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.

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