Wednesday, April 28, 2010

McDonald bests DelBiaggio in Acres season opener

McDonald bests DelBiaggio in Acres season opener

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2010 racing season opened this past weekend at Redwood Acres Raceway to windy, but clear and rain-free skies. A glorious opening night crowd welcomed the drivers in the five local divisions and the racing on the track was more than enough to keep the crowd thrilled and excited throughout the cool and crisp night weather.

The season for the mini stock division started off on somewhat of a bad note. After a spin by Craig Baker to bring out the restart flag in the trophy dash, Baker made contact with Brian Murrell on the restart sending both drivers spinning. After a third restart, the two came together again off the second turn with both Baker and Murrell hitting the wall hard. Both drivers exited their cars and it was obvious that neither was happy with the other. Unfortunately, both cars were damaged to the point where they couldn’t race the rest of the night. Brian Murrell, Jr. was able to take the trophy dash victory over Scott Baker. Because of the unfortunate incident in the dash, the minis did not run a heat race and had a 10-lap main event. Murrell, Jr. had problems from the drop of the green and it allowed Scott Baker to cruise to the win over rookie driver, Ken Barrett and former Pro-4 modified driver, Robbie Robinson.

Defending real stock champion, Ryan Walters was sporting a new number in a ride he’ll be sharing with Shawn Craig this season. Walters won the real stock dash ahead of Jim Redd, Ryan Robinson and Wyatt Roach who race the roadrunner class in 2009. Robinson took the heat race victory over Roach, Walters, Redd and Casey Mitchell. Nick Green was able to recover from heat race car problems to take the feature event win followed by Robinson, Mitchell, Walters and Redd.

The roadrunner division turned out an impressive 13 cars on the night. Raleigh Willoughby took the trophy dash over Dylan Cook, Robbie Nelson and Jimmy Murray. Kolby Jackson held off Dax Kinsey to win the hotly contested heat race. Willoughby, Eric Rice and Kent Campbell rounded out the top five finishers. Willoughby was able to maneuver his car from the tail end of the field to the front, passing Kinsey to take his first ever main event victory. Murray, Charlie Anderson and Mark Benzinger followed closely behind.

It was a familiar site in the thunder roadster class as defending division track champion, David Henderson fought off Paul Peeples, Jr. to win the trophy dash. Brandon Barnwell and Tommy Payne finished out the dash field. The first heat race saw an unfortunate incident in the third turn. Bruce Ziemer tried to maneuver his car under Jay Bahner’s but Ziemer got loose and turned Bahner’s car around collecting Fergy Ferguson who was making his first start in the thunder roadster division. Bahner would return in the main event while Ferguson was done for the evening. Robert Miller won the heat after having issues in qualifying. He was followed by Ziemer, Belinda Ward, Jim Rich and Rob Nelson who was driving Peeples, Jr’s backup car after having issues with his own machine. Peeples, Jr. was able to sneak by Barnwell and Henderson when the two came together to win the second heat over Payne, Chris Sarvinski and Mike Ward.

The main event started off with an unfortunate incident. After completing the first lap, Barnwell appeared to have a steering problem going into the first turn as he went up the track into Nelson. Amongst the confusion, Henderson’s right rear got damage. In the aftermath, Barnwell and Nelson were done while Henderson pulled his car into the pits and was unable to return. After the restart, Mike Ward tried all he could to fight off the faster car of Peeples but it wasn’t enough as Peeples was able to maneuver by into the lead and the race win. Ward held on for second while Payne finished third, Miller fourth and Ziemer fifth.

Nine sportsman cars showed up for the night. In the trophy dash, Larry Pries was able to move by Mic Moulton to take the win followed by Dennis DelBiaggio and Joe McDonald. Jerry Peterson took the heat race win over McDonald, DelBiaggio, Angelo Marcelli and Al Acuna. The start of the sportsman main event proved to be similar to the thunder roadster start. Coming off the fourth turn to complete the first lap, outside front row starter, Peterson got loose and into the side of pole-sitter Acuna. Behind them everyone but Donnie Brown was able to maneuver safely by. After the restart, Mic Moulton looked to have the car to beat but lost power in his car resulting in a caution flag.

The resulting restart saw Marcelli leading McDonald. Marcelli briefly held off McDonald but eventually McDonald took the top position with DelBiaggio slotting in behind. As the green flag laps continued, DelBiaggio looked to have a better car than McDonald. DelBiaggio moved to the outside of McDonald and the two staged a side-by-side, wheel-to-wheel race that had the fans on their feet with excitement. DelBiaggio looked to have the pass nearly completed on lap 19 going into the third turn when he and McDonald briefly came together, a product of the close racing. It was enough for McDonald to regain the lead. DelBiaggio tried to mount a challenge in the closing stages of the race but didn’t have enough laps as McDonald took the win over DelBiaggio, Marcelli, Kenny Demello and Larry Pries.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway on Saturday May 1st for Pepsi Night at the Acres.

Race Results

Mini Stocks
Trophy Dash: Brian Murrell, Jr., Scott Baker, Craig Baker
Main Event: S. Baker, Ken Barrett, Robbie Robinson, Murrell, Jr.

Real Stocks
Trophy Dash: Ryan Walters, Jim Redd, Ryan Robinson, Wyatt Roach
Heat Race: Robinson, Roach, Walters, Redd, Casey Mitchell, Ray Middleton, Landon Newell, Nick Green, Ronnie O’Neil
Main Event: Green, Robinson, Mitchell, Craig, Redd, Middleton, Roach, Newell, O’Neil

Trophy Dash: Raleigh Willougby, Dylan Cook, Robbie Nelson, Jimmy Murray
Heat Race: Kolby Jackson, Dax Kinsey, Willoughby, Eric Rice, Kent Campbell, Nelson, Charlie Anderson, Murray, Mark Benzinger, Russell Robinson, Nick Hansen, Dustin DelBiaggio, Cook
Main Event: Willoughby, Kinsey, Murray, Anderson, Benzinger, Rice, Nelson, DelBiaggio, Robinson, Hansen, Jackson, Cook

Thunder Roadsters
Trophy Dash: David Henderson, Paul Peeples, Jr., Brandon Barnwell, Tommy Payne
Heat Race 1: Robert Miller, Bruce Ziemer, Belinda Ward, Jim Rich, Rob Nelson, Jay Bahner, Fergy Ferguson
Heat Race 2: Peeples, Jr., Payne, Chris Sarvinski, Mike Ward, Barnwell, Henderson
Main Event: Peeples, Jr., M. Ward, Payne, Miller, Ziemer, Bahner, B. Ward, Rich, Sarvinski, Henderson, Nelson, Barnwell

Trophy Dash: Larry Pries, Mic Moulton, Dennis DelBiaggio, Joe McDonald
Heat Race: Jerry Peterson, McDonald, DelBiaggio, Angelo Marcelli, Al Acuna, Pries, Kenny Demello, Moulton, Donnie Brown
Main Event: McDonald, DelBiaggio, Marcelli, Demello, Pries, Peterson, Moulton, Acuna, Brown.

Points Standings After Race 1

Mini Stocks: S. Baker 64, Robinson 57, Murrell, Jr. 56, Barrett 54, C. Baker 11
Real Stocks: Robinson 69, Green 65, Walters 63, Mitchell 62, Redd 60, Roach 58, Middleton 55, Newell 50, O’Neil 46
Roadrunners: Willoughby 75, Kinsey 71, Murray 64, Anderson 62, Rice 61, Benzinger 58, Nelson 58, Jackson 54, DelBiaggio 49, Robinson 49, Hansen 46, Campbell 46, Cook 41
Thunder Roadsters: Peeples, Jr. 73, Payne 64, Miller 62, M. Ward 62, Ziemer 59, B. Ward 54, Bahner 53, Rich 51, Sarvinski 49, Henderson 47, Nelson 44, Barnwell 41, Ferguson 11
Sportsman: McDonald 72, DelBiaggio 68, Marcelli 63, Pries 61, Peterson 60, Acuna 52 Brown 46.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

2010 season looms at the Acres

2010 season looms at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2010 racing season at Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway begins in just a few short weeks. It will be the 23rd year of racing on the pavement at the 3/8 mile facility. The track was converted from dirt to asphalt between late 1987 and early 1988. Many folks may be surprised to know that Redwood Acres Raceway is among the oldest race tracks not only in California, but on the west coast. The track’s first races were held in 1947 on dirt, a year after Merced Fairgrounds Speedway came to be and around the same time that Stockton 99 Speedway began holding events. In 1956 and 1957, the track was known as Eureka Speedway and was converted to a 5/8 mile track and hosted two NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events. Herb Thomas won the ’56 race while Lloyd Dane won in ’57. The facility also hosted the Pacific Coast Late Model series/Winston West in its dirt days. Bill Amick won in 1964, Harold Hardesty in 1968 and legendary driver, Hershel McGriff won in 1972.

After years of success on the dirt, the cost to keep up and maintain the track became too much to handle and it was decided to pave the track. Along with NASCAR’s sanctioning, Redwood Acres Raceway “reopened” in 1988. Between 1988 and 1995, the Acres hosted 7 NASCAR Southwest Tour events and 2 Winston West races. Mike Chase won the inaugural tour event in July of 1988. The next season, Bill Sedgwick won the West race while Chase won the tour race yet again. In 1990, Troy Beebe took the tour race while Sedgwick won the final West race at the Acres. Ron Hornaday, Jr. won the ’91 event over Rick Carelli who won the ’92 event. Hornaday won the 1993 race and after a year away from the raceway, M.K. Kanke won the final tour event in 1995.

Since the track was paved, Redwood Acres Raceway has produced several well-known drivers. Though Jim Walker and Randy Olson had established themselves prior to the 1988 season, they both honed their skills at the Acres for several years and are a huge part of the track’s pavement history. 1997 NASCAR Southwest Tour champion, Bryan Germone ran at the Acres to prepare himself for the tour. Rusty Olson moved from the Acres to win numerous late model events and a truck title. Paul Peeples, Jr. drove in the mini stock class before winning the 1994 NASCAR Pacific Coast Region title. Current well-known alumni include late model touring champion, Howard Ford, late model racer, Mic Moulton and Luke Hall who has raced in two ARCA events.

The 2010 season at the Acres officially begins April 24th but there is an open practice this Saturday, April 10th. Local classes include the sportsman (late model) division, Thunder Roadsters, real stocks, mini stocks, roadrunners and limited street stocks. The AABLM series is scheduled to race May 22nd, July 31 and September 25th for the Fall Spectacular while the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds are scheduled for June 5th, August 28th and September 25th. These events are subject to change if the car count is lacking.

Redwood Acres Raceway 2010 Schedule
April 10th - Practice
April 24th
May 1st
May 8th
May 22nd – AABLM series
June 5th – Pro-4 Modifieds
June 19th
June 25th & 26th - Fair Races
July 10th
July 31st – AABLM series
August 7th
August 28th – Pro-4 Modifieds
September 11th
September 25th – Fall Spectacular featuring AABLM series and Pro-4 Modifieds
Past Track Champions at Redwood Acres Raceway
Super Stock – Jim Walker
Street Stock – Tim Standifer

Super Stock – Jim Walker
Street Stock – Rusty Olson
Mini Stock – Doug Pulver

Super Stock – Randy Olson
Street Stock – Glenn Shewry
Mini Stock – Doug Pulver

Sportsman – Randy Olson
Mini Stock – Matt Kunkler/Jerry McCurtain

Sportsman – Randy Olson
Mini Stock – Tony Pulver

Sportsman – Steve Moulton
Mini Stock – Ron Borges

Sportsman – Rusty Olson
Mini Stock – Bert Guthridge

Sportsman – Glenn Shewry
Mini Stock – Mic Moulton
Pure Stock – Ray Rapp

Sportsman – Glenn Shewry
Mini Stock – Bernard Burns
Pure Stock – Ray Rapp

Sportsman – Tim McCracken
Mini Stock – Bernard Burns
Pure Stock – Otis Stabler

Sportsman – Larry Pries
Mini Stock – Bernard Burns
Pure Stock – Craig Johnson

Sportsman – Otis Stabler
Mini Stock – Phil Wood
Pure Stock – Craig Johnson

Sportsman – Angelo Marcelli
Mini Stock – Jason Shaha
Real Stock – Rusty Turner
Pure Stock – Jeff Broderson

Sportsman – Shawn Andrews
Mini Stock – Phil Wood
Real Stock – Rusty Turner
Pure Stock – Jeff Broderson

Sportsman – Angelo Marcelli
Mini Stock – Phil Wood
Real Stock – Rick Fox

Sportsman – Roger Sanderson
Mini Stock – Jaison Chand
Real Stock – Aaron Byers
Limited Street Stocks – Lee Branstetter

Sportsman – Angelo Marcelli
Mini Stock – Jerry Peterson
Real Stock – Cecil Arispe
Limited Street Stock – Ron Brown

Sportsman – Geoff Brandon
Mini Stock – Jaison Chand
Real Stock – Trevor Miller
Limited Street Stock – Duane Mayo

Sportsman – Marty Walsh
Mini Stock – Chad Grammer
Real Stock – Bill Bradbury
Limited Street Stock – Adrien Betournay
Thunder Roadsters – David Henderson

Sportsman – Brandon Barnwell
Mini Stock – Byron McIntosh
Real Stock – Bill Middleton
Limited Street Stock – Scott Lyons
Thunder Roadsters – Paul Peeples, Jr.

Sportsman – Brandon Barnwell
Mini Stock – Craig Baker
Real Stock – Jim Redd
Limited Street Stock – Fergy Ferguson
Thunder Roadsters – Paul Peeples, Jr.

Sportsman – Dennis DelBiaggio
Mini Stock – Craig Baker
Real Stock – Ryan Walters
Thunder Roadsters – David Henderson
Roadrunners – Charlie Anderson