Thursday, May 3, 2007

Peeples, Barnwell, Middleton big winners on Acres opening night

Peeples, Barnwell, Middleton big winners on Acres opening night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

After rain washed out the initial April 21st season opener at Redwood Acres Raceway, the week’s delay only strengthened the excitement among drivers, crew members and fans alike this past Saturday. A packed house was treated to some of the best racing on the west coast provided by the drivers of the thunder roadster, sportsman, real stock, mini stock and limited street stock divisions.

Although the limited street stock class has struggled with its car count in the past, the drivers have always provided some great on-track competition. Class veteran Orion Mosher set quick time and won the trophy dash, but the rest of the night would belong to defending limited street stock champion, Adrien Betournay. He was able to hold off Mosher in the heat race, and in the main event the two battled again with Betournay crossing the line ahead of Mosher. Betournay will not be racing the full season and is hoping to sell his car.

Jason Shaha returned to the Acres after a hiatus of a few seasons and set quick time for the mini stock division. However, the driver who looked to be the man to beat was Brian Murrell. After finishing a close second in points in the division last season, Murrell wanted to get the 2007 season started off right, and he did so by winning the trophy dash and the heat race. In the main event, the two fastest cars appeared to belong to Murrell and Shaha. Unfortunately for them, outside front row starter Byron McIntosh was able to find his groove in the main event and pulled out to a large lead over the field. After working their way through the field, both Murrell and Shaha were able to catch up to McIntosh, but neither could find a way by when the checkered flag flew. The win was McIntosh’s first main event victory in only his second season of racing.

Redwood Acres real stock division has always provided some memorable races and it was no different on this night. Real stock veteran Troy Wood took home the dash win while Barry Barnwell and Steve Kimberling won their respective heat races, but the night would belong to Bill Middleton. After starting in the back, Middleton was able to maneuver his way to the front of the field, passing cars and avoiding incidents. Middleton was in a real pressure cooker the last few laps of the race with both Kimberling and Wood in his mirror waiting for any mistake he would make. To their dismay, Middleton never did and he was able to win. Middleton’s victory definitely had a huge significance to himself and his family as before the season, his nephew Raymond Middleton, Jr. lost his life in a tragic car accident. Raymond had planned to run in the real stock division in 2007.

Acres veteran Larry Pries set the quick time in the sportsman class and won the four lap dash. Another Acres veteran, Angelo Marcelli was able to win the heat. After a poor qualifying effort, Brandon Barnwell was able to use his outside front row starting position to his benefit, first by being ahead of a multi-car wreck in the first turn on the first lap, then by getting around Marcelli on the high line after the race restarted. Although a late race caution flag bunched the field up, Barnwell was able to fend off any and all challenges taking the sportsman main event victory.

The many years of experience that Paul Peeples, Jr. has continue to be of great advantage for him in the thunder roadster division. Peeples set fast time but it was David Henderson who won the dash. Jay Bahner won the first heat race while Peeples took the second. As last season proved, the start of 20 thunder roadsters on the 3/8 paved oval is exciting to say the least. With the field bunched up, Peeples quickly made his way to the front. By lap seven he was in the lead getting by Donn Cole and pulling away from the competition. The best action was provided by Bill O’Neill and David Henderson. With the race winding down, Henderson made a move to O’Neill’s outside, but was boxed in by a slower car allowing O’Neill to keep the position and costing Henderson two spots. Although it was not easy, Peeples made it look like it was taking the main event win.

The next race at the Redwood Acres Raceway 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.

Race Results

Limited Street Stocks
Dash: Orion Mosher, Kenny Demello, Robert Miller, Adrien Betournay
Heat: Betournay, Mosher, Demello, Miller, Stan Young, Scott Lyons, Duane Mayo
Main: Betournay, Mosher, Young, Mayo, Lyons, Miller

Mini Stocks
Dash: Brian Murrell, Scott Baker, Stacy Minnick, Jason Shaha (DNS)
Heat: Murrell, Shaha, Glenn Bernald, Max Capps, Nick Karanopoulos, Minnick, Baker, Byron McIntosh, Brian McIntosh, Denzel Barrett
Main: By. McIntosh, Murrell, Shaha, Bernald, Minnick, Capps, Br. McIntosh, Karanopoulos, Baker

Real Stocks
Dash: Troy Wood, Bill Middleton, Jim Bailey, Ryan Robinson
Heat 1: Barry Barnwell, Cecil Arispe, Robinson, Jim Redd, Ryan Peeples, Chuck Essex, Rick Crawley
Heat 2: Steve Kimberling, Wood, Chad Grammer, Marvin Savage, Nick Green, Middleton, Bailey
Main: Middleton, Kimberling, Wood, Bob Lima, Grammer, Savage, Arispe, Redd, Green, Barnwell, Essex, Robinson, Peeples, Doug Way

Sportsman
Dash: Larry Pries, Rick Fox, Aaron Byers, Angelo Marcelli
Heat: Marcelli, Fox, Brandon Barnwell, Byers, Lissa Uselton, Joe Bonomini, Pries, Donnie Brown, Jason Belt, Mike Bourbon
Main: Barnwell, Fox, Pries, Brown, Uselton, Marcelli, Byers, Bonimini, Belt

Thunder Roadsters
Dash: David Henderson, Paul Peeples, Jr., Leroy Marsh, Jr., Mark Arroyo
Heat 1: Jay Bahner, Waylon Henze, Bruce Ziemer, Rob Nelson, Mike Ward, Dave McMurray, Chris Lawrence, Bill Bradbury, Belinda Ward, Gary Payne
Heat 2: Peeples, Jr. Bill O’Neill, Arroyo, Gerhy Foster, Donn Cole, Chris Banfill, Ron Borges, Chris Sarvinski, Ray Elliott, Henderson, Marsh, Jr.
Main: Peeples, Jr., Banfill, Cole, O’Neill, Arroyo, Borges, Henderson, Sarvinski, Lawrence, M. Ward, Bahner, Elliott, McMurray, Middleton, Henze, Ziemer, Nelson, Payne, B. Ward, Foster.

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