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.

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