Monday, September 24, 2012

Redwood Acres Raceway’s 2012 season nearing its conclusion

Redwood Acres Raceway’s 2012 season nearing its conclusion

By Matthew J. Sullivan

This weekend marks the end of the 2012 season for racing at Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway the 25th straight year of pavement race on the 3/8-mile oval.  In what has become a Northern California tradition, the year will conclude this Friday, Saturday and Sunday (September 21st-23rd) with the Fall Spectacular.  Along with the local classes of cars and drivers from the real stocks, roadrunner and thunder roadster divisions will be the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model touring series along with the return of the IMCA modified open race.

The battle for Redwood Acres Raceway’s sportsman division concluded on the September 15th Larry Pries Memorial event as Brandon Barnwell sealed his 2012 track championship with a main event victory.  Barnwell’s 2012 crown marks his third championship in the sportsman division, his previous titles coming back-to-back in 2007 and 2008.  The title in the thunder roadster division has been sealed as well by Paul Peeples, Jr.  Peeples championship mirrors Barnwell’s run as he too previously won titles in the roadster class in 2007 and 2008.  Donnie Hyman appears to have the real stock track title well within reach as he has a nearly insurmountable margin of 93 points over second place, Dax Kinsey.  Things are closer in the roadrunner class as Michael “Cheeseburger” Lawrence has a 34 point gap over second place driver, Ken Barrett.

As previously mentioned, the 2012 Fall Spectacular marks the return of the very popular IMCA modified open race after a five-year absence.  Thomas Wright won the most recent running of the event in 2007 over Jay Linstroth, Richie Potts and Charlie Kramm.  The 2006 running saw Oregon veteran, Willie Thompson come across the line first ahead of Jerry Dubach, Scott Winters, Eddie Laws and Gary Lowblad.  The 2005 race was won by Jay Linstroth beating out Ken Scales, Willie Thompson, Richie Potts and David Sullivan.  The modifieds visited the Acres earlier this year in June with Guy Young taking the victory.

The AABLM series will be staging its ninth race of 2012 this weekend, the series’ third visit to the Acres on the year.  Randy Houston won the season opening race in May while Forrest Kuecker won his first ever AABLM event in the race in late July.  Howard Ford won both ends of a double-header in the 2011 running of the Fall Spectacular.  Jeremy Doss has been the dominant force in the series, scoring five wins this year but the young driver has yet to taste success thus far at Redwood Acres Raceway.  He’ll face top competition including Houston, David Miller, Jim Walker and another youngster in his teammate, Brandon White who won the AABLM’s last race at Shasta Speedway on September 15th.

Redwood Acres Raceway will have open practice on Friday for all cars and drivers beginning at 2:00PM followed by a barbeque.  Racing will begin Saturday at 6:00PM while Sunday’s events will begin at 1:00PM.  Any questions regarding this weekend’s races should be directed to the raceway by calling 707-442-3232.

Past Late Model Fall Spectacular Winners
1990 – Randy Olson
1991 – Bob Strauss
1992 – Randy Olson
1993 – Jeff Rogers
1994 – Roger Gannon
1995 – Darrell Midgley
1996 – Randy Olson
1997 – Randy Olson
1998 – Darrell Midgley
1999 – Mike Sackett
2000 – Mike Sackett
2001 – Mike Sackett
2003 – Mike Sackett
2004 – David Miller
2005 – Josh Bews
2006 – Ryan Foster
2007 – Howard Ford
2009 – Noel McCormack, Jr.
2010 – David Miller
2011 – Howard Ford/Howard Ford

Monday, August 27, 2012

Henderson honors friend, sweeps Back-To-School races

Henderson honors friend, sweeps Back-To-School races

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was Back-To-School Night at Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night. To celebrate the occasion, track promoters, Rich and Linda Olson along with several raceway fans and sponsors donated backpacks and school supplies to children who signed up at the souvenir booth. Several drivers went into this past Saturday evening’s event with heavy hearts with the passing of former thunder roadster competitor, Chris Banfill. Banfill had been reported missing in late July and was found dead near the town of Rio Dell last week. His death was ruled a suicide due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Before the racing took place, drivers took to the track in their cars with a memorial lap and ceremony where a Corvette with Banfill’s number 25 passed through the middle of the field to take the checkered flag at the start/finish line.

The real stock trophy dash was won by rookie driver, Harvey Holm while Dax Kinsey took the trophy in the heat race. The feature proved to be a tough night for several drivers thanks to a handful of wrecks. Contact between Donnie Hyman and Holm entering the third turn on lap two collected Tyler Avelar and William Sand with Sand being the victim of a busted radiator. Kinsey looked to have the strongest car but had a battle on his hands trying to get by leader, Dustin Walters. While trying to make a run on the outside, Kinsey got loose and hit the turn two wall hard forcing him out of the race. Walters was able to hold on to win over Holm, Jim Redd and Hyman.

In roadrunner action, Brett Murrell took the trophy dash victory. The heat races were won by Michael Lawrence and Ken Barrett. The feature was slowed only once when Kayla Foster was turned by Barrett entering the first turn on the first lap. Thomas Halvorsen was the main victim as he received unrepairable damage that knocked him out of the race. Murrell tore through the field on the restart and absolutely dominated the race, winning handily over Lawrence, Jarrett Mayo and Tim Abeyta.

The Northern California Pro-4 Modified cars returned to the Acres for the second time in 2012. Kevin Barba won the trophy dash with the heat race victories going to Marty Lewis and Greg Van Cleave. The 25-lap feature was cut to 20 laps due to several wrecks and lengthy cleanup time. The scariest incident of the race came in the final handful of laps when Chris Straka made an error going into the third turn racing with Van Cleave for the lead, taking both cars out. Straka’s car hit the wall head on but was able to walk away from the incident unharmed. The incident handed the lead to Curt Lewis and he held off Van Cleave to take the victory while Neo Nuno and Fredy Champagne finishing third and fourth.

David Henderson was the man to beat in the thunder roadster division as he took the wins in the trophy dash and the heat race. Fergy Ferguson led the early few laps in the feature before getting passed by Alan Olson. Olson did all he could to hold off Henderson but was only able to do it for so long before Henderson found the inside line to take the lead. Olson fell back to third when Paul Peeples, Jr. took second from him. Henderson took the flag first in what had to be an emotional night for him as he and Banfill had been good friends. Peeples finished second over Olson and Bruce Ziemer.

Brandon Barnwell was victorious in the sportsman trophy dash while Dennis DelBiaggio took the checkers first in the heat race. Al Acuna led early in the main event before Barnwell was able to take the lead. DelBiaggio looked to have the best car in the field but saw misfortune when he and Acuna made contact sending Acuna spinning and DelBiaggio to the rear of the field. Kenny Demello did all he could to pressure Barnwell but the former track champion never faltered as he took the victory with Demello, DelBiaggio and Angelo Marcelli finishing in his wake.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday September 8th for Five Dollar Fan Appreciation Night. Fans who have ticket stubs from five previous races this season get in free while those that don’t will be able to attend for only five dollars.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

2012 winding down at the Acres

2012 winding down at the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

With summer at its midpoint and the month of August in its early days, the 2012 season at Redwood Acres Raceway is quickly drawing to a close. There are only five weekends of racing left on the 3/8-mile paved oval in Eureka, California, six including the season ending Fall Spectacular. The points races in two of the local divisions are close while in two others, it appears as though it will take a drastic issue to overthrow the current points leader.

Donnie Hyman has a substantial 78 point lead in the real stock points race over rookie driver, William Sand. Unfortunately for Hyman, he suffered engine woes in the most recent race on July 21st. Nick Green sits in third only three points behind sand while Casey Mitchell is fourth two behind Green despite not attending all the events this season. The team of Jim Redd and Matt Simon are in fifth, 13 points behind Mitchell.

The points race in the roadrunner division will likely come down to the final lap of the final main event. Without question the roadrunners are Redwood Acres Raceway’s most competitive division. Michael Lawrence is the current points leader but by only a single point. Second place is a tie between two cars that have a team of drivers. The #98 team of Ray Rapp, Jerry Toledo and Ron Macklin are locked in battle with the #52 team of Ryan Ahrens and Thomas Halvorsen. Brett Murrell is fourth in the points, seven behind points leader Lawrence while Tim Abeyta is in fifth but out of the running for the division crown.

Paul Peeples, Jr. has been a dominant force in the thunder roadster class and the points in the division reflect that. Peeples leads two-time defending division champion, Thomas Payne by 51 markers. Bruce Ziemer is third but only by eight points over fourth place, Lonnie Tamboury. David Henderson is fifth in points despite missing an event this season.
The title race in the sportsman division is a two-man race between Brandon Barnwell and Dennis DelBiaggio. Barnwell holds a six-point advantage over DelBiaggio in the standings. Veteran driver, Angelo Marcelli is firmly in third position while Kenny Demello is fourth and Jeremy Yarberry is in fifth.

Racing resumes this Saturday evening, August 4th. In addition to the racing, Redwood Acres Raceway will be celebrating California Truckers Association Appreciation Night.

Redwood Acres Raceway Points Standings (Total Points In Parenthesis)
Real Stocks: Donnie Hyman (495), William Sand (417), Nick Green (414), Casey Mitchell (412), Jim Redd/Matt Simon (399), Dax Kinsey (385), Tyler Avelar (379), Harvey Holms 218), Chris Naughton (213), Steve Kimberling/Brian Murrell, Jr. (180), Ryan Walters (142), Dustin Walters (88), Lynard Ward (62), Wyatt Roach (58), Bob Lima (56), Ronnie O'Neil (55), Doug Way (53)

Roadrunners: Michael Lawrence (476), Jerry Toledo/Ron Macklin/Ray Rapp (475), Ryan Ahrens/Thomas Halvorsen (475), Brett Murrell (469), Tim Abeyta (433), Ken Barrett (405), Jordan Paiment (398), Steve Paiment/Erik Hoffmeister (334), Johnnie Daniels (313), Brian Murrell, Sr./Brian Murrell, Jr. (310), Kayla Foster (236), Gray Etheridge (230), Josh Hanson (219), Jarrett Mayo (214), Kolby Jackson/Wyatt Roach (206), Greg Mattox (194), Ken Lawrence (130), Gary Klinetob (121), Lynard Ward (90), Erik Hoffmeister (83), Jennifer Barrett (76), Timmy Tanno (60), Tony Miles (51), Ronnie O'Neil (46), Chris Ghidinelli (44), Ryun Leazer (38), Andrew McKaughan (10)

Thunder Roadsters: Paul Peeples, Jr. (571), Thomas Payne (520), Bruce Ziemer (459), Lonnie Tamboury (451), Dave Henderson (433), Chris Sarvinski (402), Fergy Ferguson (385), Belinda Ward (376), Mike Ward (374), Jim Rich (353), Allen Olson (319), Lance Martin (211), Rob Nelson (160), Robbie Nelson (105), Bernard Burns (99), Leroy Marsh, Jr. (45), Chris Lawrence (43), Willy Timbrook (42)

Sportsman: Brandon Barnwell (524), Dennis DelBiaggio (518), Angelo Marcelli (487), Kenny Demello (452), Jeremy Yarberry (273), Kevin Estep (220), Jerry Peterson (187), Roger Sanderson (176), Ken Hallis (167), Al Acuna (128), Craig Baker (102)

Remaining 2012 Schedule For Redwood Acres Raceway:
August 4th - California Truckers' Association Appreciation Night
August 25th – Back-To-School Night Featuring The Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds
September 8th - $5 Fan Appreciation Night
September 15th - Larry Pries Memorial Night
September 29th & 30th – Fall Spectacular Featuring The AABLM Tour Cars And The Northern California Pro-4 Modifieds.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

First time winner caps off fantastic night of racing

First time winner caps off fantastic night of racing

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was hardly Summer time weather this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway but the cooler conditions did not prevent the drivers from providing great racing action at Eureka, California’s 3/8-mile paved oval. It is not an overstatement to say that the racing at Redwood Acres Raceway is truly some of the best racing in all of west coast racing with close and clean competition in all four local divisions. Joining the regular action was the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model tour division who were making their second visit to the Acres for their fifth race of the 2012 season.

The real stock car count has improved dramatically over the past two races as a total of 13 cars and drivers showed up to race. Nick Green won the trophy dash over Casey Mitchell, Ryan Walters and Harvey Holms. The first heat was won by Doug Way who was making his first start of the season ahead of Donnie Hyman and Jim Redd while the second heat went to Dustin Walters over his brother, Ryan and William Sand. The feature event was a thrilling race that was highlighted with a duel for the lead between Green and Casey Mitchell. Mitchell eventually prevailed at the top but unfortunately for Green, his night would end prematurely as he spun in fluid from Sand and hit the turn three wall. Mitchell held off Dustin Walters for the victory while Dax Kinsey, Tyler Avelar and Holms rounded out the top five.

The roadrunner division had another strong car count with 18 cars taking to the track. The trophy dash victory was taken by Tim Abeyta ahead of Jerry Toledo, Brett Murrell and Michael Lawrence. The first heat was slowed for a time when Jennifer Barrett hit the water barrels at the turn two pit entrance but fortunately she was okay. Jordan Paiment won the first heat race over Brian Murrell and Ronnie O’Neil who made the move from the real stock division to the roadrunner class. Johnnie Daniels brought out a new car and was the winner of the second heat race over Gary Klinetob and Jarrett Mayo.

With the high number of cars, a B feature was held with the top two drivers transferring to the A feature. Paiment and Erik Hoffmeister nearly saw their opportunity to advance when they collided in the closing stages of the event but they were able to take the top two spots. The A main featured a thrilling duel for the lead between Brett Murrell and Toledo. On the white flag lap, Toledo moved past Murrell for the lead and the eventual race victory. Murrell held on to second followed by Abeyta, Lawrence and Klinetob.

Thomas Payne took the thunder roadster trophy dash victory ahead of Bernard Burns, David Henderson and Paul Peeples, Jr. Chris Sarvinski won the first heat but later scratched from the feature before it started. Mike Ward and Lance Martin followed Sarvinski to the line. The second heat victory was taken by David Henderson over Bruce Ziemer and Peeples. Ward led the early stages of the feature but as has been the case all year long, the dominant trio of Peeples, Henderson and Payne. Henderson did all he could to challenge Peeples for the victory but had his hands full fighting off Payne for the second position. At the checkered flag it was Peeples winning over Henderson, Payne, Lonnie Tamboury and Ziemer.

The sportsman division only had six cars for the night down from 10 the previous race the week prior. Kenny Demello won the trophy dash over Dennis DelBiaggio, Brandon Barnwell and Angelo Marcelli. DelBiaggio won the heat over Barnwell and Marcelli. Marcelli held off the faster Barnwell to take the feature victory with DelBiaggio, Demello, Roger Sanderson and Jeremy Yarberry.

The AABLM trophy dash victory was taken by West Coast racing legend, Jim Walker over Junior Roddy, Keith Nelson, Brandon White, Randy Houston and David Miller. The front row starters, Jeremy Donahoo and Forrest Kuecker brought the field to the green in the 75-lap feature. Kuecker led the first lap, while Donahoo the second. Kuecker took the lead firmly on lap three and was never seriously challenged, even after two brief cautions. At the finish it was Kuecker taking his first AABLM victory handily over second place, Jeremy Doss. White placed third over Miller and Nelson.

Racing at Redwood Acres Raceway takes a break for a week before returning Saturday August 4th for California Truckers Association Appreciation Night.

June 21st Race Results
Real Stocks
Trophy Dash: Nick Green, Casey Mitchell, Ryan Walters, Harvey Holms
Heat Race 1: Doug Way, Donnie Hyman, Jim Redd, Tyler Avelar, Brian Murrell, Jr., Chris Naughton
Heat Race 2: Dustin Walters, R. Walters, William Sand, Green, Holms, Casey Mitchell, Dax Kinsey
Main Event: Mitchell, D. Walters, Kinsey, Avelar, Holms, Naughton, Redd, Way, Green, Murrell, Jr. , Sand, R. Walters, Hyman

Trophy Dash: Tim Abeyta, Jerry Toledo, Brett Murrell, Michael Lawrence
Heat Race 1: Jordan Paiment, Brian Murrell, Sr., Ronnie O'Neil, Ken Barrett, Kayla Foster, Erik Hoffmeister, Gray Etheridge, Ken Lawrence
Heat Race 2: Johnnie Daniels, Gary Klinetob, Jarrett Mayo, Toledo, Abeyta, Murrell, Ryan Ahrens, Lawrence
Main Event: Toledo, Murrell, Abeyta, Lawrence, Klinetob, Daniels, Ahrens, Barrett, Paiment, Hoffmeister, Jarrett Mayo, Ronnie O'Neil

Thunder Roadsters
Trophy Dash: Thomas Payne, Bernard Burns, David Henderson, Paul Peeples, Jr.
Heat Race 1: Chris Sarvinski, Mike Ward, Lance Martin, Chris Lawrence, Jim Rich, Robbie Nelson, Rob Nelson
Heat Race 2: Henderson, Ziemer, Peeples, Jr., Payne, Burns, Lonnie Tamboury, Belinda Ward, Fergy Ferguson
Main Event: Peeples, Jr., Henderson, Payne, Tamboury, Ziemer, M. Ward, Burns, Martin, Robbie Nelson, Fergy Ferguson, B. Ward, Lawrence, Rich, Rob Nelson

Trophy Dash: Kenny Demello, Dennis DelBiaggio, Brandon Barnwell, Angelo Marcelli
Heat Race: DelBiaggio, Barnwell, Marcelli, Demello, Roger Sanderson, Jeremy Yarberry
Main Event: Marcelli, Barnwell, DelBiaggio, Demello, Sanderson, Yarberry

Airport Auto Brokers Late Models
Qualifying: Junior Roddy 15.819, Randy Houston 15.833, Jeremy Doss 15.839, David Miller 15.861, Jim Walker 15.973, Brandon White 15.995, Keith Nelson 16.013, Trevor Cristiani 16.087, Forrest Kuecker 16.123, Jeremy Donahoo 16.174, Allen Gibney 16.733, Roger Sanderson 16.752
Trophy Dash: Walker, Roddy, Nelson, White, Houston, Miller
Main Event: Kuecker, Doss, White, Miller, Nelson, Roddy, Houston, Walker, Sanderson, Donahoo, Gibney, Cristiani.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Racing resumes at Redwood Acres Raceway

Racing resumes at Redwood Acres Raceway

By Matthew J. Sullivan

After nearly a month off, thanks in part to Mother Nature, racing returned to Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday night. The previous event at the 3/8-mile paved oval was June 16th while the race scheduled for June 30th was cancelled thanks to rain. The long break seemed to bring out more cars and drivers as there were strong car counts in all four local divisions. In all there were 10 sportsman, 14 thunder roadsters, 18 roadrunners and 10 real stock cars. Unfortunately the night was highlighted by several wrecked that decimated the car count in all four of the divisions.

Nick Green won the four-lap trophy dash in the real stock division over Jim Redd and Casey Mitchell. The first heat race was taken by Dax Kinsey while the second went to Ryan Walters. Tyler Avelar led the early going of the main event before losing the lead to Donnie Hyman. Hyman held the lead for several laps before being overtaken by Mitchell. There were to major incidents in the feature event. The first came when William Sand lost control going into turn three and hit the wall. The second was contact between Green and Bob Lima that caused Green’s bumper to come off and his left rear tire to fail. Mitchell proved to be the class of the field in the event but might have had a stronger challenge for the victory from Walters who had a lengthy but clean battle with Hyman for the second position. At the checkered flag, it was Mitchell first, half a straightaway ahead of Walters in second followed by Hyman in third.

Tim Abeyta took the roadrunner trophy dash over Thomas Halvorsen. The first heat race was won by Jerry Toledo while the second heat was won by Halvorsen. Due to the number of cars, a rare B-main event was held for the division. The normally quick Toledo had issues in qualifying which forced him to start the B-main but he was able to take the first transfer position. The second spot was held down by Johnny Daniels before he was forced to the pits. With Daniels out, a tight race between Jennifer Barrett, Kayla Foster and Ryun Leazer ensued. Barrett was able to hold off the two challengers to take the second transfer position.

One of the drivers who was not able to start the feature was points leader, Brett Murrell. Murrell qualified his regular car but it suffered problems in the pit afterward. Murrell was forced to use a backup car which knocked him out of the trophy dash and forced him to have to run the B-main event. Murrell’s closest competitor in the points, Michael Lawrence benefitted from Murrell’s woes. Lawrence qualified the car normally driven by his father and when Murrell’s car had problems after qualified, it opened up a spot for Lawrence to fill in the feature.

Lawrence started the feature on the pole but was quickly overtaken by Ken Barrett and Steve Paiment. The lone caution of the event came early when Jordan Paiment spun Jarrett Mayo. On the restart, the two fast cars of Abeyta and Halvorsen quickly maneuvered their way through traffic. Halvorsen was the first to get to and by Barrett while Abeyta had to work a little harder and longer to take second. The best racing proved to be at the very front between Halvorsen and Abeyta as the two ran nose-to-tail for the lead. With two laps remaining, Abeyta found the low line under Halvorsen to take the lead. On the white flag, Halvorsen drove his car deep into the first turn, putting Abeyta behind the slower car of Jennifer Barrett for the lead and the eventual race win. Abeyta held on for second while Toledo placed third.

Tommy Payne held off Paul Peeples, Jr. to take the thunder roadster trophy dash. Belinda Ward won the slower heat race while the faster heat race was won by Peeples. Chris Sarvinski briefly held the lead in the feature but was overhauled by the fast trio of Peeples, David Henderson and Payne. It was tight racing amongst the three with Henderson all over Peeples bumper. Henderson dogged Peeples until he was finally able to get under for the lead. It was brief though as Peeples was able to get back under Henderson to regain the spot. Peeples stretched his lead while Henderson and Payne fought for second for a few laps. Henderson regained the position firmly and looked to be closing back in on Peeples until he got loose of turn two and hit the wall, ending his night. Peeples was able to withstand a brief challenge by Payne to take the feature win with Bruce Ziemer coming in a strong third place.

Out of town racer, Kevin Estep returned to Redwood Acres to take the sportsman trophy dash victory. Unfortunately for Estep, his night would be a short one. In the heat race, Jerry Peterson and Estep got together in the third turn with both drivers hitting the wall. Peterson was able to continue racing while Estep was finished for the evening. Roger Sanderson made his second start of the year after a long hiatus away from racing and took the heat race win over Brandon Barnwell. The duo of Sanderson and Barnwell would be the stars of the feature event that was slowed first from a spin by Craig Baker, then by contact and a spin by Dennis DelBiaggio and Kenny Demello and finally another spin by Baker that caught Ken Hallis in the right rear and send him head on into the back stretch wall. Barnwell was on Sanderson’s bumper all night and did everything he could to force Sanderson into making a mistake but it never happened. Sanderson took the feature win over Barnwell with DelBiaggio placing third.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway this Saturday June 21st. Joining the four local divisions will be the Airport Auto Brokers Late Model touring series which will be making its second visit to the track. Drivers expected to race include series points leader, Jeremy Doss, West Coast racing legend, Jim Walker, Randy Houston who won the season opening event at the Acres earlier this year and other top west coast competition.