Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Houston, we have a winner

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Racing returned to Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night after a two week layoff. Joining the four local divisions of real stocks, roadrunners, thunder roadsters and sportsman cars was the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model series for their second and final points visit to the 3/8-mile paved oval. After rear end issues in practice prevented him from qualifying, Randy Houston came from the rear of the field to handily win the 75-lap AABLM feature. Other main event victors on the night included Larry Pries in the sportsman division, Paul Peeples, Jr. in the thunder roadsters, Ryan Ahrens in the roadrunners and Donnie Hyman in the real stocks.

The real stock trophy dash went to Hyman over Ryan Robinson. Hyman then took the victory in the heat race beating out Wyatt Roach, Robinson, Bob Lima and Doug Way. Roach took the lead in the early going of the main event before falling victim to Hyman and Dustin Walters who was making his first start of the season driving the car normally piloted by his brother, Ryan. Walters looked as if he would be a serious contender to Hyman but misfortune struck. Coming off the fourth turn, it appeared as though something broke as Walters’ car went into the wall hard. Roach was collected in the process taking both drivers out of action. Hyman was able to take the win without serious threat over Robinson, Lima, Chris Naughton and Dax Kinsey.

The roadrunner division had its biggest turnout of cars ever with 16 total. Brett Murrell took his first ever victory in the trophy dash over Ryan Ahrens who was making his first start of the season after racing in the mini stock class last year. Dylan Cook won the faster heat race while Ken Barrett won the slower heat. The main event proved to be an example of 25 laps of controlled chaos. Rick Crawley held the lead early before giving way to Kolby Jackson. Jackson’s time didn’t last long as Dylan Cook took the top position. After a lap 13 caution, racing resumed with Cook still in the lead however going into the first turn he and the other three cars behind him got loose all at the same time. Several cars spun resulting in a yellow flag. Ahrens inherited the lead and was able to take the victory followed by Brian Murrell, Jr., Greg Mattox, Barrett and Cook.

Bruce Ziemer held off Paul Peeples, Jr. to win the thunder roadster trophy dash. Peeples beat Rob Nelson to the line by inches in the main event followed by Thomas Payne, Allen Olson and Chris Sarvinski. Nelson led the early laps of the feature from pole position before Ray Elliott took over the top spot. It didn’t take long for the fast cars of Peeples, Ziemer and Olson to move up to second, third and fourth behind Elliott. The only major incident of the race occurred when Sarvinski spun off the fourth turn collecting Payne. Fortunately both drivers were able to continue without damage. After the restart, Elliott did all he could to hold off Peeples, but eventually Peeples was able to get by for the lead. Elliott’s good night went bad when his engine soured, forcing him out of the race. Peeples cruised to the victory over Payne, Ziemer, Olson and Nelson.

The trophy dash in the sportsman division went to Brandon Barnwell followed by Larry Pries. Barnwell then took the heat race win followed by Kenny Demello, Angelo Marcelli, Dennis DelBiaggio and Pries. Demello led from pole early but was overtaken by Pries and DelBiaggio for position. After a spin on lap 12 by Joe Bonomini, the field tightened up and racing resumed. DelBiaggio did all he could to find a way by Pries for the lead but Pries was able to withstand DelBiaggio’s challenges to win. Marcelli took third with Demello fourth and Barnwell fifth.

Junior Roddy won the six-lap trophy dash for the AABLM series beating Northern California racing legend, Jim Walker who was racing for the first time in a year. The first 20 or so laps of the 75-lap main event proved to be late model short track racing at its best. With a full field invert, Allen Gibney started from pole and used it to his advantage as he led from the start. However, outside pole sitter, Mike Neilson kept fighting and was able to take the lead. Neilson built his lead to nearly a straightaway as Gibney did all he could to hold off the rest of the pack in second.

The eyes of the partisan crowd were firmly fixed on the blue 48 of Walker and he proved to still have some of the same magic that’s made him a fan favorite all along the west coast. After starting from seventh, Walker methodically picked his way through the field. Walker used the high line and was able to pick off Donahoo for third and then Gibney for second. Following in Walker’s tracks was Howard Ford who had set fast time earlier in the day.

The lone caution flag of the race on lap 15 took away Neilson’s large lead and gave Walker a chance to really get the local crowd on their feet. Neilson and Walker fought a hard but clean battle side-by-side until Neilson was able to take control. Walker’s car slowed dramatically and he fell back through the pack and eventually pulled into the pits for the rest of the night. At the same time, Randy Houston began to make his move for the lead. He quickly passed Ford on the high side, then did the same to Neilson off turn two. From that point on, Houston was absolutely dominant as he built up a substantial lead and was able to more or less cruise to the victory. Ford took second while AABLM points leader, Trevor Cristiani took third, the last car on the lead lap. Mike Doss and Neilson rounded out the top five finishers.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway this week with Fan Appreciation night. Fans who’ve saved ticket stubs from any five races this season can enter the event free. Those who haven’t will only have to pay $5 to get in. Prior to the races, drivers in all divisions will pull their cars onto the front stretch and fans will be allowed on the track for a meet and greet.

AABLM Race Results
Fast Time: Howard Ford 15.724, 87.811 MPH
Trophy Dash: Junior Roddy, Jim Walker, Mike Doss, Corey James, Trevor Cristiani, Howard Ford
Main Event: Randy Houston, Ford, Cristiani, Doss, Mike Neilson, Jeremy Donahoo, Allen Gibney, Roddy, Jim Stillman, Jr., Walker, James.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Northern California racing legend returning to the track?

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Saturday July 23rd marks the second of two visits for the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model series at Redwood Acres Raceway. Among the names expected to show up are AABLM points leader and winner of the first race at the Acres just a few weeks ago, Trevor Cristiani, David Miller, Corey James, Howard Ford and Randy Houston among others. There have been rumblings that a particular driver might show up to race his late model for the first time this season. According to two-time Redwood Acres Raceway track champion, Mic Moulton, this driver tested his car last Friday on the 3/8-mile paved oval. His name: Jim Walker.

The name Jim (or Jimmy) Walker is highly regarded and respected amongst race fans all over Northern California and Southern Oregon. For over 40 years the Ferndale, California dairy man has raced a baby blue (aka Walker blue) and silver numerated 48 car first on dirt then later on pavement tracks all over the west coast. The bulk of Walker’s early racing career with the latter stages in recent times has been focused on racing at his home track in Eureka, California, Redwood Acres Raceway.

It is rather unfortunate that younger generations of race fans did not get to see just how great of a race car driver Jim Walker was when he was in his prime. It is even more unfortunate that documentation of so many of Walker’s victories are only left to race fans who were witness. In the 1970s, Walker was a terror on the dirt at the Acres winning numerous main events and several track championships. For a time, Walker was booed by local fans because of his monopolization of race victories. However, that did not last long as Walker’s quiet manner and clean but hard driving won over those who were once not fans of his.

From the mid 1970s on through the mid 1980s, Walker progressed from racing on the dirt to racing on the pavement, a change that occurred seamlessly. Walker’s biggest and most prestigious victory came in the 1976 Permatex 200 at Riverside International Raceway in the sportsman division, better known today as the NASCAR Nationwide Series. Among those whom Walker outlasted that day include Bobby Allison, Neil Bonnett, Ivan Baldwin and Hershel McGriff. Just a few weeks later, Walker made the long trip to Florida to race the Permatex 300 sportsman event at Daytona International Speedway. Unfortunately, he was caught up in a lap 30 wreck and suffered a fractured left knee. Even so, Walker was able to come through to win the NorCal 150 Spring open competition event at Shasta Speedway that year.

Walker turned in two of his biggest race wins in the 1977 season first by holding off Joe Ruttman in inferior equipment and winning the Rose Classic 150 open comp race. Later in the year, Walker took home his only NASCAR Winston West victory winning the Winston 100 at Shasta Speedway in a race that featured the talents of Donnie Allison, Chuck Bown and Bill Schmitt. Throughout the 1980s, Walker continued his winning ways claiming victories in the 1981 Evergreen Speedway leg of Speedweek, the 1981 and 1984 Western 150 events at Shasta Speedway. In 1985, Walker narrowly lost the inaugural NASCAR Northwest Tour event at Evergreen Speedway to Garrett Evans. Keep in mind that these are all events that are documented on the Internet, it does not include numerous other races and wins that happened.

When Redwood Acres Raceway was paved for the 1988 season, Walker moved his focus back to racing locally while also racing open comp and other late model touring events sparingly. Walker fought off Randy Olson in both the ‘88 and ‘89 seasons to win the track championship. Though Walker’s win count was low in the 90s, he was still a major factor in every race he ran. In 1995, Walker took home the Laura Robinson 100 open comp victory at Shasta Speedway. Walker’s two most recent main event victories came in the Tri-State Challenge Series at Ukiah Speedway in May of 2002 and at Redwood Acres Raceway in the second night of the 2003 Fair Classic for the North State Challenge Series.

Since 2006 Walker has raced only four touring series events, all at Redwood Acres Raceway. The major factor in this is likely due to the unfortunate accident Walker endured a few years ago while working on his property when his Caterpillar rolled causing serious injury. Should Walker race this weekend’s AABLM event at the Acres, it quite possibly could be one of the last times that race fans can see the legendary Northern California racer behind the wheel.

Along with the visiting AABLM tour cars will be the regular schedule of real stocks, roadrunners, thunder roadsters and sportsman cars. Do not miss out on what promises to be an exciting night of racing at the Acres!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Young Cristiani wins big on Fair Nights

Young Cristiani wins big on Fair Nights

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Making his first ever start at Redwood Acres Raceway, 17 year old Trevor Cristiani took the victory in the AABLM 75-lap feature event during the Redwood Acres Fair. Not only was it Cristiani’s first visit and win at the 3/8-mile paved oval, in addition it was his first career win in the AABLM touring series of which he is competing in full-time for the first time. Cristiani’s win solidified his top position in points making it an extraordinary task to catch the Ukiah, California driver. In local action, Dennis DelBiaggio took the win in the sportsman division while other main event winners were Paul Peeples, Jr. in the Thunder Roadster class, visiting driver Caity Miller in the roadrunners and Nick Green in the real stock division.

Ryan Robinson took the victory in the real stock trophy dash while Jim Redd won the heat race. The first lap of the main event saw trouble for 2010 real stock track champion, Casey Mitchell as his string of bad luck in 2011 continued with a flat left rear tire. Redd looked to be a serious contender for the victory but was sidelined by an overheating problem. The closing laps proved to be a race for the win between three yellow cars, Nick Green, Robinson and Donnie Hyman. Hyman looked to have second place from Robinson with only a handful of laps left but got loose off turn four, breaking his momentum. At the checkered flag, it was Green holding off Robinson and Hyman to win. Wyatt Roach placed fourth while Mark Williams was fifth.

Dylan Cook looked to be very strong in the roadrunner division on the night as he took home the win in the trophy dash and in the heat race. In the main event, it was an early battle of the brothers between Brett and Brian Murrell, Jr. until Brian took the lead. The race was marred by several incidents and by a lap 8 restart, Cook held the lead over visiting driver, Caity Miller from Santa Rosa. However, going into the first turn, Cook got loose and spun handing the lead to Miller. After a brief battle Brian Murrell, Jr., Miller ran away from the field and went to the checkered flag unchallenged. Cook was able to get back to second ahead of Murrell, Jr., Ken Barrett and Michael Lawrence.

The Thunder Roadster trophy dash went to Randy Olson while the heat win went to Paul Peeples, Jr. As expected, when Olson and Peeples are on the same track, they’re usually the two that have to be beat to win and it was no different on this night. Peeples and Olson ran nose to tail in first and second for the majority of the feature race. Peeples wasn’t seriously challenged until late in the going when traffic broke his momentum allowing Olson to move to his bumper. Olson was unable to mount a serious attack on Peeples for the lead and at the checkered flag it was Peeples winning over Olson, Lonnie Tamboury, Bruce Ziemer and Thomas Payne.

Larry Pries won the trophy dash but in the heat race he got loose and spun in turn four damaging his rear end. Brandon Barnwell won the heat. Kenny led the early stages of the main event from his pole starting position but he did not have enough strength to hold off Dennis DelBiaggio. For perhaps the first time all season, it was an uneventful race for DelBiaggio as he more or less cruised to the victory. Angelo Marcelli placed second, Larry Pries third, Brandon Barnwell fourth and Demello fifth.

The Airport Auto Brokers Late Model touring series made their first of two scheduled visits to the Acres this season. Crescent City driver, Howard Ford held off Roseville’s Eric Schmidt to win the trophy dash. The invert for the 75-lap feature was eight giving the front row to Jim Stillman and Jeremy Hopkins while fast qualifier, Randy Houston had to start eighth. There was trouble on the first lap as Jeremy Donahoo broke loose and spun between turns three and four. Ford had nowhere to go and nailed Donahoo’s spinning car forcing both drivers out of action. It was determined that the track had been severely oiled down. Officials brought the remainder of the field in the pits to allow the track crew, including promoter Rich Olson to clean the race track.

After a delay of over 30 minutes, the race resumed but not for long. Going into turn one, David Miller made contact with Corey James’ bumper sending James spinning into the wall. Behind him, several drivers including Miller, Schmidt and Houston spun to avoid him. Thankfully everyone was able to continue racing. The race was caution free from that point on with Junior Roddy the leader on the restart. Allen Gibney was going everything he could to hold off the faster cars but by lap eight Trevor Cristiani was able to maneuver to second. Fast time qualifier, Randy Houston lost power and drove to the pits. Cristiani wasted no time taking the lead from Roddy as he passed him as soon as he caught him. Not long later, James pulled his car into the infield. Schmidt and Miller both got by Roddy for second and third.

Miller looked to be the strongest car in the field and after finally getting by Schmidt, he closed quickly on Cristiani. Everything looked to be playing right in the hands of the more experienced Miller, but coming off turn four he spun. AABLM flagman, Johnny Miskill held off on the yellow as Miller got going again Cristiani now held a comfortable margin while Schmidt and Doss battled for second place. The handling on Schmidt’s car looked to get worse as the race went on and Doss was able to take second in the closing stages of the race. When the double checkered flags dropped, it was Cristiani winning handily over Doss, Schmidt and Miller, the only four cars on the lead lap.

Racing takes a one week break at the Acres before returning July 9th when the Tri-Track Modified series will make their first and only stop of the season. Following that, the AABLM series returns to the raceway for the second time the next race on July 30th.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Airport Auto Brokers Late Models set to visit the Acres

Airport Auto Brokers Late Models set to visit the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It should be an exciting night of racing this Saturday, June 25th at Redwood Acres Raceway. The Airport Auto Brokers Late Model tour cars make their first of two scheduled appearances at the 3/8-mile paved oval. The AABLM cars will be joining the Acres four weekly racing divisions of real stocks, roadrunners, thunder roadsters and sportsman cars. Adding to the excitement and thrill of this weekend’s races will be the 2011 Redwood Acres Fair.

Ryan Robinson currently leads the points standings in the Real Stock division. Robinson’s margin over second place Donnie Hyman is only ten points. Robinson has used consistency to gain the points lead as he has yet to win a main event this season. Casey Mitchell notched the first two main event victories this season while Jim Redd and Bob Lima are the other two winners in the division this season.

The points margin in the roadrunner division is even closer. Robbie Nelson leads surprising rookie driver, Josh Hansen by only seven points. Nelson has a main event victory this season while Hansen has come close but has yet to pull through. Nick Hansen, Ken Barrett and Dylan Cook are the other drivers who’ve scored main event victories in the division.

Defending thunder roadster track champion, Thomas Payne looks to be the main to beat again this season. Payne leads second place Chris Sarvinski by 22 points in the race for the championship. Payne scored a main event victory in the last race on June 11th. Paul Peeples, Jr. has two main event victories on the year while Randy Olson has one.

It’s a battle between two of Redwood Acres Raceway’s most popular and most experienced drivers in the sportsman division. Larry Pries has won the previous two main events and holds the points lead in the class. Pries leads Angelo Marcelli by 11 points. Marcelli has one main event victory while Brandon Barnwell won the first main event of the season.

Trevor Cristiani leads the points standings for the visiting AABLM tour cars. Though Cristiani hasn’t notched a victory yet in the series, he has a firm grip on the points championship as he leads second place Corey James by 127 markers. Cristiani will be making his first appearance ever at the Acres this weekend which could open the door for James and third place, Jim Stillman, Jr. to gain ground in the standings. Last season when the AABLM visited, David Miller won the first race while Kevin Ostern dominated the second. Based on Miller’s dominance in the season ending Fall Spectacular last season, he is definitely the favorite going into this weekend.

All of the racing action gets going at 6:30 this Saturday evening. Don’t miss out!

Redwood Acres Raceway Points Standings (After Four Races)

Real Stocks
1. 47 Ryan Robinson 247
2. 58 Donnie Hyman 237
3. 48 Steve Kimberling 228
4. 69 Casey Mitchell 213
5. 57 Wyatt Roach 209
6. 44 Matt Simon/Jim Redd 195
7. 1 Nick Green 176
8. 55 Bob Lima/Dan Browne 173
9. 12 Ryan Walters 123
10. 74 Doug Way 120
11. 99 Chris Naughton 99
12. 33 Dax Kinsey 98
13. 3 Mark Williams 10

1. 24 Robbie Nelson 268
2. 48 Josh Hanson 261
3. 33 Nick Hansen/Brian Murrell, Jr./Sabrina Kinsey 259
4. 47 Michael Lawrence 236
5. 10 Kolby Jackson 229
6. 7 Ken Barrett 226
7. 11 Brett Murrell 193
8. 6 Jennifer Barrett 188
9. 13 Heath Roach 178
10. 43 Greg Mattox 166
11. 69 Tim Abeyta 119
12. 39 Gary Kilnetob 114
13. 77 Aaron Lair 106
14. 01 Dylan Cook 99
15. 14 Jarrett Mayo 82
16. 00 Ryan Leazer 43

Thunder Roadsters
1. 66 Thomas Payne 266
2. 23 Chris Sarvinski 248
3. 5 Bruce Ziemer 237
4. 21 Fergy Ferguson 222
5. 95 Belinda Ward 208
6. 82 Robert Miller 168
7. 16 Allen Olson 154
8. 15 Paul Peeples, Jr. 142
9. 11 Randy Olson 140
10. 50 Dan Browne 102
11. 18 Rob Nelson 101
12. 99 Mike Ward 66
13. 9 Lonnie Tamboury 60
14. 31 Ray Elliott 50
15. 73 Bernard Burns 46
16. 99 Jim Rich 45

1. 01 Larry Pries 266
2. 25 Angelo Marcelli 255
3. 56 Brandon Barnwell 241
4. 8 Kenny Demello 222
5. 19 Dennis DelBiaggio 195
6. 84 Ken Hallis 177
7. 40 Al Acuna 168
8. 21 Joe Bonomini 117
9. 81 Jeremy Yarberry 105

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Mitchell, Nelson, Payne and Marcelli early season points favorites at the Acres

Mitchell, Nelson, Payne and Marcelli early season points favorites at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2011 season at Redwood Acres Raceway has got off to a fast start. After the initial season opener was rained out on April 16th, racing was able to resume on April 30th Pepsi Night and May 7th for the Mother’s Day weekend races. Coincidentally, it appeared as though Mother Nature was going to intervene in the middle of the scheduled action for the Mother’s Day races. A heavy mist fell over the track during the real stock heat race slowing and eventually delaying the on-track action. Thankfully the skies lifted and with the cars and drivers in the real stock and roadrunner divisions circling the speedway, the track dried and racing was able to resume.

The winners in the real stock division last race included Ryan Robinson in the trophy dash, Doug Way in the heat race and Casey Mitchell in the main event, giving him both feature wins on the season. In the roadrunner division, Michael Lawrence prevailed in the trophy dash to win while Robbie Nelson doubled up winning the heat race and the main event. Randy Olson swept all three events in the Thunder Roadster division, overcoming oil and carburetor problems that have plagued his car since last season. Larry Pries won the sportsman trophy dash last race while Angelo Marcelli took the heat and main event victories.

With only two races in the books, the battle for the track championship in all four local divisions is still anyone’s race. Casey Mitchell holds a 17 point advantage over second place, Donnie Hyman in the real stocks 142-125. Robbie Nelson has a narrow lead in the roadrunner class, leading the duo of Nick Hansen and Brian Murrell, Jr. by only five points, 139-134. Defending Thunder Roadster track champion, Thomas Payne leads Chris Sarvinski by 13 markers, 134-121. In the sportsman division, Angelo Marcelli leads with 129 points while second place has a tie between Larry Pries and Brandon Barnwell at 124 points. Unfortunately for Barnwell, he hit the wall hard in the last main event and it will be interesting to see if the incident will knock him out of the running for the points championship.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway this Saturday night May 21st with all four local classes back in action.

Points Standings (After 2 Races)

Real Stocks
1. 69 Casey Mitchell 142
2. 58 Donnie Hyman 125
3. 1 Nick Green 123
4. 74 Doug Way 120
5. 47 Ryan Robinson 116
6. 48 Steve Kimberling 110
7. 55 Bob Lima/Donnie Brown 104
8. 57 Wyatt Roach 96
9. 44 Jim Redd 70
10. 12 Ryan Walters 58
11. 99 Chris Naughton 50
12. 33 Dax Kinsey 46
13. 3 Mark Williams 10

1. 24 Robbie Nelson 139
2. 33 Nick Hansen/Brian Murrell, Jr. 134
3. 48 Josh Hanson 131
4. 47 Michael Lawrence 129
5. 10 Kolby Jackson 117
6. 43 Rob Mattox 116
7. 13 Heath Roach 109
8. 69 Tim Abeyta 108
9. 7 Ken Barrett 103
10. 11 Brett Murrell 97
11. 6 Jennifer Barrett 92
12. 14 Jarrett Mayo 39
13. 01 Dylan Cook 23

Thunder Roadsters
1. 66 Thomas Payne 134
2. 23 Chris Sarvinski 121
3. 82 Robert Miller 119
4. 21 Fergy Ferguson 119
5. 5 Bruce Ziemer 116
6. 50 Dan Browne 102
7. 16 Allen Olson 101
8. 95 Belinda Ward 101
9. 11 Randy Olson 91
10. 15 Paul Peeples,Jr. 73
11. 73 Bernard Burns 46
12. 99 Jim Rich 45
13. 18 Rob Nelson 43

1. 25 Angelo Marcelli 129
2. 19 Dennis DelBiaggio 124
3. 56 Brandon Barnwell 124
4. 01 Larry Pries 123
5. 84 Ken Hallis 119
6. 40 Al Acuna 113
7. 8 Kenny Demello 106

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Racing returns to the Acres

Racing returns to the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2011 season opening event at Redwood Acres Raceway occurred this past Saturday night, April 30th. While rain plagued and eventually cancelled the original season opening date on April 16th, sun and blue skies fell over the 3/8-mile paved oval. There were a lot of old faces returning to the track as well as a lot of new ones. All in all, there was some great racing action had on the evening.

Defending real stock track champion, Casey Mitchell looked to be in top form winning the trophy dash over Donnie Hyman, Nick Green and Steve Kimberling. Hyman held off Ryan Robinson in the heat race to take the race win followed by Green, Mitchell and Kimberling. Wyatt Roach took the lead for the first two circuits of the 20-lap feature event before giving way to Doug Way. While battling for third alongside Hyman, Kimberling got loose between turns three and four forcing him to slow and lose several spots. Roach did his best to hold off faster cars for second but had to give way on lap five allowing Robinson to get under and by as well as Mitchell, Green and Hyman. Way appeared to have his hands full with Robinson and Mitchell filling his mirrors until the caution flew when Hyman spun on his own in turn one on lap seven.

Immediately after the restart, Robinson tried to go high and around Way for the lead. Mitchell chose the low line and was able to get by both for the lead when Way opened the door coming off turn four on lap 10. Robinson and Green continued to fight way or second while Hyman made his way back to the lead cars. Hyman was on a mission, moving past Green, then Robinson and setting his sights on Way. On lap 19 going into the first turn, Hyman’s right rear wheel flew off his car, sending him spinning. As Hyman came back down the track, he collected Robinson’s car. Fortunately, neither car was heavily damaged but both were finished for the race. Mitchell took the green/white restart and held on to the checkered flag over Way, Kimberling, Green and rookie driver Chris Naughton.

There were several new drivers in the roadrunner division. Among them were Jennifer Barrett, Heath Roach, Jared Mayo, Greg Mattox and Josh Hansen. Kolby Jackson won the trophy dash over Nick Hansen, Robbie Nelson and Dylan Cook. Jackson followed up with the heat race win over Roach, N. Hansen, Michael Lawrence and J. Hansen. Roach grabbed the lead early in the 20-lap main as the rest of the pack tried to sort themselves out. Mattox was the first to give Roach some trouble until Lawrence moved his way to third. Lawrence appeared to have second taken away before Roach slowed abruptly in front of him forcing Lawrence to jump on the brakes. Roach’s car came to a stop on the front straight necessitating a yellow flag on lap three.

Jackson used his experience to take the lead on the restart and appeared to be the car to beat. However, Lawrence, N. Hansen, Nelson and Brett Murrell were nipping at his heels. On lap 13, Jackson pushed high off turn four allowing Lawrence to maneuver past to the lead. A lap later, N. Hansen moved under to take second with Nelson following to third. The caution flew on lap 16 and bunched up the field for a shootout to the finish. N. Hansen used the restart to his advantage, finding the low lane under Lawrence for the lead. Nelson followed by into second. Nelson did all he could to mount a challenge on N. Hansen but didn’t have enough to take the lead away. At the checkered flag it was N. Hansen winning over Nelson, Lawrence, Mattox and Murrell.

Paul Peeples, Jr. held off Randy Olson, Fergy Ferguson and defending champion, Thomas Payne to win the thunder roadster trophy dash. The first heat was won by Robert Miller who was making his first start in the division in a year, former mini stock champion, Bernard Burns, Dan Browne, Bruce Ziemer and Jim Rich. The second heat saw misfortune strike both Randy and Allen Olson. Randy pulled his car into the pits with engine problems at the start of the heat while Allen Olson looked poised to win his first race ever but had to pull in due to an oil leak. Peeples was able to take the win over Payne, Chris Sarvinski and Ferguson.

Miller took the lead at the start of the 30-lap main event while a mad scramble played itself behind him. On lap three, Peeples made contact with Browne in turn one sending Browne spinning, bringing out a yellow flag and sending Peeples to the rear of the field. Miller took the restart ahead of Burns and Rich and looked to not have any rust after a year away from the Acres. Likewise, Burns looked to be very competitive in his first race back in many years. However, experience in the division began to show through in the form of Ziemer and Payne. On lap nine, Ziemer and Payne made a move to the inside of Burns at the same time. Ziemer and Payne touched briefly forcing Payne to get briefly get loose before he save his car. A lap later, Burns pulled his car to the pits. On lap 12, Ziemer moved under Miller and past to the lead with Payne following into second. The front two dueled nose-to-tail for the lead while Peeples began to make his presence known by passing Miller for third.

The closing laps featured a fantastic fight for the lead between Ziemer, Payne and Peeples. Payne tried the high line around Ziemer with three laps remaining opening the door for Peeples. With two to go, Ziemer pushed high allowing Peeples to get the room underneath to take the lead. At the checkered flag it was Peeples winning over Ziemer, Payne, Ferguson and Sarvinski.

Larry Pries won the sportsman trophy dash ahead of Dennis DelBiaggio, Brandon Barnwell and Angelo Marcelli. Barnwell took the heat win over Marcelli, Pries, DelBiaggio and Al Acuna. The 30-lap feature got off to a sloppy start when DelBiaggio and Ken Hallis made contact at the start forcing a caution flag. Acuna led Pries and Barnwell to the restart and fought hard to hold off the two faster cars. Barnwell was better able to use the high line to his advantage, working his way past Pries and then Acuna for the lead. Pries was able to move by on the outside several laps later. As the race went on, Pries appeared to be catching Barnwell for the lead until DelBiaggio spun on lap 21 bringing out the caution flag.

The restart appeared to be just what Pries needed to get by Barnwell. With two laps to go, Pries took a look inside of Barnwell going into turn one but got into the corner too hard costing him his momentum and the race win. At the checkered flag it was Barnwell winning ahead of Pries, Acuna, Hallis and DelBiaggio.

It’s a quick turnaround for everyone as the 2011 racing season resumes at Redwood Acres Raceway this Saturday May 7th for the Mother’s Day Race.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Redwood Acres Raceway set to open the 2011 season

Redwood Acres Raceway set to open the 2011 season

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It’s that time of year again when the roar of the engines fill the ears of eager fans and the sight of fast cars thrill young and old alike. The 2011 season at Redwood Acres Raceway is less than two weeks away. This past weekend, an open practice was held to whet everyone’s appetite while also giving drivers and crew members a chance to test out new cars and/or new setups going into the year.

Several cars representing all four local divisions were in attendance on what was a cold and windy day. Larry Pries, Angelo Marcelli, Dennis DelBiaggio and rookie, Jeremy Yarberry were on hand to test their sportsman cars. Bruce Ziemer, Paul Peeples Jr. and Randy Olson were out for the thunder roadster cars along with 2010 track champion, Thomas Payne and Chris Sarvinski sporting a new number and new colors. Several roadrunners were in attendance, Kolby Jackson chief among them along with Brett Murrell and Michael Lawrence. Real Stock rookie, Dax Kinsey was the lone driver in that division who took advantage of the practice.

The 2011 schedule for Redwood Acres Raceway spans 15 races in 14 weeks beginning April 16th and ending September 24th and 25th in the season finale, the Fall Spectacular. For the second straight year, the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model touring series will be joining the regular program. The AABLM will be racing at the Acres twice in 2011, first on June 25th during the Redwood Acres Fair and July 23rd. The Tri-Track Challenge Modified Series will be making it’s only stop on July 9th. This is the first time in several years that the I.M.C.A. Modifieds have raced at Redwood Acres Raceway. The popular Northern California Pro-4 Modified tour will be making three stops to the Acres, first on June 4th, later on August 27th along with the Fall Spectacular weekend in September. As usual, the feature event for the season ending Fall Spectacular will be the 100-lap late model open race. Many of the drivers from the AABLM series are expected to take part in the event, along with other drivers from the region.

Redwood Acres Raceway would like everyone to know of their new website www.redwoodacresraceway.info . You can direct any questions to track promoters Rich and Linda Olson by calling the track office 707-442-3232 and leaving a message. It promises to be another exciting year of racing at Redwood Acres Raceway. Don’t miss out!

2011 Redwood Acres Raceway Schedule
April 16th - Best Appearing Car Contest
April 30th - Pepsi Night
May 7th - Mother's Day Race
May 21st
June 4th - Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds
June 11th - Father's Day Race
June 25th - Fair Race - Airport Auto Brokers Late Models
July 9th - Tri-Track Challenge Modified Series
July 23rd - Airport Auto Brokers Late Models
July 30th - $5 Night
August 6th - California Truckers Association Appreciation Night
August 27th - Back-To-School Night - Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds
September 10th - Memorial Race
September 24th & 25th - Fall Spectacular Open Show Featuring Late Models and Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds