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.