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.