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.