Monday, April 30, 2007

Peeples dominates roadster main event

Peeples dominates roadster main event

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2007 Redwood Acres Raceway season opener Saturday night felt more like it was January than it was April. Nevertheless, the cold temperatures did not prevent a packed house from enjoying the many thrills that the local classes always provide. Adrien Betournay held off the challenges of Orion Mosher to win the limited street stock main event. Coming off his rookie campaign in the mini stock division, Byron McIntosh was able to nab his first ever main event win. Bill Middleton won perhaps the biggest race in his career taking the real stock division main event. Brandon Barnwell was able to run away from the competition and score the sportsman main event, while Paul Peeples, Jr. did his best imitation of Barnwell, doing the same in the thunder roadster feature.

Eight cars attempted to qualify for the limited street stock division. Unfortunately that number dropped to seven when Romeo Venza spun off the fourth turn and hit the wall during qualifications sidelining him for the rest of the evening. Orion Mosher timed in quickest with a 17.590 time. Mosher was able to make some moves in the trophy dash, winning the four lap race over Kenny Demello, Robert Miller behind the wheel of the car normally driven by brother Trevor and Adrien Betournay. The heat race featured a close battle between Betournay and Mosher with Betournay winning over Mosher, Demello, Miller and Stan Young. Unfortunately after taking the checkered flag, Demello blew up ending his evening.

With the field decimated to six cars and time constraints the main event was cut to a six lap affair. On the initial start, the front row of Duane Mayo and Miller made contact sending Miller spinning. Both cars were sent to the rear making the new front row that of Young and Betournay. Off the start the two raced side-by-side until the third turn when Betournay was able to take the lead while Mosher jumped into the second position. Mosher tried to make every conceivable move to get by Betournay but much to his chagrin, Betournay never faltered and held a tight enough line to where Mosher could not make the move he needed. At the drop of the checkered flag it was Betournay fending off Mosher followed by Young, Mayo and Scott Lyons.

Jason Shaha returned to racing his mini stock truck at the Acres after an absence of a few years. Shaha took fast time with a 19.254 lap time. The trophy dash win went to Brian Murrell who was followed by Scott Baker and Stacy Minnick, while Shaha did not start the four lap event. The heat race featured an unfortunate accident when Brian McIntosh spun off the fourth turn. With McIntosh in the middle of the track and little time to react, Denzel Barrett hit McIntosh ending his night. Fortunately for McIntosh the damage was fixable and he was able to start the main event. Murrell won the heat over Shaha, Glenn Bernald, Max Capps and Nick Karanopoulos.

Nine cars started the 15 lap mini stock main event. The McIntosh brothers of Brian and Byron led the field to the green flag with Byron getting the advantage going into the first turn to take the top spot. By the end of the first lap, Baker and Murrell were also able to get by Brian McIntosh relegating him to the fourth spot. On lap two, Shaha used the high line to get by McIntosh for the fourth position. Meanwhile Byron McIntosh was stretching his lead over Baker and Murrell as the two dueled for second. On lap four, Shaha caught Murrell and moved outside of him for third. Going into the third turn with Baker beginning to sputter, Shaha moved high and Murrell moved low to make it three wide. Shaha and Murrell continued their side-by-side battle while Baker began to sputter more and more.

On the eighth lap, Capps was able to maneuver his way by Minnick for the fourth position. At the front of the field, Murrell and Shaha began to close in on Byron McIntosh. On the eleventh lap, McIntosh, Murrell and Shaha were nose-to-tail. On lap 13, Karanopoulos spun in turn two but was able to keep going. Coming to take the white flag, Murrell attempted to make his move for the lead, but unfortunately the lapped car of Brian McIntosh was running the low line in attempt to give the leaders room to race. This was enough to break Murrell’s momentum and give Byron McIntosh the room he needed to take the victory. Murrell was able to hold onto second while Shaha finished third. Bernald took fourth after Capps spun off the second turn on the last lap. Minnick rounded out the top five finishers.

The real stock trophy dash went to Troy Wood over Bill Middleton, Jim Bailey and Ryan Robinson. Barry Barnwell won the first heat race over Cecil Arispe, Robinson, Jim Redd and Ryan Peeples who was making his first ever start at the Acres. Steve Kimberling won the second heat followed by Wood, Chad Grammer, Marvin Savage and Nick Green. An unfortunate casualty of the second heat was Bailey who lost the drive line in his car ending the rest of his night.

14 cars lined up for the 25 lap real stock main event. Redd and Savage lead the field to the green flag. Redd took the early lead over Peeples and Arispe. On the third lap, Doug Way slowed and pulled into the infield. Around the same time, Chuck Essex spun off the fourth turn. In the confusion coming to the yellow, Barnwell hit the wall. Despite the early chaos, Redd was still the leader over Peeples, Arispe, Kimberling and Middleton. On the restart, Peeples was able to get by Redd to take the lead off the second turn. The next lap, Arispe maneuvered his way by Redd to take second. Redd was then hung out to dry on the high line as Kimberling and Middleton both followed Arispe by.

On lap seven, Arispe looked to Peeples’ inside for the lead but did not have the line to get by. The next lap, Middleton moved outside of Kimberling to take the third position. Middleton then moved to Arispe’s outside for second. On lap nine going into the first corner, Arispe made contact with Peeples sending him spinning. Fortunately no other cars were involved. Arispe pulled into the pits under the yellow and the top five had a new look to it with Middleton leading Kimberling, Bob Lima, Wood and Redd.

On the restart, Middleton was able to pull away from Kimberling by one or two car lengths. On lap 15, the front four tightened up and the tension began to build. On lap 18, Green spun off turn four but the caution flag was not thrown. On lap 19, Lima moved to Kimberling’s outside but got loose. Grammer moved himself into fifth on lap 21 going into the third turn. With three laps left, Wood got by Lima for third. At the front, Middleton continued to withstand the pressure from Kimberling. The two raced cleanly, and at the checkered flag it was Middleton winning, Kimberling second, Wood third, Lima fourth and Grammer fifth. The win had to be particularly emotional for Middleton and his family after the tragic loss of his nephew Raymond, Jr. in a car accident. Raymond had planned to begin his racing career in the real stock division this season.

Larry Pries had the quickest lap in qualifying for the sportsman division setting a lap of 16.819. Pries took the trophy dash victory over Rick Fox, Aaron Byers and Angelo Marcelli. The heat race victory went to Marcelli followed by Fox, Brandon Barnwell, Byers and Lissa Uselton. Nine cars started the 25 lap main event with Marcelli and Barnwell comprising the front row. After taking the green flag, going into the first turn mayhem ensued with several cars spinning and wrecking. Those involved included Donnie Brown, Byers, Joe Bonomini, Jason Belt and Uselton. Brown, Byers and Uselton were able to get back on track while Bonomini and Belt were unable to repair their cars. With the long cleanup and the time constraints, the main was cut to 15 laps.

The field doubled up for the restart and took the green flag again. Marcelli took the top spot coming off the second turn and lead the first lap clean. Barnwell moved back to Marcelli’s outside and the two dueled doorhandle-to-doorhandle for the lead. On lap three, Barnwell gained the advantage and set sail while Marcelli battled Fox for second. On lap nine, Fox moved to Marcelli’s outside and was able to make the pass the next lap with Pries following him to take third. On lap 11 Brown and Byers made contact sending Byers spinning and bringing out the yellow flag.

On the restart, Brown moved outside and completed the pass on Marcelli for fourth on lap 13. Uselton maneuvered her way by Marcelli for fifth on the last lap. Meanwhile at the front, Fox was not able to make a good charge on Barnwell. At the finish line it was Barnwell over Fox, Pries, Brown and Uselton.

Paul Peeples, Jr. set quick time in the thunder roadster division with a 17.056 lap. David Henderson held off Peeples in the dash to win with LeRoy Marsh, Jr. third and Mark Arroyo fourth. Jay Bahner won the first heat followed by Waylon Hentz, Bruce Ziemer, Rob Nelson and Mike Ward. The second heat featured a multi-car wreck which eliminated Marsh from the rest of the night’s racing action. Peeples was able to score the heat win over Bill O’Neill, Arroyo, Gary Foster and Donn Cole.

20 cars started the 30 lap main event with Ward and Chris Lawrence leading the field to the green. Ward was able to get the initial lead while Cole moved by Lawrence for the second slot. On lap two, Cole moved to Ward’s inside completing the pass on the next lap. Meanwhile, Peeples was quickly coming through the field. On lap five, Peeples moved by Nelson and Ron Borges forfourth and third. The next lap, Peeples was by Ward for second. A lap later, Peeples challenged Cole for the lead, taking it on lap seven. Coming off the fourth turn on the same lap, Ray Elliott and Rob Nelson spun but got going again avoiding a yellow flag.

On lap 10 the top five was Peeples, Cole, Chris Banfill who quietly moved to third, Ward and O’Neill. On lap 11, there was a major jam up from sixth on back. Fortunately nobody spun or was damaged, but the incident did allow the front five room to race amongst themselves. On lap 13, O’Neill made his way by Ward. In the meantime, Peeples maintained a sizeable lead over Cole. On lap 14, Ziemer spun in the fourth turn bringing out the yellow flag.

After the green flag came back out, Ward got loose giving Arroyo the room he needed to take over the fifth position. At the front, Peeples began to pull away again as the front three spread out. On lap 18, Arroyo moved on O’Neill’s bumper for fourth. On lap 20, Henderson moved inside Arroyo for fifth while Banfill moved outside of Cole to take second but could not muster the strength to get by. On lap 26, Banfill found the inside line to his liking getting by Cole to take second. The same lap, Henderson moved to O’Neill’s outside for fourth, however O’Neill was able to use lapped traffic to box Henderson in and maintained fourth while Arroyo and Borges used the same tactic to get by Henderson. Up at the front though Peeples was comfortably alone and took the win handily over Banfill, Cole, O’Neill and Arroyo.

The next race at the Acres takes place May 12th. The Best Appearing Car Contest which was originally scheduled for April 21st will take place before the night’s racing action.

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