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.