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.