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.