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.

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