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.

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