Sunday, August 9, 2009

DelBiaggio, Olson and Lewis victorious

DelBiaggio, Olson and Lewis victorious

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was another glorious evening at Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night. The beautiful summer sunshine bathed the 3/8-mile paved oval for the Acres’ 11th event of the season. Although the limited street stock class was again missing from the night’s scheduled events, the other five local divisions were joined by the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds who were making their second and final visit to the raceway this season.

Scott Baker was the winner in the mini stock trophy dash over Craig Baker, Brian Murrell, Jr. and Brian McIntosh. Because the division only had five cars on the night, officials chose to skip running a heat race for the class. The 15-lap main event was shortened to 10 laps after Scott Baker, McIntosh and Steve Smith wrecked in turns one and two. Baker recovered and was able to continue but McIntosh and Smith were forced to the pits for the rest of the race. Murrell, Jr. had issues spinning in turn two and bringing a caution out after the first restart, and then again a few laps later. Unfortunately, Murrell’s car was unable to continue leaving the two Baker brothers to duel for the lead. On the last lap, Scott pushed his car a bit too hard and spun. This allowed Craig to cruise to the victory helping close the points gap that Scott had going into the race.

The real stock trophy dash was taken by Dustin Walters over his brother Ryan, while Pat Conway and Casey Mitchell finished the pack out. Ryan Robinson won the heat race ahead of Jim Redd, Ryan Walters, Mitchell and Donnie Hyman. Unlike the previous race on July 25th, the 15-lap real stock main event was clean, save for an unfortunate spin off turn two by Redd. Robinson was able to use his pole position start to full advantage as he was able to lead wire-to-wire taking the checkered flag over Mitchell, Ryan Walters, Conway and Dustin Walters.

The roadrunner division had its lowest car count in a number of weeks. Wyatt Roach took the trophy dash win over Charlie Anderson, Dustin DelBiaggio and Bill Snow. Anderson won the heat race ahead of Snow, Dylan Cook, DelBiaggio and Roach. Things got a bit too exciting in the 15-lap feature event when the track car driven by Evon Schumeier and Snow made contact coming out of turn two. Schumeier’s front bumper fell off in front of his front tires while Snow hit the turn-three wall likely due to a cut tire from the bumper. After the complete restart, DelBiaggio and Roach quickly moved to the first and second positions by the end of the first lap. On lap 2, Roach moved inside and past DelBiaggio for the race lead. The best battle for the rest of the race was for fifth between Erin Sandiferd and Raleigh Willoughby. Willoughby was able to take the lead late in the going. At the checkered flag, it was Roach taking the comfortable win over Cook, DelBiaggio, Anderson and Willoughby.

Johnny Barker took the trophy dash victory for the Northern California Pro-4 Modified cars over Curt Lewis, Greg Van Cleave and Jake Tillman. Barker followed that up with a heat race victory ahead of Van Cleave, Codi Barba, Tillman and Curt Lewis. Barker swiftly maneuvered his way to the front of the field from the rear in the 25-lap main event. Caution flew early on for Tillman who was leaking fluid onto the track. After the restart, Van Cleave moved into second behind Barker. The front two cars were the class of the field as Barker held a five to six car-length gap over Van Cleave in second. With only four laps remaining, Van Cleave spun in turn two. Unfortunately, Van Cleave was not able to get going again and was finished for the race. The restart allowed Barba to try to put up a fight for the lead but coming off turn four with two laps remaining Barba spun. At the same time, Barker’s car started to misfire. Coming to the white flag, Curt Lewis and Marty Lewis both got by Barker for first and second. It was a drag race to the line but Curt Lewis was able to beat Marty Lewis to the line for the win. Barker held on for third while Barba was fourth and Stan Bushman took fifth.

Thunder Roadster driver, Paul Peeples, Jr. returned to the Acres after a two race absence but had engine problems in practice and did not race on the evening. David Henderson fought off Randy Olson, Mike Ward and Tommy Payne in the trophy dash to win. After a long absence from the Acres, Ray Elliott returned to win the first heat race for the roadsters over Jay Bahner, Chris Sarvinski, Dave McMurray and Belinda Ward. Olson won the second heat beating Henderson, Robert Miller, Bruce Ziemer, Payne and Mike Ward. McMurray led the field to the green in the 30-lap feature event and put the pole position to good use, taking the lead from the start. The caution fell on lap two when Dan Browne and Payne made contact between turns three and four sending Payne spinning. Browne was sent to the rear of the field with Payne and the race resumed.

On the restart, Elliott tried to put pressure on the leader McMurray. Meanwhile, Sarvinski, Miller, Henderson and Olson were quickly moving to the front. Miller pushed high in turns one and two on lap four allowing Henderson and Olson to use the low line to get by. The next lap, Henderson moved under Sarvinski for third with Olson following in his path. On lap seven, Elliott spun off turn four while battling Henderson for the second position. McMurray had his hands full on the restart with both Henderson and Olson filling his mirrors. Henderson tried to use the high line to quickly get by McMurray for the lead but it left a spot for Olson to fall in on the bottom behind McMurray. Coming off turn four on lap 9, Olson was able to get under McMurray. Olson took the position the next lap with Miller following by past Henderson and McMurray.

Henderson quickly regrouped and moved by McMurray and then Miller on subsequent laps to get into second. Henderson rode in Olson’s mirror before lap 25 when he found a line under Olson coming off the fourth turn. The two raced wheel-to-wheel going into turn one, but Olson managed to shut the door on Henderson. The duo ran nose-to-tail until the final lap when Henderson moved under Olson coming off turn four. Olson was able to win the drag race to the line to take his second straight victory. Miller finished third with Mike Ward fourth and McMurray taking fifth.

Northern California racing legend, Jim Walker qualified his familiar blue 48 car for the sportsman division but did not take part in the racing action. Dennis DelBiaggio took the honors in the trophy dash winning ahead of Brandon Barnwell, Jerry Peterson and Larry Pries. Lissa Uselton fought off the pack to take the heat race win over Peterson, Angelo Marcelli, Barnwell and DelBiaggio. Uselton started on the pole position for the 30-lap main event and took the lead in the early going. Kavin Conn spun off the fourth turn on lap two. While Conn was coming back on the track, Uselton had to quickly slow down allowing to pass and take the lead. Pries, Barnwell and Peterson also took advantage of Uselton’s misfortune getting by her.

On lap 6, Pries moved outside and past Marcelli bringing DelBiaggio with him. A few laps later, DelBiaggio took the lead from Pries while Barnwell and Peterson moved by Marcelli at the same time. DelBiaggio was on rails and went unchallenged the rest of the race winning over Pries, Barnwell, Peterson and Marcelli.

Racing at the Acres returns in two weeks on August 22nd with Back-To-School Night. Only three races remain after that with Fan Appreciation Night on August 29th, the Judy Fox Memorial Race on September 12th and the Fall Spectacular on September 26th featuring late models and the I.M.C.A. Modifieds.

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