick, Grammar and Glen Bernald. Baker then took the win in the heat race over Grammar, Murrell, Denzel Barrett and Bernald. Nine cars started the 20-lap mini stock main event with Murrell and Bernald pacing the field. Before the start of the race, the lighting system in the second turn failed and the drivers had to race that corner in darker conditions.

Murrell was able to get the lead off the start while Minnick moved to second, followed by Baker, Grammer and Bernald. On lap three, Baker moved to the outside of Minnick to take second while Murrell pulled out to a large gap. On lap five the caution came out when Barrett spun in the fourth turn. On the restart, Baker moved outside of Murrell taking the lead on lap seven. From that point on, the field stretched out and the only drama that was left was to see if the champion would either be Murrell or Grammer. Craig Baker made it three-for-three on the night to handily take the main event win over Murrell, Minnick, Grammer and Bernald. Grammer’s fourth place finish was just enough to beat Murrell in the final points talley making him the 2006 mini stock champion.

Randy Olson set the quick time for yet another race night for the thunder roadsters with a 16.965 lap. David Henderson held off Olson, Paul Peeples, Jr. and Chris Banfill to take the win in the dash. Bill O’Neill won the first heat followed by Gary Payne, Fred Hanks, Chris Lawrence and Waylon Henze. Troy Combs won the second heat race over LeRoy Marsh, Jr., Mike Ward, Chris Sarvinski and Peeples. 20 cars started the 30-lap main event with Bruce Ziemar and Dave McMurray leading the field to the green flag. Ziemar grabbed the early lead before the second lap when Marsh took the lead taking Combs and Ward with him. Ziemar got loose of the second turn costing himself several positions. Going into turn three on lap four, Combs moved inside and by Marsh for the lead. As the front duo pulled away from the rest of the pack, the faster qualifiers of Olson and Henderson fought their way through the traffic. Olson moved outside of Sarvinski on lap five completing the pass on lap six. Henderson was able to move inside Sarvinski on the same lap to take fifth.

On lap 9, the Olson/Henderson duo closed in on Ward for third while Combs and Marsh had a sizeable 10-15 car length gap over the three. Olson and Henderson moved inside Ward going into the third turn on lap 10. Two laps later, Sarvinski was able to get by Ward to take the fourth spot. Rob Nelson spun in turn four on lap 13 but no yellow flag was thrown. At the same time, Peeples, who had made his way by Ward, got past Sarvinski for fifth. With the field spread out and Combs and Marsh with a seemingly insurmountable gap over Olson and Henderson, the race looked to be a two car battle. On lap 21, Combs hit slower traffic slowing his car. This allowed Marsh to close within striking distance along with allowing Olson and Henderson to close the large gap a little bit.

For several laps, Henderson tried to find a way by Olson. On lap 25 as the two closed in on Marsh who was fighting slower cars, Henderson made a bold move inside to get by and take third. Two laps later going into turn three, Olson regained the third position on the high side. The battle amongst Marsh, Olson and Henderson was enough for Troy Combs to sail to the win. Marsh held off Olson for second while Henderson finished fourth and Peeples fifth.

Barring any unusual circumstances, Marty Walsh basically had to show up to clinch the championship in the sportsman division. Glen Shewry clocked the fastest lap in qualifying with a 16.424 lap. Angelo Marcelli won the dash over Shewry, Walsh and Aaron Byers. Al Acuna won the first heat holding of Ken Hallis, Rick Fox, Walsh and Byers to win. The second sportsman heat race was highlighted by a superb side-by-side race for the win between Donnie Brown and Brandon Barnwell. The two raced doorhandle-to-doorhandle for the three laps before Barnwell was able to take the lead and win over Brown, Shewry, Lissa Uselton and Marcelli.

The 12 car 30-lap main event was brought to the green flag by Uselton and Brown. Off the start Brown took the lead. Going into the third turn Uselton tried to mount a challenge but Brown shut the door. On lap two, Shewry got loose off the fourth turn and slid into the infield going into turn one. He was able to save his race car while going back on the track in the middle of turns one and two, however the field was jumbled up. On lap four, Walsh moved by Uselton coming off turn four. The yellow flag flew on lap seven when Keith Dias spun in turn four. Under yellow, Barnwell and Fox made contact sending Fox spinning. However since the incident occurred under the yellow flag, Fox was able to retain his position in the race.

When the green flag came out it was Brown leading Walsh, Uselton, Byers and Marcelli. Shewry moved outside of Marcelli on lap nine, finishing the pass on lap 10. On lap 11, the field jammed up in front of Larry Pries causing Hallis to spin him out and bringing out the yellow. Hallis was sent to the rear for his involvement in the incident. The green flag came out again giving Shewry the chance to get outside and by Byers. Going into the third turn on lap 12, Walsh moved inside of Brown for the lead. Off turn two, Walsh got the bite in his rear tires, taking the lead, while Shewry moved by Uselton for third.

On lap 15, Browne dug deep and moved inside of Walsh to regain the lead. Marcelli moved inside of Byers for fifth on lap 16, taking the position going into turn three on lap 17. That same lap the yellow flag came out when Pries spun in turn four collecting Hallis, who took his car to the pits under the caution period.

The yellow period allowed Walsh to cool his tires and on the restart he was able to challenge Brown for the lead again. On lap 20, Walsh moved inside of Brown. The two raced side-by-side for a lap before Walsh was able to take the lead once more, this time bringing Shewry with him. Shewry appeared to have a faster car and he tried to fill Walsh’s mirror as much as possible. On lap 25, Shewry tried to use the high line to get by Walsh but it didn’t work. A lap later, Shewry tried the same tactic but got too loose off turn two and lost several car lengths. On lap 29, the yellow flag flew for debris from Pries’s car. This set up a green/white/checker finish. The restart wasn’t enough for Shewry to mount a challenge to Walsh as Marty Walsh was able to cap off his championship night win the main event win. Shewry held on to second followed by Brown, Uselton and Marcelli.

The final two points races for the real stock and the thunder roadsters will be held in conjunction with the Fall Spectacular Friday and Saturday night September 22nd and 23rd. Along with the two local classes will be the IMCA modifieds and the open competition super late model races. Cars from all over the west coast, from as far away as Las Vegas and Texas will be racing at the Acres. On Thursday the 21st, there will be an open practice between 2-6 PM followed by a steak barbeque provided by Rich and Linda Olson as well as Jim Offenbach and the Golden Gate Meat Company. It promises to be a very exciting conclusion to what has been perhaps the best season of racing at the Acres ever.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

Pries beats Walsh, Peeples wins again

Pries beats Walsh, Peeples wins again

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was an unusually chilly, foggy and damp August night at the Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday evening, and with the threatening weather, the show was hurried along in order to complete all of the racing. A fairly clean night with no major incidents or oil-downs helped move the show along and provided great racing action. Jason Belt brought his real stock out to the track and held off Bob Lima to take the win in a thrilling main event. Trevor Miller was able to pull away in the limited street stock class to handily win. After losing the lead due to contact, Craig Baker muscled his way back to the top spot to claim victory in the mini stock class. In the thunder roadsters, Paul Peeples, Jr. fought hard to get by Luke Hall, then held him off to win the main. After a victory lane drought, Larry Pries quenched his thirst in the sportsman division fighting off the challenges of Marty Walsh.

The second of two Powder Puff races sponsored by Lima’s Pharmacy was held during the evening with the female drivers driving real stock cars. Toni Browne looked more like a real stock regular than an inexperienced driver as she easily won the $200 first prize driving Dan Browne’s car. Courtney Mitchell took the $100 second place money driving Steve Kimberling’s car, while Marcia Bradbury behind the wheel of Bill Bradbury’s car won $50 for third.

The real stock division had a great 18 car turnout. Jim Bailey won the dash followed by Ryan Walters, Bob Lima and Bill Bradbury. Lima was able to win the first heat over Bailey, Barry Barnwell, Ray DeMello and Nick Green, while Walters took the second over Bradbury, Bill Middleton, Steve Kimberling and Jason Belt. The 25-lap main event was lead to the green flag by Belt and Ray Robinson. Unfortunately trouble occured in the first turn when Jim Redd, Wood and Kelly McBride.

For an unknown reason, Robinson moved to the back of the field, giving up his outside front row starting position to Barry Barnwell as the field took the restart. Belt and Barnwell raced side by side for the first lap and a half until Belt gained a bit of an advantage. Barnwell moved his car to Belt’s outside again while Lima closed in to make it a three way scramble. On lap five, Lima moved to Barnwell’s inside while Barnwell tried to find grip outside to get by Belt. The battling allowed Walters in fourth to close up. On lap seven, Lima finally moved by Barnwell and tried his hand on the outside of Belt but to no avail. The field jumbled up getting past Dana DeVane as Belt and Lima pulled away from the pack while Walters took third followed by Doug Way in fourth and Barnwell fifth. Barnwell made contact with DeVane’s car, but the race continued under green.

Lima moved outside of Belt on lap 11 but decided to bide his time, while Walters was quickly making up the deficit between he and the two leaders. By lap 13, Walters was on Lima’s bumper and looking for a way by. On lap 14, Walters moved inside and by Lima going into the third turn. Lima then pulled back outside by Walters to challenge Belt for the lead. The great battle up front was put to an end sadly when Walters right rear tire went flat in the fourth turn on lap 16 causing him to spin. Middleton also spun into the infield. Both drivers were done for the rest of the race.

Under the yellow, Way went to the pits after being in the top five. The restart came and Belt and Lima resumed their battle for the victory. Lima tried once again on Belt’s outside lap 18 but couldn’t pull it off. On lap 20 going into turn three, Bailey moved by Kimberling for the fourth slot. Lima’s last good challenge for the lead would come on lap 21 as he moved outside of Belt, but once again he couldn’t muster enough strength in the high line. On the last lap, Lima drive his car hard off the second turn and got extremely loose but was able to maintain the second position. Crossing the finish line first was Belt over Lima and Barnwell while Kimberling finished fourth over Bailey who got loose off the fourth turn and lost the position.

Eight cars took time in the limited street stock division. Nine cars were at the track initially but Fergy Ferguson only took hot laps. Trevor Miller set the quick pace, cutting a lap of 17.281. Adrien Betournay won the dash over Orion Mosher, Miller and Kenny Demello. Miller won the heat race which had an unfortunate accident between newcomer Romeo Venza and returning driver Kavin Conn. Venza made contact with Conn’s car coming off the second corner, then Venza ran over the right front of Conn. Venza was able to start the main while Conn was finished for the evening. Mosher took second in the heat followed by Demello, Betournay and Stan Young.

Demello and Betournay comprised the front row in the 10-lap main event. After the initial start was waved off, the green flag flew with Demello taking the early lead. Miller dove inside Betournay for second. On lap two, Venza spun off the fourth turn but was able to continue. Miller moved inside of Demello to take the lead on the third lap as the field shuffled going by Venza’s slower car. Miller pulled away while Demello tried to hold off Betournay and Mosher. It was to no avail as both were able to get by, but by then it was too late. Miller easily won the main followed by Betournay, Mosher, Demello and Young.

Craig Baker returned to the mini stock class after a several race hiatus, setting the pace with a 18.963 lap. Baker won the dash over Chad Grammer, Brian Murrell and Byron McIntosh. Grammer took the honors in the heat race followed by Byron McIntosh, Denzel Barrett, Stacy Minnick and Brian McIntosh. Barrett and Max Cap lead the 10-car field to the green flag in the 20-lap main event. Barrett was able to take the lead over Glen Bernald and Murrell. Baker moved to the outside of Murrell for third on lap two bringing Grammer with him. The duo of Baker and Grammer would never be far apart on the night, as the two moved by Bernald on the third lap. Just as they got by Bernald, Baker was able to take the lead away from Barrett, once again bringing Grammer with him.

Bernald spun in turn four on lap five but the yellow flag didn’t come out to his aide. The front duo of Baker and Grammer pulled away with Grammer working Baker’s bumper. Minnick moved herself into the fifth position getting by Brian McIntosh on lap seven. On lap nine, Murrell got by Barrett to take third. On the eleventh lap, Grammer made contact with Baker sending Baker into the infield and bringing out the yellow flag. Grammer was sent to the rear of the field giving the lead to Murrell over Barrett and Minnick.

The green came out with Baker looking to quickly regain his lost lead. He got by Brian McIntosh on the restart, then picked off Byron going into turn three, with Grammer following his moves. On lap 13, Baker moved by Minnick. The next lap he got by Barrett for second, while Grammer moved by Minnick. On lap 16, Baker regained the lead, taking the high line by Murrell. Barrett spun out in turn three on lap 17 but the racing continued. On lap 19, Murrell spun in the fourth turn costing himself several spots. When the checkered flag fell, it was Baker taking the victory over Grammar, Minnick, Byron McIntosh and Brian McIntosh. After the race, officials questioned whether Baker had illegally gained positions before the green flag dropped after the race’s only caution, however it was ruled he did not and the win stood.

The thunder roadsters had another great field of cars with 19 taking qualifying laps. Missing was Fred Hanks who suffered problems in hot laps. Randy Olson took fast time for the third race in a row with a 16.971 lap. LeRoy Marsh, Jr. won the thrilling dash over Olson, Paul Peeples, Jr. and Jay Bahner. Bahner unfortunately hit the wall off the fourth turn on the last lap damaging his right front, but he was able to make it back out. Bill O’Neill won the first heat over Donn Cole, Ray Elliott, Mike Ward and Bruce Ziemer. Troy Combs took the exhilarating second heat followed by Peeples, Luke Hall driving the rent-a-racer, Olson and David Henderson.

The 30 lap main event was brought to the green flag by Ward and Mark Arroyo. Unfortunately a huge jam up in the first turn caused Dave McMurray to spin while O’Neill and Olson both took hard shots, Olson’s in the wall. The restart came with Ward taking the lead while the field jostled for position behind him. Hall took the lead away from Ward on the first lap while Henderson moved to third. Combs muscled his way by Henderson on lap three bringing Peeples with him. On lap five, Combs moved inside and by Ward allowing Peeples and Henderson to follow in his wake. Elliott spun off turn two on lap seven but was able to get his car going again.

The front three of Hall, Combs and Peeples pulled away from Henderson who appeared to be struggling with his usually fast car. On lap 11, Combs spun on his own in turn three bringing out the yellow flag. The race resumed with Hall and Peeples battling for the lead while Henderson stayed in the fight in third. On lap 15, Chris Sarvinski moved into fifth by Arroyo. Just as Peeples moved into the inside of Hall to challenge for the lead again, the yellow flag flew when Arroyo and Marsh spun in the third turn on lap 18.

The caution allowed Peeples to cool his tires and on the restart he took advantage, moving to the inside of Hall. The two raced side by side until lap 20 when Peeples took the lead. Peeples began to stretch his lead, but as the laps wound down Hall began to close the gap. But at race’s end it wasn’t enough as Paul Peeples, Jr. took the win over Hall, Henderson, Combs and Ward.

Marty Walsh continued his dominance in the sportsman division setting quick lap with a 16.383. Brandon Barnwell driving Glen Shewry’s car won the dash over Walsh, Fox and Aaron Byers who was returning after a long stay away from the Acres. Larry Pries won the heat race followed by Donnie Brown, Walsh, Al Acuna and Barnwell. With severe fog rolling in, the usual 30-lap main was cut to 25 laps. Pries and Fox lead the 10-car field to the green flag. Pries was able to take the lead while Fox got loose off turn two allowing several cars to get by him. Pries pulled away from second place Byers who had his hands full with Walsh. On lap five, Walsh moved by Byers and set his sights on Pries.

The field stretched out as Walsh closed on Pries’ bumper. For the duration of the race, Walsh would ride in Pries’ mirror, hoping to force Pries into a mistake. On lap 15, Barnwell made his way by Brown for fifth. Three laps later Barnwell got by Fox for fourth. The only major drama occurred when Keith Diaz spun in the third and fourth turns while trying to stay out of the way of the leaders. Diaz’s spin did not bring a yellow flag out however. Walsh and Pries raced cleanly without any contact. Pries didn’t make any mistakes and was able to hold off Walsh followed by Byers, Barnwell and Fox.

The next race at the Acres will be September 16th with all five classes of cars returning to race. It will be the final points paying event for the sportsman division, but it appears that Marty Walsh has the title well in hand.

Sunday, August 6, 2006

Shewry returns to victory lane, two in a row for Olson

Shewry returns to victory lane, two in a row for Olson

By Matthew J. Sullivan

A throng of fans filled the grandstands at the Redwood Acres Raceway for the annual Fan Appreciation Night. Old and new fans alike were not disappointed with the racing on the track as all five classes of local cars delighted and thrilled the crowd. After a brief hiatus from the winner’s circle, Orion Mosher claimed the win in the limited street stock division. Craig Baker maneuvered his car from the back of the pack to win the mini stock main event. Ryan Walters ran away from the real stock field to notch the victory. After a little over a month away from the Acres, the thunder roadsters returned with Randy Olson going four for four for the evening, finishing off the night with the main event win. In the sportsman division, former champ Glen Shewry returned to racing for the first time this season and matched Olson’s feat, also going four for four and winning the main event.

Before the race, drivers from all the divisions pulled their cars out onto the front stretch to meet and greet the fans. Drivers brought gifts and goodies, chatted with fans and signed autographs. All fans were able to attend Fan Appreciation Night free thanks to Bear River Casino. Trevor Miller edged Orion Mosher for fast time in the limited street stock division by six-hundreths of a second. Miller’s time was a 17.351. Miller won the dash by inches over Andrien Betournay with Mosher and Duane Mayo rounding out the four starters. Mosher took the win in the heat race over Miller, Betournay, Mayo and Kavin Conn who was driving Kenny Demello’s car for the evening.

With the seven car count, the limited streets were able to run a 15 lap main event. Mayo took the early lead as the field settled out. Mosher wanted to take care of business early. On the first lap, he moved outside and past Miller for second, then on lap two he moved by Mayo for the lead bringing Miller with him. Halfway through the race, Betournay’s right side door panel fell off his car and was dragging on the track. He was given the black flag and pulled off the race track. With the laps ticking off, Mosher maintained a one to two car length gap over Miller. For several laps, Miller tried his best to stick with Mosher, but unfortunately for his case, on lap 11 he got loose and spun in the fourth turn. Miller’s misfortune left Mosher all alone and he was able to take the win with Mayo second, Conn third, Stan Young fourth and Miller fifth.

Stacy Minnick beat the mini stock field in qualifying setting a 19.025 lap. Scott Baker won the dash over Glen Bernald, points leader Brian Murrell and Minnick. Bryan McIntosh won the heat followed by Baker, Byron McIntosh, Murrell and Minnick. 10 cars started the 20 lap main event, as Bryan McIntosh and newcomer Max Cap took the field to the green flag. McIntosh was able to take the lead over brother Byron, Bernald and Minnick. Murrell moved to the inside of Minnick on lap two, but Minnick held him off. On lap four, Minnick moved by Bernald for third. A lap later, Minnick move to Byron McIntosh’s for second.

Meanwhile, Baker began to make his presence felt as he got by Bernald on lap five for the fourth spot. Minnick cleared Byron on lap six and set her sights on Bryan. On the same lap, going into the third corner, Minnick missed her mark and coming off the fourth turn she got sideways. Fortunately she was able to save her car, but unfortunately she lost several positions falling back to fifth. Minnick’s misfortune allowed Baker to move into the second position. On lap nine, Baker powered by Bryan McIntosh to take the lead, while Minnick moved into fourth getting by Chad Grammer. As Baker pulled away, the rest of the field battled for position. With five laps to go, Minnick tried the outside line on Byron McIntosh, but to no avail. Two laps later, Grammar moved by Minnick for fourth. But all of that was well in Scott Baker’s mirror as he was able to take home the victory with Bryan McIntosh, Byron McIntosh, Grammer and Minnick rounding out the top five.

19.317 was the quick mark set by Ryan Walters in the real stock class. The trophy dash was won by Cecil Arispe over Walters, Dan Browne and Bill Bradbury. Walters won the first heat over Steve Kimberling, Ryan Robinson, Bradbury and Barry Barnwell. Browne took the second followed by Bob Lima, Arispe, Doug Way and Troy Wood. A strong 18 car field was lead to the green of the 25 lap main event by Mark Mullin and Robinson. Unfortunately the initial start of the race featured a Lima spin in turn two caused from fluid leading from Mullin’s car. Coming to take the yellow, Arispe spun and was hit on the right side door by Jim Redd. The red flag flew and the ambulance came out to visit Arispe. Thankfully, Arispe was none the worse for the wear and was able to get back out and continue on in the main event.

With Mullin having to pull into the pits, Wood inherited the pole and took the lead on the restart. It would be short lived though as Way and Dana DeVane spun in the second turn bringing out another yellow. The green flew again with Wood leading Lima, Walters, Robinson and Kimberling. On lap four, Bradbury got by Kimberling. The caution flag flew again on lap five when something broke on Mike Peeples’ car while DeVane spun in turn two. When the restart came, Walters decided to make his move. He got to Lima’s outside, then moved by on lap six. Bradbury moved outside Robinson for fourth. On lap seven, Robinson got loose and spun in the infield but was able get going.

On lap 8, Walters moved to the outside of Wood for the lead. The two made some contact coming off turn two getting Wood loose of the second turn and giving Walters the lead. Lima followed through to take second while Bradbury moved outside and by Wood on lap nine. On lap 10, Browne moved by Wood for fourth. Two laps later, Barnwell got by Wood for fifth. Meanwhile, the front two cars of Walters and Lima were enjoying a 10 car length gap over the third place car of Bradbury. On lap 12, DeVane spun in the first turn in front of several cars including Browne who was forced to stop his car to keep from running into DeVane. The spin cost Browne several positions and he was never able to make it to the front again.

On the restart, Way moved outside of Wood for fifth taking the position on lap 14. Walters began to walk away from the field before Arispe broke in the second turn and hit the wall bringing out the yellow flag. Due to the number of yellow flags in the race along with the other races and time concerns, the race was cut down to 20 laps, making the restart very important, however nobody in the top five was able to muster enough strength for anyone else. When the checkered flag flew it was Walters first followed by Lima, Bradbury, Barnwell and Way.

The thunder roadsters returned to racing at the Acres after a month’s break from the raceway. Randy Olson set the quick time notching a 16.912 lap. Olson followed up quick time with the dash win over David Henderson, Chris Banfill and Paul Peeples, Jr. LeRoy Marsh, Jr. Won the first heat race over Donn Cole, Rob Nelson, Jay Bahner and Waylon Henze. Olson took the second followed by Troy Combs, Ray Elliott, Mark Arroyo and Banfill. 21 cars took the start of the 30 lap main event with Fred Hanks and Dave McMurray leading the field to the green flag. Hanks was able to lead lap one, but McMurray fought hard on the outside trying to regain the lead on the third lap. McMurray’s move was to no avail though as Elliott moved to his inside for second. Meanwhile, the faster cars of Combs, Olson, Henderson and Peeples were dicing their way through the field. Olson moved his way into fifth on lap five getting by Bill O’Neill. Just ahead, Combs got inside of Arroyo for third bringing Olson with him.

On lap 7, Combs, Olson and O’Neill were able to get by Elliott for the second, third and fourth positions. Olson moved to the outside of Combs on lap nine. The two made slight contact in the third turn. Olson fell back into position while Combs tried to challenge Hanks for the lead. On lap 11, Olson moved inside of Combs going into the first turn, taking the spot on lap 12. On lap 13, Olson moved outside of Hanks, taking the lead. Peeples moved outside of O’Neill for the fourth position on lap 15 but fell back. Peeples moved to O’Neill’s outside again on lap 16. The two made contact coming off the second turn and going into the third turn they collided sending Peeples into the wall and O’Neill in a spin. Peeples was finished for the night while O’Neill pulled his car into the pits.

Olson lead Hanks, Henderson, Combs and Banfill to the restart. On lap 16, Henderson moved to the inside of Hanks. Combs was able to follow through. Henderson closed to within three car lengths of Olson while Banfill worked the bumper of Hanks’ car before Nelson spun in turn four bringing out the yellow flag on lap 22. The restart allowed Combs to move by Henderson coming to the green while Olson lead. Henderson moved by Combs on lap 25 while Banfill tried to get by Hanks for fourth. Henderson closed the gap to within two car lengths on Olson once again, but time ran out for him to mount a challenge as Olson took the win followed by Henderson, Combs, Hanks and Banfill.

After nearly a year away from racing, Fortuna driver Glen Shewry returned to racing in the sportsman division showing no signs of rust, setting the quick lap of 16.285. Shewry won the dash, which saw a bit too much excitement when Marty Walsh and Brandon Barnwell made contact sending Barnwell’s car into the wall. Larry Pries finished second with Walsh third. The first heat saw another incident, this time between Pries and Donnie Brown. Of the second turn, the two made contact sending Pries into the wall. Brown was forced to the pits for the rest of the race, while Pries was finished for the evening. Shewry was able to take the win over Marcelli, Joe Bonomini and Lissa Uselton. Marty Walsh won the second heat followed by Al Acuna, Barnwell, Jerry Peterson and Rick Fox.

Peterson and Brown lead the 11 car field to the green flag of the 30 lap main event. Coming off turn 2, Peterson got loose, and did a 360 in front of the field. Fortunately, nobody wrecked and everyone was able to continue. Peterson’s spin sent him to the rear and gave Fox the pole position and he took advantage of it. When the green flew, Fox took the lead while Brown fell into second and Barnwell and Walsh raced side by side for third. On lap two, Shewry went to the high side of Walsh and Barnwell making it three-wide. The three made one lap in that fashion before Shewry moved into third. On lap four, Walsh got by Barnwell for fourth. The next lap, Marcelli began to challenge Barnwell for fith. On lap six, Marcelli got to Barnwell’s inside and took the position.

Shewry began to challenge Brown for second on lap seven, giving Fox room to breathe in the lead. The yellow flag came out on lap nine when Frank Billy, Uselton and Peterson spun simultaneously in turn two, apparently from fluid leaking from Acuna’s car. Brown used the restart to his advantage, moving to the inside of Fox and taking the top spot on lap 10. A lap later, Shewry was able to take second. Fox continued to slide back losing third to Walsh on lap 12, and fighting Marcelli for fourth on lap 13. At the same time, Shewry moved inside Brown for the lead. On lap 14 while running inside of Fox, Marcelli got loose and spun bringing out the yellow flag.

The restart came and Shewry began to really stretch out a lead while Brown and Walsh fought for second. On lap 21, Walsh got by Brown, but by that point Shewry was in his own world. The field stretched out, with the major battle being between Fox, Bonomini, Peterson and Barnwell. On the last lap coming off turn four, Peterson and Barnwell made contact, but that was all in the mirror of Shewry as he handily won over Walsh, Brown, Fox and Bonomini.

All five classes of cars return to the Acres August 26 for Back to School Night. It should be another exciting night of racing.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Walsh, Bradbury, Baker victorious

Walsh, Bradbury, Baker victorious

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was another full night of racing at Redwood Acres Raceway and by the night’s end, several familiar faces returned to victory lane once more. Marty Walsh ran away in the sportsman division, while Bill Bradbury held off Dan Browne to win the real stock main event. Scott Baker also did his share of domination as he handily won the mini stock main. Andrien Betournay won the closest main of the night as he held off Trevor Miller to claim the real stock main event literally by inches.

Six limited street stocks showed up for the evening with the addition of George Young’s new car. Orion Mosher set fast time with a 17.328 lap. Andrien Betournay took home the dash win with Kenny Demello, Trevor Miller and Mosher following behind. Miller won the exciting heat race beating Demello, Mosher, Betournay and Young. Five cars started the 10 lap main event with Young not being able to make the start. Off the start, Duane Mayo and Demello raced side by side for the first lap and a half until Demello got loose on the high side giving Mayo the lead. On lap three, Demello moved back to Mayo’s outside. Coming off turn two, Betournay found room on the low side of the front two to make a daring three-wide pass going into the third turn. Miller was able to follow Betournay into the second position. For several laps, Miller looked for a way by Betournay. With one lap to go, Miller drove his car hard into the outside line going into turn one. His car stuck and the two drag raced doorhandle to doorhandle going into the third turn. Coming off four, the two were still side by side and as the two cars hit the start/finish line it was Betournay beating Miller by inches. Mosher finished third, Mayo fourth and Demello fifth.

Eleven mini stocks showed up to take time, unfortunately Justina Shaha had to wait to make her debut in the class as she hit the wall during her qualifying run. Two other drivers made their debut in the class; Max Cap and Robbie Robinson. Scott Baker set the fastest lap of 19.203. Bryan McIntosh won the heat race over Stacy Minnick, Chad Grammer and Baker. A multi-car incident in the heat race knocked out McIntosh as well as Denzel Barrett. Brian Murrell was able to win the heat followed by Baker, Glen Bernald, Grammer and Minnick. Eight cars made the start of the 20 lap main event with the front row comprised of Murrell and Bernald. The initial start saw contact between Murrell and Bernald in the first and second turns and Grammer spin out. The second start was much cleaner as Murrell took the lead while Bernald slotted into second and Minnick third. On lap two, Minnick made her way by Bernald and set her sights on Murrell’s lead. Grammer made his way to fifth by Byron McIntosh on lap three. On the fifth lap, Baker got by Bernald for third and tried to close on the front duo of Murrell and Minnick who had a six car length gap over him.

Grammer spun in turn two on lap nine but was able to get his car going not resulting in a caution flag. Baker moved past Minnick on lap 10 for second. A lap later, Baker moved by Murrell to take the lead. On lap 12, Minnick moved to Murrell’s outside to challenge him for the second position, but Murrell was able to hold her off. With two laps to go, Minnick tried the same maneuver again but got too high allowing Bernald to move to third. Meanwhile, Baker was able to cruise to victory followed by Murrell, Bernald, Minnick and Grammer.

Ryan Walters was fastest of the 13 real stock cars setting a mark of 19.380. Dan Browne won the dash followed by Bill Bradbury, Walters and Doug Way. Walters was able to win the first heat race over Barry Barnwell, Ray DeMello, Way and Ray Robinson. Browne won the second heat with Lima, Bradbury, Jim Redd and Steve Kimberling in his wake. Lima and Robinson lead the field to the green in the 25 lap main event. Lima took the initial lead but a restart had to come after Walters spun in the first and second turn. Walters was unable to take the green when it came out again as he was in the pits. Lima grabbed the lead again while Barnwell moved inside Robinson for second. On the second lap, Barnwell powered his way by Lima on the high side to take the lead. Coming off the second turn, Lima lost power and pulled his car into the infield.

Bradbury made his way by Way for second on lap three and began to close on the leader Barnwell. Redd was black flagged for leaking fluid, but before he could pit, he made contact with Way spinning Way out and bringing out the yellow. Coming to take the caution flag, Bradbury was able to beat Barnwell to the line to take the lead. The green came back out with Browne moving into the inside of Robinson for third. On lap 12, Way got by Kimberling for fifth. Browne began to challenge Barnwell for second on lap 17 before the caution came out on lap 19. When the green flew again, Browne moved quickly by Barnwell for second. Robinson and Barnwell made contact fighting for third sending Barnwell into the infield, however no caution came. For the last few laps, Browne and Bradbury battled for the lead, but Browne couldn’t gather enough steam to get by as Bradbury held him off for the win. Robinson took third, Way fourth and Kimberling fifth.

Marty Walsh set quick time for the sportsman division with a 16.791 lap. Rick Fox won the dash over Donnie Brown, Walsh and Brandon Barnwell. Larry Pries nabbed the win in the first heat over Walsh, Fox, Al Acuna and Lissa Uselton. Brown won the second followed by Jerry Peterson, Angelo Marcelli, Frank Billy and Barnwell. 12 cars started the 25 lap main event. Brown planned to merely take the start and earn points as he graciously donated his car for the use of North State Challenge Series driver Andrew Snider who suffered problems with his car. Joe Bonomini and Pries lead the field to the green flag. Pries took the early lead before Bonomini spun off turn four. Officials deemed Pries at fault and sent him to the rear.

Fox inherited the lead over Walsh, Barnwell, Marcelli and Peterson and the green came back out. The field strung out as Fox and Walsh battled for the top spot. After several nose to tail laps, Walsh managed to get by Fox to take the lead on lap seven. Uselton spun off the second turn on lap 12 but got her car going again. On lap 15, Peterson pulled into the pits from the fifth position. Meanwhile, Walsh had a sizeable gap over Fox and the rest of the field. Pries provided the excitement on the track as he moved by Acuna for fifth on lap 21. Barnwell closed on Fox’s bumper on lap 23 and tried to find a way by but by the end wasn’t able to. Walsh won handily over Fox, Barnwell, Marcelli and Pries.

The next race at the Acres is August 5, Fan Appreciation Night. Free tickets can be found at various locations. Sportsman, real stock, mini stock, limited streets will be racing along with the return of the thunder roadsters after a month hiatus from the 3/8 track.

Sunday, July 9, 2006

Marcelli, Walters win, Minnick gets her first

Marcelli, Walters win, Minnick gets her first

By Matthew J. Sullivan

An abundance of green flag racing and a lack of caution flags made for a smooth, quick show Saturday night at the Acres. It took only two and a half hours for the races to conclude, but by no means did that make the night any less thrilling. Ryan Walters got by Jason Belt with just three laps left in the real stock main event to win. Contact between Byron McIntosh and Scott Baker helped insure a first-time main event win for Stacy Minnick while Angelo Marcelli held off Brandon Barnwell and Marty Walsh to notch another win in his career in the sportsman division.

The limited street division made a heat race appearance, but unfortunately only five cars were able to make it out. Nonetheless, the drivers put on an excellent show. Ken Demello grabbed the early lead before Andrien Betournay took it from him on the second lap of the ten lap heat. On lap five, down the back straightaway it appeared that Betournay began suffering power problems. His car briefly slowed bunching up the field behind him and allowing Trevor Miller to make his way though the field to take the lead. From there to the checkered flag it was Miller, Orion Mosher, Duane Mayo, Betournay and Demello.

Chad Grammer held off Scott Baker, Brian Murrell and Stacy Minnick to win the trophy dash in the mini stock division. Murrell then took the win in the heat race followed by Minnick, Glen Bernald, Byron McIntosh and Denzel Barrett. Byron McIntosh and Murrell lead the eight car field to the green flag in the 20 lap main event. McIntosh got the jump off the start while Murrell fell into the second position. On lap five, Grammer got loose allowing Baker to make his way by for third. Soon after, Minnick began challenging Grammer, but Grammer was able to hold her off. Minnick continued to try to get by Grammer but couldn’t muster enough strength. Meanwhile, Baker challenged Murrell for the second spot allowing McIntosh to pull a bit of a gap.

On lap 15, Grammer got into trouble in the third turn and spun. The next lap, Baker moved by Murrell to take second. Baker then closed on McIntosh for the lead. With two laps to go, going into turn one McIntosh and Baker made contact sending McIntosh spinning. Baker maintained the lead while Minnick made her way into second over Murrell. However coming to take the white flag, Baker was black flagged, and though he crossed the line first to take the checkered flag, he was not the winner. Stacy Minnick took the win over Murrell, Bernald, Bryan McIntosh and Grammar, however, it should be noted that Minnick drove a good race and was not handed the win by any means.

The real stock division had another large car count and it was great to have driver Chuck Essex back at the track after suffering serious burns. Dan Browne won the dash over Ryan Walters, Bob Lima and Bill Bradbury. Jim Redd won the first heat race followed by Walters, Steve Kimberling, Lima and Barry Barnwell. Browne won the second heat with Jason Belt, Bradbury, Troy Wood and Ryan Robinson rounding out the top five. Redd and Belt lead the 17 car field to the green in the 25 lap main event. Redd grabbed the early lead over Belt, while Doug Way and Ray Rapp fought for the third position. On lap three, Robinson spun in the second turn but was able to get his car running again. On lap four, Way made his way into third before the caution flag flew for a Kimberling spin.

The green flag waved again with Way looking to the outside of Belt for second. Belt was able to hold way off however. On lap six, Bradbury got by Cecil Arispe for the fifth position. On lap eight, Redd got loose and moved high, giving Belt the low line and allowing him to take the lead. Way, Bradbury and Lima were able to follow though to move into second, third and fourth. On lap 13, Redd moved back by Lima. The next lap Walters began to make his presence known as he moved by Lima and Redd. Lima then was able to pass Redd again on lap 15.

On lap 17, Bradbury and Way connected sending Way into the infield. The scuffle allowed Walters to move into second and he began to close on Belt for the lead. On lap 20, Walters moved to the high line on Belt but Belt held him off. With three laps to go, Walters went high on Belt again and this time he made it stick, taking the lead. Walters was able to pull away to score the win over Belt, Bradbury, Lima and Redd. In post race tech inspection, Browne’s car failed, thus his wins in the dash and heat races were negated.

Brandon Barnwell won the sportsman division trophy dash over Rick Fox, Marty Walsh and Larry Pries. Fox was able to win the first heat race over Pries, Donnie Brown, Frank Billy and Joe Bonomini, while Walsh won the second heat over Barnwell, Lissa Uselton, Angelo Marcelli and Al Acuna. The front row of the 35 lap was comprised of Acuna and Billy. Acuna was able to take the lead on the start while Billy lost several positions on the high side. Marcelli moved into second and Fox into third. On the second lap, Marcelli moved inside and past Acuna to take the lead. A scary incident occurred off the fourth turn when Brown and Pries spun. Pries car slid in the grass and into the tractor tire which protects track cleanup officials. While the incident looked scary, nobody was injured and Pries was able to get back in the race along with Brown.

On the restart, Barnwell made his way by Billy for fifth. On lap four, Fox moved into the second position, bringing Walsh and Barnwell with him. Walsh then began to harass Fox for second, allowing Marcelli to pull away. On lap 11, Billy spun off the second turn but continued. The same lap, Walsh moved inside and past Fox to take second. The next lap, Fox spun off turn two and the yellow flag flew. Uselton also spun coming to take the yellow. Officials found that Brown’s car was leaking fluid and sent him to the pits while a lengthy cleanup period ensued.

After a twenty minute waiting period, green flag racing resumed. The front three cars pulled away, while Acuna and Bonomini fought for the fourth position. Barnwell looked outside of Walsh on lap 22 but couldn’t get his car to stick. Meanwhile, Bonomini and Fox got by Acuna for fourth and fifth. On lap 24, Walsh moved to the outside to try to get by Marcelli for the lead, however Barnwell moved inside of Walsh to fill the gap. Walsh drove his car hard on the outside line, moving to Marcelli’s right rear wheel. Marcelli held Walsh off and the front three fell back in single file order.

On lap 26, Barnwell moved back inside of Walsh for the second position. The two dueled for second side by side before the caution flag flew on lap 29 for spins by Bonomini and Acuna in the first and second turns. The final restart proved to be Marcelli’s toughest test. On lap 31, Walsh gave Marcelli a bump in the third and fourth turns. The next lap, Walsh did the same thing, however it allowed Barnwell to move to the high line by Walsh to challenge Marcelli for the lead. The front three were under a blanket for the final three laps with Marcelli holding the low line and Barnwell trying to use the high line and Walsh trying to find a way by both. On the last lap, Marcelli found just a bit more in the tank and was able to move his car ahead of Barnwell to win. Walsh finished third, Fox fourth and Uselton fifth.

Racing at the Acres takes a two week break before returning July 29. Along with the real stocks, limited street stocks, real stock and sportsman cars, the North State Challenge Series will make their final appearance of the season.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Fair races thrill a full grandstand for two nights

Fair races thrill a full grandstand for two nights

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The usual North Coast clouds and fog were not present as blue skies and sunshine were out to welcome fans to the Redwood Acres Fair Classic for two full nights of racing. Both nights proved to be exciting for fans, many of whom were watching their first ever races at the Acres.

Friday night proved to be the only night of competition for the limited street stock class. Nevertheless, the drivers put on a great show while they were out there. Six cars showed up to take time with Orion Mosher setting the pace with a 17.534 lap time. Kenny Demello won the dash over Mosher, Jim Bailey and Trevor Miller. The heat race had a bit too much excitement as Kelly McBride driving Craig Huffman’s vehicle spun off turn four collecting Demello. Mosher won the main event which unfortunately proved to be the last race of the weekend for the division. Duane Mayo took second followed by Adrien Betournay, Miller and Mark Burris who showed up after qualifying. While the division only ran one night, it did have its highest car count of the season.

Friday qualifying was extremely important for the real stock and mini stock cars as it determined where drivers would start for both nights of racing. Jim Bailey hung it all out in qualifying for the real stock cars turning a 19.536 lap. Dan Browne won the dash over Bailey, Ryan Walters and Steve Kimberling. Browne then took the first heat win over Doug Way, Cecil Arispe, Mike Peeples and Kimberling. Bill Bradbury won the second heat over Bailey, Marvin Savage, Ray DeMello and Barry Barnwell. DeMello and Arispe brought the field to the green flag in the Friday night main event. Arispe was able to move by DeMello to grab the lead while Way moved into the second position. Early on there were several spins including Nate Trim, DeMello and Walters, however none of the incidents resulted in a yellow. On lap 11, Dana Devane spun bringing the yellow flag.

On the restart, the front duo of Arispe and Way pulled away while Barnwell and Bailey fought for the fourth position. On lap 15, Bailey got by Barnwell and set his sights on Bradbury for third. Meanwhile, Way was looking inside and outside of Arispe for the lead. The racing among the front two allowed third, fourth and fifth to catch up and make it a five car race. On lap 21, Browne moved by Barnwell for fifth. Bailey began to have problems and pulled his car into the pits. The race for the lead was close, but in the end Arispe was able to fend off Way to win followed by Bradbury, Browne and Barnwell.

Ryan Walters took home the dash win on Saturday night followed by Steve Kimberling, Dan Browne and Jim Bailey. Bob Lima won the first dash over Kimberling, Doug Way, Mike Peeples and Cecil Arispe. Walters took the second over Barry Barnwell, Marvin Savage, Bill Bradbury and Ray DeMello. DeMello and Ryan Robinson lead the field to the green flag in the main event. Demello got the jump off the start and took the early lead, while Lima slotted himself into the second position. On lap three, Walters moved his car into the third position by Robinson. On lap six, Barnwell, Kimberling and Mike Peeples spun on the backstretch bringing out the yellow. Coming back to the flag, Lima beat DeMello to the line to take the lead.

On the restart, DeMello and the field got a great jump on Lima who fell back several positions. Jim Redd and DeMello began racing for the lead, but the two made contact sending DeMello spinning and bringing out another yellow. The green came again and Walters decided to make his move for the lead taking it from Redd on lap 11. Soon after, Redd spun into the infield. As the race wound down, the field stretched out and Walters pulled away. On lap 14, Lima moved inside and by Robinson for the third position. It was smooth sailing for Walters though as he was able to take the victory handily over Browne, Lima, Robinson and Savage.

Jaison Chand returned to race in the mini stock division for the weekend, and he showed no signs of rust as he set a quick time of 18.821. Scott Baker took Friday’s dash win with Jerry Peterson, Chand and Byron McIntosh in his wake. Chad Grammer won the heat race followed by Baker, Stacy Minnick, Chand and Peterson. Grammer and Minnick lead the field to the green flag in the main event. Grammer took the initial lead, but got loose off the second turn allowing Minnick to move into the lead with Brian McIntosh slotting in the second position. Grammer moved outside and by McIntosh on lap two. The next lap, the caution flag flew when Baker and Peterson had an incident.

The restart came and Chand tried to take advantage of the tightness of the field as he moved outside of Brian Murrell for fourth. Chand then made his way by McIntosh for third. On lap six, Grammer got by Minnick to take the lead. Chand got by Minnick the next lap. Peterson got by McIntosh on lap eight, then by Minnick on lap nine. On lap 13, Judge John Morrison spun bringing out the yellow. Under caution, Chand pulled his car behind the wall ending his evening. The green came back out and Peterson and Grammer began to duel for the lead. The two raced side by side for several laps, but Grammer eventually was able to pull out the lead from Peterson to score the victory. Baker finished third, Minnick fourth and Murrell fifth.

Saturday night proved to be a fresh start for Jaison Chand who won the trophy dash over Scott Baker, Jerry Peterson and Byron McIntosh. Chand followed that up with a heat race victory followed by Brian Murrell, Baker, Peterson and Brian McIntosh. Denzel Barrett and Brian McIntosh lead the field to the green flag in the main event. Brian McIntosh nabbed the lead while brother Byron took second and Murrell third. On lap four, Baker moved by Murrell for third. The next lap, Peterson moved outside of Murrell to take fourth. On lap six, Baker made his way by Byron McIntosh, bringing Peterson with him. The next lap, Baker and Peterson made contact in turn one bringing out a yellow and sending both drivers to the rear of the field.

The restart came and Murrell made his presence known in Brian McIntosh’s mirror. On lap 13, Grammer spun off the fourth turn but kept going. On lap 15, Peterson made contact with Murrell’s bumper bringing out another yellow and forcing himself to the back of the field once more. Out came the green flag and to the outside of McIntosh went Chand to take the lead. With two to go, Chand got severely loose off the second turn almost costing himself the win and bunching up the field behind him, however he gathered his car. Chand’s mistake proved to be Glen Bernald’s good fortune as he was able to move into the second spot. Chand was not to be challenged though as he took his third win of the night over Bernald, Brian McIntosh, Byron McIntosh and Grammar.

Qualifying was held on both nights for the thunder roadsters and the sportsman division. Troy Combs set fast time on Friday with a 17.060 lap. David Henderson won the dash over Paul Peeples, Jr., Mark Baldwin and Combs. Bill O’Neill won the first heat over Donn Cole, Ray Elliott, Jay Bahner and Gary Payne. Henderson took the second over Baldwin, Peeples, Combs and LeRoy Marsh, Jr. O’Neill and Bruce Zeimer lead the field to the green flag in the main event. A restart would have to be made however when Peeples got into Rusty Olson sending him spinning into the third turn. Olson pulled his car into the pits suffering from a loose oil fitting.

After a lengthy cleanup, the green flag came out again with O’Neill getting the lead and Elliott taking second. Marsh and Combs raced side by side for third for several laps until Marsh got loose and into Combs allowing Henderson to get by for third. Henderson moved outside and by Elliott for second before a lap seven caution for a spin by Ziemer. Peeples took advantage of Elliott on the restart moving to the outside to take third. He then moved inside Henderson to try to take second, but Henderson showed strength moving to the outside of O’Neill for the lead.

On lap 10, Combs moved by Peeples for third. Two laps later, Combs moved by Henderson and began challenging for the lead. Peeples got by Henderson for third on lap 17 while Combs and O’Neill continued to fight for the top spot. Combs finally got his car to stock on the outside, taking the lead from O’Neill on lap 18. Peeples began to challenge O’Neill for second allowing Combs to pull out a lead. On lap 23, Peeples got by O’Neill for second and tried to close the gap on Combs. Meanwhile, O’Neill, Henderson and Baldwin were having their own fracas for third. Peeples tried to close the gap but he didn’t have enough laps as Combs took the win while O’Neill held off Baldwin and Henderson.

Randy Olson came out to race Saturday night breaking Ryan Zeck’s track record, setting a new mark of 16.885. Olson took the dash win over David Henderson, Paul Peeples, Jr. and Rusty Olson. Dave McMurray won the first heat race over Bill O’Neill and Gary Payne. Mark Baldwin held off Randy Olson to win the second heat with Troy Combs third, Ray Elliott fourth and Rusty Olson fifth. O’Neill and lead the field to the green for the second night in a row. Combs spun on the initial start forcing a restart. When the green came, O’Neill took the lead while Elliott slotted into the second position. The racing for first few laps were fast and furious as Chris Sarvinski, Marsh, Rusty Olson and Randy Olson all dueled for position. On lap 4, the yellow came out when Combs spun again off the second turn.

Randy Olson tried to take advantage of the restart moving inside of brother Rusty, however Rusty moved to the outside and by Sarvinski on lap five. Rusty then moved outside of Elliott to challenge for second. Randy Olson followed Rusty through by Sarvinski and Eliott, then made his way by Rusty for second on lap seven. The same lap, Randy moved outside and by O’Neill to take the lead. Rusty tried to follow by on the high line but wasn’t able to find the grip allowing Henderson to move inside and by for the third position. While O’Neill, Henderson and Olson were fighting for position, Randy Olson was enjoying a comfortable lead and continued to pull away.

On lap 11, Rusty Olson moved back by Henderson for third. He then moved outside of O’Neill to try to take second the next lap. On lap 13, O’Neill and Olson made contact sending Olson spinning into the infield and bringing out the yellow. Officials put O’Neill to the back and racing resumed with Randy Olson leading Henderson, Baldwin, Sarvinski and Marsh. Combs moved by Marsh on the restart, then moved by Sarvinski. As this was going on, Henderson and Baldwin were having a duel for second giving allowing Olson to pull away. Baldwin got by Henderson on lap 16. The next lap Sarvinski spun off turn four but no yellow came. On lap 23, McMurray made contact with Ziemer sending Ziemer spinning and bringing another yellow.

After another restart, another caution flew when Rusty Olson got into McMurray sending him spinning. Olson was sent to the rear, and the green flag flew for the final time. Randy Olson pulled out once again while Combs moved outside Baldwin for second, however Baldwin held off his challenges. When the checkered flag fell it was Randy Olson winning over Baldwin, Combs, Henderson and Marsh.

Larry Pries had fast lap for Friday night’s racing in the sportsman division timing in with a 16.489. Brandon Barnwell won the dash over Marty Walsh, Pries and Aaron Byers. Donnie Brown took the first heat over Rick Fox, Walsh, Kyle Cattanach and Lissa Uselton. Joe Bonomini took the second heat over Byers, Angelo Marcelli, Pries and Ken Hallis. Al Acuna and Fox comprised the front row for the main event. Acuna took the lead off the start while Fox lost several spots. Acuna pulled out a few car lengths on Marcelli in second and Walsh in third. On lap three, Marcelli pushed off the fourth turn allowing Walsh to move into second. On lap five, Barnwell and Marcelli made contact bringing a yellow out.

After the restart, the cars singled out and ran nose to tail before a lap 11 incident when Barnwell got loose off turn four causing Pries to spin to avoid running into Barnwell. Officials deemed Barnwell at fault and sent him to the rear and the green came out again. Walsh moved to the inside of Acuna for the lead on lap 14, taking the spot. Byers tried to follow him through but made contact with Acuna sending the two hard into the backstretch wall resulting in a red flag.

After the cleanup, the green came again with Walsh leading Fox, Uselton, Cattanach and Browne. A few green flag laps of racing occurred before lap 21 when Browne got into Barnwell for another yellow. The green came out again and Cattanach moved inside Uselton on lap 22. Cattanach then moved under Fox for second, then on lap 27 he moved by Walsh for the lead, bringing Fox with him. Cattanach took the checkered flag first over Fox, Walsh, Uselton and Hallis, however in post race inspection, officials deemed Cattanach’s carburetor illegal giving Fox the win.

After seemingly struggling with his car Friday night, Marty Walsh took fast time Saturday with a 16.433 lap. The dash ran without Rick Fox with Larry Pries winning over Walsh and Brandon Barnwell. The heat race was taken by Al Acuna driving a car borrowed from Fox, followed by Uselton, Donnie Brown, Barnwell and Joe Bonomini. Angelo Marcelli and Bonomini lead the field to the green flag in the main event with Marcelli getting the early lead and Barnwell taking second. On lap three, Barnwell moved by Marcelli to take the lead. Marcelli fell back to the fifth position as Walsh, Bonomini and Pries moved by.

Pries moved inside Bonomini on lap six to take third. On lap 11, after riding behind Barnwell for several laps, Walsh took the lead. The strung-out field allowed the race to go incident free and the best battle for the rest of the race was between Barnwell and Pries. Several times Pries tried to find grip off the corners, but he never could find a way by Barnwell. In the end, Walsh cruised to win over Barnwell, Pries, Bonomini and Angelo Marcelli.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Three in a row for Peeples, two in a row for Pries

Three in a row for Peeples, two in a row for Pries

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Several close duels for the win made for a thrilling night at Redwood Acres Raceway. Though it was an unusually cold and windy June night, fans packed the grandstands to see some great racing. After a side-by-side duel for several laps with David Henderson, Paul Peeples, Jr. made it three races in a row with another win in the thunder roadsters. Longtime Acres ace Larry Pries was able to fend off Marty Walsh to take the victory in the sportsman division. After a several race layoff, Ryan Walters dusted off the field in the real stock main event while Jerry Peterson returned to the mini stock division and showed no signs of rust to score the victory.

The first of two powder puff races was held on this evening with the drivers driving real stock cars. The quickest driver in qualifying was Toni Brown with a very respectable lap of 21.173. Brown took the heat race win over Sharon Redd, Sharon Huffman, Debbie Huffman and Debra Daniels. Daniels prevailed in the main event winning the $200 prize. Second and $100 went to Brown while third and $50 went to Debbie Huffman. In all, eight female drivers participated in the special event. Among those not mentioned were Denise Carmichael who was driving Troy Wood’s car, Shannon Bailey who was behind the wheel of Jim Bailey’s car and Dee Kenny who was driving Dana DeVane’s car. The event was sponsored by Four Star Realty and was the first of two powder puff races for this season.

The limited street division added a new driver and vehicle to the class in Craig Huffman but only four cars showed up to race. Ken Demello set the quickest lap in qualifying with a 17.573 lap. Adrien Betournay fought off Orion Mosher to win the dash followed by Demello and Huffman. It was much of the same action in what was essentially the main event with Betournay holding off Mosher’s challenges and winning followed by Huffman. Demello was black flagged during the race due to fluid leaking from his car.

Byron McIntosh set the fastest lap in the mini stock division with a 19.134. Brian Murrell won the dash followed by Chad Grammer, McIntosh and Craig Baker. Baker won the heat race followed by Jerry Peterson, Denzel Barrett, Stacy Minnick and Glen Bernald. Barrett and Bryan McIntosh brought the field to the green flag in the 20 lap main event. Unfortunately, Byron McIntosh and Nick Karanopoulos were not able to make the start of the race. Bryan McIntosh nabbed the lead from Barrett going into the first turn but coming off the second, he got loose and spun in the infield. Amongst the chaos, Peterson was able to move to the lead dropping McIntosh to second.

The field began to settle out when Judge John Morrison spun off the second corner on lap five necessitating a yellow flag. Peterson got a good start when the green flag came out and pulled out to a gap over the rest of the field. Murrell moved by McIntosh to take second on lap six. Scott Baker followed suit to take third kicking McIntosh to fourth. On lap 10, Craig Baker moved to the outside of Bernald for position. On lap 11, Baker and Bernald made very slight contact, but it was enough to get Baker loose sending him head on into the wall. Bernald spun into the infield with his right rear tire flat. Thankfully Baker climbed out of his car okay, but his car looked to be in need of serious repair.

When the green came out again it was Peterson leading Murrell, Scott Baker, McIntosh and Grammer. On lap 13, Minnick moved by Grammer for fifth but Grammer was able to move back by later that same lap. Grammer got past McIntosh for fourth on lap 16. On lap 17, Minnick moved to the outside of McIntosh to take fifth. After looming in Murrell’s mirror for several laps, Baker was able to move by for second on lap 18. Peterson’s lead was insurmountable and when the checkered flag flew it was Peterson winning with Baker second, Murrell third, Grammer fourth and Minnick fifth.

Ryan Walters returned to the real stock division setting a quick lap of 19.610. Walters followed up his fast lap with a win in the trophy dash over Mike Peeples, Cecil Arispe and Jim Bailey. Bill Bradbury won the first heat over Walters, Arispe, Ray Rapp and Barry Barnwell. Jim Redd took the second heat followed by Bailey, Ryan Robinson, Doug Way and Bill Middleton who was driving Bob Lima’s car. Jim Furia and Redd lead the 19 car field to the green in the 20 lap main event. Redd took the early lead but by the end of lap one, Brad Bergquist spun off the fourth turn bringing out the yellow flag. Rapp moved by Redd for the lead coming to the yellow flag.

The green came out again as Troy Wood and Robinson moved by Furia to take third and fourth. Marvin Savage moved by Furia on lap five just as Dana DeVane spun off turn two bringing out the caution flag. After two more laps of green another yellow came out on lap 7 when Barnwell and Peeples spun. Behind them Arispe spun, however everyone was able to continue in the race. On the restart, Middleton made his way by Savage. At the same time, Robinson moved by Redd for the second slot. Middleton made his way around Wood for fourth on lap 9 bringing Walters in his wake. On lap 10, Robinson spun bringing out another yellow flag. Arispe and Bradbury also spun but continued. In the confusion, Walters moved by Middleton for second.

Another restart came and Walters looked to make full use of his opportunity. He got a great jump on Rapp on the start and took the lead. Middleton also made his way by Rapp to take second. On lap 11, Redd hit the wall. After another restart, another yellow flew when Robinson spun off turn two. The green flew again with Walters leading Middleton, Way, Rapp and Peeples. With two laps to go, Peeples got by Rapp for fourth. At the front though, it was all Ryan Walters as he scored the victory over Middleton, Way, Peeples and Rapp.

The sportsman division had their smallest car count of the season with nine cars showing up. Marty Walsh set the pace with a 16.528 lap in qualifying. Walsh won the dash over Larry Pries, Aaron Byers and Al Acuna. Joe Bonomini made an impressive debut in the sportsman heat race fending off Pries, Acuna, Brandon Barnwell and Lissa Uselton to win. Uselton and Fox lead the field to the green in the 25 lap main event. Fox took the initial lead while Pries fought on Uselton’s outside for second. In the third and fourth turn, Uselton and Barnwell made contact spinning Uselton into the infield and bringing the yellow out.

On the restart it was Fox leading Pries, Walsh, Acuna and Barnwell. The first three cars began to move away from Acuna as he tried to hold off Barnwell. On lap eight, Barnwell moved by Acuna to take fourth. Meanwhile, Pries was looking to get by Fox. Several times Pries looked inside of Fox, but Fox closed the door. On lap 14, Pries found the grip and moved to Fox’s inside. Fox fought hard but couldn’t hold off Pries as he took the lead with Walsh following behind moving Fox to third. Meanwhile, Byers had moved by Acuna for fifth and was now looking for a way by Barnwell for fourth. The race for the lead was close with Walsh looming in Pries’ mirror. On lap 22, Walsh looked to have the line on Pries going into the third turn but Pries slammed the door. That move was enough to break Walsh’s momentum and take the win for Pries. Fox finished third, Barnwell fourth and Byers fifth.

Paul Peeples, Jr lead the large roadster field in qualifying with a 16.945 lap. The trophy in the dash went to Peeples followed by Mark Baldwin, Troy Combs and Chris Banfill. Chris Sarvinski won the first heat over Mike Ward and Chris Lawrence while Ray Elliott won the second heat over Ron Borges and Ron Rosenthal. David Henderson took honors in the third heat followed by Combs and Bill O’Neil. There was a wild incident in the 10 lap B main when Rob Nelson got loose off the fourth turn and collected Lawrence. The hit briefly sent Lawrence on two wheels but he landed on all four and was able to drive his car to the pits. Sarvinski and Ward took the two transfer spots into the main event.

Bruce Ziemer and Henderson brought the 18 field to the green in the 30 lap main event. After a first lap side by side battle for the top spot, Henderson was able to prevail for the lead while O’Neil and Arroyo put Ziemer in the middle of a three wide situation. Unfortunately on the next lap, Ziemer and Combs tangled in turn one with Ziemer hitting the wall. Peeples got an excellent jump on the restart and was able to make his way by Baldwin, LeRoy Marsh and Arroyo, then he moved to the outside of O’Neil for second, making the pass. Arroyo made his way by O’Neil for third on lap six. On lap seven, Peeples moved to the inside of Henderson for the race lead. The two raced wheel to wheel for seven laps while Arroyo looked to find which car to follow. On lap 14, Peeples was finally able to get by Henderson for good to take the lead.

On lap 15, Baldwin moved his way by O’Neil. At the same time, Rosenthal and Combs made contact off the second turn collecting Elliott. The restart came once more and Henderson tried to get back by Peeples. Marsh moved his way by O’Neil for the fifth spot on lap 20. As the laps ticked away the field began to stretch out. On lap 26, Borges hit the wall bringing out the last caution. The restart bunched the field but didn’t change the top five running order as Peeples won his third consecutive race followed by Henderson, Arroyo, Baldwin and Marsh.

One of the biggest events of the year comes up next as racing will take place two nights in a row during the Redwood Acres Fair Friday June 23 and Saturday June 24. It should be another thrilling night with a full plate of action as the North State Challenge Series will be racing both nights along with the thunder roadsters, sportsman, real stock, mini stock and limited street stock classes.

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Peeples two in a row, Bradbury holds off Browne

Peeples two in a row, Bradbury holds off Browne

By Matthew J. Sullivan

For the first time in the 2006 season it a somewhat warm night at Redwood Acres Raceway. Even though a few showers fell during the event, it wasn’t enough to severely slow down another exciting night as the thunder roadsters made their third appearance of the season at the Acres, along with the regular four classes of cars. Orion Mosher pulled away from the field in the limited street stock main to win while Craig Baker continued to show his strength in the mini stock division, winning the main event handily. Resuming their battle from the previous race, Bill Bradbury held off Dan Browne to win the real stock main. After some struggles at the start of the season, Larry Pries was able to make his way though the field in the sportsman division and claim victory. After an incident between Troy Combs and Randy Olson, Paul Peeples, Jr. inherited the lead in the roadster main event and was able to fend off David Henderson to win his second main event in a row at the Acres.

The limited street division was able to pick up one more car this weekend as Mark Burris showed up. Kenny Demello won the trophy dash over Orion Mosher, Adrien Betournay and Terry Vallee. Demello and Mosher put on an exciting heat race with Demello holding off Mosher’s challenges to win followed by Betournay, Vallee and Burris. The eight lap main was brought to the green flag by Mosher and Demello. Mosher used his inside front row starting spot to grab the lead from Demello. Though Demello briefly challenged Mosher for the lead, Mosher was eventually able to pull away and take the win with Demello second, Betournay third, Burris fourth and Vallee fifth.

Chad Grammer took home the trophy in the mini stock dash over Scott Baker, Brian Murrell and Stacy Minnick. The heat race had a bit too much excitement in it as a Brian McIntosh spin caught out Glen Bernald and Scott Baker. Craig Baker took the heat win over Grammer, Murrell, Byron McIntosh and Denzel Barrett. 11 cars started the 20 lap main event with the front row comprised of Nick Karanopoulos and Bernald. By the end of the first lap however, Brian McIntosh was able to get by both to nab the top spot. McIntosh’s lead would not last long however, as Murrell moved by for the lead on lap three. That same lap, Scott Baker pulled his car into the pits, calling it a night.

On lap four, Grammer made his way by Murrell bringing Craig Baker with him moving Murrell back to third. For several laps, Baker looked for a way by Grammer. Baker then made his way to the outside of Grammer and the two dueled side by side for the lead. On lap 10, coming off the fourth turn Grammer got loose allowing Baker to completely get by and pull away. Meanwhile, Minnick moved her way past Brian McIntosh four the fifth position. By lap 15, the field had spread out with Baker leading Grammer, Murrell, Minnick and McIntosh. On lap 16, Grammer pulled his car into the pits moving everyone behind up a spot, including long-time mini stock racer Mac Collado to fifth. When the checkered flag fell, the top five was the same, Baker, Murrell, Minnick, Bryan McIntosh and Collado.

The real stock division had perhaps their best field of the season. Dan Browne and Bill Bradbury resumed their battle from the previous race for a bit in the dash with Browne winning followed by Bradbury, Jim Bailey and Barry Barnwell. Ray Robinson won the first heat over Browne, Jim Redd, Troy Wood and Bailey. The second heat was won by Bradbury over Bob Lima, Barnwell, Ray DeMello and Marvin Savage. 17 cars took the green flag in the 25 lap main event with DeMello and Redd sharing the front row. DeMello grabbed the lead from Redd off the start while Doug Way pulled his car into the pits for the night. On lap two, Ryan Robinson moved by Redd for the second spot, then he moved outside of DeMello to challenge for the first position. By lap three, Browne had made his way to the third spot before a yellow flag flew for debris on the track.

The green flag came out again and Browne decided to use the closeness of the front to cars to his advantage. He made his way by Robinson for second by lap four, then he moved his way outside of DeMello to grab the lead on lap five. In the meantime, Bradbury began picking his way through the field. On lap eight, he moved past Bailey for fifth then by Redd for fourth. However any thoughts of taking the lead were fantasy as Browne had pulled out to a large lead over DeMello. On the tenth lap, Robinson spun but no yellow flag flew. The top five at this time was Browne, DeMello, Bradbury, Redd and Lima.

On lap 13, Bradbury moved to DeMello’s bumper and tried to take the second spot while a four car duel between Redd, Lima, Barnwell and Bailey four the fourth, fifth, sixth and seventh positions. Brad Bergquist making his first start of the season blew his engine in the high line on lap 14 but again no yellow flag flew as the fluid was well out of the racing groove. Bradbury made his way by DeMello lap 15. That same lap, Lima made contact with the lapped car of Dana DeVane necessitating a yellow flag and bunching up the field, much to Bradbury’s pleasure and Browne’s dismay. When the green came again, Browne and Bradbury pulled away from DeMello and the rest of the field. On lap 18, Bradbury moved inside of Browne for the lead, taking the position. At the same time, DeMello got too high and lost several spots. Bradbury and Browne continued to duel for the lead as the laps ticked off but when the checkered fell Browne didn’t have enough as Bradbury won followed by Browne, Barnwell, Redd and Lima. Unfortunately in post race inspection, Browne’s car was deemed illegal.

12 cars showed up to race in the sportsman division. Rick Fox held off Marty Walsh, Brandon Barnwell and Larry Pries to win the trophy dash. Angelo Marcelli won the first heat race over Fox, Walsh, Donnie Brown and Al Acuna while Barnwell won the second heat over Ken Hallis, Aaron Byers, Pries and Jerry Peterson. The 35 lap main event was lead to the green flag by Frank Billy and Brown. Brown was able to get a good jump on the start and take the front spot. On lap two, Billy got into the side of Barnwell spinning him and causing the field to scatter. Fortunately, there wasn’t any serious damage done to any of the cars.

The green came out again with Brown leading while Fox tried to get by Billy for second. On lap four, Fox got the spot and set his sights on Brown. The next lap, several cars were able to move past Billy including Pries, Byers and Walsh. The gap between the front five cars began to close as all five raced bumper to bumper cleanly. On lap 11, Byers got his car sideways off the fourth turn but managed to reel in his car and not lose position. On lap 13, Billy spun off the second turn bringing out the caution. The restart was to Pries’ advantage as he moved by Fox for second on lap 14, then he moved inside Browne on lap 16, taking the lead the next lap. Barnwell spun on lap 19 and the yellow flag came once again.

Pries got a good start when the green came back out while Brown tried to hold off Fox. Pries held a two car length advantage while second through fourth were nip and tuck for position. On lap 30, Walsh made his way by Byers for fourth. On lap 32 the final yellow flag came. Under caution Barnwell cut a tire forcing him into the pits for the final few laps. For Larry Pries, the last three laps were merely a formality as he claimed the win followed by Brown, Fox, Walsh and Byers. Regretfully, Brown’s car was found to be illegal in post race inspection.

The thunder roadsters made their third start at the Acres with another beautiful field of cars. Paul Peeples, Jr. won the dash over Randy Olson, David Henderson and Ron Rosenthal. Mike Ward won the first heat followed by Jay Bahner, Waymond Hans, Donn Cole and Byron Nelson. Chris Sarvinski took the second heat followed by Troy Combs, Henderson, Randy Olson and Peeples. Leroy Marsh returned to the Acres after a few years hiatus to win the third heat with Rusty Olson using a car barrowed from Bill O’Neill finishing second followed by, Ray Elliott, Chris Banfill and Ron Turner filling out the top five. With the high car count, a B-main event was necessitated and Ward was able to win while Dave McMurray took the second and final transfer spot.

18 cars started the 30 lap roadster main with Marsh and Bruce Ziermar leading the field to the green. Marsh got the jump bringing Rusty Olson with him while Ziermar had major issues falling to the end of the field. On the fifth lap, Sarvinski spun, however the yellow flag was withheld as he got going again. By the tenth lap the field was still spreading out as Marsh lead Olson, Elliott, Combs and Henderson. Elliott and Combs began to reel in Olson for second allowing Marsh to pull his lead out a bit more. On lap 12, Combs pulled to the outside of Elliott while Randy Olson moved to the high side of Henderson. Combs made his way by Elliott on lap 13 just as Bill O’Neill spun off the second turn bringing out the yellow flag.

On the restart, Combs got a jump to the outside of Rusty Olson and Marsh taking the lead. Randy Olson followed suit moving to third, then taking second from Marsh on lap 15. On lap 18, Henderson moved to the inside of Rusty Olson for fourth but Olson held him off. Meanwhile, Randy Olson began to close the gap on Combs for the lead. The yellow flag came out on lap 19 as Elliott, Ward and McMurray were all collected in an incident in the second turn. On the restart, Peeples got a jump and moved to the third position while Henderson got by Rusty Olson for fifth and Marsh for fourth.

On lap 22 while racing for the lead off the fourth turn, Randy Olson turned Combs into the infield bringing out the final yellow flag. Under yellow, Combs showed his frustration with Olson hitting him in the third and fourth turn. Olson was sent to the rear but decided to pull his car to the pits. With the field shuffled, the top five was now Peeples, Henderson, Marsh, Banfill and Rusty Olson. The green came again and Peeples was able to put a gap on Henderson who put a gap on Marsh. On lap 25, Olson pulled his borrowed car into the pits for the night. The last laps went without any major challenges in the top five. When the checkered flag came down it was Paul Peeples making it two in a row followed by Henderson, Marsh, Banfill and Mark Arroyo.

The next race at the Acres is June 10 with the regular field of limited street stocks, mini stocks, real stocks and sportsman cars. It should be another exciting night of racing.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Browne beats Bradbury by inches, completes trifecta

Browne beats Bradbury by inches, completes trifecta

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Another chilly night welcomed everyone in attendance at Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday night, but as usual the excitement on the track was enough to make people forget the cold. Craig Baker returned from engine woes the previous week to claim the main event victory in the mini stock division while Dan Browne held off Bill Bradbury by inches to claim the win in the real stock main event in what might be the race of the season. Track veteran, Angelo Marcelli took the win in the sportsman division main.

The limited street class was in action but once again the car count was very low with only four showing up. Of the four, Orion Mosher was the fastest in time trials with a 17.484 lap. Mosher won the closely contested trophy dash beating Adrien Betournay, Ken Demello and Vern Crowley who was driving the car normally piloted by Terry Vallee. Sadly, the heat race would end up being the classes main event. However, it was a very exciting race as Betournay was able to hold off all challenges from Mosher to take the win with Demello third and Crowley fourth. An attempt at a main event was made but before the green, Betournay had issues with fuel coming out of his car and the race was called off.

Chad Grammer set the fast mark in the mini stock division with a 19.083 time. Brian Murrell won the dash over Grammer, Craig Baker and Stacy Minnick. Baker moved his way through the field in the heat race to take the win followed by Bryan McIntosh, Glen Bernald, Grammer and Murrell. Nine cars started the 20 lap main event with the front row comprised of Bernald and Scott Baker. The green flew as Bernald and Baker battled for the lead. Baker battled hard on the outside for the first two laps before the inside line prevailed with Bernald getting the lead, Murrell getting by Baker for second. On lap five, Grammer and Bryan McIntosh made contact in the fourth turn. The incident forced Grammar into the pits while McIntosh had substantial right front damage. However, there was no yellow flag for the incident. Meanwhile, Murrell and Baker were able to get by Bernald for the first and second positions.

By lap nine, Craig Baker had moved his way by Bernald to the third position. Two laps later, he moved by brother Scott to take second while leader Murrell maintained a seven car gap. At the same time, Bernald and Minnick were fighting hard for the fourth position. As the laps wound down, Baker closed the gap on Murrell. Baker looked for a line by Murrell before making his move inside on lap 16 and taking the lead. Murrell fought back and stayed in Baker’s mirror hoping that he would falter in the final laps. To Murrell’s dismay he didn’t as Craig Baker took the win followed by Brian Murrell, Scott Baker, Glen Bernald and Stacy Minnick.

Jim Bailey blew the real stock field away in qualifying with a quick lap of 19.198. Dan Browne won the trophy dash over Bailey, Bill Bradbury and Barry Barnwell. Browne again took honors in the first heat winning over Barnwell, Troy Wood, Marvin Savage and Jim Redd. Bradbury won the second heat race followed by Bailey, Ukiah regular Danny Helm, Ray Robinson and Steve Kimberling. The two heat race winners would have a bit of a show-down in the main event.

The 12 car field was brought to the green flag by Browne and Barnwell. Browne got the jump off the start while Bradbury moved into the second position and Barnwell back to the third slot. On lap two, Bradbury found a way by Browne on the inside to take the lead. However, Browne was able to fall behind and maintain position in the second spot. In the meantime, Barnwell and Bailey were having a race of their own for the third position. For several laps, the two were doorhandle to doorhandle, Barnwell on the inside, Bailey on the outside. Bailey couldn’t find enough grip to get by, so he settled in behind Barnwell hoping to make a run past him later in the race. On lap seven, Browne moved past Bradbury to reclaim the lead. The duo of Brown and Bradbury had now pulled out to a sizeable gap over the Barnwell, Bailey battle. Bradbury would not be denied however. On lap 12, he used the front bumper to move by Browne to give the race another lead change. The bump allowed Bradbury to open a bit of a gap on Browne.

On lap 14, Bailey was able to find a way by Barnwell on the inside line to take the third spot. Things were heating up again for the lead as Browne had closed the margin on Bradbury and was now on his rear bumper. On sixteenth lap, Browne moved to the inside of Bradbury going three wide while lapping Ray Robinson to retake the lead once again. However, Browne could not pull away from Bradbury. The two leaders began to hit slower traffic coming to the white flag. Going into the third turn, Bradbury made contact with Browne sending Browne slightly into the infield. However, Browne was able to hang on and maintain the lead while Bradbury moved to the inside. It was a drag race coming off the fourth turn between the two with Browne finding just enough bite to claim a thrilling victory over Bradbury, Bailey, Barnwell and Danny Helm. However, in post race inspection, Bailey’s car was found to be illegal thus moving Barnwell to third, Helm to fourth and Jim Redd to fifth. Browne’s main event win made him three for three for the night, completing the dash-heat-main trifecta.

Qualifying for the sportsman division was tight with Marty Walsh prevailing with a 16.568 lap. Angelo Marcelli won the dash over Aaron Byers, Rick Fox and Walsh. The first heat was won by Jerry Peterson over Marcelli, Al Acuna, Fox and Mike Bourbon while the second heat was won on the last lap by Larry Pries followed by Lissa Uselton, Byers, Walsh and Brandon Barnwell. Donnie Brown started the first heat but had problems and didn’t return for the rest of the evening. 10 cars started the 30 lap main event. Originally, the front row was supposed to be shared by Peterson and Pries, however Pries had to pit prior to the green flag allowing Marcelli to take the outside position on the front row. Marcelli grabbed the lead off the drop of the green flag. On lap two, Fox moved by Byers for third. At the same time, Pries was black flagged after starting in the back of the field.

On lap three, Fox moved to the inside of Peterson for second, freight training Peterson all the way back to sixth. All the fighting for the second position allowed Marcelli to pull out to an eight car length gap over the rest of the field. By the fifth lap, the front five was Marcelli, Fox, Byers, Walsh and Acuna. Fox was able to break away from Byers and while Byers had his hands full with Walsh. The two raced bumper-to-bumper for several laps before Walsh was able to get by on the inside on lap 13. Meanwhile, Fox had closed the margin on Marcelli and was now challenging for the lead. Uselton spun off the fourth turn on lap sixteen bringing out the yellow flag and tightening the field.

Marcelli lead the field to the restart with Fox trying to find a way by, while Walsh tried to find a way by Fox. With seven to go, Walsh and Fox made contact allowing Walsh to grab second. On the next lap, going into the first turn, Byers turned Fox sending the two into the wall collecting Acuna and Pries and bringing out the red flag. Fox, Acuna and Pries were able to continue but Byers’ car was done for the night. The field was reset again and the green flew once more. Walsh tried several times to get to the inside of Marcelli but he couldn’t find enough grip. As the checkered flag fell it was Marcelli taking the win followed by Walsh, Barnwell, Peterson and Fox.

Racing at the Acres takes a weekend off before returning to action with all four classes of cars along with the thunder roadsters on June 3.