Sunday, July 26, 2009

Olson breaks through to win, Barnwell victorious

Olson breaks through to win, Barnwell victorious

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Race number ten of the 2009 racing season at Redwood Acres Raceway occurred this past Saturday night. A beautiful Summer day turned to a cool and cloudy evening that was more akin to Spring. Nevertheless, it was another thrilling night of action on the 3/8-mile paved oval.

Five of the six local divisions partook in the night’s events. Unfortunately the limited street stock class did not race due to a low car turnout. Donnie Hyman won the real stock trophy dash beating Ryan Walters, Pat Conway and Jim Redd. Hyman followed up with a victory in the heat race ahead of Ryan Walters, Casey Mitchell, Dustin Walters and Conway. The 20 lap feature race proved to be a rough-and-tumble affair as there were an unusual number of incidents in what has been a very clean division throughout the 2009 season. Coming to the green flag, Dustin Walters who was outside of row one and Jim Redd who was outside of row two got sideways and spun at the same time. Redd hit the wall while Walters spun into the infield. Redd’s car was severely damaged but both were able to continue.

After a complete restart, Russ Robinson took the lead before he was turned by Dustin Walters in turn four bringing out a yellow flag before lap one had been completed. Walters was given the black flag and was forced into the pits for the rest of the race. Hyman inherited the lead over Conway, but by lap two Ryan Walters had moved into second. The top two pulled away from the rest of the field and dueled for the top spot. It was a tooth-and-nail duel as Walters occasionally used his bumper to try to pressure Hyman out of the lead. On lap 14, Robinson spun off turn four. At the same point, Walters and Hyman made contact off turn two sending Hyman spinning into the infield. Walters suffered damage to his nose and was forced to restart at the rear for his involvement in the incident. Doug Way took the lead on the restart, but coming off turn two he and Conway made contact spending Way spinning out of the lead. Conway was put to the rear of the field allowing Nick Green to take the lead. Green was able to lead the final four laps to take the victory over Redd, Hyman, Walters and Conway for his first main event victory of the year.

Brian McIntosh won the mini stock trophy dash over Craig Baker, Scott Baker and Brian Murrell, Jr. He backed that up with a heat race victory over Craig Baker, Scott Baker, Steve Smith and Jesse Chown. McIntosh took the lead from the front row in the 15-lap main event and held it before lap 2 when Murrell, Jr. got loose in turn two and spun bringing out the yellow flag. Craig Baker got a good jump on the restart and was able to pass McIntosh for the lead. Baker was able to pull out several car lengths over McIntosh, but with the laps winding down McIntosh was able to close in. On lap 11, McIntosh and Craig Baker made contact in turn one sending Baker spinning. Scott Baker was unable to slow down quick enough and hit McIntosh sending him into the infield and giving Baker the apparent lead. Under caution, Scott Baker was told to go to the rear by the officials. Baker decided to pull his car into the pits while McIntosh was able to keep his lead. The final three laps were incident free as McIntosh made a clean sweep on the night, taking the win over Murrell, Jr., Chown and Craig Baker.

The roadrunner division had a stout car count on the night with the addition of several new drivers. Joe Mitchell took the trophy dash over Wyatt Roach, Scott Campbell and Dustin DelBiaggio. Dylan Cook took the heat race win over Nick Bundy, Campbell, Roach and Charlie Anderson. The 20-lap feature was clean from the drop of the green to the drop of the checkered flag. Cook took the lead from the start while the field sorted out. While Cook pulled out to a comfortable margin, the best race in the field was between Anderson and Roach. The two raced side-by-side for the duration of the race. Roach was never able to use the high line to his advantage though. Mitchell was able to get by Roach and by Anderson by lap 18. At the front though, Cook had the field covered winning over Campbell handily. Mitchell finished third, Anderson fourth and Roach fifth.

Brandon Barnwell was doing double-duty on the night. In addition to driving his sportsman car, Barnwell was behind the wheel of Donn Cole’s thunder roadster. David Henderson won the thunder roadster trophy dash over Barnwell, Tommy Payne and Bruce Ziemer. Robert Miller won the first heat race ahead of Mike Ward, Shane Toole, Rob Nelson and Dave McMurray. Randy Olson made his first appearance of the 2009 season sporting an orange and white car. Olson won the second heat race over Jay Bahner, Ziemer, Barnwell and Payne. Ward took the lead early on in the 30-lap main event from his outside front row starting position. By lap two, Miller and Olson had moved into the third and fourth positions and looked prime to give Ward a challenge for the lead. Miller found the traction off turn two on lap three and got inside of Ward going into the third turn. Coming off turn four, both Ward and Miller pushed up allowing Olson to dive under making it three-wide across the stripe. The three went into turn one together but coming off turn two Olson was able to take the lead over Miller and Ward. Going into the third turn, Barnwell was able to take third from Ward. Two laps later, Barnwell was past Miller for second.

The caution flew on lap six when Henderson and Payne made contact off turn four. Payne’s left front tire got in touch with Henderson’s right rear sending Payne into the wall. Payne was okay but his car was done for the night. Henderson didn’t suffer any noticeable damage, but the incident seemed to hinder his car. Unlike all of the races prior, Henderson was not a factor for the race win on this night. After the restart, the best battle on the track was for the race lead. Olson and Barnwell fought a very clean battle for the top spot. On several occasions, it appeared as though Barnwell was going to use the low line to get by Olson, however Olson managed to pull his car out enough to prevent Barnwell from getting the positioning needed to challenge him for the lead. At the checkered flag it was Olson winning over Barnwell and Miller. Henderson claimed fourth while Ward finished fifth. Olson’s victory made him only the third different winner in the thunder roadster division this season. Prior to this race, every main event victory had been claimed by either David Henderson or Paul Peeples, Jr.

Larry Pries held off Brandon Barnwell, Dennis DelBiaggio and Angelo Marcelli to take the trophy dash win in the sportsman division. Jerry Peterson took the heat race win over DelBiaggio, Pries, Barnwell and Marcelli. In the 25-lap feature, Marcelli took the lead from the start. While Lissa Uselton dropped out after the first lap, Barnwell was quick to pounce on Peterson for second. On lap three, Barnwell moved high on Marcelli for the lead. The two went door handle-to-door handle for the next few laps before Barnwell was able to take the lead. On lap 8, Barnwell got under Marcelli for second. This opened the door for DelBiaggio and Pries to take third and fourth. It was single file after that and at the checkered flag it was Barnwell winning over Peterson, DelBiaggio, Pries and Marcelli.

The next event at Redwood Acres Raceway takes place Saturday August 8. Joining the local divisions will be the Pro-4 Modifieds who will be making their second appearance of 2009.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Water barrels, loose wheels and a wedding mark an interesting night at the Acres

Water barrels, loose wheels and a wedding mark an interesting night at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was a crazy night of racing this past Saturday evening at Redwood Acres Raceway. An unusually high number of incidents stalled the racing on several occasions throughout the evening. One of the highlights of the night though was the marriage of real stock driver, Roger Linn. Linn and his now wife Stephanie were married at the start/finish line in front of friends, family and race fans.

The limited street stock division only ran a trophy dash on the night. Fergy Ferguson won over Kenny Demello, Stan Young and Bill Middleton. The mini stock class also had a low car count on the evening and only ran a dash and a main event. Scott Baker won the dash over Brian Murrell, Jr., Steve Smith and Craig Baker. In the main event, Craig was able to hold off Scott to win while Brian McIntosh, Murrell, Jr. and Smith rounded out the finishers.

Ryan Walters held off Jim Redd, Nick Green and Casey Mitchell for the trophy dash win for the real stock division. Dustin Walters was sporting a new right on the night, but unfortunately hit the wall between turns one and two in the heat race and was finished for the rest of the evening. Pat Conway was able to take the heat race victory ahead of Ryan Walters, Roger Linn, Ryan Robinson and Green. The real stock main event was eventful to say the least. Conway held the lead early over the field, but on lap three in between turns three and four, Conway’s left rear wheel came off his car. The rest of the pack bunched up and was able to avoid further trouble, but this allowed Mitchell to take the race lead.

After the restart, Green was able to stretch his lead ahead of second place Robinson and the remainder of the field. The best battle on the track at this point was for third between Redd and Walters. The caution flew once more when one of Doug Way’s rear wheels came loose coming off turn two, sending him spinning into the infield. Mitchell brought the field to the restart once again, and spent the rest of the race mostly unchallenged as he brought home his first ever main event victory. Robinson took second, Redd third, Walters fourth and Linn fifth.

The roadrunner division saw another influx of new cars and drivers turnout for the night. Several notable drivers were missing on the evening including division points leader, Nick Bundy who has been the dominant driver in the division in its inaugural season, Oscar Koskinen who has been Bundy‘s toughest competition and Raleigh Willoughby. Wyatt Roach took the dash victory over Carrie Cook, Joe Mitchell and Dustin DelBiaggio. The heat race had a scary accident on the start as Robby Nelson got too high in turns one and two and hit the water barrels protecting the turn two pit wall. Thankfully Nelson was unhurt and was in fact able to return to the race. Dylan Cook took the win in the car normally driving by Bill Snow. Carrie Cook took second, Charlie Anderson third, Dustin DelBiaggio fourth and Jimmy Murray fifth.

Dylan Cook held the lead from the pole position in the main event but on lap three Anderson was able to take the lead coming out of turn two. Roach had the car to beat on this night. He was able to quickly dice his way through the field and by lap seven he passed Cook for the second position. Caution flew on lap 12 for debris on the track. After the restart, Roach pulled out a sizeable lead while Anderson and DelBiaggio battled for the second spot. On lap 15, DelBiaggio drove his car a bit too hard going into the third turn, slamming into the wall, severely damaging his car and ending his night. The restart bunched up the field, but nobody had anything to challenge Roach for the lead and he was able to take his first main event victory over Anderson, Erik Mendes, Jimmy Murray and Dylan Cook.

The thunder roadster division had one of its strongest competitors missing the evening as Paul Peeples, Jr. was not in attendance. David Henderson won the trophy dash over Mark Arroyo, Tommy Payne and Robert Miller. Belinda Ward won the first head ahead of Shane Toole, Mark Baldwin, Bruce Ziemer and Dan Browne while Payne narrowly edged Miller to the line in the second heat over Arroyo, Mike Ward and Henderson.

The thunder roadster main event was a quick and clean caution-free race. Pole-sitter, Rob Nelson used the position to his advantage as he took the lead on the first lap and maintained it over the field. Chris Sarvinski was the first of the faster cars to maneuver his way to the front, getting to third position by lap seven, but it wasn’t long before Henderson made his presence known. A lap later, second place Toole got loose allowing Sarvinski to pull into the position and Henderson to take third.

Nelson did all he could to hold off the faster cars of Sarvinski and Henderson, but on lap 12 it wasn’t enough. Henderson was able to move under Sarvinski for second coming off turn two, then going into turns three and four he was able to get by Nelson for the lead. While Henderson ran away, Miller began to make his charge. On lap 19, Miller took second away from Sarvinski. There was no beating Henderson on this night though has he built and maintained an insurmountable lead and handily took the race win over Miller, Sarvinski, Arroyo and Payne.

Dennis DelBiaggio took the trophy dash accolades in the sportsman division ahead of Angelo Marcelli, Larry Pries and Jerry Peterson. In the heat race, Marcelli was able to beat Aaron Byers, Lissa Uselton, DelBiaggio and Peterson for the victory. Byers took the lead early and held it until DelBiaggio took it on lap eight. However on that same lap, Frank Billy spun in turns three and four bringing out the yellow. Since the division no longer races to the flag and reverts to scoring on the previous lap, Byers was able to regain the lead while DelBiaggio slotted into second.

Byers had his hands full with DelBiaggio after the restart and unfortunately he lost the lead to DelBiaggio on lap eight. DelBiaggio’s move opened the door for Peterson and Marcelli to take second and third away from Byers. On lap 14 while trying to pass Byers for fourth, Uselton’s right front tire and Byers’ left rear tire touched in turns three and four. Uselton’s car drove over the side of Byers’ car, tearing off his left side sheet metal and nearly sending Uselton onto her side. Amazingly both drivers were able to continue on in the race. DelBiaggio ran away from the field after the restart and was able to cruse to victory over Peterson, Marcelli, Pries and Billy.

There are only six events left at Redwood Acres Raceway in 2009. Racing takes a two week break before returning Saturday July 25th. There are three events in the month of August; August 8th, August 22nd (Back-To-School Night) and August 29th (Fan Appreciation Night). The regular season rounds out for a few of the divisions on September 12th for the Judy Fox Memorial Race and the season finale is September 26th for the annual Fall Spectacular.