Walsh wins, two in a row for Way
By Matthew J. Sullivan
Another chilly evening welcomed the competitors and fans of the four classes of cars at the Acres, but it sure didn’t slow any of the competition down on the race track. Adrien Betournay nabbed the main event win in the depleted limited street class while Doug Way won the thrilling real stock main. Craig Baker ran away from the field in the mini stock main completing the dash/heat/main trifecta and Marty Walsh won the closely contested main in the sportsman division.
Orion Mosher returned to the limited street division in his truck and claimed the win in a thrilling trophy dash which saw Kavin Conn and Adrien Betournay tangle in the fourth turn on the final lap while battling for the lead. Unfortunately, Conn suffered nose damage which was enough to end his evening. Kenny Demello won the heat over Betournay and Terry Vallee with Mosher in the pits due to smoke which was coming from his vehicle. The eight lap main event was brought to its green flag by Betournay and Mosher. Betournay got the jump while Mosher slotted behind and tried to find a way around. On the fifth lap, Demello had problems and slowed. Mosher tried several times to make a move on Betournay but it wasn’t enough as Adrien Betournay took the win over Mosher, Vallee and Demello.
It appeared that Craig Baker was looking to make an early season statement in the mini stock class. Baker took the trophy dash win followed by his brother Scott Baker, Stacy Minnick and Chad Grammar. He followed that up with a win in the heat over Glen Bernald, Scott Baker, Grammer and Brian Murrell. Nick Karanopoulos and Bernald brought the ten car field to the green flag in the 20 lap main event. Karanopoulos got the jump and lead the first lap and Craig Baker moved into second as the field began to get into formation. On the second lap, Bernald spun. The same lap, Baker made his way by Karanopoulos for the lead taking the yellow flag. Under the caution, Grammer was sent to the back for his involvement in Bernald’s spin.
When the green flag flew, Craig Baker stretched his lead while Scott Baker made his way to the second position. The Bakers ran away from the field while Grammer tried to get to the front. By lap 13, Grammer had reached the third slot passing Karanopoulos, Brian McIntosh, Denzel Barrett and Murrell, but he was half the track distance behind Craig Baker who was maintaining a comfortable distance over Scott. On the last lap while working through traffic, Scott Baker made contact with Barrett in the middle of the back stretch. Fortunately, no other cars were involved. Craig Baker crossed the start/finish line first to take the win over Grammer, Karanopoulos, McIntosh and Murrell.
If Craig Baker was making a statement then so was Doug Way in the real stock class. Way won the trophy dash over Mike Peeples, Dan Browne and Jim Bailey. Jason Belt won the first heat followed by Browne, Peeples, Ray DeMello and Brian Belt while Bob Lima took the second over Way, Barry Barnwell, Bailey and Bill Bradbury. The 16 car field was brought to the green of the 25 lap main event by DeMello and Ryan Robinson. Browne had issues before the race started and had to pit but returned just as the field took the green. DeMello got the jump and took the early lead over Jim Redd and Bradbury. Way began to make his way to the lead early, getting by Bradbury on lap two and taking the second position from Redd on lap three. On lap five, Ryan Walters spun bringing out the yellow flag.
After the restart, Way began to try to find a way past DeMello. On lap six, Peeples got by Redd while Bailey followed in his tracks to also get past Redd. Way moved to the outside of DeMello on lap seven. A lap later, Barnwell and Brian Belt tangled between the third and fourth turns resulting in a caution flag. Barnwell continued but Belt’s night was over. The green flew again as Way continued to look for a line. Mike Peeples got loose of the second turn on lap nine and lost several positions. On lap 10, Way got to the outside of DeMello and was able to find some grip. Bradbury and Bailey were able to close up on the two to make it a four car race. After several side-by-side laps, Way was able to take the lead away. Bailey and Browne were also able to get past DeMello. The caution flag flew again on lap 15 for Jim Redd’s spin in turn two. The restart came again and it appeared to be a three car race between Way, Bailey and Browne. Bailey tried the outside line on Way several times but couldn’t make it work. By this time, Bradbury had caught the trio and made it a four car race. With two to go, Browne and Bradbury made their way past Bailey. Browne then moved to the outside, trying to pass Way. It wasn’t enough though as Way fought off Browne and Bradbury to take a thrilling victory followed by Bailey and Peeples.
Most of the cars involved in the previous week’s nine car tangle were able to make it back out. Rick Fox took the trophy home winning the dash over Aaron Byers, Marty Walsh and Al Acuna. Walsh took the heat race win followed by Byers, Jerry Peterson, Donnie Brown and Fox. 10 cars started the 25 lap main with Brandon Barnwell and Angelo Marcelli leading the field to the green. Barnwell got the drop on Marcelli on the start brining Walsh with him in second. Byers, the previous week’s main event winner, spun on the second lap bringing out the yellow. The green flag flew as Walsh made his move. On lap three, Walsh got to Barnwell’s inside and took the lead. By lap five it was Walsh, Barnwell, Marcelli, Acuna and Fox. It didn’t appear to be Byers’ night as he spun again in the first turn bringing out another yellow on lap six.
After the restart, Marcelli tried to pressure Barnwell enabling Walsh to pull to a five car length lead over the field. Barnwell held off Marcelli’s advances and began to pull away. On lap 18, Fox got by Acuna off turn four to take the fourth position. Barnwell tried to close the gap between he and Walsh several times but he just couldn’t find the grip allowing Walsh to win followed by Barnwell, Marcelli, Fox and Acuna.
The next race at the Acres is May 13 when the thunder roadsters have their second race of the season.
- It’s ironic that Chad Grammer’s name is spelled with an “e” as opposed to the word grammar. Bad Grammer I guess... (bad joke.)
- It was great to see so many of the cars who had suffered damage the last race able to make it out to this one. It was also nice to not have to see the big sweeper out either as there weren’t any incidents that were severe enough to involve dry sweep.
- Hopefully the speaker problems will be fixed by next race. It was a bummer not being able to hear lap times in the pits.
- J.D. Frey brought his late (late) model car to the sportsman division but didn’t finish the main event.
- The North State series had a BEAUTIFUL field of cars. It was great to see so many of them out there.
- Get well Chuck Essex! We hope you’re back out as soon as possible.