Sunday, September 27, 2009

McCormack makes late pass to win 100 lapper

McCormack makes late pass to win 100 lapper

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Beautiful weather graced Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway this past Friday and Saturday for the season finale Fall Spectacular event. Friday evening featured local divisions of real stocks, mini stocks, roadrunners and thunder roadsters along with late models while real stocks, roadrunners, thunder roadsters and late models returned on Saturday as well as the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds. The track championships in the real stock, mini stock and roadrunner divisions were still up for grabs going into the weekend, making it very important to survive and race both nights.

It appeared as though the battle for the track championship was going to take a major turn in the mini stock trophy dash when points leader Craig Baker’s car broke. Scott Baker won the dash over Brian Murrell, Jr. and Jesse Chown. Fortunately for Craig Baker, fellow driver Steve Smith turned his car over to him allowing Baker to continue to race for the night. Brian Murrell won the heat race ahead of Craig Baker, Chown, Scott Baker and Murrell, Jr. Scott Baker held off Chown to win the main event while Craig Baker took third and the mini stock track championship. McIntosh was fourth and Murrell fifth.

Shawn Craig took the Friday night real stock trophy dash victory driving Dustin Walters’ car. Casey Mitchell, Pat Conway and Ryan Walters rounded out the finishers. Conway took the heat race win over Craig, Mitchell, Walters and Ray Middleton. Walters took the Friday night main event win ahead of Mitchell, Russell Robinson, Craig and Middleton. There was a big scare in the Saturday night dash when Mitchell and Redd made contact sending Redd headlong into the pit entrance. Fortunately Redd was okay, but his car was destroyed and he was finished for the night. Walters took the dash over Mitchell and Craig. Mitchell won the heat ahead of Craig, Walters, Ray Middleton and Bill Middleton. Walters then went on to win the main event and wrap up the track championship for the real stocks. Mitchell was second while Conway, Ray Middleton and Bill Middleton finished out the top five.

Things got a bit heated between Wyatt Roach and Dax Kinsey in the Friday night trophy dash resulting in Kinsey receiving a black flag. Dustin DelBiaggio took the win over Jimmy Murray. Kinsey won the heat over Roach, Kent Campbell, Eric Rice and DelBiaggio. Roach took the main event victory ahead of Murray, DelBiaggio, Kinsey and Rice but the big story happened when Raleigh Willoughby was coming to the finish line. Coming off the fourth corner, Willoughby got sideways and tried to correct his car. Willoughby’s tires dug into the pavement and sent his car flipping approximately four times before landing on its wheels. Willoughby climbed out of his car and let the fans know he was all right by climbing to his car’s roof and standing with his arms in the air. Roach continued his winning ways Saturday with the dash victory over DelBiaggio, Murray and Bill Snow. Roach followed up with the heat race victory over DelBiaggio, Aaron Sandifer, Snow and Campbell. Roach made it a clean sweep on the night with the main event victory ahead of DelBiaggio, Rice, Campbell and Charlie Anderson who took the roadrunner track championship.

The Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds visited the Acres for a non-points event on Saturday evening. Ken Gifford took the trophy dash over Curt Lewis, Kevin Barba and Codi Barba. Lewis took the heat race victory over Gifford, Codi Barba, Kevin Barba and Stan Buschman. Codi Barba won the main event ahead of Kevin Barba, Gifford, Buschman and Steve Smith.

The thunder roadsters took to the track for a non-points event for the weekend. Brandon Barnwell won the trophy dash on Friday night ahead of Paul Peeples, Jr., 2009 thunder roadster track champion, David Henderson and Mike Ward. The finishes of the heat races determined the start of the Saturday evening main event. Peeples, Jr. won the first head ahead of Barnwell, Ray Elliott, Rob Nelson and Belinda Ward. Henderson won the second heat over Robert Miller, Tommy Payne, Bruce Ziemer and Mike Ward. With the first six positions getting the invert, this gave the pole position to Payne with Elliott on his outside. Payne grabbed the lead from the start of the 50-lap feature before the field was slowed when caution flew for Chris Sarvinski. The rest of the race ran clean and green from that point on. Henderson was clearly the class of the field on this night as he took the lead from his fifth starting position on lap four and never looked back. The best battle of the race was for third, fourth and fifth between Miller, Peeples and Barnwell. At the checkered flag it was Henderson winning by nearly a straightaway over second place Payne. Miller, Peeples and Barnwell finished third through fifth.

Randy Houston set quick time for the late model cars but his car broke while warming up prior to the trophy dash ending his weekend prematurely. Mike Lovell took the dash over Jeremy Hopkins and Junior Roddy. Like the thunder roadster cars, the finish of the late model heats determined the starting lineup of the main event. Northern California racing legend and local favorite, Jim Walker excited the fans in the first heat taking the victory over Joe McDonald, Noel McCormack, Roddy and Rod McCombs. Unfortunately, Berndt Akerstrom broke during the first heat and was finished for the event. Local sportsman driver, Jerry Peterson surprised folks by taking the victory in the second heat ahead of Keith Nelson, Robert Miller, Corey James and Kevin Ostern.

The first six were inverted giving pole position to Miller with McCormack starting outside the front row. It was a clean start for the 100-lap feature before caution fell on lap two when Ostern spun in the first turn infield. After the restart, the caution flew quickly when Walker and Roddy made contact going into turn three. Walker suffered minor damage and returned to the track briefly before retiring shortly thereafter. The racing went green for another 10 circuits until the caution dropped on lap 12 for Nelson’s car in the turn four wall. The best racing of the night took place for what would be the longest period of green flag action. McCormack rode constantly in Miller’s mirror while McDonald in third looked to take advantage of any mistake made by either driver. Things got interesting when the field caught up to lap McCombs. Though McCombs tried his best to give the leaders room to race, the pack bunched up behind him. Miller was able to clear McCombs while McDonald was able to sneak into second as McCormack tried his best to fend off Peterson for third. McCormack was able to hold off Peterson while on the high line, and then get back by McDonald for second before the caution flew on lap 49 when Mike Doss went for a ride through the front stretch infield.

The action slowed several times between the halfway and three-quarter lap marks. On lap 58, the yellow came for Scott Lenz who had spun in turn four. The caution flew on lap 59 to clean up debris from contact between Roddy and Peterson. After a brief period of racing, the caution flew again on lap 68 when Lovell spun out from fourth position. Corey James also spun to avoid Lovell and both were able to continue racing. Racing resumed and things remained status quo up front between Miller, McCormack and McDonald until lap 76 when McCormack found the low line under Miller going into the first turn to take the lead. McDonald was able to follow behind to take the second position. Miller now had to fight off Doss for third. The two raced door-handle-to-door-handle for several laps before Doss took the position on lap 82. On lap 83, Hopkins and Roddy made contact while racing for the fifth position in turns three and four bringing out the caution flag for the final time. On the restart, Doss’ car slowed and he drove his car to the pits. While McCormack and McDonald drove away from the field, Ostern began to give Miller trouble for third. On lap 90, Ostern moved high and past Miller for third. At the front, McDonald was unable to mount a challenge on McCormack for the lead and at the finish it was McCormack winning over McDonald, Ostern, Miller and Lovell. Allen Gibney, James, Roddy, Hopkins and Lenz finished out the top 10.

Congratulations to Redwood Acres Raceway’s 2009 track champions, sportsman driver, Dennis DelBiaggio; thunder roadster driver, David Henderson; roadrunner driver, Charlie Anderson; mini stock driver, Craig Baker and real stock driver, Ryan Walters.

Airport Auto Brokers Late Models - Fall Classic - Redwood Acres Raceway - September 27, 2009

Trophy Dash
1. 15 Mike Lovell
2. J15 Jeremy Hopkins
3. 41 Junior Roddy
4. 9 Randy Houston

Heat Race 1
1. 48 Jim Walker
2. 09 Joe McDonald
3. 93 Noel McCormack
4. 41 Junior Roddy
5. O4 Rod McCombs
6. 44 Allen Gibney
7. 51 Scott Lenz
8. 36X Berndt Akerstrom
9. 15 Mike Lovell

Heat Race 2
1. 07 Jerry Peterson
2. 6 Pete Nelson
3. 22 Dave Miller
4. 34 Corey James
5. 36 Kevin Ostern
6. 15 Mike Lovell
7. 75 Mike Doss

Main Event
1. 93 Noel McCormack
2. 09 Joe McDonald
3. 36 Kevin Ostern
4. 22 Dave Miller
5. 15 Mike Lovell
6. 44 Allen Gibney
7. 34 Corey James
8. 41 Junior Roddy
9. 15J Jeremy Hopkins
10. 04 Rod McCombs
11. 51 Scott Lenz
12. 07 Jerry Peterson

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Racing at the Acres closes with the Fall Spectacular this weekend

Racing at the Acres closes with the Fall Spectacular this weekend

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It should be a big weekend of racing this Friday and Saturday at Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka, CA. Besides local championship races being decided in the real stocks, mini stocks and roadrunners, late models along with the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds will also be joining the show.

The real stock and mini stock divisions are slated to run on Friday evening only unless both divisions are able to pick up enough cars to warrant racing for both nights. In the real stocks, Ryan Walters holds a firm 69 point lead over Casey Mitchell in second place. It is highly unlikely that Walters will lose his lead unless he is unable to race at all this weekend. In the mini stock division, Craig Baker leads his brother Scott by six points. The two brothers dueled for the victory in the main event on September 12th and its almost certain that they will be fighting each other head-to-head once again for the track championship. The race for the roadrunner track title has closed significantly. Points leader, Charlie Anderson has had misfortune the past two events which has allowed Dylan Cook to close the gap to eight points. Dustin DelBiaggio and Jimmy Murray are also still within striking distance to claim the title if both Anderson and Cook falter this weekend.

The Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds are slated to join the action for Saturday evening. Curt Lewis was able to beat Codi Barba by a mere five points this past weekend at Shasta Raceway Park to claim the series crown for 2009. With no points on the line, it should be an exciting and wide-open race for the win. 14 cars have pre-entered for the 100 lap late model show with several other drivers having stated commitment to show up as well. Among the notables are Northern California racing legend, Jim Walker of Ferndale, CA; 2009 Airport Auto Brokers Late Model series champion, Kevin Ostern of Lucerne, CA; 2009 Redwood Acres Raceway sportsman track champion, Dennis DelBiaggio of Ferndale, CA; former Acres open winner, David Miller of Coquille, OR and former North State Challenge Series late model champion, Mike Doss of Lakeport, CA.

Friday night will feature qualifying, trophy dashes and heat races for the late models while the local divisions will run main events in addition to the preliminary races. Saturday night the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds will join the show. The roadrunners will likely run heats and another main event while the real stocks and mini stocks will do the same if the car count allows. Finally, the late models will run their 100-lap feature to close out the 2009 season of racing at Redwood Acres Raceway. Racing begins at 6:30PM both nights. Don’t miss out on what’s likely to be a very exciting weekend of racing at the Acres.

Drivers Pre-Entered for the 100-lap Late Model Event:
01 - Larry Pries
04 - Rod McCombs
07 - Jerry Peterson
9 - Randy Houston
09 - Joe McDonald
15 - Mike Lovell
19 - Dennis DelBiaggio
22 - Dave Miller
36 - Kevin Ostern
37 - Berndt Akerstrom
41 - Junior Roddy
48 - Jim Walker
51 - Scott Lenz
75 - Mike Doss

Sunday, September 13, 2009

2009 champs decided on Judy Fox Memorial night

2009 champs decided on Judy Fox Memorial night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The race for the 2009 championships in all but one of the six divisions was decided this past Saturday evening at Redwood Acres Raceway. It was Judy Fox Memorial night at the Acres making the event even more special and prestigious. Prior to the start of the trophy dashes, nearly all of the drivers in all of the divisions pulled their race cars out onto the track for a few memorial laps while track announcer Rollin Trehearne read off names of dozens of those who drivers wanted to remember on the evening.

The limited street stock class did not race on the night allowing Kenny Demello to claim the 2009 track title in that division over Fergy Ferguson. Ryan Walters had to feel very comfortable going into the night as he held a margin of nearly 70 points over second place Casey Mitchell in the points standings for the real stock division. Jim Redd held off Mitchell, Walters and Bill Middleton to win the trophy dash. Mitchell took the heat race victory over Redd, Walters, Nick Green and Ryan Robinson. In the 15-lap feature, Walters quickly moved his way into the lead, passing front row starters Ray Middleton and Bob Lima. A lap 6 caution bunched the field for a brief period, but nobody had enough strength to challenge Walters for the win. At the checkered flag it was Walters cruising to the victory and the 2009 real stock track championship. Mitchell was second followed by Robinson, Redd and Lima.

The points race in the mini stock class was a family affair as Craig Baker held a one point margin over brother Scott Baker going into the night. Brian Murrell, Jr. won the trophy dash over Scott Baker, Steve Smith and Craig Baker. Craig Baker took the heat win ahead of Scott Baker, Brian Murrell, Brian Murrell, Jr. and Jessie Chown. Going into the 15-lap feature, the Baker brothers were tied in the points. After Murrell, Jr. spun on the initial start, the race restarted with Craig Baker taking the lead over Scott. The best battles on the track during the race were between family members. In the early stages, the father/son duo of Murrell and Murrell, Jr. battled hard for the third position. In the closing laps, the Baker brothers dueled for the race lead and the 2009 mini stock track championship. Scott Baker tried to make his move on the final lap, driving inside of Craig going into the third turn. Coming off turn four, Craig’s momentum from the outside line prevailed and he was able to cross the line just a few feet ahead of Scott. Murrell was able to take third while Murrell, Jr. spun off turn four while trying to mount a challenge on his father. Brian McIntosh crossed the line fourth while Jessie Chown was fifth.

The race for the 2009 track title in the roadrunner division didn’t end on this evening, making it important for points leader Charlie Anderson to survive the night and make it for the September 26th and 27th events. Wyatt Roach won the dash over Dustin DelBiaggio, Jimmy Murray and Nick Hansen. Roach followed up with a heat race victory ahead of DelBiaggio, Eric Rice, Aaron Sandifer and Dillon Cook. Rice wrestled away the lead from Raleigh Willoughby early on in the 15-lap main event and pulled away from the field. Meanwhile, Willoughby had his hands full with the likes of Sandifer, Cook and Roach all vying for the second position. On lap five, Roach moved past Willoughby for second. On lap 9, Anderson and Willoughby made contact in turn two sending Willoughby spinning into the infield. Behind that, Dylan Fox who was driving the track car got too high in turns one and two and hit the water barrels that protect the wall going into the pits. Fortunately neither car suffered serious damage with Willoughby returning to the field and Fox exiting the race. Nobody was able to mount a challenge on Roach for the race lead and at the checkered flag it was Roach taking the win over DelBiaggio, Cook, Rice and Anderson.

Dennis DelBiaggio had the track championship sealed up for the sportsman division as he held an insurmountable 88 point margin over Angelo Marcelli headed into the night. DelBiaggio padded his lead with a win in the trophy dash over Larry Pries, Jerry Peterson and Marcelli. The heat race had an unfortunate incident that ended the evening for several cars. While dueling for the lead, Lissa Uselton and Rick Fox made contact in between turns three and four. Both cars came together and hit the turn four wall head on collecting DelBiaggio, Kavin Conn, Pries and Kenny Demello. Uselton, Fox, Conn and DelBiaggio all suffered severe damage while Conn and Pries came out more or less okay. Marcelli won the heat over Peterson, Shawn Craig and Demello. With the field significantly reduced, the laps for the main event were reduced to 15. DelBiaggio was able to bring his car out to take the start and be awarded points, but quickly pulled his car back into the pits. After racing side-by-side the first three laps, Peterson was able to snatch the lead from Marcelli. The main event ran quick and smooth with Peterson winning over Marcelli, Pries, Craig and Demello.

David Henderson would have had to not show up for Robert Miller to have any chance of taking the 2009 thunder roadster track championship. Paul Peeples, Jr. won the trophy dash over Randy Olson, Tommy Payne and Mic Moulton. Ray Elliott won the first heat over Dan Browne, Bruce Ziemer, Gehry Foster who was making his first start of the year and Jay Bahner. Henderson took the second dash over Olson, Miller, Payne and Brandon Barnwell. The caution flag flew early in the 35-lap main event for debris in turn three. While slowing down on the front stretch, several cars got together, most notably Mike Ward. Ward spun into the infield and back onto the track in front of Barnwell. Barnwell avoided serious damage but Ward was finished for the night.

Browne led the field to the restart but he had a fight on his hands holding off Ziemer in second. On lap four, Ziemer moved under Browne for the lead while Miller and Olson followed into second and third. On lap seven, Miller found the opening he needed going into the first turn inside of Ziemer. Coming off the corner Miller took the spot with Olson following closely behind. The two ran nose-to-tail until lap 11 when Olson moved under Miller off the second turn to take the lead. Miller didn’t give up easily though has he moved under Olson off turn two the next lap to try to take the lead back but he didn’t have the muscle coming off the fourth turn giving Olson the clear lead. Henderson began making his presence known as the race entered the late stages as he began to mount a challenge on Miller for second. On lap 27, the caution flew for a spin by Elliott. Under the yellow, Olson’s engine began to sour and he was forced out of the race. The red flew briefly for a fire under Olson’s car in the pits, but it was quickly put out.

Miller now led the restart over Henderson and Peeples, Jr. Miller couldn’t hold off Henderson as he took the lead on lap 28 with Peeples behind. Miller tried to get second back from Peeples in turn one but the two came together sending Miller spinning in front of the rest of the field. Moulton had nowhere to go and hit Miller and several cars were collected into the wreck including Bahner and Rob Nelson while Elliott took evasive maneuvers by driving into the pits. After the restart, Henderson was able to withstand the pressure provided by Peeples to hold on and take the win. Barnwell finished third with Payne fourth and Moulton fifth.

The next event at the Acres is the Fall Spectacular on September 26th and 27th. Real stocks and mini stocks will be racing Friday night and could Saturday as well pending the car count in both classes. Roadrunners and Thunder Roadsters will be racing both nights. The late models will have qualifying and the heat races Friday with their 100-lap main Saturday evening while the Northern California Pro-4 Modified will be joining the show Saturday as well.