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.

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