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.

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