Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Champions crowned as 20th season of pavement racing at the Acres closes

Champions crowned as 20th season of pavement racing at the Acres closes

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2008 season at Redwood Acres Raceway came to a close this past Saturday night, the 20th season of pavement racing at the 3/8 mile facility. Champions in all five of the local divisions were officially crowned. While some of the points races had already been decided prior to the final main events, the championships in the real stock and sportsman divisions literally came down to the final lap.

For yet another race weekend, the limited street stock cars were unable to race due to a lack of cars showing up. Veteran Acres racer Fergy Ferguson clinched the title for the division thanks in part to showing up for every race.

The points title in the mini stock division was between the Baker brothers, Craig and Scott. Going into the final race, Craig held a 26 point advantage over Scott. The trophy dash victory was won by Scott Baker over Craig Baker, Brian McIntosh and Craig Huffman who was driving Brian Murrell’s mini stock truck on the night. Craig Baker took the heat race victory ahead of Huffman, Denzil Barrett, McIntosh and Scott Baker.

Scott Baker took the lead early in the 20 lap main event. On lap one, Craig Baker and McIntosh spun in the fourth turn. Both cars got going and the yellow flag was not thrown. Scott Baker began pulling away from the field at the front while Craig Baker had to move quickly to regain the ground he had lost. On lap seven, Baker swiftly moved by Nick Karanopoulos and Huffman. The next lap, he moved by Barrett for second. As the laps wound down, Craig began to catch Scott. With two laps left, Craig got loose between the first and second turns, spinning out and essentially handing the win to Scott. Barrett finished second ahead of Huffman, Craig Baker and Brian Murrell, Jr. Craig Baker’s fourth place finish was enough to allow him to clinch the 2008 mini stock championship.

Jim Redd came into the final night leading Trevor Miller by only 24 points in the real stock division. Pat Conway won the trophy dash over Miller, Shawn Craig and Bob Lima. Miller took the heat race victory over Bill Middleton, Craig, Lima and Redd. Ray Middleton and Marvin Savage comprised the front row in the 25 lap main event. Savage took the early lead before Lima moved by on lap two bringing Craig, Redd, Bill Middleton, Conway and Miller with him. Miller moved by Conway on lap four, then moved by Bill Middleton two laps later. On the eighth circuit, the two points contenders raced for the fourth position with Miller taking the spot.

The rest of the race featured a duel between the top three cars of Lima, Craig and Miller. After dueling with Craig for several laps, Miller moved by to take the second position going into the first corner on lap 16. Later that same lap, Miller powered his way past Lima to take the lead. Craig and Lima dueled for the second spot until lap 24 when Craig finally took the position away. At the checkered flag it was Miller winning over Craig, Lima, Redd and Bill Middleton. Although Miller won the main event, it wasn’t enough for him to claim the championship as Jim Redd had just enough of a cushion to take the 2008 real stock title.

The 2008 thunder roadster championship had already been decided going into the final event as Paul Peeples, Jr. held an insurmountable lead. Randy Olson returned to racing at the Acres for the first time in a year winning the trophy dash over Peeples, Chris Banfill and Troy Combs. Olson followed up with a win in the heat race ahead of Peeples, Rick Crawley, Jr., Robert Miller and Bruce Ziemer. Combs won the second heat followed by Chris Sarvinski, Mike Ward, Banfill and Leroy Marsh, Jr.

Crawley and Sarvinski brought the field to the green in the 40 lap main event. Crawley got the early lead before an early caution flag which saw Marsh spin and Donn Cole run into Marsh’s spun car. Cole suffered irreparable left front wheel damage ending his night. Racing resumed with Crawley leading Sarvinski, Ziemer, Chris Lawrence and Miller. On lap five, Combs began to make his move forward moving past Lawrence then past Ziemer a lap later. Olson also began to move to the front, passing Ward on lap nine for fourth, then getting by Crawley for third on lap 10 bringing Peeples with him. At the same time, Combs moved by Sarvinski for the lead. On lap 14, Peeples moved by Olson for the third position. On lap 15, Miller spun bringing out the yellow flag

The race restarted with Combs leading Sarvinski, Peeples, Olson and Banfill. Peeples quickly moved by Sarvinski on the restart, while Olson was also able to maneuver past Sarvinski on the next lap. The best racing for the rest of the event was for the third spot between Olson and Banfill as Combs was able to hold a comfortable lead over Peeples, even pulling away slightly. Olson was not going to allow Banfill by easily, and the two dueled hard for the position before lap 39 when Banfill was finally able to get by Olson for the position. At the checkered flag it was Combs winning his second main event in a row over Peeples, Banfill, Olson and Ward.

Going into the final event of the season for the sportsman division, Brandon Barnwell held a tight 13 point edge over second place Dennis Delbiaggio. The trophy dash victory went to Rick Fox over Larry Pries, Delbiaggio and Barnwell. The first heat race was won by Barnwell over Angelo Marcelli, Lissa Uselton, Pries and Craig Huffman. Jerry Peterson won the second heat ahead of Fox, Delbiaggio, Romeo Venza and David Henderson.

Frank Billy and Peterson lead the field to the green flag for the 40 lap feature event. Peterson gained the lead as the field settled behind with Delbiaggio second, Billy third, Uselton fourth and Pries fifth. On lap three, Fox moved outside and by Pries for fifth. On the fourth lap, Delbiaggio moved outside of Peterson for the lead. The two drivers fought doorhandle-to-doorhandle the next several laps, neither giving an inch. Fox continued his move to the front on lap five, getting by Usleton for fourth. On the sixth lap, Delbiaggio secured the lead from Peterson. Fox moved past Billy for third on lap nine bringing Barnwell with him. The field spread out and it looked as if things would remain status quo until lap 27 when Billy and Uselton made contact in turns three and four. Billy was able to continue but Uselton was done for the rest of the race.

Delbiaggio led Peterson, Fox, Barnwell and Pries to the restart. Fox made his way to the second position on lap 30. Though he had enough time to try a maneuver on Delbiaggio for the lead Fox was unable to muster a challenge as Delbiaggio took the win over Fox, Peterson, Barnwell and Pries. Barnwell was able to claim his second sportsman title in a row by only nine points over Delbiaggio.

The close of the 2008 season only brings anticipation and excitement of what will happen in 2009. There are likely more cars that will be racing at the Acres in several of the divisions, and next season will feature the debut of the roadrunner division, a unique economy division. Congratulations to the 2008 Redwood Acres Raceway champions and good luck to everyone in the 2009 season!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Barnwell and Combs return to victory lane

Barnwell and Combs return to victory lane

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway was a special event in many ways. Besides it being the Judy Fox Memorial, it was Back-To-School night as well. Added to that was a fairwell to track chaplain, Pastor Tom Galovich. Pastor Tom had led pre-race prayers and sang the National Anthem at the Acres since 1991, but was leaving after this race to pursue new opportunities in the Sacramento area while also being closer to his family. To top it all off, the weather at the Acres was fantastic. It was all just the beginning of a somewhat crazy evening of racing.

Prior to the races, all of the drivers came on the track in honor, thought and remembrance of loved ones. Drivers took a few ceremonial laps, while names of family and friends they were making the laps for were read to the fans. With only Fergy Ferguson and Kenny Demello showing up for the limited street stock division, there were no races held. Craig Baker continued his dominance in the mini stock division winning the trophy dash over brother Scott Baker, Denzil Barrett and Brian Murrell. Baker came back in the heat to win again over Scott Baker, Barrett, Murrell and Brian Murrell, Jr. Lap one of the 20-lap main event saw contact take Brian McIntosh into the turn one wall and out of the event. On the restart, Murrell took the lead over a hard charging Craig Baker. On lap four, Scott Baker moved by Barrett for the fourth position. On lap 8, Craig Baker moved outside and past Murrell for the lead.

The field spread out and it looked to be a runaway for Baker in the lead when Murrell’s engine blew coming off turn four in a fiery display. Murrell drove his car in the infield and was fine but was of course out of the event. Murrell’s blown engine allowed Ryan Ahrens to move into the fifth position, however while the cars were parked to clean up the oil on the front stretch, Ahrens car began to leak fluid and he drove his car in the infield to avoid putting more fluid on the track. The last five laps for Craig Baker proved to be fairly easy as he pulled away from Scott to take the win. Barrett finished fourth while Brian Murrell, Jr. continued his improvement in the division with a fourth place effort.

The trophy dash in the real stock division was taken by Trevor Miller over Shawn Craig, Jim Redd and Ryan Robinson. Nick Green narrowly won the heat race over Miller, Craig, Redd and Casey Mitchell. Bill Middleton took the lead on the first lap of the main event ahead of Redd and Miller. Bob Lima who was the pole-sitter pulled his car into the pits on the second lap, never to return. On lap four, Craig’s engine went going into the first turn. Craig quickly pulled his car off the track, but the yellow was thrown.

Middleton led Redd, Miller, Robinson and Mitchell to the green flag. Miller made a move outside of Redd on the sixth lap and took the position away in the first turn. Going down the back straight stretch, Miller moved outside of Middleton for the top spot. The two dueled for the lead until lap 8 when Redd, Middleton and Miller went into the third turn three-wide. Contact resulted in the fourth turn which sent both Middleton and Miller head-on into the concrete. Mitchell slammed into the wall trying to avoid the two cars. The race was delayed for several minutes to move the damaged cars and clean the fluid on the track. With only three cars left, the race was shortened from 25 to 12 laps. Redd was moved to the rear while Ryan Robinson led over Ray Robinson. Redd moved by Ray Robinson for second but couldn’t move by Ryan Robinson as he took the checkered flag first. However, Robinson’s car did not pass post-race tech and the win was awarded to Redd.

Tommy Payne took his first trophy at the Acres by winning the trophy dash over Paul Peeples, Jr., Mike Ward and David Henderson who was wheeling Chris Banfill’s car. Bruce Ziemer held off Ward in the first heat to win followed by Henderson, Donn Cole and Chris Lawrence. Troy Combs took the second heat over Peeples, Payne, Robert Miller and Jim Rich. Miller was the early leader of the 30-lap main event over Combs. On lap three, Combs moved under and past Miller for the lead. Just after that, Cole spun off the fourth turn bringing out the only yellow flag for this race.

Combs led Miller, Payne, Henderson and Lawrence to the green flag restart. Peeples quickly moved by Lawrence for fifth when the green dropped, while Henderson moved outside and by Payne. On lap five, Peeples moved to fourth by Payne for the position. The next lap, Henderson, Miller and Peeples went three-deep with Peeples getting the best of it by taking both positions and moving to second with Miller and Henderson still fighting for third. On lap eight, Henderson finally moved by Miller. By lap 13, Henderson was right on top of Peeples for second.

The dominance that has normally been displayed by Peeples in the division was being shown by Combs in this race as he led by nearly a full straightaway. With the laps clicking off, the best battle of the race was between Peeples and Henderson who were having their own race for the second spot. On lap 24, Mike Ward moved by Payne for fourth. With two laps left, Henderson finally found the inside line on Peeples and moved by. Going into turn one on the final lap, Peeples made contact with Henderson’s bumper sending Henderson spinning. In the mix up, Ward made nose-to-nose contact with Henderson. In the end it was Combs with the victory. Peeples was moved to the rear of the lead lap moving Miller into second in the lineup with Payne third, Ziemer fourth and Lawrence fifth.

Lakeport Speedway racer Noel McCormack, Jr. made the two to the Acres and quickly took a liking to the speedway in the sportsman division winning the trophy dash over Tim McCracken, Dennis Delbiaggio and Jerry Peterson. McCormack followed up with a last lap pass and the win in the first heat race over Delbiaggio, Rick Fox, Lissa Uselton and Ken Hallis. McCracken won the second heat followed by Brandon Barnwell, Peterson, Larry Pries and Angelo Marcelli. Uselton and Marcelli led the field to the green flag in the 30-lap main event. The two raced doorhandle to doorhandle the first lap before Uselton took the upper hand on lap two over Hallis and Barnwell. A few laps later, Hallis made contact with Uselton sending her spinning. Behind that the field bunched up and drivers stacked up on one another, resulting in damage for many, most noteable of those being Delbiaggio, McCracken, McCormack and Peterson. Just after the red flag was dropped, McCracken drove his car in the pits. Unfortunately, pitting under the red isn’t permitted and McCracken was disqualified. McCormack was able to continue while Peterson had to pull his car into the pits just before the restart to fix an overheating situation.

Barnwell was now the leader ahead of Marcelli, Fox, Pries and Keith Dias. On the restart, McCormack moved by Dias for fifth. On lap 10, McCormack was by Pries for fourth. A lap later Fox had to relinquish third to McCormack. Fox appeared to be struggling with his car as he was passed by Pries and Hallis on lap 13. McCormack moved by Marcelli for the second position on lap 15. A lap later, Pries tried to move by Marcelli. Going into the third turn, the two made contact and spun. Hallis spun in avoidance of the incident while Uselton was unable to squeeze between the wall and Marcelli severely damaging her car and ending her night prematurely.

Under the caution period, McCormack’s car began to show steam, and it appeared unclear as to whether he would have a chance of winning the race, much less finishing. Barnwell took the field to the restart. The final 15 laps were ran without incident with the main race being between Barnwell and McCormack. Try as he did, McCormack just did not have enough to put serious pressure on Barnwell for the lead. At the checkered flag it was Barnwell winning over McCormack, Fox, Hallis and Craig Huffman a solid and surprising fifth in his first race in the sportsman division.

Racing at the Acres goes on a three-week break before returning Saturday September 27th for the Fall Spectacular. All five local classes will be racing along with an open for the IMCA modifieds and the return of the North State Challenge Series late models.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Two races left at Redwood Acres Raceway

Although I am far from being a professional writer, I try to write my race reports for Redwood Acres as though I were/am a professional. That means that I can never put my personal opinion on matters on the race track. Sometimes I have to "gloss" over an incident where one driver clearly runs over another driver. It's not hard to pull back and not have an opinion about matters of that nature, but it has been fairly difficult for me to continue to keep the "juice" going when this season at the track has been dominated by a few drivers who continue to win every week. There have been several races this season that have quite frankly been dull, and I've had to figure out how to add more excitement to those races through my writing. Hopefully, I've been able to do that.

In case you don't know, there are five divisions that Redwood Acres Raceway has at every race; the limited street stocks, mini stocks, real stocks, thunder roadsters and the sportsman division. The limited street stocks are kind of like old Winston Cup cars from the 1970s. I'm not savvy when it comes to what's on cars, but that's kind of the idea of that class. The mini stocks are a four cylinder engine division comprised of smaller cars like Pintos. The real stocks are probably the closest to cars that are on the street. They have to have a roll cage in them, and they have adjustable suspension and a race tire. The thunder roadsters are a spec class where all the cars are the same, the only difference is the drivers. The sportsman division is the local late model class which is similar to divisions all over the United States.

The limited street stocks have had a real down season. Only six cars have raced the division the entire season, and they have had a real main event type race in a long time. It looks as though Fergy Ferguson is going to win the title based on showing up every weekend and earning points for doing. It's not as though he's not deserving of the track championship, it's a shame though that there aren't enough cars to force the championship to be decided on the race track.

The mini stock class has been dominated by Craig Baker this year. Of all the drivers in the division, he by far has the most experience. He's able to get the absolute maximum out of his car, and were it not for issues early in the season, he probably would have clinched the championship by now. One great thing about the mini stock class is that there have been a few drivers who've brought cars out. Three rookies Norm Carmichael, Brian Murrell, Jr. and Ryan Ahrens started their seasons off at the halfway point and although all three have had to learn what it takes to go fast, they've all done a great job of being smart on the track and giving room to faster drivers.

My personal opinion is that the best driver at the Acres is real stock racer, Trevor Miller. I've watched him race for several years and have been impressed with his ability to get everything out of his race car without getting out of shape. Besides that, he's a clean and respectable racer. He definitely deserves a shot to drive in the sportsman division, because I think once he gets that chance, he'll be able to move to a touring division very quickly. Shawn Craig is another guy who's a good racer and gets a lot out of his car. He and Miller have raced head-to-head several times this season, and it's been fun to watch. Jim Redd is the points leader at the moment, but he's definitely going to have a hard time holding off Miller. In reality, Miller could have been leading the points right now had his car been able to pass inspection the first race of the season. He's been playing catchup ever since.

The thunder roadster class has been the most predictable this year. Paul Peeples, Jr. has won all but three main events this year. There just isn't anyone that's capable of giving him a hard time. I don't mean to disrespect any of the roadster drivers, but it's the truth. Peeples has so much more experience than the others that they will always be a step behind him. It's also a shame that the car count for the division has been so low this season, because that would be a big challenge for him as well.

Brandon Barnwell and Dennis Delbiaggio have been going back and forth for the points lead in the sportsman division all season. Until the Fair Night races in June, it was hard to predict who would win a main event in the division. That changed with the team of Mic Moulton and Tim McCracken came back. From the Fair Night races on, I believe they've won all but two races. Hopefully the competition will step it up and at least give the 1 car a challenge in the final two races.

More than anything though, the biggest disappointments for this season has involved the cancellation of the BCRA/WMRA midgets on Fair Nights as well as the August 9th cancellation of the North State Challenge Series late models. From what I understand, there was going to be a good field of midgets on Fair Nights, but both series had to cancel because the drivers couldn't get to Eureka because of the wildfires that were going on at the time. I know the North State series has struggled with the car count for various reasons of which I'm not qualified to comment on, and the reason why that race was cancelled was because there weren't a lot of cars signed up for pre-entry. It seems like so long ago when they did race here in April.

Hopefully the final two races will be exciting. I'm looking forward especially to the Fall Spectacular at the end of September, because the IMCA modifieds will be here and they always have a strong field of good cars, and the North State series will be back. Hopefully the lack of races during the season and it being the end of the year will entice drivers to show up for that race.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

McCracken, Peeples, Baker and Miller big winners on Fan Appreciation night

McCracken, Peeples, Baker and Miller big winners on Fan Appreciation night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

A near capacity crowd filled the grandstands and bleacher section at Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night for Fan Appreciation night. All race fans were able to get into the races for free provided they picked up tickets at any of the number of local businesses in the area. Bear River Casino sponsored the events for the night, while promoters Rich and Linda Olson were the ones who thoughtfully put the event together for the evening.

Prior to the races, fans were allowed to visit the drivers on the front straightaway to shake hands, get autographs and receive goodies of all kinds. The limited street stock division had three cars turnout for the night, and they ran a six lap trophy dash. Orion Mosher took the victory over Fergy Ferguson and Kenny Demello.

The faster drivers in the mini stock class made a very kind gesture by moving aside and allowing the new rookie drivers in the division to race in the trophy dash. This enabled Brian Murrell, Jr. to win his first race ever at the Acres over Norm Carmichael and Ryan Ahrens while Craig Baker rode around behind the drivers drove unscored in the event. Scott Baker won the first heat race ahead of Brian McIntosh, Denzil Barrett, Murrell, Jr. and Carmichael, while Craig Baker won the second heat over Brian Murrell, Nick Karanopoulos, Max Capps and Ahrens.

Karanopoulos took the lead early in the main event. On the first lap, Scott Baker spun in between turns three and four, but got his car going again. On lap two, all three rookies Carmichael, Murrell, Jr. and Ahrens got together in the second turn necessitating the caution flag. Murrell, Jr. was able to continue while Carmichael and Ahrens were towed to the pits. Just after the restart, going down the back straightaway it was three-wide for the lead between Karanopoulos, Barrett and McIntosh with McIntosh able to take the lead over Barrett. The three-wide move cost Karanopoulos his momentum allowing Craig Baker to move into third. Baker moved by Barrett the next lap, and he set his sights on leader McIntosh.

On lap seven, Baker took the lead away from McIntosh. It appeared as though McIntosh’s car began to lose power as he quickly faded to the end of the top five. Within a two lap period, Murrell, Scott Baker and Barrett all easily passed McIntosh for position. Meanwhile, it was smooth sailing for Craig Baker up front as he handily took the main event victory over Murrell, Scott Baker, Barrett and McIntosh.

The trophy dash for the real stock division was won by Jim Redd over Trevor Miller, Shawn Craig and Bob Lima. Miller won the first heat in rather dramatic fashion over Casey Mitchell, Lima, Ryan Robinson and Doug Way. Craig won the second heat race over Redd, Donnie Hyman, Nick Green and Dana DeVane. Green took the lead in the early stages of the main event over Miller and Robinson. Miller wanted the race lead early and he got it on the fourth lap going into the first turn, getting by Green. Miller began to pull away while the rest of the field battled for position.

On lap nine, Robinson moved inside of Green for second allowing Redd to follow into third. Craig was trying to make his way to the front, but was battling Mitchell for position. Craig took the position on lap 12 and tried to get by Green for fourth until the two made contact. The end result was Craig with a flat tire. He pulled into the infield to avoid bringing out a yellow flag. Meanwhile, Miller held more than a full straightaway lead over second place Robinson. With two laps left, Green and Lima spun in turn four. At the same time, Redd maneuvered by Robinson for second. At the checkered flag, it was Miller half a track ahead of Redd. Robinson took third, Mitchell fourth and Lima fifth.

After not attending the previous race earlier this month at the Acres, Paul Peeples, Jr. returned to the Acres and reminded everyone that he is the driver to beat by breaking the track record in the thunder roadster division. Peeples won the dash over David Henderson who was filling in for Dave McMurray, Chris Banfill and Mike Ward. The heat race was hotly contested but Ward was able to take the victory over Thomas Payne, Peeples, Chris Sarvinski and Banfill. Payne took the lead at the beginning of the main event. Bruce Ziemer spun in the second turn on lap two but got his car going.

Peeples wasted little time maneuvering his way to the front, getting by Ward for second on lap five. On lap seven Banfill and Miller briefly locked rear and front bumpers, but were able to get untangled and continued in the battle. Peeples was able to grab the lead from Payne on lap eight. The only other major change for position occurred on lap 16 when Sarvinski and Ward made contact down the front straightaway, however both drivers continued. At the checkered flag it was Peeples over Payne, Sarvinski, Ward and Banfill.

Tim McCracken made his third start of the season in the sportsman division, winning the trophy dash over Marty Walsh, Larry Pries and Brandon Barnwell. Walsh was victorious in the first heat race winning over Dennis Delbiaggio, Jerry Peterson, Romeo Venza and Lissa Uselton. Barnwell won heat race two over McCracken, Angelo Marcelli and Kavin Conn. Uselton took the lead at the start of the main event over Pries. On lap two, Pries moved under and around Uselton for the lead, while Walsh moved by Uselton the next lap. McCracken moved to fourth on lap four by passing Marcelli for the position. The next lap McCracken and Uselton touched in the second turn with Uselton spinning and McCracken sent to the back of the field.

On the restart Pries led Walsh, Barnwell, Peterson and Delbiaggio. Things were settled up front while McCracken was making a furious charge from the rear of the field. On lap 11, McCracken moved into fifth, taking the spot away from Delbiaggio. On lap 12, Barnwell and Walsh made heavy contact while battling for second. The incident peeled away Barnwell’s fender while Walsh’s car appeared to handle differently from that point on. Both drivers lost a few positions but the incident did not result in a caution flag. The red flag came out on the fourteenth lap when Uselton’s car spun and was facing the wrong direction on the back straightaway.

The green flag came out again with Pries still leading Peterson, McCracken, Delbiaggio and Barnwell. McCracken quickly passed Peterson for second, then on lap 15 he took the lead away from Pries. Barnwell moved into fourth on lap 23, passing Delbiaggio. With only a few laps left, Barnwell and Peterson made contact in the first turn sending both drivers spinning. Meanwhile, Pries who was ahead of the incident spun on his own in turn two. The yellow flag was brought out and the field was shuffled with lap cars in between lead lap cars. This was a good thing for McCracken as he was able to get a good launch on the restart and went to the checkered flag unchallenged, taking the main event win. Delbiaggio brought his car home second, a major victory for he and his team after hitting the wall earlier in the day. Marcelli took third with Ken Hallis fourth and Conn fifth.

Racing at the Acres take a break for a weekend but returns Saturday September 6th for The Judy Fox Memorial race and Back-To-School night. This race will see the crowning of the limited street stock and mini stock division champions, while the three other divisions will have another race to decide their 2008 champions.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Miller wins main #1 in thunder roadsters, #1 Moulton two in a row in sportsman division

Miller wins main #1 in thunder roadsters, #1 Moulton two in a row in sportsman division

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was an absolutely gorgeous evening Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway, perhaps the best weather that there has been on a race night all season. Although the limited street stocks were absent from the racing schedule once again, the mini stocks, real stocks, thunder roadsters and sportsman cars treated the fans to yet another thrilling night of close and intense racing action.

Craig Baker continued his dominance on this night in the mini stock division winning the four lap trophy dash over Brian Murrell, Max Capps and Scott Baker. The heat was no different as Craig Baker took the victory in that race ahead of Denzil Barrett, Capps, Brian McIntosh and brother Scott. McIntosh took the early lead in the 20 lap main event ahead of Capps, Scott Baker and Craig Baker. Capps made a daring pass by McIntosh on lap four in the first and second turns to take the lead. It wasn’t long though before Craig Baker began to make his presence felt. On lap four he moved by Scott. A lap later Craig moved into second getting by McIntosh. While Craig was closing the gap on Capps, McIntosh spun in the fourth turn on lap seven. On lap nine Craig Baker took the lead away from Capps and never looked back. The rest of the race was run cleanly with nobody able to put any pressure on the driver ahead of them. At the line it was Scott Baker, Capps, Craig Baker, Murrell and Barrett.

Trevor Miller won the real stock trophy dash over Ryan Walters subbing for Shaun Craig, Ryan Robinson and Bill Middleton. Jim Redd took the 10 lap heat race win over Bob Lima, Middleton, Walters and Casey Mitchell. Redd started from the outside pole in the main and took advantage of it by taking the lead and pulling out to a sizeable gap over the field. The faster cars of Ryan Walters and Miller weren’t able to move near the front until lap seven when Ryan passed brother Dustin for third bringing Miller with him. On lap 10 Ryan moved under Mitchell for second position with Miller following again.

Miller used the outside line to get by Ryan Walters for second on lap 12 and began to chase down the leader Redd who had a straightaway lead over him. On lap 14, Robinson spun in between turns three and four but got going again. Five laps later, Nick Green spun in the fourth turn but he was also able to return to racing. Meanwhile, Miller was rapidly catching Redd. On lap 20, Redd got loose in turns three and four allowing Miller to close right up on him. The final few laps saw close but clean racing between the two with Redd using up as much race track as possible to hold off Miller, and Miller trying to get by Redd as cleanly as possible. Coming to the line, Miller got under Redd coming off the fourth turn but unfortunately for his case Redd was able to win the drag race to the line. Ryan Walters took third with Mitchell fourth and Middleton fifth.

With Paul Peeples, Jr. not at the track on this night, it was wide-open as to who would win any of the races in the thunder roadster class. Robert Miller won the trophy dash over Mike Ward, Tommy Payne and Chris Banfill. The heat race belonged to Banfill as he held of Payne, Ward, Bruce Ziemer and Miller for the victory. Dave McMurray took the early lead in the main event while Miller and Ward raced wheel-to-wheel for the second position. Ward took the position on lap three and set his sights on McMurray for the lead. On lap four the two cars touched in turn four bringing out the yellow flag. Ward was forced to the rear on the restart while McMurray was done for the evening.

Miller inherited the lead over Payne, Banfill, Ziemer and Rick Crawley. Banfill moved by Payne for second on lap six. On lap 10, Ward moved into the fourth position getting by Ziemer. Banfill had his hands full as he was trying to get by Miller the leader, but he also had to worry about Payne making a pass on him too. Many times Banfill looked to possibly have a run on Miller but he couldn’t quite find the grip he needed to get by. At the checkered flag it was Miller holding off Banfill, Payne, Ward and Ziemer.

Veteran Dennis Delbiaggio won the sportsman trophy dash over Brandon Barnwell, Mic Moulton and Marty Walsh. Jerry Peterson won the first heat race ahead of Moulton, Angelo Marcelli, Romeo Venza and Barnwell. Larry Pries took the second heat over Delbiaggio, Lissa Uselton, Keith Dias and Marty Walsh. Unfortunately while warming up for the 30 lap main event, Dias lost control and spun his car into the wall in turns three and four prematurely ending his night. Uselton was able to take the early lead followed by Pries and Delbiaggio. On lap four, Walsh tried to move by Delbiaggio but got loose and made contact. Peterson had nowhere to go and hit Delbiaggio’s car. Fortunately all three drivers were able to make it back out.

Uselton took the green on the restart leading Pries, Barnwell, Moulton and Kavin Conn who was making his first start in the sportsman division. Pries moved under and past Uselton on lap five allowing Barnwell and Moulton to follow. On lap nine, Barnwell moved high to get by Pries but couldn’t do it allowing Moulton to move under and by to take the spot. The yellow flag dropped on lap 12 when Conn spun his car in turns three and four. Moulton tried to use the restart to get by Pries but was unsuccessful. The yellow flag came once again when Walsh and Uselton made contact on the seventeenth lap.

Pries led Moulton, Barnwell, Delbiaggio and Marcelli to the restart. On lap 19, Marcelli went into the infield and then into the pits a victim of a flat tire. Moulton was finally able to move by Pries on lap 22 after several laps of close racing. The yellow flag dropped once again bunching the field. Under the caution period, Delbiaggio pulled his car into the pits. Moulton now lead Pries and Barnwell to the restart. With three laps remaining, Pries and Barnwell made contact in turn two bringing out the caution flag again. The final few laps were fairly chaotic. Pries and Barnwell continued their duel to the last lap when the two made contact again. Pries’ car hit a patch of pavement going into turn three briefly getting airborne before getting on the track. In any case it was all behind Moulton who took the victory ahead of Walsh, Uselton, Pries and Barnwell.

There are only three events left on the 2008 schedule for Redwood Acres Raceway. The next race is Fan Appreciation Night on August 23rd.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mic Moulton returns to Acres victory lane

Mic Moulton returns to Acres victory lane

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It proved to be a fairly clean night of racing Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. The racing action got started just after 6:30 in the evening and was finished just before 9:00. In between there was close competition, tight finishes and familiar faces taking home trophies for the mini stocks, real stocks, thunder roadsters and sportsman divisions. Unfortunately, for the second straight week the limited street stocks were not running.

After a serious accident in the previous race at the Acres, Jim Redd came back to win the trophy dash over Trevor Miller, Shaun Craig and Ryan Walters who was making his first race of the year behind the wheel of Bill Middleton’s yellow number 11. Dustin Walters won the heat race narrowly beating out Miller, Craig, Redd and Bob Lima. The first two laps of the main event were lead by Lima, until Craig took the help at lap three, stretching out to what would prove to be an insurmountable lead. Miller would prove to be the only car capable of running down leader Craig, but Miller was unable to get by Redd and Lima until the 8th lap of the 20 scheduled. At that time, Craig had a straightaway and a corner lead on Miller. By the end of the race, Miller was able to cut the lead to less than half a straight, but of course it wasn’t enough. It was a strong victory by Craig who had suffered engine woes the previous race. Redd held onto third while Ray Robinson took fourth and Lima fifth.

The mini stock dash was won by Denzil Barrett, a thin margin ahead of Chad Grammer who was driving Max Capps truck on the night. Craig and Scott Baker rounded out the dash finishers. Craig Baker won the heat race over brother Scott, Grammer, Barrett and Brian McIntosh. The lead in the main event was taken by Craig Baker in the early laps while the field stretched out. The lone incident of the night took place between Grammer and Scott Baker when the two made contact in the second turn. Craig Baker proved to have the race in hand as he was able to cruise to victory. Grammer moved his way into second with Barrett third, McIntosh fourth and rookie Brian Murrell, Jr. having his best finish of the year thus far in fifth.

Paul Peeples, Jr. must have had something to prove on the night in the thunder roadster division seeing as he was unable to win the previous race’s main event. Right off the bat in the dash Peeples was victorious over Tommy Payne, Bruce Ziemer and Mike Ward. Peeples followed up with the heat race victory over Doug Pulver in Jay Bahner’s car, Payne, Ziemer and Chris Lawrence. Dave McMurray led the first two laps of the main event only to be passed by Peeples on the third. From that point on, the race was for second position. Things got tight on lap nine when Robert Miller and Ward briefly locked their cars together, but both were able to separate and get back to racing. Payne held on to Peeples for a while, but at the end nobody was within range of pressuring Peeples and he took the victory over Payne, Ward, McMurray and Miller.

The trophy dash in the sportsman division went to Mic Moulton as he was able to beat Dennis Delbiaggio, Brandon Barnwell and Larry Pries. Jerry Peterson used the high line on the last lap between turns three and four to take the lead and the heat win away from Barnwell. Marcelli, Delbiaggio and Pries finished third through fifth. Al Acuna took the early lead in the main before Marcelli grabbed it away on lap four bringing Delbiaggio with him. Going into the third turn on the same lap, Delbiaggio got in too hard and spun out. Acuna had nowhere to go and ran into the side of Delbiaggio busting his radiator and ending his night.

Delbiaggio was able to continue as the top five to the green was Marcelli, Moulton, Barnwell, Peterson and Pries. On lap six Peterson used the high line to get by Barnwell. Three laps later, he used the same trick to get by Moulton for second and Marcelli for the lead. On lap 14, Moulton moved under and by Marcelli. On lap 24 Keith Dias spun bringing out the yellow flag. The restart proved to be just what Moulton needed. Coming off the green and down the back chute, Moulton moved under and by Peterson for the lead. Moulton was able to stretch his lead at the end and take the checkered flag first with Peterson second, Pries third, Barnwell fourth and Delbiaggio coming from the back to finish fifth.

Racing returns to the Acres August 9th. Joining the local classes will be the North State Challenge Series late model tour cars who will be making their second start of the season at the Acres, and their first race in several weeks.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Division titles still up in the air at the Acres

Division titles still up in the air at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Only five races remain on the 2008 schedule for Redwood Acres Raceway and the battle for the championship in four of the five divisions are tight with no clear-cut favorite. In fact in several of the divisions, the points title can still be claimed by at least five drivers. For the limited street stocks, mini stocks and sportsman cars, there are only four races remaining while the real stocks and thunder roadsters will decide their champion at the Acres’ Fall Spectacular at the end of September.

Although the limited street stock class has had problems fielding enough cars to race at times during the year, the points battle is tight with three drivers who have a realistic shot at winning. Acres veteran Fergy Ferguson holds the points lead with 240 total. Tied for second are Duayne Mayo and Kenny Demello with 227, only 13 behind leader Ferguson. The duo of Romeo Venza and Craig Huffman hold down fourth in the points with 169 gained, while defending champion Scott Lyons looks as if he’ll have to wait until next year to win as he’s fifth with 153 points.

Only 41 points separate the top five drivers in the mini stock class. Scott Baker leads the field with 451 points. Brian McIntosh is second only 10 points behind. Scott’s brother Craig is third with 440 points. Brian Murrell is still in the hunt for the title with 431 points, while Denzil Barrett in fifth has an outside shot with 410.

Real stock driver Jim Redd took the points lead after race one of the season and has managed to hold on to it up to this point. Redd holds a 23 point lead over second place Trevor Miller, 454-431. Barring any unfortunate accidents, it appears as though the points battle will be decided between those two drivers as third place Ryan Robinson is 67 points behind the leader. Shaun Craig is fourth with 362 points and in fifth is rookie Dustin Walters with 349.

The points title for the thunder roadsters is defending champ Paul Peeples, Jr.’s to lose. Among all the points leaders at the Acres, Peeples is the one with the biggest points cushion by a substantial margin; 120 points. Second is division rookie Robert Miller with 381 points gained. Mike Ward is third, a mere two points behind Miller. Troy Combs is fourth with 327 points coming off his first win of the year. Gerhy Foster is fifth with 325 but will likely move down the standings due to his car being irreparably damaged in a wreck a few weeks ago.

With a win in the main event in the last race, Brandon Barnwell was able to take the points lead in the sportsman division. Barnwell leads Dennis Delbiaggio 455-451. In third is Larry Pries with 431 points. Lissa Uselton is fourth with 407 and Angelo Marcelli is fifth with 405.

Racing returns to the Acres this Saturday night, July 26th with all five local classes. After a break, the action returns August 9th with the North State Challenge Series late model tour cars joining the schedule with their first race in a number of months. Fan Appreciation night is August 23rd while the Judy Fox Memorial race will be September 6th. The memorial race will again be the final points event for the limited street, mini stocks and sportsman cars. The season will wrap up September 27th with the Fall Spectacular with real stocks, thunder roadsters, IMCA modifieds and the North State Challenge Series returning.

Points Standings (numbers in parenthesis state how far back a driver is from the points leader)

Limited Street Stocks
1. Fergy Ferguson 240, t2. Duane Mayo 227 (-13), t2. Kenny Demello 227 (-13), 4. Craig Huffman/Romeo Venza 169 (-71), 5. Scott Lyons 153 (-87)

Mini Stocks
1. Scott Baker 451, 2. Brian McIntosh 441 (-10), 3. Craig Baker 440 (-11), 4. Brian Murrell, Sr. 431 (-20), 5. Denzil Barrett 410 (-41), 6. Max Capps 373 (-78), 7. Marty Walsh 132 (-319), 8. Brian Murrell, Jr. 108 (-343), 9. Norm Carmichael 65 (-386), 10. Ryan Ahrens 59 (-392), 11. Nick Karanopoulos 13 (-438)

Real Stocks
1. Jim Redd 454, 2. Trevor Miller 431 (-23), 3. Ryan Robinson 387 (-67), 4. Shawn Craig 362 (-92), 5. Dustin Walters 349 (-106), 6. Ryan Peeples 310 (-144), 7. Dana DeVane 262 (-192), 8. Nick Green 237 (-217), 9. Don Hyman 235 (-219), 10. Casey Mitchell 197 (-257), 11. Bob Lima 181 (-273), 12. Marvin Savage 170 (-284), 13. Bill Middleton 168 (-286), 14. Mark Mullan 137 (-317), 15. Ray Robinson 105 (-349), 16. Pat Conway 78 (-376), 17. Ray Middleton 57 (-397), 18. Roger Linn, Jr. 53 (-401)

Thunder Roadsters
1. Paul Peeples, Jr. 501, 2. Robert Miller 381 (-120), 3. Mike Ward 379 (-122), 4. Troy Combs 327 (-174), 5. Gerhy Foster 325 (-176), 6. Jay Bahner 313 (-182), 7. Donn Cole 305 (-189), 8. Thomas Payne 299 (-195), 9. Rick Crawley, Jr. 275 (-226), 10. Mark Arroyo 260 (-241), 11. Leroy Marsh, Jr. 244 (-257), 12. Dave McMurray 237 (-264), 13. Bruce Ziemer 234 (-267), 14. Chris Sarvinski 220 (-281), 15. Chris Banfill 136 (-365), 16. David Henderson 116 (-385), 17. Belinda Ward 78 (-423), 18. Chris Lawrence 54 (-447), 19. Doug Pulver 49 (-452), 20. Ron Borges 45 (-456) 21. Rob Nelson 43 (-458)

1. Brandon Barnwell 455, 2. Dennis DelBiaggio 451 (-4), 3. Larry Pries 431 (-24), 4. Lissa Uselton 407 (-48), 5. Angelo Marcelli 405 (-50), 6. Jerry Peterson 399 (-56), 7. Romeo Venza 348 (-107), 8. Keith Dias 284 (-171), 9. Al Acuna 251 (-204), 10. Marty Walsh 210 (-245), 11. Rick Fox 146 (-309), 12. Tim McCracken 136 (-319), 13. Ken Hallis 119 (-336), 14. Mic Moulton 55 (-400), 15. Frank Billy, Jr. 20 (-435).

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Combs defeats Peeples, Barnwell returns to victory lane

Combs defeats Peeples, Barnwell returns to victory lane

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The racing this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway must have left many people scratching their heads. The car count in three of the five divisions was unexpectedly low, but that didn’t mean that there wasn’t close racing. Usually when there is close racing, there usually comes contact and accidents, and that’s exactly what happened. By the end of the night, four drivers were able to bring their cars home victorious and intact, Craig Baker in the mini stocks, Trevor Miller in the real stocks, Troy Combs in the thunder roadsters and Brandon Barnwell in the sportsman division. Regrettably the limited street stock class was unable to run due to the lack of cars at the track.

The mini stock trophy dash was won by Scott Baker over Brian Murrell, Brian McIntosh and Max Capps. The main event saw eight cars start the race. On the first lap, rookie Norm Carmichael hit the turn four wall head on bringing out the yellow flag. Thankfully Carmichael was not injured in the incident. Craig Baker took the lead early in the race and was able to maintain a comfortable distance throughout the event all the way to the checkered flag. McIntosh finished second with Murrell third, Capps fourth and Scott Baker fifth.

Shawn Craig broke Trevor Miller’s track record in the real stock division but unfortunately his night was cut short in the trophy dash when heavy smoke began to pour out of his vehicle while leading. Miller was able to inherit the lead and take the dash win ahead of Ryan Peeples and Jim Redd. The heat race featured a wreck on the front straightaway on the start between Ryan Robinson and Dustin Walters. Both drivers were able to continue to race. Peeples lost his engine in the heat ending his night prematurely. Miller took the win over Redd, Robinson, and Dana DeVane. The main started off with a red flag after a turn two wreck between Walters and Redd. Walters was able to continue but Redd was out of the race. Miller was able to cruise to an easy victory over Robinson, Walters and DeVane while Redd was credited with fifth.

Mike Ward took home the trophy in the dash for the thunder roadsters holding off Troy Combs, Paul Peeples, Jr. and Robert Miller. The heat race saw contact between Donn Cole and Miller while racing for the lead. Unfortunately, Thomas Payne was collected while trying to avoid the incident and damaged his car enough to where he was out for the rest of the night. Peeples was able to take the win over Ward, Combs, Miller and Chris Lawrence. Combs was able to wrestle away the lead early in the main event and was able to hold off the strongest of challengers in Peeples to claim his first main event win of the season, and only the second main event win by someone other than Peeples. Miller took third with Ward fourth, Cole fifth and Lawrence sixth.

Mic Moulton made his return to the sportsman division winning the trophy dash over Larry Pries, Dennis Delbiaggio and Brandon Barnwell. Barnwell won the first heat race over Delbiaggio, Ken Hallis, Romeo Venza and Keith Dias. Jerry Peterson held off Lissa Uselton in the second heat while Marty Walsh, Angelo Marcelli and Pries completed the top five finishers. Delbiaggio took the lead early in the main event and was able to gain several car lengths over second place Walsh. Meanwhile, Moulton moved his way from mid-pack to third. After many laps of running in Walsh’s mirror, Moulton was able to maneuver by for second.

On lap 26, Moulton moved inside of Delbiaggio for the lead. The two made contact going into turn one sending Delbiaggio spinning. Officials placed Moulton at the rear of the field and now the race lead belonged to Barnwell over Walsh, Pries, Uselton and Hallis. With two laps left, Delbiaggio, Venza and Dias spun between turns one and two bringing out the yellow. The restart was a simultaneous green and white restart. Moulton tried to time his start perfectly and was able to move into second going into turn one. The race to the line was absolute chaos. In turn four coming to the checkered flag, Walsh and Pries made contact sending them spinning. Meanwhile, Barnwell crossed the line first with Moulton second, Uselton third and Hallis fourth. The action still wasn’t over as Venza’s throttle stuck and he drove over the side of Walsh’s car right at the start/finish line. Officals deemed Moulton to have restarted before the green flag waved which moved Uselton into the second finishing position, Hallis third and Marcelli fourth. In any case, Barnwell was still the winner.

Racing at the Acres take a break for one week before returning July 26th for more excitement from the five local divisions.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Redwood Acres Fair Classic provides two nights of excitement

Redwood Acres Fair Classic provides two nights of excitement

By Matthew J. Sullivan

After a two week break from racing at the 3/8 mile paved Redwood Acres Raceway, drivers in the limited street stock, mini stock, real stock, thunder roadster and sportsman divisions saddled up for back-to-back races Friday and Saturday night during the Redwood Acres Fair. The large crowds for both evening’s events were not disappointed by what they witnessed either as there was close competition in many of the races. An added feature for this special race weekend was a Fair Night Champion determined as to which garnered the most points in their respective division.

Friday night for the limited street stock division kicked off with the trophy dash which was won by Orion Mosher who was making his first start of the 2008 season at the Acres. Scott Lyons took second with Craig Huffman and Fergy Ferguson rounding out the finishers. The heat was taken by Mosher over Duayne Mayo, Lyons, Ferguson and Kenny Demello. Unfortunately, Huffman’s engine blew during the heat and he was not able to return to the track for the rest of the weekend. Although Mosher had not raced since the end of last season, he showed no signs of rust in the main. He charged his way to the front and won over Ferguson, Demello, Lyons and Mayo.

Saturday night was not so great for the limited street class. With Huffman sidelined for the weekend and Lyons not making the show, only four cars were left, thus eliminating the class from holding a main event. Mosher took the dash win over Ferguson, Mayo and Demello. The heat race proved to be little different as the finishing order was the same, Mosher, Ferguson, Mayo and Demello. With wins in all five of the races, Mosher took the overall weekend title for the limited street stocks at fair races.

Scott Baker won Friday night’s mini stock trophy dash over brother Craig, Brian Murrell and Marty Walsh who was piloting Jaison Chand’s Mustang. Brian McIntosh won the heat race over Denzil Barrett, Max Capps, Walsh and Scott Baker. Walsh used his vast experience in the main event to get through the field and swipe the lead away from McIntosh to take the victory. McIntosh took second over Craig Baker, Scott Baker and Capps.

Walsh won the dash on Saturday night ahead of Craig Baker, Scott Baker and Murrell. The heat race win went to Murrell with Scott Baker, Craig Baker, Barrett and Capps rounding out the top five. Scott Baker took off to a large lead early on in the main event, but by races end the gap was closed to within one car length. That proved to be enough though as Scott Baker took the win over Walsh, Capps, Murrell and McIntosh. The fair night champion in the mini stock class ended up being two drivers, Scott Baker and Marty Walsh.

Trevor Miller showed his strength Friday night winning the real stock trophy dash over Shawn Craig, Jim Redd and Ryan Robinson. Miller took the heat victory over Craig, Bill Middleton, Redd and Donnie Hyman. Unfortunately for Miller, he was involved in an incident during the main event that ended up putting him several laps down and out of contention for the race victory. Craig was able to win followed by Middleton, Robinson, Redd and Marvin Savage.

Saturday night started off much the same Friday night did with Miller victorious in the dash over Pat Conway behind the wheel of Redd’s car, Craig and Robinson. Miller won the heat ahead of Craig, Conway, Middleton and Ryan Peeples who wasn’t able to make it out to Friday night’s races. Miller quickly made his way to the front in the main, while Craig had to battle through traffic a bit more to catch up, but near the conclusion of the race, the duo raced nose to tail, maneuvering themselves through traffic. The lone incident of the main occurred on lap 23 when Middleton had an issue going into the third turn and hit the wall. Although his car was severely damaged, Middleton walked away okay. The last two laps were run clean with Miller holding off Craig to win. Conway took third with Peeples fourth and Dustin Walters fifth after a severe accident in the heat Friday night.

Paul Peeples, Jr. found himself in familiar territory over the weekend, winning the thunder roadster dash ahead of Thomas Payne, Gerhy Foster and Troy Combs. Chris Sarvinski won the first heat race over Combs, Rick Crawley, Jay Bahner and Foster. Peeples was victorious in heat two over Robert Miller, Donn Cole, Mike Ward and Payne. Combs took the lead from Bruce Ziemar in the main event just before the halfway point and tried to put distance between himself and the dominant car/driver combination of Peeples. Unfortunately for Combs, Peeples proved to be too strong as he was able to take the lead away with only a few laps left and hold off Combs for the win. Mark Arroyo took third, Ziemar fourth and Foster fifth.

Combs broke Peeples’ win streak in the Saturday night dash win the win over Foster, Peeples and Payne. Combs also won the first heat race over Foster, Sarvinski, Bahner and Belinda Ward. Peeples won the second heat ahead of Arroyo, Payne, Mike Ward and Donn Cole. Sarvinski grabbed the early lead in the main event while the faster cars moved from the back to the front. One of the scariest incidents in recent memory at the Acres occurred on lap 7 when Foster and Baher touched wheels between turns three and four and went head on into the concrete wall in the fourth turn. Thankfully both drivers were able to walk away from their destroyed race cars, though the ambulance was brought out for Bahner for precautionary reasons regarding his back.

Sarvinski held the lead until lap 17 when Peeples took it away. The two raced within two car lengths for the rest of the event with Peeples crossing the line first over Sarvinski, Cole, Combs and Miller. Not surprisingly, Peeples proved to be the fair night champion for the thunder roadster division.

Racing in the sportsman division got hot and heavy before the green flag was even thrown in the trophy dash. Tim McCracken, returning to the Acres after several years away from racing and Rick Fox got into each other coming down the back stretch to take the green. Coming off the fourth turn with the green flag waving, Fox lost control and hit the wall hard. The damage was severe enough to end Fox’s race weekend. McCracken was sent to the rear of the dash. After all of that, it was Dennis Delbiaggio the winner with McCracken second and Brandon Barnwell third.

Angelo Marcelli won the closely contested first heat race over Barnwell, Al Acuna, Lissa Uselton and Keith Dias. Delbiaggio won the second heat over Preston O’Dell who was driving Frank Billy’s car. Larry Pries took third, with Jerry Peterson fourth and Romeo Venza fifth. Lissa Uselton took the early lead and looked strong in the main event, but McCracken was able to maneuver his way to the front, getting by Uselton at the halfway mark to take the win. Uselton finished second over Pries, Barnwell and Delbiaggio.

McCracken returned Saturday night to win the heat race over Barnwell, Delbiaggio and Pries. With Fox out and Billy having an accident in practice, the sportsman cars ran only one heat this time. Barnwell nabbed the heat victory over Delbiaggio, Acuna, Pries and Peterson. McCracken took the lead from Delbiaggio coming to an early caution flag, and that proved to be the race winning pass in the main event. Delbiaggio held on for second over Barnwell, Pries and Peterson. With wins in both main events, Tim McCracken was crowned the fair night champion for the sportsman division drivers.

Racing at the Acres takes a two week break, returning Saturday July 12th. All five local classes will return once more to provide some more of the great racing excitement that fans have come to expect at Redwood Acres Raceway.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Walsh, Peeples, Miller big winners at the Acres

Walsh, Peeples, Miller big winners at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Though mother nature provided a rather cold and dreary night, racing at Redwood Acres Raceway as not dampened whatsoever. It was a night of excitement, good racing and when the checkered flag fell on the night’s last race, there wasn’t one case of a wrecker having to be used during the race events or a track official using oil dry on the racing surface. Trevor Miller ran away from the pack in the real stock division to take his second win of the season and go four for four on the night with fast time, dash win, heat win and main win. Paul Peeples, Jr. continued his dominance of victory lane in the thunder roadster class with yet another win in the same fashion as Miller. Marty Walsh won his second main event of the season in the sportsman division rather handily.

Unfortunately for the limited street stocks and the mini stocks, both fields only had five cars turnout for the night. Both divisions ran trophy dashes and 10 lap main events. Scott Lyons was the fastest of the limited streets in qualifying with a 17.474 lap time. Lyons won the dash over Kenny Demello, Duayne Mayo and Craig Huffman. The 10 lap main featured a late race pass by Huffman over Mayo for the lead. At the line Huffman won over Mayo, Lyons, Fergy Ferguson and Demello.

Craig Baker turned in the quickest lap for the mini stock cars with a 19.127 time. Brian Murrell won the trophy dash literally by inches over Craig Baker, Scott Baker and Brian McIntosh. After a lap three pass for the lead on Murrell, Craig Baker was able to cruise to the win in the main. Murrell held onto second, Scott Baker third, Denzel Barrett fourth and McIntosh fifth after having gone into the pits with issues early in the race.

Qualifying in the real stock division was tight as Trevor Miller’s 18.813 qualifying lap was a mere three hundredth’s quicker than Shawn Craig’s 18.816. Miller won the dash over Ryan Peeples, Pat Conway and Craig. Unfortunately, both Conway and Craig had problems in the dash and were not able to make it back out for the heats or the main. Miller drove through the field in the heat race for the win over Casey Mitchell, Peeples, Donnie Hyman and Jim Redd.

Mitchell and Redd lead the nine car field to the green flag of the 25 lap main event. Redd got the jump off the start while Miller quickly made his way to the front. On lap three, Miller passed Peeples for fourth then moved into third just as quickly with Peeples following. On lap six, Miller moved outside of Mitchell for second. Three laps later the yellow flag dropped for debris on the race track.

Miller wasted no time on the restart immediately attacking Redd for the top position. On lap 13, Miller found the inside line and moved under Redd for the lead. On lap 15, Peeples who had been running third pulled into the pits. A few laps later, Nick Green spun off the second turn collecting Hyman and Ryan Robinson and bringing out the yellow flag. Fortunately everyone continued on in the race. The restart and the final few laps proved to be a formality for Miller as he was able to pull away from Redd to a comfortable lead and the checkered flag by the end of lap 25. Redd finished second with Dustin Walters third, Mitchell fourth and Green fifth.

Paul Peeples, Jr.’s 16.999 lap time was the only one under the 17 second bracket thus making it the quickest. Jay Bahner won the trophy dash over Peeples, Mark Arroyo and Troy Combs. Leroy Marsh, Jr. claimed the win in the first heat over Rick Crawley, Dave McMurray, Bruce Ziemer and Rob Nelson. Peeples won the second heat over Combs, Mike Ward, Arroyo and Robert Miller.

Nelson and Crawley comprised the front row for the 30 lap main event. Nelson took the early lead before Marsh took the lead away. Five laps into the race, Combs made his way into the second spot and tried to run down Marsh for the lead. Just as Combs moved inside and by Marsh for the lead, the yellow flag flew when Nelson spun off turn four and was facing the fourth turn nose first. All of the drivers had to take evasive action to avoid running into Nelson and though it was tight, everybody avoided what could have been a serious incident.

With the field reverting to their position on the previous lap, Marsh was able to retake the lead over Combs, McMurray, Peeples and Crawley. Peeples quickly moved by McMurray on the restart. On lap 11, Combs moved inside of Marsh for the lead bringing Peeples with him. On lap 15, Peeples looked to have the inside line on Combs but didn’t have the momentum to get by. Gerhy Foster’s spin on lap 19 brought out the yellow flag allowing Combs and Peeples to cool their tires and get set for another close battle.

When the green dropped, Combs and Peeples pulled away while Marsh settled into third comfortably. Meanwhile, McMurray and Bahner were dueling for fourth racing side-by-side for several laps. Up front Peeples was working hard to pass Combs. On lap 22, Peeples got another run and the two raced wheel-to-wheel. Both cars were like this until lap 24 when Combs pulled out the advantage once again.

On lap 26, Combs got loose between turns three and four. Peeples moved inside to try to get by, but Combs collected him while trying to save his car. While the two got their cars straight, Marsh moved by both to go from third to first in a matter of moments. Unfortunately for Marsh, he just didn’t have the handling on this night to hold off Peeples as he was able to move by on lap 28 for the lead. On the last lap, Combs moved inside of Marsh to take second, but it was too late for him to try something on Peeples as he crossed the line first. Marsh finished third with McMurray fourth and Bahner fifth.

Brandon Barnwell’s 16.547 qualifying time proved to be the fastest in the sportsman division. The trophy dash was won by Dennis Delbiaggio over Larry Pries, Barnwell and Marty Walsh. Delbiaggio won the second heat ahead of Jerry Peterson, Ken Hallis, Romeo Venza and Keith Dias. Pries won the second heat with Walsh, Al Acuna, Angelo Marcelli and Lissa Uselton completing the top five.

11 cars started the 30 lap feature event. Uselton got the jump on Venza to take the early lead. On lap seven, Marcelli was able to move under Uselton for the top spot after several laps of battling her for the lead. Marcelli’s move for the lead allowed Acuna to follow into the second position. On lap 9, Barnwell and Hallis made contact in the fourth turn sending both drivers into the infield. Both drivers got going again and the yellow flag was not thrown.

By lap 10, the top five was Marcelli, Acuna, Fox, Uselton and Pries with the top three cars nose to tail. On lap 14, Walsh made a move on Acuna. After a lap, Walsh was able to move by for second while Pries and Delbiaggio got by Uselton at the same time for fourth and fifth. It only took Walsh two more laps before he moved under and by Marcelli for the lead going into the third turn bringing Acuna into second. As the laps wound down, Walsh pulled away while Acuna held onto the second spot.

On lap 24, Pries moved into third getting by Marcelli. With two laps to go, Barnwell moved into fifth position getting by Delbiaggio. At the finish line it was Walsh, Acuna, Pries, Marcelli and Barnwell the top five. Delbiaggio, Uselton, Peterson, Hallis, Venza and Dias rounded out the finishing order.

Racing at the Acres takes a two week break before returning the Saturday of Father’s Day Weekend on June 14th.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Heavy fog cancels another night of racing

Heavy fog cancels another night of racing

By Matthew J. Sullivan

For the second time out of three scheduled evenings, Redwood Acres Raceway officials were forced to cancel Saturday night’s racing action, this time due to heavy fog. The limited street stock cars were in the midst of their heat race before an incident between Kenny Demello and Duayne Mayo brought a yellow flag out. It was under the caution period that the drivers and track officials deemed the speedway unsafe.

The limited street cars pulled into the pit area for a short period hoping for the fog to lift. The fog lifted for a brief period and the limited streets came out again along with the mini stocks to try to get the track back in racing condition. But once again, the fog dropped and officials decided it best to cancel the rest of the night’s races.

The track was able to get qualifying, trophy dashes and the real stock heats in before the fog came. The dash winners were Ryan Peeples in the real stocks, Fergy Ferguson in the limited street stocks, Brian Murrell in the mini stocks, Paul Peeples, Jr. in the thunder roadsters and Larry Pries in the sportsman division. Bob Lima and Trevor Miller won the two real stock heat races. Qualifying for the real stocks was paced by Trevor Miller with a 18.937 time. Scott Lyons was fastest in the limited streets with a 17.941. Max Capps set the pace for the mini stocks with a 19.381. Paul Peeples, Jr.’s 17.009 was fastest in the thunder roadsters, while Dennis Delbiaggio set the standard in the sportsman division with a 16.456 qualifying lap.

The Best Appearing Car contest that was scheduled to be held on the first night of racing but was rained out was held on this night. Drivers from all divisions pulled their cars on the front straightaway, and the winner was determined by the amount of noise generated by the fans in the grandstands. The winners were Brian Murrell in the mini stocks, Robert Miller in the thunder roadsters, Ryan Peeples in the real stocks, Fergy Ferguson in the limited street stocks and Larry Pries in the sportsman.

Thankfully, racing returns this coming Saturday night May 17 with all five local classes returning to action once more.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Peeples, Walsh opening night winners at the Acres

Peeples, Walsh opening night winners at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

After the initial season opening race was cancelled the previous Saturday thanks to Mother Nature, racing returned to Redwood Acres Raceway this weekend. As fans have come to expect at the Acres, there was some great racing action provided by the drivers in the limited street stock, mini stock, real stock, thunder roadster and sportsman divisions.

Before the night’s events, former Acres regular and North State Challenge Series competitor Hank Hilton was honored. Fans and crew members applauded as “Hammerin’” Hank’s number 98 car made one final ceremonial lap around the 3/8 mile oval with Acres racer Frank Billy behind the wheel. The flag was flown at half staff in honor of Hilton as well as Humboldt County Second District Supervisor Roger Rodoni who was tragically killed in a car accident Thursday evening.

Scott Lyons paced qualifying for the limited street stock cars with a 17.663 lap. Dwayne Mayo won the trophy dash over Romeo Venza, Kenny Demello and Lyons. With only five cars showing up for the evening, the heat race turned out to be the final race of the night for the class. Venza took the win, his first of any kind at the Acres over Rick Armstrong after attrition knocked out Demello, Mayo and Lyons.

Qualifying for quick time in the mini stock division was very, very close. Max Capps claimed the honor with a 19.205 time, just five-thousandths quicker than Craig Baker. In the dash, Baker took the win ahead of Denzel Barrett, Scott Baker and Capps. The heat race was won by Brian McIntosh with Baker, Barrett, Capps and Brian Murrell rounding out the top five. Although only six cars started the 15 lap main, the racing was close. McIntosh took the early lead over the Baker brothers. On lap five, Scott and Craig made contact while racing for second sending Scott spinning. On lap 11, Craig Baker dropped off the pace and went into the pits. Barrett tried his best to find a way around McIntosh in the remaining laps, but couldn’t muster enough strength as McIntosh won. Capps finished third, Murrell fourth and Craig Baker took fifth.

Shawn Craig set the qualifying mark for the real stocks with a 19.067 time in. Craig won the dash over Jim Redd, Ryan Peeples and Bob Lima. Pat Conway won the first heat ahead of Nick Green, Dustin Walters, Casey Mitchell and Dana DeVane. Lima won heat two over Donnie Hyman, Redd, Ryan Robinson and Craig.

14 cars made the start of the 25 lap main event. Walters and Ray Middleton paced the field to the green flag. Walters took the initial lead, but by the end of the completion of the first lap it was Green in the lead. Robinson spun off the second turn on lap two but was able to keep going. On lap five, Redd moved by Hyman for third. The next lap Redd moved by Lima for second, but a lap later Lima regained the position. On lap seven, Hyman, Walters and Craig tangled up in the fourth turn bringing out a yellow flag. During the caution period, Green pulled into the pits from third place and did not return. The green returned for five more laps before an incident in the first and second turns involving Walters and Conway.

On the restart, the front trio of Lima, Redd and Peeples pulled away from the rest of the field. On lap 15, Redd moved by Lima for the lead. Two laps later, Lima spun off the second turn moving Peeples into second and Craig into third. On lap 18, an incident between Robinson and Walters brought out the final caution flag. Redd got a good start when the green flew again, but Peeples and Craig kept in close touch. With two laps remaining, Craig moved by Peeples for second, but by that point it was too late for him to mount a serious charge for the lead. At the checkered flag it was Redd winning with Craig, Peeples, Hyman and Lima rounding out the top five.

Qualifying in the sportsman division was close. Dennis DelBiaggio set the quick mark with a 16.342 barely beating Brandon Barnwell’s 16.347. Marty Walsh driving Rick Fox’s car won the dash over DelBiaggio, Barnwell and Larry Pries. Al Acuna returned to the division after being absent for a year and won the heat over Walsh, Jerry Peterson, DelBiaggio and Barnwell.

Walsh and Pries led the field to the green flag in the main event. It was short lived however as an incident involving Acuna, Lissa Uselton and Romeo Venza brought the yellow out. Acuna was finished for the night but Uselton and Venza were able to continue in the race. On the restart, Walsh led while Barnwell moved inside Pries for second. That opened the bottom line for Peterson to move into third and Angelo Marcelli for fourth. Uselton spun in turn three on lap five bringing out the yellow flag.

When racing resumed, Walsh put a gap over Barnwell and Peterson who were dueling for the second position. After a lap 14 caution for debris, the green flew again and once again Walsh pulled away. On lap 22, the yellow dropped when Pries got loose in turn four and was helped around by DelBiaggio who had nowhere to go. Walsh hit his gears and his marks on the final restart and crossed the line first at the checkered flag ahead of Barnwell, Peterson, Marcelli and DelBiaggio.

Paul Peeples, Jr. was the fastest of the thunder roadster drivers with a 16.892, the only driver under 17 seconds. Peeples took the dash win over Chris Banfill, Leroy Marsh, Jr. and Chris Sarvinski. Mike Ward won the first heat race over Donn Cole, Jay Bahner, class rookie Robert Miller and Dave McMurray. Peeples won heat two over Thomas Payne, Marsh, Sarvinski and Gerhy Foster.

McMurray and Bahner comprised the front row for the 15 car, 25 lap main event. McMurray took the early lead, but by lap three Foster moved into the top spot bringing Payne and Bahner with him. On lap six, Peeples began to maneuver his way to the front getting by Bahner. Three laps later, Peeples took second from Payne. By lap 11, Peeples took the lead from Foster and began to pull away. On lap 14, Payne moved inside Foster for second. The two dueled side by side for a lap before Payne took firm hold of the position. The caution flag dropped on lap 17 when McMurray hit the turn three wall.

After the restart, Sarvinski spun coming off turn four after running in the top five. He was able to get going again without a yellow flag. Payne was able to stay close on Peeples bumper and tried his best to find a way by the veteran driver, however he was unable to find a line by as Peeples took the win. Foster held on for third over Banfill and Marsh.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway May 10th with all five classes of cars looking to put on another fantastic show.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rain delays RAR season opener

Rain delays RAR season opener

By Matthew J. Sullivan

For the second straight year, rain forced the cancellation of the season opening race at Redwood Acres Raceway. Thankfully, the delay will only be one week as racing will return to the Acres (weather permitting of course) this coming Saturday night. Along with the five local classes of mini stocks, limited street stocks, real stocks, thunder roadsters and sportsman cars will be the first of three North State Challenge Series late model races held at the raceway for the 2008 season. Crescent City, California driver and Redwood Acres Raceway alumnus Howard Ford won the first race of the North State Challenge Series season two weeks ago at Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson, California, and he will definitely be among the favorites to win this Saturday night.

Added to all of the racing excitement will be a special memorial for former Acres racer and North State series driver Hank Hilton. Hank passed away earlier this year due to cancer. He was known as Hammerin’ Hank to Northern California race fans, however Hank was recognized as one of the cleanest racers and a true gentleman by his competitors. Hank’s racing experience dated back to 1949 when he raced his first stock car race at age 16, and his blue number 98 car was a familiar sight in the North State series as well as the open competition events that were held at Redwood Acres Raceway and Shasta Speedway in the 80s and 90s.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Redwood Acres Raceway’s 2008 schedule updated

Redwood Acres Raceway’s 2008 schedule updated

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Redwood Acres Raceway has revised its 2008 schedule of racing. With the exception of the Fall Spectacular, Redwood Acres Raceway will feature five local classes of cars; sportsman, thunder roadsters, real stocks, limited street stocks and mini stocks every race weekend. Events and dates are as follows:

April 5 - Open Practice
April 19 - Best Appearing Car Fan Voting
April 26 - North State Challenge Series Late Models
May 10 - Mother’s Day Race Weekend
May 17 - Local Classes
May 31 - Local Classes
June 14 - Father’s Day Race Weekend
June 27 & 28 - Redwood Acres Fair Classic, BCRA & WMRA Midgets
July 12 - Local Classes
July 26 - Local Classes
August 9 - North State Challenge Series Late Models
August 23 - Fan Appreciation Night
September 6 - Judy Fox Memorial Race, Last points races for sportsman, thunder roadsters, limited street stocks and mini stocks
September 27 - Fall Spectacular featuring the North State Challenge Series Late Models and the IMCA modifieds

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Redwood Acres Raceway announces its 2008 schedule

Redwood Acres Raceway announces its 2008 schedule

By Matthew J. Sullivan

2008 promises to hold another exciting season of racing action at Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway. 15 races outline the schedule between the months of April and September. Fans will once again be treated to exciting action from the five local classes of cars; the real stocks, the mini stocks, the limited street stocks, the Thunder Roadsters and the sportsman division. The track will also feature touring series action from the North State Challenge Series late models as well as the BCRA midgets.

The 2008 season opens up on April 19th for the Best Appearing Car contest. This process is done through fan participation. All of the drivers and their cars line the front straightaway of the 3/8 mile paved oval and whichever driver in each division receives the loudest response to his or her machine determines who the winner is. April 26th features the first appearance of the North State Challenge Series cars.

The month of May features three Saturday night events on the 10th, 17th and 31st. The first race in June is held on the 14th before the Redwood Acres Fair Classic on the 27th and 28th. This year’s Fair Classic will feature the BCRA midgets. The BCRA midgets annual stop has traditionally been in the month of May, but with the switch to the June Fair Classic, this season will be the first time the series has held two events at the Acres.

Racing resumes in July on the 12th and then the 29th. August 9th is Fan Appreciation Night at the Acres with August 23rd being Back-To-School Night. September 6th is another race on the calender while September 13th’s race marks the end of the points run for the sportsman, Thunder Roadster, limited street and mini stock classes. The season concludes September 27th with the Fall Spectacular featuring the final appearance of the North State Challenge Series as well as an open competition event for the IMCA modifieds along with the local cars the Thunder Roadsters and the real stocks.

The season will be kicked off unofficially on April 5th with practice open to all competitors. If you haven’t visited Redwood Acres Raceway, 2008 would be a great year to make the trek to the beautiful 3/8 mile tree-lined speedway.

Redwood Acres Raceway 2008 Schedule
April 5th - Open Practice
April 19th - Best Appearing Car Contest
April 26th - North State Challenge Series Late Models
May 10th - Local Racing
May 17th - Local Racing
May 31st - Local Racing
June 14th - Local Racing
June 27th & 28th - BCRA Midgets
July 12th - Local Racing
July 26th - Local Racing
August 9th - Fan Appreciation Night
August 23rd - Back-To-School Night
September 6th - Local Racing
September 13th - Final Points Night For Sportsman, Thunder Roadsters, Limited Streets and Mini Stocks
September 27th - Fall Spectacular Open Featuring the North State Challenge Series, IMCA modifieds