Saturday, September 22, 2007

Season ends with champions crowned, race cars destroyed

Season ends with champions crowned, race cars destroyed

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2007 points season came to a close for four of the five divisions at Redwood Acres Raceway this past weekend, thankfully for many drivers and teams. As has been displayed over the duration of the 2007 schedule, there was some great, tight racing as well as some spectacular crashes which severely damaged several cars. Orion Mosher capped off a spectacular season, winning another limited street stock main event, however rookie Scott Lyons claimed the division championship. Second year driver, Byron McIntosh took another main event victory in the mini stock division, which only added to his joy of being the division’s champion. While the real stock class didn’t finish their points season, the racing was just as close as Barry Barnwell took the trophy in the main. Paul Peeples, Jr. finished off a dominating season in the thunder roadster division with the main event win and the championship. Finally, in the sportsman division, Rick Fox took his first main event win of 2007 but Brandon Barnwell took the championship, unfortunately with a demolished race car at night’s end.

Scott Lyons took fast time honors for the limited street stock cars with a 17.505 lap. The dash victory went to Orion Mosher ahead of Stan Young, Robert Miller and Lyons. The heat was claimed by Mosher ahead of Duane Mayo, Miller, Lyons and Fergy Ferguson who made his lone appearance of the 2007 season. Mayo and Young led the field to the green flag in the 20 lap main event. Young led from the start while Mayo held of Miller and Mosher. On lap four, Miller moved inside of Mayo and took the position the next lap while Mosher followed into third. Mosher moved inside of Miller on lap six and the two raced side-by-side until lap nine when Mosher cleared Miller for the position. On lap 10, Mosher swept past Young for the lead.

While Mosher pulled away from the rest of the field, Young, Miller and Mayo fought for the second spot. On lap 14, the yellow came out for debris on the race track. Just after the restart, Miller pulled his car into the pits. As Mosher continued to pull away, Young and Mayo continued to duel for second. On the last lap the two tangled. Mosher won while Lyons moved into second. Mayo took third, Young fourth and Romeo Venza finished fifth. Lyons second place helped him finish off a spectacular season with the 2007 championship in the division.

Fast time for the mini stock division was set by Max Capps with a 19.095 time. Craig Baker won the dash over Capps, Denzil Barrett and Nick Karanopoulos. The heat was won by Bill Wood. Brian McIntosh took second, Glenn Bernald third, Barrett fourth and Capps fifth. Nine cars started the 20 lap main with Wood and Stacy Minnick taking the field to the green flag. Off the start, By. McIntosh took the front row three wide to take the lead. The next lap Karanopoulos tried the same maneuver but unfortunately contact was made with Wood causing a huge melee.

After the mess was cleaned up, Baker and Barrett were the two who weren’t able to make the restart. McIntosh led Wood, Minnick, Br. McIntosh and Capps. Byron pulled away from the field while Brian maneuvered his way through the field. He moved by Minnick for third off the restart and then by Wood on lap six. For the rest of the race, the excitement was whether or not Brian could catch brother Byron. By the time the race ended, Brian had closed on Byron’s bumper but that was it. It was Byron winning the race and clinching the title over Brian McIntosh, Wood, Capps and Karanopoulos.

Ryan Peeples laid down a blistering 19.238 lap time in the real stock division to claim fast time. Peeples won the dash ahead of Dan Brown, Troy Wood and Ray Robinson. Wood won the first heat over Chuck Essex, Barry Barnwell, Marvin Savage and Brown. Doug Way won the second followed by Peeples, Bill Middleton, Robinson and Steve Kimberling. Pat Conway and Way brought the field to the green in the 25 lap main event. Conway took the lead early before a lap two yellow flag. After the restart, Middleton moved inside of Nick Green for the fourth position on lap four bringing Barnwell with him. Peeples moved outside of Barnwell on lap six for fifth, while ahead of them Middleton moved outside of Savage for third. The four raced in a tight formation for several laps before Barnwell moved under and past Middleton on lap 10.

On lap 11, Barnwell moved outside of Savage but couldn’t pull off the pass. At the same time, Peeples moved by Middleton for fourth. The two leaders Conway and Way pulled away while Savage and Barnwell continued their duel. On lap 14, Barnwell moved into second. Peeples really began to show his strength, as he moved by Savage at the same time and moved by Barnwell for second a lap later, just as Way pulled his car into the pits and out of the race. Peeples rapidly began to close in on Conway. On lap 19, Brown moved by Barnwell but pushed up the track allowing Barnwell to move back inside.

On lap 20, Peeples and Conway made contact in the first turn sending Conway into a spin and bringing out the yellow flag. Officials determined Peeples to be at fault for the incident and he was sent to the rear of the field. Brown would have inherited the lead but pulled his car into the pits under the caution period handing the top spot over to Barnwell over Savage and Middleton. Barnwell got a good restart and stretched out a comfortable lead over Savage. Barnwell maintained a comfortable margin and took the win over Savage and Middleton. Kimberling was running in fourth on the last lap but got severely loose off the final corner allowing Wood and Peeples to take fourth and fifth at the end.

Paul Peeples, Jr. once again set the fastest time in qualifying for the thunder roadster cars with a very fast 16.898 time in. Peeples won the dash over David Henderson, Mike Ward. Unfortunately fourth place finisher Leroy Marsh, Jr. wrecked in the dash. Mark Baldwin won heat one over Ron Rosenthal, Chris Banfill, Mark Arroyo and Bruce Ziemer. Bill O’Neill won the second heat ahead of Troy Combs, Henderson, Thomas Payne and Peeples.

A strong 19 car field was brought to the green flag of the 30 lap main event by Arroyo and Payne. Arroyo grabbed the lead early. By lap three, Peeples had quickly maneuvered his way into the top five, getting by O’Neill. Donn Cole moved by Payne for second on lap five. Gehry Foster took the fifth position, moving by O’Neill on lap six. On the same lap, Cole spun in turn four causing cars to scatter left and right of his car. Fortunately everyone missed Cole’s car. Unfortunately for Combs, he was caught up in the aftermath of the melee and hit the wall, ending his evening.

At this time Arroyo held the lead over Peeples, Payne, Henderson and Foster. Henderson used the restart to his advantage moving by Payne. On lap seven, Peeples made his bid for the lead, taking it away from Arroyo. On lap 8, Ward and Banfill spun with Banfill having right front damage putting an end to his night. On the restart, Baldwin moved by O’Neill for fifth. Lap nine, Henderson moved inside of Arroyo for second. The duo dueled side-by-side until lap 11 when Henderson gained the upper hand down the back stretch. The field spread out and try as he might, Henderson just could not close the gap on Peeples. The race concluded with Peeples winning by several car lengths over Henderson, Arroyo, Baldwin and Foster. The win capped off what was a season of pure domination by Peeples, resulting in the division championship.

Dennis Delbiaggio returned to the Acres in the sportsman division and laid down fast time with a 16.493. Angelo Marcelli won the dash over Brandon Barnwell, Rick Fox and Delbiaggio. The dash saw two unfortunate incidents, one of which involved Lissa Uselton and Marcelli making contact off the fourth turn, another which saw Frank Billy, Jr. hit the turn four wall ending racing action for him. Barnwell won the heat over Delbiaggio, Uselton, Fox and Larry Pries.

Delbiaggio and Fox took the field to the green flag for the 25 lap main event. Delbiaggio took the early lead while the field settled into single file formation. On lap two, Barnwell moved by Usleton into fourth. On lap seven, Barnwell moved outside of Pries for third, but Pried found room under Fox to take the second spot, allowing Barnwell to follow him into third. Pries and Barnwell closed in on Delbiaggio quickly and the three raced nose-to-tail until lap 24 when Pries finally found room under Delbiaggio down the back stretch. Unfortunately the two tangled in the third turn collecting Barnwell. Fox slowed down and drove under the wreck while Uselton had to spin her car out to avoid a more serious situation. Fortunately, all cars involved received little to no damage.

With the field regrouped, it was Fox leading Delbiaggio, Barnwell, Marcelli and Pries to the green and white flag restart. Coming off the fourth turn, Barnwell moved outside of Delbiaggio for second but the two tangled causing a major incident involving Marcelli, Pries and Uselton behind them. At the line, Fox was the lone car without damage. Barnwell took second, Delbiaggio third, Marcelli fourth and Uselton fifth. Barnwell was crowned the sportsman division champion for 2007 after an impressive season.

Racing returns to the Acres September 28 and 29 for the annual Fall Spectacular. The championship for the real stock division will be determined. Joining them will be the thunder roadsters, the I.M.C.A./Grand American Modifieds and the North State Challenge Series late models. It promises to be an exciting close to what has been an exciting 2007 season.

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