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.