Sunday, June 3, 2007

Hall breaks Barnwell’s stranglehold, Peeples continues dominance

Hall breaks Barnwell’s stranglehold, Peeples continues dominance

By Matthew J. Sullivan

One winning streak ended while another continued this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. With the race track under cloudy and cold conditions, fans were treated to another night of spectacular racing and close finishes. North State Challenge Series competitor Luke Hall broke Barry Barnwell’s winning streak in the sportsman division to win the 30-lap main event. Paul Peeples, Jr. notched his fourth consecutive win in the thunder roadsters continuing his season of dominance. Bill Middleton was declared the winner of the real stock main event after Marvin Savage failed post race tech inspection. Byron McIntosh and Orion Mosher each won their third main event of the season in the mini stock and limited street stock divisions respectively.

In what has become the norm for the limited street stock class, Orion Mosher set fast time clocking in at 17.513. Mosher took the dash win over Robert Miller, Scott Lyons and Todd Freeman. Mosher continued his winning ways in the heat race winning over Duane Mayo, Kenny Demello, Stan Young and Freeman. Unfortunately during the heat race, contact between Demello and Miller on the back stretch sent Miller into the wall and taking him out for the rest of the night.

With Miller unable to make the main event, seven cars took the green flag in the 15 lap feature. Off the start, Young took the lead while Demello moved by Freeman into the second position. Meanwhile, Mosher quickly threaded his car though the field. On lap three, Mosher moved by Freeman for third. On lap four, Mosher passed Demello on the outside to take second while Mayo got by Freeman for fourth at the same time. On lap five, Mosher took the lead away from Young and began to pull away.

Demello got by Young for second on the eleventh lap bringing Mayo with him. With two laps to go, Freeman spun off the fourth turn bringing out the yellow. Under caution Romeo Venza took his car into the pits smoking heavily. The restart only delayed the inevitable victory for Mosher who crossed the line first, several car lengths ahead of Demello, Mayo, Young and Lyons. Mosher’s main event win sealed a perfect night for him in addition to setting quick time and the trophy dash and heat race victories.

Jason Shaha set the fastest lap for the mini stock division with a 19.004 lap. Shaha won the dash followed by Brian Murrell, Byron McIntosh and Max Capps. McIntosh won the heat over Shaha, Murrell, Brian McIntosh and Capps. The seven car field was brought to the green flag of the 15 lap main event by Nick Karanopoulos and Glenn Bernald. Bernald took the lead off the drop of the green flag. On lap two, Brian McIntosh spun off the fourth turn, but the yellow flag did not come out. On the third lap, Byron McIntosh took the lead position away from Bernald.

With Bernald fighting with Murrell and Shaha for second, McIntosh pulled out to what would be an insurmountable lead. On lap five, Murrell moved inside Bernald for second allowing Shaha to follow though into third. After several laps of racing, Shaha moved inside and by Murrell on lap seven going into the third turn. By this time, McIntosh had almost a full straightaway lead on Shaha. On lap nine, Capps moved past Bernald for fourth. With the field stretched out and no pressure from behind, McIntosh was able to cruise and take the victory followed by Shaha, Murrell, Capps and Bernald.

The quickest qualifier for the real stock division was Steve Kimberling who set a lap of 19.488. Barry Barnwell won the trophy dash over Kimberling, Ryan Peeples and Troy Wood. Chuck Essex won the first heat race over Wood, Marvin Savage, Peeples and Ray Robinson. Jim Redd took the win in the second heat followed by Bill Middleton, Kimberling, Barnwell and Mark Mullan. 11 real stock cars took the green flag in the 25 lap feature event. Robinson and Mullan lead the field to the green. Immediately after taking the green, Peeples pulled his car into the pits. Robinson took the early lead while everyone jockeyed for position.

On lap three, Savage moved by Essex for third. Later that same lap, Savage moved by Mullan into second. On lap four, Middleton moved into third. Barnwell moved by Mullan into fourth on lap six. On lap seven the caution flag flew for Kimberling who had spun in the second turn. On the restart, Middleton and Barnwell fought for the third spot, while Savage moved outside of Robinson to take the lead. Middleton followed through into second immediately after, but Barnwell had to wait until the next lap to take third from Robinson. Redd moved into fourth passing Robinson on lap 10. On lap 11, Barnwell moved to the outside of Middleton but got too high and lost several spots. On lap 13, Mullan and Nick Mitchell spun in the fourth turn resulting in the yellow flag.

Under the yellow flag, Redd pulled his car behind the wall with heavy smoke trailing. The green flag flew again and the field went racing once more. Essex moved inside of Robinson for fourth while Barnwell made his way back to third and challenged Middleton for second. Their duel allowed Savage to stretch his lead out. On lap 17, Kimberling moved outside of Essex for fourth. Their battle lasted all the way up until lap 23 when Kimberling finally cleared Essex. Meanwhile, Savage maintained a comfortable lead over Middleton and crossed the line first, while Barnwell, Kimberling and Essex completed the top five. However, Savage failed post race tech inspection and Middleton was awarded the win. The change in position moved everyone else behind him up one spot, moving Troy Wood into fifth.

Paul Peeples, Jr. set what was a relatively slow fast time for the thunder roadsters with a 17.249 lap. Peeples won the dash over Mark Arroyo, Chris Banfill and Jay Bahner. The win in the first heat race went to Rob Nelson over Donn Cole, Gerhy Foster, Fred Hanks and Chris Lawrence. Peeples took the second heat in a close finish over Mike Ward, Leroy Marsh, Jr., David Henderson and Banfill. Ward and Thomas Payne lead the 16 car field to the 30 lap main event. After the initial start was waved off, the green flew and Ward took the early lead over Marsh. On lap five, Henderson moved inside of Payne for third. On lap seven, Peeples moved inside of Chris Sarvinski for the fifth position. That same lap, Peeples moved past Payne to take fourth.

On the ninth lap after several laps of battling, Marsh moved inside of Ward to take the lead bringing Henderson and Peeples with him. Coming off the fourth turn, Payne hit the wall and pulled his car into the pits. On lap 12, Peeples moved to Henderson’s outside but fell back. Two laps later, Peeples tried the same maneuver and made it work taking second on lap 15. On lap 17, Peeples moved to the outside of Marsh for the lead. Henderson briefly moved inside of Marsh to make it three wide, but used better judgement and fell back.

Marsh and Peeples raced side-by-side until lap 20 when Peeples was able to compete the pass for the top spot. A few laps later, Henderson moved inside of Marsh for second. Unlike the previous three races this season, Peeples did not pull away from Henderson. Henderson stayed locked on Peeples’ bumper, but could never mount a charge for the lead. The best action as the race concluded was the battle for fifth between Sarvinski, Arroyo and Banfill. On lap 28, Arroyo spun off the fourth turn but did not bring out the yellow. In the end, Peeples had enough to hold off Henderson to take the win. Marsh finished third over Ward and Sarvinski. Like Orion Mosher, Peeples’ win made for a perfect evening as he also took quick time, the trophy dash and heat race win.

Rick Fox set the fast lap for the sportsman cars with a 16.493 lap. Larry Pries won the trophy dash followed by Luke Hall, Rick Fox and Jerry Peterson who was making his first start of the season. The heat race saw a bit too much excitement when Ken Hallis spun collecting Hall, Peterson, Donnie Brown and Joe Bonomini, the worst damage going to the cars of Hallis and Bonomini. Brandon Barnwell won the heat over Angelo Marcelli, Pries, Fox and Aaron Byers.

The nine car, 30 lap feature was brought to the green flag by Brown and Byers. Byers got the jump off the drop of the green and took the lead. On lap two, Brown spun off the fourth turn bringing out the yellow flag. Hall took advantage of Byers on the restart and moved by to take the lead bringing Pries into second. On lap eight, Fox moved outside and by Lissa Uselton for the fourth spot. Marcelli moved inside and by Uselton for fifth on lap 10. Hall began to pull away from Pries until lap 13 when Uselton and Brown spun bringing out the yellow flag.

Two laps after the restart, Fox and Peterson made contact sending Peterson into a spin off turn four. Peterson got going again and the yellow flag was not thrown. On lap 18, Barnwell moved inside of Byers for third. Two laps later, Barnwell moved by Pries to take second. It was nearly a mirror image of the previous race, just with the roles reversed as Hall held a large lead over Barnwell with 10 laps remaining. Slowly but surely Barnwell closed the gap. With two laps to go and only four car lengths behind Hall, Barnwell got loose off the second turn severely diminishing his hopes to win a fourth straight race. Meanwhile, Marcelli was picking his way past cars. With two laps to go he got by Fox for fifth. On the white flag lap, Marcelli moved by Byers for fourth. Up at the front, Hall was able to take the win over Barnwell and Pries with Marcelli taking fourth over Byers in fifth.

The drivers and teams have a quick turnaround this week as the next event at the Acres is set for this Saturday, June 9th. Joining the five local classes will be the first of two Powderpuff Races scheduled for the 2007 season.

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