Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tight racing, wrecks highlight Fan Appreciation Night

Tight racing, wrecks highlight Fan Appreciation Night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Hundreds of fans showed up this past Saturday night for Fan Appreciation Night at Redwood Acres Raceway, the 11th race of the 2010 season. Race fans were able to witness the night’s action for free thanks to Bear River Casino sponsoring the event. The racers in the five local divisions as well as the visiting Northern California Pro-4 Modified cars did not disappoint as there was everything one would expect watching a race wrapped up into one night; tight racing, close finishes and a couple wild incidents.

Things got off on a bad note in the mini stock trophy dash for Ricky Davis as he got loose off turn two and hit the backstretch wall nose-first, ending his night prematurely. Craig Baker took the dash win over Brian Murrell and Brian McIntosh. Baker then went on to win the heat race ahead of McIntosh and Murrell. McIntosh took the lead early in the main event but Baker was quick to get to the front. On lap two, Baker moved outside and past McIntosh for the lead. Brian Murrell, Jr. and Murrell were able to move into second and third by McIntosh a lap later. Baker appeared to be on his way to an easy victory before getting caught up with Steve Stone while trying to pass him. The caution flew with Murrell, Jr. in the lead but his engine blew under the caution period in spectacular fashion. Murrell, Jr. exited his car okay while the flames died down from under his hood. Murrell restarted in the lead but could not hold off Baker as he took the lead the next lap. At the flag it was Baker sweeping the night over Murrell, McIntosh, Ken Barrett and Stone.

Ryan Robinson took the flag first in the real stock trophy dash over Casey Mitchell and Nick Green. Jim Redd held off Ronnie O’Neill in the heat race for the win followed by Green, Doug Way and Mitchell. Way took the lead from the start of the main event ahead of Green and Mitchell. Way did his best to hold off the two cars but on lap four Mitchell moved under and by Way coming off turn two. Green was able to follow Mitchell to move into second. O’Neill began making his way to the front as he took third away from Way on lap six but unfortunately O’Neill got sideways off turn four collecting Robinson and bringing out the caution flag. O’Neill was sent to the rear and after the restart Mitchell and Green pulled away from Way as he fought off the faster cars of Redd and O’Neill. O’Neill looked poised to take the third position away from Way on lap 12 but his engine came apart coming down the front straight ending his night. Mitchell was able to fend off Green in the final laps to take the win followed by Way, Robinson and Bill Middleton.

The roadrunner trophy dash win went to Nick Hansen over Kolby Jackson, Raleigh Willoughby and Robbie Nelson. Hansen then took the heat race win ahead of Nelson, Dax Kinsey, Willoughby and Michael Lawrence. It was a land rush from the drop of the green flag of the main event as Ken Barrett took the lead ahead of Brett Murrell and the rest of the field. On lap two, Jackson and Nelson both moved by Murrell into the second and third positions. On lap four, Nelson found a line under Jackson going into turn three to take second. Kinsey took third from Jackson a lap later just as Nelson moved under Barrett for the race lead. Going into turn one, Kinsey got into the back of Nelson got then got into Barrett sending the two into the infield and bringing out the caution flag. Hansen was able to take the lead amongst the confusion and led Kinsey and the rest of the field to the restart. Kinsey briefly regained the race lead before Hansen took it back. Hansen held a comfortable lead until the last two laps when he ran into slower traffic. Kinsey was able to close in on the final lap and made a move under Hansen coming off the fourth turn. The two raced to the checkered flag and crossed the line in a dead heat. Hansen was determined to be the winner over Kinsey followed by Willoughby, Nelson and Jackson.

The Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds made their first appearance at the Acres this season. Greg Van Cleave won the trophy dash over Kyle Tellstrom, Jake Tillman and Neo Nuno. The heat race win went to Nuno over Tillman and Tellstrom. The main event proved to be one of the best races of the season so far at the Acres. Nuno, Tellstrom and Tillman proved to be the class of the field by separating themselves from the pack and having their own race. Nuno held the lead until lap 12 when Tellstrom found the high line to his liking. The two raced into turn three wheel-to-wheel with the slower car of Robbie Robinson just in front. Coming off four, it was three wide between Nuno, Robinson and Tellstrom with Tellstrom taking the lead and Tillman following behind into second while Nuno fell to third. Tillman shadowed Tellstrom for the duration of the race, even as the two had to maneuver through heavy lapped traffic. In the end, Tellstrom fought Tillman off to take the win while Nuno held on for third.

David Henderson took home the thunder roadster trophy dash win over Paul Peeples, Jr., Tommy Payne and Chris Sarvinski. Peeples won the heat race over Henderson, Payne, Ray Elliott and Fergy Ferguson. Elliott took the lead from his pole starting spot in the main over Al Olson in the early going. On lap two, Payne moved under Olson to take the second position bringing Henderson and Peeples with him. Henderson was able to get under Payne the next lap and the two fought for the second position. On the fifth lap it was settled as Henderson slotted into second with Peeples following into third and Payne in fourth. On lap six, Olson got severely sideways coming off turn four. Amazingly, he saved his race car but lost fifth and sixth spots to Ferguson and Bruce Ziemer in the process. The top four ran nose-to-tail for the duration of the event with Elliott doing everything he could to fight off Henderson and the others. With just a handful of laps left, Henderson moved outside and by Elliott coming off the second turn. Henderson remained unchallenged from that point on crossing the line first over Elliott, Peeples, Payne and Ferguson. Unfortunately, Henderson’s car did not pass post-race technical inspection and the event win went to Elliott.

The sportsman division saw its strongest turnout of cars for the season with 12 showing up for the evening. Joe McDonald claimed the victory in the trophy dash ahead of Mic Moulton, Larry Pries and Dennis DelBiaggio. Donnie Brown won the first heat race over Scott Baker, Angelo Marcelli, Al Acuna and Kenny Demello. Jerry Peterson took the second heat followed by Moulton, McDonald, Ken Hallis and Pries. The feature event for the sportsman cars proved to be the roughest race of the night. Brown spun on the initial start bringing out the caution flag and a complete restart. On the second lap the caution flew when Pries spun between turns three and four after contact with Hallis. After the restart, Marcelli held the lead over Peterson and McDonald. McDonald moved under Peterson for second on lap six. Coming off turn two, Peterson spun bringing out another yellow.

McDonald did not waste any time taking the lead after the restart as he moved under and by Marcelli on lap seven. DelBiaggio tried to use the high line to get by Marcelli but could not get the traction necessary and lost the third spot to Moulton on lap nine. McDonald was in his own area code while Marcelli fought off Moulton, DelBiaggio and Pries for second. The caution flew on lap 19 when Acuna spun into the turn four infield. On the restart, DelBiaggio moved under Moulton going into turn one. The two tangled with DelBiaggio’s car climbing on the side of Moulton’s. Behind them Peterson and Brown had nowhere to go and were collected in the melee. DelBiaggio and Brown were finished for the night while Peterson was able to continue and Moulton was able to later rejoin the race. It looked as though McDonald’s biggest challenge would come from Pries after the restart but unfortunately Pries suffered a flat tire and had to pit. McDonald was on cruise control the rest of the evening and handily took the win ahead of Marcelli, Peterson and Baker.

The next race at the Acres is the Memorial Race on Saturday September 11th. It will be the final night of points racing for the mini stock and sportsman divisions. A schedule change has been made for the Fall Spectacular. It is now a two day show scheduled for September 25th and 26th. Divisions scheduled for the end of the year race include the local real stocks, roadrunners and thunder roadsters. Joining will be the late models for the 100-lap event.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Moulton, Olson victorious again

Moulton, Olson victorious again

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was race number 10 of the 2010 season at Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday evening. With only three races remaining in the season after the night, competition for position in races was even more crucial. It lead to a brutal night in several of the five local divisions as a couple incidents knocked out several competitors on Eureka, California’s 3/8-mile paved oval.

Prior to qualifying in the mini stock division, Wyatt Roach who was driving Ryan Ahrens car lost an engine in practice and was unable to race. In the trophy dash, Brian Murrell, Jr. got loose in turn four on the first lap, overcorrected and hit the concrete wall. Murrell was able to walk away from the incident but was finished for the evening. Brian McIntosh took the dash victory over Brian Murrell and Scott Baker. With only four cars remaining, the division skipped the heat race and ran a 10-lap main. Murrell made a daring pass inside of McIntosh for the lead and was able to take the win over McIntosh, Baker and Harry Walford.

Jim Redd won the real stock trophy dash over Ronnie O’Neill, Nick Green and Bill Middleton. Ryan Robinson took the heat race win ahead of Casey Mitchell, O’Neill, Middleton and Green. Robinson used his pole-position starting spot in the main event to full advantage as he took the lead from the get-go from Mitchell. While Robinson ran away, Mitchell fought hard to fall into second but unfortunately was unable to use the high line to his advantage as Green, Redd and O’Neill all were able to move past for position. On lap four, Middleton hit the wall on the backstretch and was finished for the night. After the restart, Green briefly challenged Robinson for the lead but Robinson was eventually able to pull away. Redd moved by Green for second on lap 10 bringing O’Neill with him. Two laps later, O’Neill moved by Redd for second. Robinson’s lead was insurmountable though and unfortunately for O’Neill he lost power coming to the white flag. Robinson crossed the finish line first over Redd, Green, Mitchell and Doug Way.

The roadrunner trophy dash went to Kolby Jackson over Raleigh Willoughby, Dax Kinsey and Robbie Nelson. Willoughby passed Jackson on the last lap of the heat to win while Dylan Cook, Kinsey and Nelson rounded out the top five finishers. Ken Barrett held the lead at the start of the main event but lost the position to Michael Lawrence on lap two followed by Jackson. Unfortunately for Lawrence, his time up front was short as Jackson took the lead on lap three bringing Willoughby with him. Meanwhile, Kinsey methodically maneuvered his way to the front, getting by Lawrence on lap 8 for third. Kinsey closed in as the front duo of Jackson and Willoughby fought for the lead. Kinsey got by Willoughby on lap 13 and then moved under and past Jackson for the lead on lap 16. Kinsey was able to hold on from that point as he took the win over Jackson, Willoughby, Nelson and Lawrence.

Chris Sarvinski won the thunder roadster trophy dash over Tommy Payne, Randy Olson and Mike Ward. The heat race proved to be a very interesting race. After a caution flag for Jay Bahner’s spin off turn two, Allen Olson spun in the first turn. Mike Ward hit Olson’s left-front wheel severely damaging the suspension on Olson’s car. Ward’s car came out of the incident clean. After the restart, another caution flew when Payne and Ward came together in turns three and four. Luckily nobody suffered any damage. Coming to the white flag, Sarvinski spun coming off turn four. As Sarvinski came back across the track, Ward had nowhere to go and slammed into the side of Sarvinski’s car ending the night prematurely for both drivers. Just after taking the yellow flag, Randy Olson and Ray Elliott who were first and second pulled into the pits believing they had taken the checkered flag when it had not been thrown. The end result put Belinda Ward into the lead on the restart and she was able to hold on and won over Bruce Ziemer, Rob Nelson, Bahner and Olson.

Bahner got a good start in the main event and took the race lead initially but he had his hands full by the end of the first lap as Elliott and Randy Olson had moved to second and third place. On lap two, Elliott looked for room under Bahner for the lead. Olson seized the opportunity and took the high line past Elliott for second. Olson worked the high line on Bahner the next two laps and took the race lead on lap five. At the same time, Payne hit the wall on the front stretch but continued on in the race. Moments later, Elliott and Bahner made contact sending Bahner spinning into the infield on the back stretch and bringing out the yellow flag. After the restart, Elliott began to make a charge back to the front along with Payne. Unfortunately for Payne, he spun off turn two and ended up losing a lap to the leaders. Elliott began racing Nelson for third on lap 10 and on lap 11 he moved under Nelson going into turn one. The two came together though. Nelson was able to slow up and avoid hitting the wall but Elliott was not so fortunate as he hit the wall and damaged his suspension. When the checkered flag flew it was Randy Olson winning handily over Ziemer, Nelson, Allen Olson and Belinda Ward.

Mic Moulton proved superior in the sportsman trophy dash beating Angelo Marcelli, Larry Pries and Dennis DelBiaggio. Jerry Peterson took the heat race win over DelBiaggio, Moulton, Donnie Brown and Scott Baker. Brown pulled into the lead in the initial stages of the main event ahead of Peterson. Brown tried as best he could to hold the top position but finally on lap five, Peterson moved under to take the lead. On lap seven, Marcelli made contact with Baker sending Baker spinning and bringing out the caution flag. Marcelli was sent to the rear of the field for initiating the contact. Racing resumed for two laps before DelBiaggio made contact with Brown coming off turn two while racing for second. Brown did a 360 and everyone avoided contact as the yellow flew. Like Marcelli, DelBiaggio was sent to the rear for his role in the spin.

After the restart, Peterson had his hands full with Moulton who was now in the second position. Moulton wasted little time, taking the lead on lap 10. Peterson desperately hung on to Moulton but as the laps wound down, Moulton was able to build his margin over Peterson to approximately five car lengths. At the checkered flag it was Moulton winning over Peterson, Pries, DelBiaggio and Marcelli.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday August 28th for Fan Appreciation Night.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Upset winners highlight night at the races

Upset winners highlight night at the races

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Race nine of the 2010 season took place this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway’s 3/8-mile paved oval. Though the weather was cool and cloudy, a full house packed the grandstands to witness the five local divisions and some of the best racing on the west coast.

Craig Baker took the reigns of his brother Scott’s car for the evening and took the trophy dash victory over Rick Stone, Brian McIntosh and Brian Murrell, Jr. Baker then went on to win the heat race ahead of Stone and Murrell, Jr. The division had its best turnout of cars for the season with eight drivers starting the feature event. The early stages of the main featured a side-by-side duel between front row starters McIntosh and Stone. Baker made his run to the front quickly, narrowly avoiding Murrell, Jr. who spun out of third coming off the fourth turn bring out a caution. On the restart, Stone did his best to try to hold off Baker and was successful until lap 12 when Baker maneuvered high and past Stone between the third and fourth turns. From that point on Baker was able to pull away to the checkered flag with no pressure, taking the victory. Stone finished a solid second followed by McIntosh, Ricky Davis and Murrell, Jr.

After several races away from the raceway, Jim Redd returned to action and showed no signs of rust by taking the real stock trophy dash victory ahead of Casey Mitchell, Mark Williams and Bill Middleton. Ronnie O’Neill took the heat race win over Ryan Robinson, Mitchell, Middleton and Williams. O’Neill put his pole position starting spot in the main event to good use as he was able to grab the lead from the start and pull away from the Robinson and the rest of the pack. Middleton was the first driver to pick his way up to third, but Mitchell quickly maneuvered past him for the position. Nobody had the ability to catch O’Neill and at the checkered flag it was O’Neill winning over Robinson, Mitchell, Redd and Middleton.

Nick Hansen took the roadrunner trophy dash win ahead of Raleigh Willoughby, Dax Kinsey and Robbie Nelson. Kinsey ran away in the heat race, taking the win over Kolby Jackson, Willoughby, Nelson and Hansen. Kinsey looked to be the dominant force on the night and was able to maneuver into the lead by lap six. However as the laps clicked off, Kinsey’s car appeared to lose some of the power that it once had. On lap 12, Willoughby moved by Kinsey easily to take the lead. Hansen followed by just moments later. Hansen began to close on Willoughby and on the last lap Hansen attempted a pass under Willoughby. The two came together slightly with Willoughby holding the lead and Hansen losing his momentum. At the checkers it was Willoughby winning over Hansen, Jackson, Kinsey and Charlie Anderson.

The excitement in the thunder roadster division got going from the drop of the green flag in the trophy dash. Going into the first turn, Paul Peeples, Jr. and Randy Olson came together sending Olson into the water barrels that protect the wall going into pit road and Peeples into the wall just a few feet farther down the track. Fortunately both drivers were able to return to the track later on. Tommy Payne won the dash over Brandon Barnwell. Rob Nelson won the first heat race ahead of Fergy Ferguson, Jay Bahner, Jim Rich and Belinda Ward. Payne held off Peeples in the second heat to win followed by Barnwell, Bruce Ziemer and Mike Ward.

Bahner took the lead from the pole at the start of the feature event while the mass-exodus of faster cars tried to quickly maneuver from the back to the front. On lap 7, Peeples, Olson and Barnwell came together off turn two with Barnwell suffering extensive right-front damage ending his event. After the restart, the caution flew two laps later for Peeples spin off turn two. The next restart saw Payne move to the high line from third to pass Belinda Ward in second and then Bahner for the race lead on lap 11. Olson had quickly moved to third at that point and had to fight Baher until lap 13 before he got into second. Peeples moved by Bahner into third on the nineteenth lap. It appeared as though Payne had enough of a margin on Olson to cruise to victory but a caution on lap 23 bunched the field up. With the two experienced drivers of Olson and Peeples behind him, Payne restarted the event with two laps to go. Payne did not falter and was able to hold on to take his first-ever main event victory at the Acres, sweeping all three events on the night. Olson finished second with Peeples third, Mike Ward fourth and Belinda Ward fifth.

Mic Moulton took the sportsman trophy dash win over Dennis DelBiaggio, Kenny Demello and Donnie Brown. Al Acuna took the heat race victory ahead of Scott Baker, Brown, Moulton and Angelo Marcelli. Acuna used the pole position to the lead in the main event while outside front row starter Baker slotted himself into the second position. Baker looked impressive in only his second sportsman start holding off the faster challengers while also trying to find a way past Acuna for the lead. On lap 4, Brown got into the back of Peterson in between turns three and four sending him spinning from the third position. Behind them, other drivers spun to slow down. Unfortunately for DelBiaggio, he suffered extensive front-end damage which forced his crew to tear off the entire bumper for him to return.

On the restart, Moulton quickly moved by Baker into second. The best action on the track for the duration of the event was at the front as Moulton tried everything he could to find a line by Acuna for the lead. Acuna used everything he knew to fight off Moulton and at the end it worked as he crossed the finish line first beating Moulton, Baker, Peterson and Marcelli.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway in just one week on August 7th for Back-To-School Night.