Monday, April 27, 2009

Henderson turns the tables on Peeples

Henderson turns the tables on Peeples

By Matthew J. Sullivan

For the second straight week and the second time in 2009, fans crowded the grandstands at Redwood Acres Raceway hoping to see what they have all come to expect; intense, close and exciting racing that the 3/8-mile paved oval has often provided over the years. They were not disappointed as there were several close finishes throughout the evening that brought the fans to their feet clapping their hands in approval.

Both the limited street stocks and the new roadrunner division had three cars racing on the evening. A fourth roadrunner driver, Dustin Delbiaggio was unable to start due to engine problems. Kenny Demello won the trophy dash over Stan Young and Rick Armstrong who was driving the car normally piloted by Fergy Ferguson. Demello went on to win the main event ahead of Armstrong and Young. Nick Bundy appears to be the main to beat thus far in the roadrunners as he swept both the dash and main event with Jimmy Murray and Jim McIntosh finishing second and third in both races. McIntosh was behind the wheel of the Redwood Acres Raceway owned car for the evening.

Jim Redd won the real stock trophy dash over Ryan Walters, Pat Conway and Roger Linn. Casey Mitchell held of Walters in the heat race for the win with Redd, Conway and Linn finishing out the top 5. Conway got a quick jump on Mitchell going into the first turn in the main event to take the race lead. By lap three, the two fast cars of Redd and Walters had maneuvered their way to third and fourth while Conway held a slight advantage over Mitchell. On lap nine, Redd went to high into turn one allowing Walters to move inside and past him. Going into turn three, Linn moved inside of Redd but the two tangled dropping debris on the track, specifically Redd’s bumper. Unfortunately for Redd, he was forced out for the rest of the race.

The restart allowed both Mitchell and Walters to figure out how to wrestle the race lead away from Conway. Mitchell tried the first few laps on the high line but was unable to find the handling he needed to stay with Conway and hold Walters off for the second spot. On lap 17, Walters made contact with Conway’s rear sending Conway sideways. Walters backed off allowing Conway to save his car and everyone continued on safely. Walters waited until the last two laps to make his move, going high. On the last lap it appeared as though Walters had the advantage on Conway but coming off the fourth turn both drivers got loose and turned sideways. Conway managed to get his car straight while Walters fought for control. At the line it was Conway the winner with Walters spinning sideways across for second. Mitchell took evasive action in the dirt to finish third while Dustin Walters ran a smooth race in fourth and Ryan Robinson in fifth.

The trophy dash winner for the mini stock division was Scott Baker over Brian Murrell, Brian McIntosh and Craig Baker. Baker would win once again in the heat race ahead of Murrell, Craig Baker, McIntosh and Brian Murrell, Jr. Leonard Bowman spun on the initial start of the main event and was unable to return to the field for the restart. Early on Murrell, Jr. set the pace for the field, but by lap three father passed son for the lead as Murrell took the top position away off turn four. A lap later, Scott Baker did the same thing to take second away. On lap seven, Baker moved by Murrell for the lead and what would be the race win. Late in the going, McIntosh’s engine began to sour and he fell off the pace at the end. The checkered flag dropped first on Scott Baker while Murrell finished second, Craig Baker third, Murrell, Jr. fourth and Steve Smith fifth.

Frank Billy won the sportsman trophy dash over Dennis Delbiaggio, Larry Pries and Kavin Conn. Angelo Marcelli won the heat race just ahead of Delbiaggio, Billy, Pries and Jerry Peterson. Only 6 cars started the main event on the night and it proved to be a fairly wild race. Marcelli led Peterson, Pries, Billy and Delbiaggio from the start. On lap 14, Conn spun in turn two bringing out the yellow flag. Things got crazy coming back to the green flag as Pries spun sideways in front of Billy, Delbiaggio and Conn. Billy, Delbiaggio and Conn all suffered front-end damage. Under caution while catching up to the end of the field, Conn cut down a tire and hit the turn three wall ending his evening.

The final five laps featured an exciting duel for the race lead as Peterson tried to use the high line to get by Marcelli. On the final lap, Peterson and Marcelli were door handle to door handle for the lead going down the back chute. Coming off the fourth turn, Peterson got loose allowing Marcelli to pull out the race win. It was a photo finish for second with Pries appearing to cross the line inches ahead of Peterson. Delbiaggio placed fourth with Billy fifth.

David Henderson made a last lap, last turn pass on Paul Peeples, Jr. to win the dash while Chris Banfill and Tommy Payne rounded out the starters. Chris Sarvinski won the first heat race ahead of Robert Miller, Shane Toole, Rob Nelson and Dan Brown. Peeples fended off Henderson for victory in the second heat while Mike Ward, Payne and Banfill finished the top five. Nelson took the lead on the start of the main event but Miller moved by on the second lap. Unfortunately on lap three Nelson spun off turn four collecting Banfill’s car. Banfill had irreparable damage ending his night prematurely while Nelson was fortunate enough to continue.

The restart proved to be Miller’s undoing. Where before he had a fair lead over the field he now had to deal with Sarvinski, Payne, Henderson and Peeples right on his bumper. On lap four, Sarvinski moved under Miller for the lead. The top five cars were under a blanket. While Miller and Sarvinski dueled for the lead, Peeples moved into third and Payne and Henderson dueled side-by-side for fourth. On lap seven, Peeples went three wide for the lead taking the spot with Henderson following in his path. Peeples and Henderson ran away, while the rest of the field jockeyed for positions on back. The majority of the race featured a familiar and exciting duel for the race lead between Peeples and Henderson. It appeared as though Henderson had the advantage on this night and it proved true on lap 27 as he was able to find a hole underneath Peeples to take the lead. Peeples was unable to mount a serious challenge on Henderson for the rest of the race and at the checkered flag it was Henderson victorious over Peeples, Sarvinski, Payne and Miller.

Racing at the Acres has a weekend off before returning Mother’s Day weekend.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Pries, Peeples among opening night winners

Pries, Peeples among opening night winners

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 21st season of racing on the pavement began this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. Though it was a relatively cool evening, a number of fans turned out to witness the five established classes of sportsman, Thunder Roadsters, real stocks, mini stocks and limited street stocks as well as the debut of roadrunner division.

Three cars took to the track for the roadrunners on this opening evening of racing. Dustin Delbiaggio took the honors of being the first driver to win a roadrunner event by winning the trophy dash. Nick Bundy displayed his strength in the main event winning ahead of Delbiaggio and Jimmy Murray. The car count in this class is expected to expand tremendously as the 2009 season progresses. Three cars also showed up for the limited street stock class. Defending class champion, Fergy Ferguson won the dash while George Young held on for the main event win ahead of Ferguson and Kenny Demello.

The mini stock trophy dash victory went to Scott Baker over Brian Murrell, Brian McIntosh and Brian Murrell, Jr. Baker was able to claim victory again in the heat race, passing Murrell on the final lap to win. McIntosh, Murrell, Jr. and Craig Baker rounded out the top 5 finishers. Driving an unfamiliar vehicle, Craig Baker held the lead in the early stages before giving way to McIntosh. Scott Baker maneuvered his way to the front quickly and battled McIntosh for the lead for several laps before taking the outside line by for the lead around halfway. While moving through slower traffic, Craig Baker and Murrell were able to move by McIntosh for second and third. At the checkered flag it was Scott winning over brother Craig followed by Murrell, McIntosh and Murrell, Jr.

Sporting a new paintjob in the real stock class was Casey Mitchell as he took the dash win over Ryan Walters, Jim Redd and Pat Conway. Redd made a last-lap pass on Mitchell in the heat race to win ahead of Conway, Bob Lima and Roger Linn. In the main event, Mitchell held on to the lead early before Walters was able to take the top spot away about halfway through. Redd moved by Mitchell a few laps later and managed to track down Walters. However, Redd was unsuccessful at being able to mount a serious charge on Walters, getting only as close as a half of a car length. In the end it was Walters victorious over Redd, Mitchell, Linn and Lima.

Defending Thunder Roadster track champion, Paul Peeples, Jr. fought off David Henderson for the dash win with Chris Sarvinski and Tommy Payne close behind. Mark Arroyo won the first heat race followed by Robert Miller, Jay Bahner, Rob Nelson and Belinda Ward. Sarvinski won the second head while Henderson beat Chris Banfill to the line for second. Peeples and Payne finished fourth and fifth. Arroyo lead in the early going of the main event, but by lap 10 both Peeples and Henderson had diced their way through the field and into first and second. The remainder of the main event featured what has not become a regular duel for the race win between Peeples and Henderson. Try as he might, Henderson just could not find what he needed to get by Peeples and in the end it was Peeples taking the win with Henderson close behind in second, Mike Ward in third, Payne fourth and Arroyo fifth.

Trophy dash honors for the sportsman division went to Dennis Delbiaggio over Angelo Marcelli, Larry Pries and Kavin Conn. The heat race saw an unfortunate incident on the last lap when Lissa Uselton got loose off the fourth corner and spun. Aaron Byers, who was making his first start at the Acres in almost two years was unable to slow down and ran into the back of Frank Billy’s car. Neither Uselton or Byers were able to race in the main event while Billy’s car was relatively undamaged. Jerry Peterson ended up the winner in the last lap melee.

Peterson started from the pole and led the rest of the field quite handily in the main event before a lap nine incident between Al Acuna and Conn. On the restart, Billy was able to get a good jump and maneuvered his way past Peterson for the lead. The field began to tighten close together as the laps wound down. With two laps remaining, Peterson moved inside of Billy down the backstretch. The two touched in the third turn sending Billy spinning. Delbiaggio and Marcelli also spun to avoid the incident, and thankfully none of the cars suffered any damage. Peterson was sent to the rear of the pack allowing Larry Pries to inherit the race lead. Pries was able to lead the last two laps without incident to take the victory ahead of Marcelli, Delbiaggio, Conn and Peterson.

Everyone has less than a week to wait for the next event as racing returns this Saturday night April 25th.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Racin’ at the Acres set to start this weekend

Racin’ at the Acres set to start this weekend

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2009 season at Redwood Acres Raceway is set to start in just a few days. This Saturday night the race season will kick into gear with the limited street stocks, mini stocks, real stocks, Thunder Roadsters and sportsman cars returning for year 21 on the 3/8 mile paved oval. In addition will be the much anticipated debut of the roadrunner division and the Best Appearing Car contest which will be voted on by the fans prior to the night’s racing action.

There are 15 scheduled Saturday evenings of racing at the Acres this year. With the exception of the end of the season Fall Spectacular, all six divisions are scheduled to race throughout the year. Special events through the year include the May 9th Mother’s Day race, Pepsi night on May 16th, Father’s Day races on June 13th, the Redwood Acres Fair Classic June 27th, Back-to-School Night August 22nd, Fan Appreciation Night August 29th and the Judy Fox Memorial Race September 12th. The season ending Fall Spectacular on September 26th will feature the return of late models and the I.M.C.A. Modifieds to the event.

2009 Redwood Acres Raceway Racing Schedule
April 18 - Best Appearing Car
April 25 - Local Classes
May 9 - Mother’s Day Race
May 16 - Pepsi Night
May 30 - Local Classes
June 6 - Local Classes
June 13 - Father’s Day Race
June 27 - Fair Classic
July 11 - Local Classes
July 25 - Local Classes
August 8 - Local Classes
August 22 - Back-to-School Night
August 29 - Fan Appreciation Night
September 12 - Judy Fox Memorial Race
September 26 - Fall Spectacular Featuring Late Models and I.M.C.A. Modifieds
*Subject to change