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.

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