Sunday, June 27, 2010

Olson goes back-to-back, sweeps fair races

Olson goes back-to-back, sweeps fair races

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The annual Redwood Acres Raceway fair night races took place this past Saturday night at the 3/8-mile paved oval in Eureka, California. As expected, the presence of the fair brought in additional drivers and fans to the track for one of the biggest weekends of the racing season. With races on back-to-back nights, it was important for drivers and teams to keep their cars in one piece, not only for the regular season points battles but for the special fair race title as well.

The weather on Friday evening proved to be cool and crisp, but that didn’t deter the racing on the track. In the real stock class, Ryan Walters took the trophy dash victory over Nick Green, Casey Mitchell and Ronnie O’Neill. Green won the heat race over Mitchell, Walters, Bill Middleton and O’Neill. Middleton held the lead in the opening stages of the main event before being challenged by Walters and Ryan Robinson. On lap 5, Walters made contact with Middleton off turn four sending Middleton out of the lead. During the caution period, Walters was sent to the rear giving the lead to Robinson. Robinson was able to withstand a last lap charge by Green to take the victory. Mitchell, Walters and Middleton rounded out the top five.

Scott Baker took the Friday night mini stock dash win over Brian Murrell, Brian Murrell, Jr. and Ryan Ahrens. The heat race victory went to Murrell, Jr. over Murrell, Baker, Ahrens and Ken Barrett. Due to the car count, the minis did not run a main event.

Kolby Jackson won the roadrunner trophy dash ahead of Bill Snow, Dax Kinsey and Raleigh Willoughby. Jackson followed up with the heat race win over Kinsey, Willoughby, Dustin DelBiaggio and Jimmy Murray. The main event proved unfortunate to two of the faster competitors. Willoughby’s tire blew just as he made the pass for the lead five laps into the race. Later on, Jackson had a tire blow taking him off the track. Kinsey was able to maneuver his car through the field and held on for the win over Murray, DelBiaggio, Ken Barrett and Tim Apeyta.

Paul Peeples, Jr. was the victor in the thunder roadster trophy dash over Randy Olson, David Henderson and Tommy Payne. Bruce Ziemer won the first heat over Jay Bahner, Fergy Ferguson, Rob Nelson and Belinda Ward while Henderson took the second heat ahead of Chris Sarvinski, Olson, Peeples and Brandon Barnwell. The opening laps of the feature event proved costly to two drivers. On lap two, several cars began spinning. Most notable of those was Henderson who spun going into the third turn, hitting the wall hard. It became evident that fluid was on the track and after a lap under caution it was evident that the culprit was Barnwell’s car which had leaked fluid heavily around the track. After the restart, Ziemer held the lead until Olson found a way by on the inside on lap 12 bringing Peeples with him. From that point on, Olson and Peeples raced nose-to-tail for the lead. Peeples was unable to put a move on Olson and at the checkered flag it was Olson winning over Peeples, Payne, Sarvinski and Mike Ward.

Friday night’s sportsman trophy dash victory went to Mic Moulton over Jerry Peterson, Joe McDonald and Dennis DelBiaggio. Peterson won the heat ahead of McDonald, Angelo Marcelli, Moulton and Al Acuna. Peterson held the lead from the get-go of the main event while Marcelli and Moulton settled in for a battle for the second position. On lap 21, Moulton and Marcelli tangled going into the first turn sending both cars spinning. Behind them, DelBiaggio had nowhere to go and hit Moulton. Marcelli was able to continue while DelBiaggio and Moulton were finished for the event.

With just two laps to go, Larry Pries and Aaron Byers got together in turn one resulting in a yellow flag. After the restart, McDonald led Peterson and Marcelli. Coming to the white flag, Peterson nudged McDonald and took the lead. Coming to take the checkered flag, McDonald got into Peterson sending Peterson spinning off the fourth turn. The end result was that Marcelli was awarded the victory while several cars including Peterson and McDonald were unable to race on Saturday due to choice or official’s ruling.

Saturday evening proved to be completely different from the night before. Beautiful sunshine spread over the raceway while there was only one caution period in all of the night’s action. Ronnie O’Neill won the real stock trophy dash over Casey Mitchell, Nick Green and Ryan Walters. Ryan Robinson held off O’Neill to win the heat race while Walters, Mitchell and Green rounded out the top five. Inexplicably Robinson, who was the real stock points leader going into the fair night weekend, was unable to get his car to the line for the main event. After starting from the pole, O’Neill ran away from the competition and handily took his first ever main event victory ahead of Walters, Doug Way, Mitchell and Green. Walters was awarded the fair night crown for the real stock division.

Brian Murrell, Jr. held off his father, Brian Murrell for the mini stock trophy dash victory while Ryan Ahrens and Craig Baker who was driving his brother Scott’s car for the night placed third and fourth. Baker won the heat race over Murrell, Murrell, Jr., Ahrens and Brian McIntosh. Baker started at the rear of the field for the main and was able to maneuver by the Murrell father-son team to take the victory while Murrell, Murrell, Jr., McIntosh and Ahrens. The team of Scott and Craig Baker were also victorious in the fair night championship as well.

Raleigh Willoughby won the roadrunner trophy dash over Dax Kinsey, Bill Snow and Kolby Jackson. Willoughby then won the heat race ahead of Michael Lawrence, Kinsey, Anderson visitor, Noah Smith and Ken Barrett. The main event was slowed only once, that by a hard hit by Barrett going into the first turn. Thankfully he was alright. Willoughby’s poor finish in Friday night’s event gave him pole position in Saturday night’s main. He was able to use the good start to his advantage as he held of several challenges by Snow to take the win. Kinsey was able to get by Snow on the last lap for second while Smith and Lawrence finished out the top five. Kinsey took home the fair night title for the roadrunner division.

The thunder roadster trophy dash victory went to Randy Olson over Tommy Payne, Paul Peeples, Jr. and Brandon Barnwell who was driving Bruce Ziemer’s car for the night. Belinda Ward took the first heat race win ahead of Rob Nelson, Fergy Ferguson, Jay Bahner and Dan Maxwell. Payne withstood Olson’s challenges in the second heat to win followed by Peeples, Mike Ward and Barnwell. Ferguson grabbed the lead early in the main event from Bahner but was quickly challenged by the faster cars of Mike Ward, Payne and Olson. Payne got too high off turn two on lap 10 allowing Olson to get under for third. The next lap, Ferguson opened the door allowing a host of cars to get under him and past, most notably Ward and Olson. Ward did his best to hold off Olson but on lap 15, Olson was able to get under and past for the race lead. Ward then had his hands full with Peeples and in the latter stages Peeples was able to pull into second bringing Barnwell and Payne with him. Olson was able to race the rest of the event unchallenged as he took the victory over Peeples, Barnwell, Payne and Ward. With his victory, Olson was the only driver to win both main event for the fair races and he was able to take the weekend championship.

Mic Moulton won the sportsman trophy dash over Dennis DelBiaggio, Larry Pries and Aaron Byers. DelBiaggio took the heat victory ahead of Byers, Pries, Northcoast racing legend, Jim Walker and Moulton. The main event proved to be over from the drop of the green flag as Moulton got a good jump from the outside front row and pulled away from the pack. The bulk of the excitement came from the famous blue 48 car driven by Walker. After starting from the rear, Walker thrilled the fans by moving to the third position by the end of the night. Moulton was able to win what was surprisingly his first main event victory on the year over DelBiaggio, Walker, Pries and Byers. The sportsman fair night championship was won by Byers.

Racing at the Acres takes a much needed week off after three races in the past two weeks. Action resumes Saturday July 10th with all five divisions returning once more.

Monday, June 21, 2010

McDonald edges Peterson for sportsman victory

McDonald edges Peterson for sportsman victory

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Finally after almost a full month, racing returned to the pavement of the 3/8-mile Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night. The long break was made longer by the fact that heavy mist had cancelled the scheduled race earlier in the month on June 5th. This race marked the return of the mini stock division as the class went on a brief hiatus the past several events.

Prior to the night’s events going into action, several drivers pulled their cars out onto the track to run memorial laps in honor of two folks who had sadly recently passed away. Diana Robertson was a long-time race fan at the Acres and was the daughter of former track flagman, Larry Robertson who passed away several years ago. The other loss suffered was that of former driver, Duane Mayo. Mayo began racing at Redwood Acres in the 80s when the track was still dirt. Mayo moved to the sportsman division in the early 90s then returned to racing the limited street stock division in recent years. Both will be greatly missed by the Redwood Acres Raceway community.

Scott Baker took the trophy dash win in the mini stock division ahead of Brian Murrell, Brian McIntosh and Brian Murrell, Jr. Baker then won the heat race over Murrell, Ken Barrett, Ryan Ahrens and Murrell, Jr. Murrell took the lead early in the mini stock main event but was unable to hold back Baker on this night as Baker went three-for-three sweeping the trophy dash, heat race and main event for the night. Murrell beat his son for second while Barrett and Ahrens finished the top five.

The real stock trophy dash was won by Casey Mitchell over Ryan Robinson, Ryan Walters and Nick Green. The heat race victory was taken by Green ahead of Dustin Walters, Mitchell, Ryan Walters and Robinson. Doug Way took the lead at the start of the feature event for the real stocks but couldn’t hold off Dustin Walters by the third turn of the first lap as Walters moved under to take the lead. Walters’ ability to take the lead so early in the event proved to be invaluable as he was able to pull out a good lead while the rest of the field battled amongst themselves. Way did a fantastic job of holding off the field cleanly for second but Robinson eventually got by to take the spot. Robinson wasn’t able to close in on Walters until the final lap. Going into the third turn, Robinson made a last-ditch effort but didn’t have enough to muscle by. At the checkered flag it was Dustin Walters winning in his first start of the season over Robinson, Mitchell, Ryan Walters and Green.

Raleigh Willoughby returned to form, winning the roadrunner trophy dash after an incident in the May 22nd main event took him to the hospital. Dax Kinsey, Jimmy Murray and Robbie Nelson rounded out the finishers. Dustin DelBiaggio took heat race honors ahead of Charlie Anderson, Nelson, Kinsey and Willoughby. The main event got off to a bad start for Nelson as contact sent him into the wall off the second turn and out of action. Tim Apeyta took the lead on the restart but after the first lap Anderson held the lead. Things got close on the second lap when DelBiaggio got loose in turn four while racing Apeyta for second and spun. Fortunately everyone was able to get by without contact. Willoughby moved by Abeyta into second just moments after DelBiaggio’s spin.

On lap eight, Willoughby moved to the outside of Anderson for the lead. Willoughby took the lead coming to the caution flag as Kinsey’s car lost power and stopped in turn one. After the restart, Willoughby and Anderson walked away from the pack while several drivers including Ken Barrett, Murray, DelBiaggio and Nick Hansen fought hard for position. At the checkered flag it was Willoughby winning his fourth main event of five this season ahead of Anderson. Meanwhile on the backstretch, DelBiaggio spun forcing Murray to slow to avoid hitting him. Behind them, Hansen spun to avoid getting involved. All the action gave Barrett third place and Abeyta fourth. Murray was able to get back to the line ahead of DelBiaggio for the fifth spot.

In the thunder roadster division, Paul Peeples, Jr. took the trophy dash win over Randy Olson, Brandon Barnwell and Tommy Payne. Rob Nelson won the heat race ahead of Fergy Ferguson, Olson, Peeples and Barnwell. Nelson took the lead from the start and held it early on over Mike Ward. It didn’t take long for Peeples to make his presence known as he was in third position passing Payne on lap four. A lap later, Nelson spun out of the lead off turn two handing it over to Ward. Olson moved his way into third on lap six bringing Barnwell with him past Payne. The next lap, Peeples moved under Ward to take the lead. On lap 10, Barnwell passed Olson for third. On lap 16, Payne got by Olson for fourth. The next lap, Barnwell moved by Ward for second. Nobody had anything for Peeples though as he was able to handily take the victory over Barnwell, Ward, Payne and Olson.

Mic Moulton took the trophy dash win in the sportsman division ahead of Joe McDonald, Jerry Peterson and Dennis DelBiaggio. McDonald won the head over Peterson, Angelo Marcelli, DelBiaggio and Moulton. Larry Pries utilized his outside front row starting position well by taking the lead at the start of the main event over Peterson and Moulton. Moulton looked to have the car to beat on the night. On lap five he passed Peterson for second. On lap 10, Moulton moved under Pries to take the lead bringing Peterson and McDonald with him into second and third. However, it appeared as though Moulton’s car wasn’t running right. Where before he was running away from Peterson, now Peterson was right on his tail. On lap 14 going into turn three, Moulton’s engine hand-grenaded. The drivers behind him did a masterful job of avoiding further catastrophe but it was another unfortunate night for Moulton in what has been a season of misfortune for him at the Acres.

Peterson inherited the lead after the restart and had his hands full with second place McDonald. McDonald stayed right in Peterson’s mirror waiting for a chance to pass. Peterson’s car began developing a push off the corners. Coming off turn four on lap 23, Peterson’s car nearly pushed into the wall. The moment Peterson took to back off the gas was all McDonald needed to get under and by for the lead. Peterson fought valiantly to get back on McDonald’s bumper but he didn’t have the horsepower or handling he needed to make a serious charge at the lead. At the checkered flag it was McDonald winning over Peterson, Pries, DelBiaggio and Marcelli.

The drivers and teams have a quick turnaround to do as racing returns to the Acres for fair night action this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights June 25th and 26th. Several more cars are expected to join in all the classes making these events must-see for race fans.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Rain cancels racing at the Acres

Rain cancels racing at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

For the first time in the 2010 racing season, Mother Nature brought bad weather to Redwood Acres Raceway on Saturday night forcing officials to cancel the evening’s events. A heavy mist befell the 3/8-mile paved oval just after time trials in all of the divisions had finished. Redwood Acres Raceway promoter, Rich Olson waited for the skies to clear but after 15 minutes and the mist falling harder Olson called for the races to be cancelled.

The cancellation of this event means that there will be another two week break until action returns to the track in all four local divisions.

Remaining Schedule:
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

Points Standings:
Mini Stocks
Track Record: Craig Baker 18.597
1. 7 Scott Baker 127
2. 8 Ken Barrett 118
3. 11 Craig Baker 79
4. 23 Robbie Robinson 57
5. 74 Brian Murrell, Jr. 56
6. 68 John Blake 11

Real Stocks
Track Record: Shawn Craig 18.763
1. 47 Ryan Robinson 270
2. 89 Craig/Walters 252
3. 69 Casey Mitchell 251
4. 1 Nick Green 247
5. 44 Redd/Simon 236
6. 52 Ray Middleton 165
7. 51 Ronnie O'Neill 148
8. 57 Wyatt Roach 125
9. 11 Bill Middleton 118
10. 55 Bob Lima 54
11. 18 Landon Newell 50
12. 14 Aaron Sandifer 48

Track Record: Raleigh Willoughby 21.307
1. 8 Raleigh Willoughby 268
2. 25 Nick Hansen 261
3. 20 Jimmy Murray 244
4. 88 Charlie Anderson 241
5. 24 Robbie Nelson 219
6. 10 Kolby Jackson 218
7. 33 Dax Kinsey 200
8. 42 Dustin DelBiaggio 174
9. 44 Dylan Cook 147
10. 92 Kent/Carrie Campbell 146
11. 71 Bill Snow 128
12. 28 Rice/Crowley 117
13. 47 Michael Lawrence 100
14. 00 Mark Benzinger 58
15. 38 Jake Moxon 53
16. 69 Tim Apeyta 46
17. 49 Ken Barrett 45

Thunder Roadsters
Track Record: Paul Peeples, Jr. 16.839
1. 15 Paul Peeples, Jr. 292
2. 66 Thomas Payne 252
3. 9 Brandon Barnwell 241
4. 13 Mike Ward 237
5. 21 Chris Sarvinski 228
6. 5 Bruce Ziemer 223
7. 95 Belinda Ward 207
8. 2 Dave Henderson 189
9. 18 Rob Nelson 188
10. 99 Jim Rich 147
11. 21X Fergy Ferguson 117
12. 3 Jay Bahner 101
13. 82 Robert Miller 62

Track Record: Shawn Andrews 15.794
1. 09 Joe McDonald 261
2. 19 Dennis DelBiaggio 261
3. 25 Angelo Marcelli 252
4. 07 Jerry Peterson 249
5. 1 Mic Moulton 245
6. 01 Larry Pries 238
7. 55 Donnie Brown 212
8. 8 Kenny Demello 207
9. 40 Al Acuna 10