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.

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