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.

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