Monday, May 24, 2010

Miller pulls away, wins Scottfeild Executive Hotels 75

Miller pulls away, wins Scottfeild Executive Hotels 75

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was hard to tell whether or not Mother Nature was going to participate this past weekend at Redwood Acres Raceway. All week prior, nobody was sure if it was going to rain or not on Saturday. There were showers in the morning that worried folks, but track officials stuck to the game plan and by the afternoon it looked as though there would be racing on the night. Thankfully, there was. Joining the local classes of cars for this race were the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model series (AABLM) for their first of two points-paying visits at the Acres in 2010.

Things got exciting from the very get-go of the night. In the real stock trophy dash, Jim Redd spun in turn four collecting Shawn Craig. Craig’s car suffered extensive front-end damage, but he was able to return to the track later on. Redd ended up taking the dash win over Ryan Robinson and Nick Green. Green was victorious in the heat race ahead of a dead-heat for second place between Ray Middleton and Casey Mitchell. Bill Middleton took the lead early on in the main event but was challenged by Redd for the lead on lap three. The two came together in the first turn briefly causing Redd’s car to get sideways, but both drivers continued. Redd fought back and on lap 8 he and Robinson were able to move past Middleton. Robinson rode closely in Redd’s mirror until the final lap when Redd pushed high off turn two allowing Robinson to maneuver inside. The two raced side-by-side going into turn three. Of the fourth corner, Robinson was able to prevail in the low line and he crossed the finish line first over Redd, Mitchell, Craig and Bill Middleton.

Raleigh Willoughby stayed perfect in the roadrunner trophy dash, winning the fourth out of four dashes this season. Nick Hansen, Robbie Nelson and Charlie Anderson rounded out the finishers. Hansen took the heat race win over Kolby Jackson, Jimmy Murray, Nelson and Anderson. The main event got off to a slow start. Going into the third turn on lap one, Timothy Arvada got into the back of Michael Lawrence sending Lawrence spinning. Anderson with nowhere to go hit Lawrence’s rear end giving Anderson’s car front-end damage. Both drivers were able to continue in the race.

After the restart, things appeared to go more smoothly as Murray was able to take the lead ahead of the field. However on lap two, Justin DelBiaggio spun coming off turn two into the infield. At the same time going in turns three and four, Nelson spun. Willoughby slowed and moved high to avoid Nelson but behind them, Jake Moxon wasn’t able to slow and rammed into the back of Willoughby’s car. Unfortunately the ambulance was called onto the track for Willoughby. Safety officials used the jaws of life to extract Willoughby out of his car and he was taken to the local hospital where he was later released with no major injuries. Because of the time taken during this period, the race was shortened to prevent the 11:00 curfew from becoming a factor. The green came back out with Murray leading but it would only be briefly. On lap five, Hansen moved by to take the lead. Hansen was able to withstand several challenges from Jackson to win his first ever main event. Murray placed third with Anderson fourth and Nelson fifth.

David Henderson took the trophy dash win in the thunder roadster division ahead of Paul Peeples, Jr., Brandon Barnwell and Mike Ward. Barnwell won the heat over Peeples, Chris Sarvinski, Tommy Payne and Henderson. Bruce Ziemer held the lead early on in the main event but on lap six Sarvinski took the lead bringing Peeples and Barnwell with him. A lap later, Peeples moved under and past with Barnwell following in second. The top two ran nose-to-tail for the duration of the event with Barnwell trying to find the momentum to make a run on Peeples but he couldn’t find it. Peeples held on to win over Barnwell, while a fast closing Henderson placed third, Sarvinski fourth and Payne fifth.

The win in the sportsman trophy dash went to Joe McDonald over Mic Moulton, Dennis DelBiaggio and Angelo Marcelli. DelBiaggio took the heat race win over Jerry Peterson, Marcelli, Moulton and Donnie Brown. DelBiaggio used his outside front row starting position to his advantage as he took the lead from the start of the main event. While the rest of the field fought for position second on back, DelBiaggio pulled out to a substantial margin. McDonald was the first to break through into second and later Moulton in third. Moulton was able to pass McDonald in the waning moments of the race, but DelBiaggio’s margin was too big to overcome. At the checkered it was DelBiaggio, Moulton, McDonald, Marcelli and Pries.

Randy Houston took the victory in the fast dash for the AABLM cars over Corey James, Mike Lovell, David Miller, Mike Doss and Kevin Ostern. In the slow dash, Dallas Shane and Mike Bourbon got together in the third turn sending Bourbon in the wall and out for the rest of the night. Jeremy Donahoo took the slow dash win ahead of Allen Gibney, Shane and Brandon Barnwell. The 75-lap feature got off to a fairly smooth start with Clay Caturegli taking the lead from pole position over outside pole-sitter, Jim Stillman, Jr. while farther back in the pack, Doss had issues and had to make his way from the very back of the pack. Misfortune struck Eric Gannon on lap three as his car began smoking forcing him into the pits and out of action. A few laps later, Houston’s car began showing smoke and he too would be forced into the pits and out of the race. By the tenth lap, the major players for the race were in the top five as Caturegli held the lead over Stillman, James, Miller and Lovell. On lap 12, Miller moved under and by James for the third position. A lap later, Stillman was able to move under Caturegli for the lead. Caturgeli was freight-trained out of the top five as now it was Stillman leading Miller, James, Lovell and Ostern. The caution flag flew on lap 20 when Donahoo hit the water barrels in turn two.

Miller wasted little time after the restart taking the top position lap 22. Miller began pulling away as Stillman and James battled for the second spot. On lap 43, James moved by Stillman for second. Miller’s toughest challenge would come on lap 45 when Caturegli spun in the fourth turn right in front of him. Fortunately, Miller avoided any contact. Miller’s only other obstacle would come at lap 50 when Gibney and Shane got jammed up entering pit road in turn two. After the restart, Miller drove away from the field. By the time the checkered flag flew, Miller was more or less in his own area code as he handily won over James, Stillman, Lovell and Doss who narrowly beat Ostern to the finish line for sixth.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway on June 5th with the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds making the first stop of the season. The AABLM series will be moving on to Lakeport Speedway this weekend, May 29th. The AABLM cars will return to the Acres July 31st.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Favorites yet to be determined in Acres points races

Favorites yet to be determined in Acres points races

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Much like the racing has been at Redwood Acres Raceway this season, the chase for the track championships in nearly all of the five local divisions are tight. Even after three races, there has yet to be a clear favorite to win the title in almost all of the classes.

The mini stock class has only participated in two of the three race dates in 2010. Because of the poor car count in the division, the mini stocks did not partake in the last race on May 8th. Currently Scott Baker leads the standings over rookie driver, Ken Barrett however whether or not the division will continue to race through the rest of the season has yet to be determined. The real stock points standings are tight amongst the top five drivers. Ryan Robinson leads with 200 points even over the duo of Shawn Craig and Ryan Robinson who have 195 points. Third is Casey Mitchell with 192 points, fourth is Nick Green 186 while Jim Redd lies fifth with 172 points.

Though Raleigh Willoughby has won the roadrunner main event in all three races this season, his points lead over Dax Kinsey is only 21 points, 221-200. Nick Hansen holds third with 186 while Jimmy Murray and Charlie Anderson are tied for fourth place with 178 points accumulated. In the thunder roadster class, Paul Peeples, Jr. holds a 25 point lead over Tommy Payne, 217 points to 192 points. Mike Ward is third with 180 points, Brandon Barnwell fourth with 171 and Bruce Ziemer fifth with 169. The tightest points race at the Acres thus far is in the sportsman division. Joe McDonald holds the lead with 197 points, but the gap between he and fifth place is only 13 points. Jerry Peterson lies second with 191 points followed by Angelo Marcelli with 190, Dennis DelBiaggio with 188 and Larry Pries with 184.

Racing at the Acres resumes this Saturday May 22nd. Joining the local divisions will be the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model series for the Scottfield Executive Hotels 75. The event will mark the third points race of the season for the AABLM cars and the first points race for the series at Redwood Acres Raceway. The AABLM held a non-points event last season at the Acres during the season finale Fall Spectacular. Noel McCormack, Jr. was able to score the win in that event.

Redwood Acres Raceway Points Standings

Mini Stocks
Scott Baker 127, Ken Barrett 118, Craig Baker 79, Robbie Robinson 57, Brian Murrell, Jr. 56, John Blake 11

Real Stocks
Ryan Robinson 200, Shawn Craig/Ryan Walters 195, Casey Mitchell 192, Nick Green 186, Jim Redd 172, Ronnie O’Neill 148, Wyatt Roach 125, Ray Middleton 111, Bill Middleton 57, Landon Newell 50

Raleigh Willoughby 221, Dax Kinsey 200, Nick Hansen 186, Jimmy Murray 178, Charlie Anderson 178, Robbie Nelson 157, Kolby Jackson 149, Dylan Cook 147, Kent/Carrie Campbell 146, Bill Snow/Ryan Walters 128, Dustin DelBiaggio 117, Eric Rice/Rick Crawley 117, Russell Robinson 60, Mark Benzinger 58

Thunder Roadsters
Paul Peeples, Jr. 217, Tommy Payne 192, Mike Ward 180, Brandon Barnwell 171, Bruce Ziemer 169, Chris Sarvinski 165, Belinda Ward 159, Jim Rich 147, Rob Nelson 143, David Henderson 122, Fergy Ferguson 117, Robert Miller 62, Jay Bahner 53.

Joe McDonald 197, Jerry Peterson 191, Angelo Marcelli 190, Dennis DelBiaggio 188, Larry Pries 184, Mic Moulton 178, Donnie Brown 161, Kenny Demello 156, Al Acuna 103.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Willoughby 3 for 3 on season, Barnwell and Peterson win their first

Willoughby 3 for 3 on season, Barnwell and Peterson win their first

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The grandstands were packed for the third straight weekend for Mother’s Day weekend racing this past Saturday evening at Redwood Acres Raceway. Unlike the previous too weekends where the weather was sunny but extremely windy, this weather for the afternoon was sunny, warm and with only a slight breeze in the air. Just like the first two races this season, the drivers in the local divisions did not fail to disappoint as the racing was close and many of the finishes hotly contested.

For the first time since the inception of the division in 1989, the mini stock class did not compete due to a low car count. Unless the division gains some more competitors as the season progresses, it may be unlikely that the minis will be racing at the Acres again. It would be an unfortunate shame for what is the oldest running division at Redwood Acres Raceway and at one time boasted fields of 20 or more cars.

In real stock action, Jim Redd won the trophy dash over Nick Green, Casey Mitchell and Shawn Craig. In the heat race, Wyatt Roach’s car succumbed to engine problems, something that had been plaguing him all afternoon. Mitchell won the heat ahead of Ryan Robinson, Craig, Green and Redd. Craig put his pole position starting spot to good use as he took the lead in the early going of the main event. Outside front row starter, Mitchell didn’t have the same fortune as he was unable to get his car to handle on the outside line costing him several positions. Redd proved to be Craig’s closest competition and at one point it looked as though Redd had the strength to challenge Craig for the lead. However, a challenge by Mitchell for second broke Redd’s momentum and gave Craig enough of gap to get to the checkered flag comfortably. Redd held on for second while Green, Mitchell and Robinson rounded out the top five.

The roadrunner division had another solid turnout with more drivers expected to join the field in the very near future. For the third time in three races, Raleigh Willoughby took the trophy dash win ahead of Dax Kinsey, Nick Hansen and Bill Snow. The heat race got rough for Dylan Cook who was using a barrowed car for the night when he made contact in turn one. Jimmy Murray also suffered damage in the incident as his hood popped open and covered his front vision. Thankfully the damage to both cars was reparable. Snow took the heat race victory over Charlie Anderson, Hansen, Kinsey and Willoughby.

The action got going from the very beginning of the main event. Robbie Nelson and Kolby Jackson got together and spun in turn two to bring out the caution flag. After a complete restart, Cook got bounced around and slammed into the backstretch wall putting him out of the race and bringing out the yellow flag again. After the restart, Cook and Anderson came together racing for third place in turn one sending Anderson spinning. Unfortunately, Jackson got loose and spun into Anderson’s stopped car. Anderson was able to continue in the event while Jackson was finished for the night.

After that incident, the field calmed down and the real racing got going. Kinsey was able to take the lead away from Rick Crawley bringing Hansen and Willoughby with him. These three were able to pull away from the rest of the field to decide who would be the winner amongst themselves. Willoughby was able to sneak under Hansen for second on lap 10. On lap 14, Kinsey got too high in turn four allowing Willoughby to slide under to take the lead. The two hit coming off the corner but both drivers were able to safely recover. Hansen was able to use lap traffic to get by Kinsey a few laps later. Unfortunately for Hansen, he was unable to put any kind of challenge to Willoughby for the lead and at the checkered flag it was Willoughby winning the third of three main events on the season. Hansen crossed second with Kinsey third, Snow fourth and Murray fifth.

Paul Peeples, Jr. found himself in familiar territory in the thunder roadster trophy dash as he was the race’s winner over Brandon Barnwell, Mike Ward and Tommy Payne. Barnwell took the heat race victory over Belinda Ward, Peeples, Mike Ward and Payne. Barnwell knew that getting to the front quickly would be a major key to getting the victory and he did just that, maneuvering through the field to take the lead away from Belinda Ward on lap five. By lap 8, Peeples moved by Ward for second and set his sights on Barnwell who had a substantial lead. The best racing of the night was between the husband/wife, or better wife/husband duo of Belinda and Mike Ward along with Tommy Payne. Belinda was driving her best race ever on the night solidly holding down the third position over two faster qualifiers.

On lap 15, Peeples finally caught Barnwell and tried to move under him coming off turn four. Peeples came off the corner too tight however forcing him to get sideways. In an effort to save his car, he drove through the grass and safely back on the track, however he lost his track position. On lap 20, Belinda Ward’s night went south when contact from her husband Mike sent her spinning in turn one and two. Peeples was able to close the gap in the final stages, but could only manage to catch Barnwell’s bumper at the checkered flag. The victory was Barnwell’s first in the thunder roadster division driving for Donn Cole. After Peeples it was Mike Ward third and Tommy Payne in fourth.

Larry Pries took the win in the sportsman trophy dash over Mic Moulton, Dennis DelBiaggio and Angelo Marcelli. The heat race featured a nip and tuck duel at the line as Donnie Brown won over DelBiaggio, Jerry Peterson, Pries and Moulton. Brown took the lead early on in the main event until lap four when the lights in turns three and four lost power resulting in a yellow flag. The drivers deemed the track safe enough to continue to race despite the lack of lighting and the race continued.

Things got close coming off the fourth turn on lap six when DelBiaggio and Joe McDonald made contact. McDonald drove his car though the grass and back into turn one without any further incident. Brown held onto the lead until lap 10 when Peterson drove under to take the spot bringing DelBiaggio and Moulton with him. With the field spread out, DelBiaggio and Moulton both worked to try to catch Peterson. With two laps remaining, DelBiaggio spun off turn two and into the infield. Peterson was able to take the checkered flag without challenge over Moulton, McDonald, Brown and Pries.

Racing at the Acres takes a much needed week off before returning Saturday May 22nd. The Airport Auto Brokers Late Model series will be making their first ever points-paying stop at Redwood Acres Raceway. It is the first of three events that the series will be making at the 3/8-mile paved oval in 2010.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Marcelli, Henderson Pepsi night winners

Marcelli, Henderson Pepsi night winners

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Race two of the fourteen race schedule at Redwood Acres Raceway occurred this past Saturday evening on the 3/8-mile paved oval. Much like the first race the previous weekend, the on-track action in many of the night’s races delighted the numerous fans in attendance. For the drivers, winning the main event in any of the five local divisions on what was Pepsi Night at the Acres meant being presented with a beautiful six-foot-tall trophy.

In the mini stock division, Brian Murrell, Jr. took the trophy dash win over Craig Baker, Scott Baker and Rick Stone. Craig Baker narrowly beat brother Scott in the heat to claim the win followed by Murrell, Jr., Stone and Ken Barrett. The main event featured a side-by-side duel for the lead between Murrell, Jr. and Scott Baker. On the final lap, the two came together in the third turn with Baker spinning out and Murrell, Jr. crossing the line first. Due to a post-race exchange, official results for the mini stock division were not available at the time of this writing.

Shawn Craig was making his first start of the season in the real stock division and he was able to take the trophy dash victory ahead of Nick Green, Jim Redd and Ryan Robinson. Green won the heat race over Casey Mitchell, Robinson, Craig and Ray Middleton. Wyatt Roach and Redd battled for the lead early on in the main event before Robinson passed both drivers to take the lead. At the same time, Redd’s car began smoking heavily and he was forced to the pits for the race. After a caution period to check the track surface, Robinson pulled out to a gap of about eight car-lengths over second place Mitchell and was able to maintain it to the finish. Craig finished third with Roach fourth and Bill Middleton fifth in his first start of the season.

The roadrunner trophy dash win went to Raleigh Willoughby over Bill Snow, Nick Hansen and Jimmy Murray. Hansen won the hotly contested heat race over Dax Kinsey, Willoughby, Snow and Murray. Charlie Anderson held the lead early on in the feature before being overtaken on the second lap by Dylan Cook. While Anderson fought off the challenges of Snow and Willoughby, Cook was able to pull out to a comfortable lead. Unfortunately for Cook, his rear bumper cover came loose bringing out a yellow flag and forcing him to pit, effectively putting his chances for a win out the window.

The subsequent restart gave Willoughby the advantage he needed to maneuver by Anderson for the second position. After catching Cook for the lead, Willoughby tried several methods to try to move by for the spot, but was unsuccessful with each attempt. Meanwhile as the two leaders pulled away, Anderson had his hands full with Hansen and Kinsey. Hansen eventually made his way by while Kinsey continued to try to use the high line to get past Anderson. On lap 14, Willoughby tried once again to get by Cook. Willoughby moved under Cook going into the first turn but the two touched. Cook was able to save his car while Willoughby moved high and past Cook for the race lead. Cook tried his best to keep up with Willoughby but didn’t have the handling to do so. At the checkered flag it was Willoughby winning his second main event in a row over Cook, Hansen, Anderson and Kinsey.

Paul Peeples, Jr. took the thunder roadster trophy dash victory ahead of Brandon Barnwell, Tommy Payne and David Henderson. Barnwell held off Peeples and Henderson to win the heat race with Chris Sarvinski and Bruce Ziemer rounding out the five top finishers. Prior to the start of the main event, Peeples drove his car to the pits for adjustments. The move cost him some track position and may have been a deciding factor as to the outcome of the race. The intensity of the event kicked off right from the drop of the green flag as Sarvinski made it three-wide under Ziemer and Mike Ward going into the first turn. Coming off turn two, it was Sarvinski battling Ward for the lead. Ward held off Sarvinski for the spot while the field sorted out. On lap five, Sarvinski found the line he needed under Ward to take the race lead bringing Payne, Henderson, Barnwell and Peeples with him. Henderson wasted little time getting to the front as he passed Payne in turns three and four on lap seven, then proceeded by Sarvinski on the next lap to take the race lead.

After a caution flag brought out by Ward spinning in turn four, action resumed with Henderson pulling away while Payne fought hard for the second position with Peeples. Coming down the front stretch on lap 10, Peeples moved by Payne for the lead while Barnwell’s engine went sour at the same time. For the rest of the race, Peeples tried to close in on Henderson and appeared to do so but not by nearly enough. Henderson was able to cruise to the checkered flag over Peeples, Payne, Sarvinski and Ziemer.

After issues the past weekend, Mic Moulton returned to form winning the sportsman trophy dash over Joe McDonald, Larry Pries and Dennis DelBiaggio. The heat race victory went to Jerry Peterson ahead of McDonald, Angelo Marcelli, Pries and Moulton. Marcelli was able to use the pole-position to his advantage in the main event as he took the lead early while Peterson struggled on the high line eventually slotting into the fifth spot. Marcelli held a somewhat comfortable five car length gap over second place Pries but as the laps clicked off Pries and the rest of the field were able to close in on Marcelli. On lap 20, Pries closed dramatically on Marcelli forcing him to jump on the binders unexpectedly. Behind Pries, Moulton had to do the same and unfortunately spun coming off turn four and bringing out the caution flag.

After the restart, McDonald began to make his presence felt as he used the high line to his advantage. On lap 22, McDonald moved outside of DelBiaggio for the third position. McDonald made the pass and continued to try to use the outside for the remaining laps. Going into turn three on the final lap, McDonald drove his car as hard as he could in hopes of getting by both Pries and Marcelli, but he did not have the traction to do it. At the line it was Marcelli holding off Pries for the win while DelBiggio placed third, McDonald fourth and Peterson fifth.

Racing at the Acres resumes this Saturday night May 8 for the Mother’s Day races. It will the third straight weekend of racing until the teams get a week off.