Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Miller dominant in Fall Spectacular win

By Matthew J. Sullivan

For the first time in several years, Redwood Acres Raceway hosted a two-day, Saturday and Sunday show for the annual season finale, the Fall Spectacular. Much excitement was in the air as the late models and Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds joined the three local classes of real stocks, roadrunners and thunder roadsters who still had to decide their final points standings.

Ryan Walters took home the trophy dash win in the real stock division on Saturday evening beating out Doug Way, Nick Green and Casey Mitchell. In the heat race, Mitchell was able to score the victory over Green, Ryan Robinson, Walters and Way. Walters was able to avoid a lap one incident in the main event that slowed some of the faster cars down to easily take the win. Green finished second followed by Robinson, Way and Steve Kimberling.

Mitchell notched the trophy dash win in the Sunday sunshine ahead of Walters, Green and Way. Walters took the heat ahead of Green, Mark Williams, Bill Middleton and Ray Middleton. Going into the final main event for the real stock division, Mitchell had the championship already sewn up. Mitchell was able to withstand a furious charge from Robinson to cap off his championship effort with a win. Walters narrowly beat Green to the line for third while Williams crossed the line in fifth, just inches ahead of Way.

Curt Lewis won the dash for the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds Saturday night beating Chris Straka, Chris Sarvinski and Doug Pulver. Pulver took the heat race win over Sarvinski and Straka. In the main event, Straka was able to hold off Sarvinski to take the victory while Pulver finished in the third position. On Sunday, Timber Cookson took the trophy dash victory over Marty Lewis, Johnny Barker and Cory Thomas. Sarvinski won the heat race over Curt Lewis, Marty Lewis, Kevin Barba and Pulver. A big accident in the early stages of the main event knocked out several competitors including Pulver, Barba, Marty Lewis and Thomas. Sarvinski took the win handily beating Marty Lewis, Barker and Cookson.

In Saturday night’s roadrunner trophy dash, Nick Hansen was able to take the win over Raleigh Willoughby, Ukiah Speedway visitor, Caity Miller and Dax Kinsey. Kinsey was able to hold off Willoughby in the heat race to win followed by Hansen. In the main event, Hansen was able to used slower traffic to get by Willoughby late in the event and take the race victory. Miller took third, Kolby Jackson fourth and Kinsey fifth.

Miller won Sunday’s dash over Kinsey, Willoughby and Hansen. Miller followed up with the heat race win beating Hansen, Robbie Nelson, Willoughby and Kinsey. The track championship for the roadrunner class was locked up by Willoughby going into the final main event. The main event featured a spirited duel between the two youngsters of Nelson and Willoughby. Willoughby was able to briefly take the lead late in the going, but drove too hard in turn one allowing Nelson to sneak back by. Nelson was able to take his first-ever main event victory beating Willoughby, Hansen, Kinsey and Jackson.

Paul Peeples, Jr. won the thunder roadster trophy dash over Randy Olson, Fergy Ferguson and Bruce Ziemer. Olson held off Peeples in the heat race to take the win followed by Chris Sarvinski. Unfortunately for Olson, his car suffered engine woes and he was forced to start at the back of Sunday’s main event due to him changing cars. Meanwhile, Peeples started fourth due to an inversion from the heat race finish.

Peeples grabbed the lead early in the main event and appeared to have the race well in hand until at the halfway point when controversy took place. AABLM starter, Johnny Miskill who was doing the flagging for the event gave the field the crossed flags signaling the halfway point of the race. Peeples slowed down allowing Payne, Olson and others to get by. Peeples realized his mistake and got back on the gas and just after that the caution was thrown. Peeples was moved back to his first place position and went unchallenged the next 20 laps taking the victory. Payne took second and the 2010 track championship in the division over Olson, Sarvinski and Ferguson.

28 late models in all showed up for the events on Saturday. Unfortunately, Mike Lovell broke and was unable to even qualify. Junior Roddy set quick time with a 15.595 time. Race officials scratched the trophy dash due to drivers not lining up in a timely fashion. The first heat determined the starting positions for Sunday’s B main event. Redwood Acres Raceway driver, Donnie Brown ran away from the field to take the victory over Jeremy Donahoo, Roger Sanderson, David Dillinger and Joe Aiken.

The second heat determined the 11 through 20 starting positions in Sunday’s 100-lap affair. Two more Acres locals, Joe McDonald and Larry Pries fought for the victory with McDonald coming out ahead. 2010 Redwood Acres Raceway Sportsman champ, Mic Moulton placed third while another local, Jerry Peterson was fourth and Allen Gibney took fifth. The third and final heat race determined positions one through 10 with a possible invert of two, four or six cars for Sunday’s feature. Randy Houston crossed the line first over David Miller, Kevin Ostern, Jeremy Hopkins and Mike Doss.

Aiken had engine failure in Sunday’s practice and was unable to start the B-main event. Donahoo and Dillinger finished first and second and took the two transfer positions to the 100-lap main. The draw for the invert was two giving the pole position to Miller. Literally from the drop of the green flag, Miller pulled away from the rest of the field. Houston held up in second head of Ostern and others. There was a lot of give-and-take action from all the drivers throughout the field as the race was clean and green with nary the sign of a caution flag. Miller’s torrent pace may have been the undoing for Doss and Ostern as both drivers appeared to have problems, pulling their cars into the pits before the halfway point.

By the 50-lap mark, it looked as though nobody had anything for Miller as he was half a lap ahead of second place, Houston. The caution finally flew on lap 61 when Pries spun off the second turn. At this point, only seven cars remained on the lead lap and while the caution closed the gap between Houston and Miller, there were six cars between the two drivers. Miller pulled away once again on the restart while Houston and others tried to manage their way through lapped traffic.

As the race entered its closing stages, Howard Ford began to make his presence known. With less than 20 laps to go, Ford managed to make his way past Houston in second. It appeared as though Ford’s only hope to catch Miller would be a caution flag as Miller was again half a lap ahead of his competition. In the final 10 laps, the gap between first and second closed dramatically with Miller appearing to be suffering some sort of issue. Coming to the white flag, Ford had the gap to just 10 car lengths on Miller. Between turns one and two, the lapped car of Pries broke between the front two cars pounding the wall. Coming off turn four, Ford closed the gap to five car lengths. It was enough for David Miller to take the checkered flag first with Ford crossing the line second. Houston placed third while David Braund ran a solid and clean race all day to place fourth, an impressive finish in his first race at the Acres. Dennis DelBiaggio had what is likely the best race of his career, finishing in fifth place. Junior Roddy was sixth while Alan Cress placed seventh, the final car on the lead lap.

Information regarding the annual awards banquet will be made available soon on the track’s phone 707-442-3232. Congratulations to the 2010 Redwood Acres Raceway track champions; Mic Moulton in the sportsman division, Tommy Payne in the Thunder Roadster division, Raleigh Willoughby in the roadrunner division, Casey Mitchell in the real stock division and Scott and Craig Baker in the mini stock division.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Champions crowned on Memorial night at the Acres

Champions crowned on Memorial night at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The final points race of the season for the two of the five local divisions came and went this past Saturday night at Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway. In addition to champions being crowned, the event held a special air as it was the annual memorial night at the 3/8-mile paved oval facility, coinciding with the ninth anniversary of the events that occurred on September 11, 2001.

Going into the night, the points race for the mini stock track championship was already locked up by the brother combination of Scott and Craig Baker. Craig Baker was behind the wheel of the car this night and took the win in the trophy dash over Brian McIntosh, Brian Murrell and Brian Murrell, Jr. Due to the car count, the division had to forego a heat race and ran a 10-lap main event. Baker had issues from the drop of the green flag and fell out of the event. McIntosh briefly took the lead but got loose off turn two allowing Murrell, Jr. to take the win. A brief caution flag served as a delay to Murrell, Jr’s victory celebration as he was able to take the main event victory ahead of his father, Murrell, Sr., Ken Barrett and McIntosh.

Ryan Walters won the real stock trophy dash over Steve Kimberling, Casey Mitchell and Ryan Robinson. Bill Middleton’s night was ended prematurely in the heat race when Nick Green pushed Middleton going into turn one. Middleton jumped on his brakes in attempt to slow down but was unable to as he hit the wall hard ending his night. Mitchell took the heat race victory ahead of Kimberling, Robinson, Doug Way and Matt Simon. Green took the race lead in the early stages of the main event. Mitchell proved to be the fastest car on the track but had to maneuver through the field before finally getting to the second spot with eight laps remaining in the 20-lap feature. Mitchell closed in with three laps remaining but could not mount a charge to get by Green. At the checkered flag it was Green winning over Mitchell, Robinson, Kimberling and Jim Redd.

Raleigh Willoughby won the roadrunner trophy dash over Nick Hansen, Robbie Nelson and Dax Kinsey. Nelson took the win in the heat race over Hansen, Kinsey, Kolby Jackson and Willoughby. Jackson held the lead at the start of the roadrunner main event while the faster cars tried to maneuver through traffic to get to the front. Hansen had power issues and pulled his car behind the wall on the second lap of the event. At the same time Hansen had his issues, Kinsey and Nelson got together on the back stretch resulting in Nelson getting a flat tire and the caution flying.

Kinsey was sent to the rear and the race restarted with Jackson leading brand-new father, Michael Lawrence on the restart. Willoughby looked poised to capitalize on his championship win with a main event win on the night as he got by Lawrence on lap 12. Willoughby worked on Jackson until finally finding the inside line coming off turn two on lap 16 to take the lead. The caution flew on lap 20 when Nelson spun Kinsey on the front stretch. Nobody was able to touch Willoughby after the restart and at the checkered flag it was Willoughby winning over Jackson, Lawrence, Tim Abeyta and Kinsey.

Paul Peeples, Jr. won the roadster dash over Tommy Payne, Chris Sarvinski and Bruce Ziemer. Rob Nelson held off Peeples to take the heat race win followed by Belinda Ward, Ziemer and Payne. Fergy Ferguson took the lead at the start of the main event, but after a brief caution flag and a restart, he could not hold off the faster car of Peeples as Peeples moved into the lead on lap two. Payne did his best to try to put pressure on Peeples, but it wasn’t enough for Peeples to make a mistake as he took the win over Payne, Ferguson, Ziemer and Ward.

The championship in the sportsman division was still wide-open between Mic Moulton and Angelo Marcelli. Moulton struck first with the trophy dash win followed by Joe McDonald, Larry Pries and Marcelli. McDonald took the heat race victory over Marcelli, Moulton, Jerry Peterson and Pries. Kenny Demello seized the lead in the main event from his pole position starting spot but by lap two, McDonald was there to take the spot away. On lap three, Demello spun between turns three and four. Marcelli spun to avoid Demello but unfortunately Jimmy Yarberry spun into Marcelli’s car damaging his front end. Fortunately Marcelli was able to return to action, unfortunately the track position he lost diminished his hopes for the sportsman track championship.

After the restart, McDonald pulled away as second place Ken Hallis did his best to hold off Pries for the second spot. On lap 11, the two came together with Hallis spinning into the infield bringing out the yellow. Pries was sent to the rear moving Moulton into second. This set the stage for a showdown that fans had been waiting for all season as McDonald and Moulton led the rest of the field to the restart. Moulton rode in McDonald’s mirror for the duration of the race. With six laps remaining in the race, the two ran into slower traffic. McDonald was better able to maneuver through the cars while Moulton lost a bit of ground. Moulton was able to close the gap but unable to make the necessary maneuver to take the lead away from McDonald. At the checkered flag it was McDonald victorious over Moulton, Peterson, Pries and Hallis. Nevertheless, Moulton’s strong finish was enough for him to take the sportsman division crown.

The annual Fall Spectacular is still to be run. Joining the real stocks, roadrunners and thunder roadster cars will be the Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds. The featured attraction for the weekend will be the 100-lap late model event. For the first time in several years, the Fall Spectacular will return to being a two-day event, Saturday September 25th and Sunday September 26th. Any questions concerning the Fall Spectacular should be made to Redwood Acres Raceway’s track office at 707-443-2118.