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.