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.

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