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.

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