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.

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