Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Knight takes the crown at the Acres

Knight takes the crown at the Acres

 By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was another thrilling night of racing this past Sunday evening at Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway. Joining the five local divisions of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and late models for Salute the Troops night presented by Renner Petroleum were the North State Modified Series which like the local Acres racers were also running their second race of 2014.

A fantastic crowd packed the stands on what proved to be a clear and comfortable night weather-wise. Gary Klinetobe was the dominant force in the Roadrunner division for the second straight weekend. Klinetobe took the victories in the trophy dash and heat races and ran away with the race in the main event, taking the lead on lap seven and never looking back. Steve Paiment finished second ahead of Rick Estes, Eugene Palmer and Tim Abeyta.

It looked as though Leonard Ward III was going to be the man to beat the second straight week in the bomber division as he was victorious in the trophy dash and heat races. Unfortunately, Ward suffered issues early in the feature which took him off the track and out of the race. Rookie driver, James Moore showed surprising speed in only his second ever race. Moore grabbed the race lead on the third lap and was never seriously challenged afterward as he crossed the line first. Matt Simon and Brian Murrell, Sr. were scored finishing second and third after Tyler Avelar and Donnie Hyman failed post-race technical inspection.

After suffering issues which prevented him from racing the previous weekend, Brian Murrell, Jr. returned to the mini stock division in style. Murrell took the trophy in the dash race, won the heat race and obliterated the field in the main event, winning handily over second place, Craig Baker. Brian McIntosh placed third while Brett Murrell was fourth but unable to finish after his vehicle broke in the early going of the main event.

Paul Peeples, Jr. was in top form in the Thunder Roadster class as he took wins in the dash and heat races. Peeples was in the lead by lap six of the 30 lap feature and was followed the majority of the way by David Henderson. The two raced nose-to-tail with Peeples maintaining just enough of a lead on Henderson to prevent him from making a serious challenge for the lead. At the checkered flag it was Peeples winning over Henderson, Chris Sarvinski, Robbie Nelson and Thomas Payne.

The late model trophy dash win was taken by Jerry Peterson while the heat race victory went to Luke Hall. Just like the first race of the year, the main event featured spectacular racing between Hall and Mic Moulton. Hall moved to the race lead by lap two of the 35 lap affair and held the lead until lap 25 when Moulton was able to utilize the low line to take the pass. Hall maintained a close gap on Moulton but was never able to make a run to the lead again as Moulton crossed the line first over Hall, Peterson, Al Acuna and Joe Bonomini.

The North State Modifed Series made their second start of the season at the Acres. Citrus Heights, California racer, Jay Linstroth set the pace in qualifying with at 16.234 effort. The Lucas Oil A Dash for Cash win was taken by Corey James of Laytonville, California. Longtime veteran, Richie Potts of Petaluma, California won the Scrubba Bub’s B Dash for Cash. Kelseyville, California’s Darrin Knight was the victor in the Road Safety C Dash for Cash. The winner of all three dashes was awarded a 100 dollar bill for winning. Knight donated his 100 dollar bill to two members of the armed forces who were in attendance.
The 15-car field was brought to the green of the 60-lap feature by Richard Knight and Michael Morrison, Jr. Things got crazy in a hurry when Morrison and Linstroth came together off the second turn on lap two which collected Kyle Borden in the process. Morrison fell out of the event, Linstroth was sent to the rear and Borden pitted and returned to the field. Richard Knight held the lead on the restart until lap eight when Darrin Knight took the low line coming off the fourth turn for the lead.

The top three cars raced closely up front while Linstroth and Borden tried to battle their way back into contention. Richard Knight was able to stick to Darrin Knight’s bumper for most of the race but Cody Braund began aggravating him for second allowing Darrin Knight to pull away. With nearly ¾ of the race finished, an odor began emitting from one of the cars on the track. Coming down the front stretch, Richard Knight’s rear end let go sending off a shower of sparks and dumping fluid on the track. Fortunately, there was no serious damage but Knight’s race was done from that point.

The final 15 laps featured a furious race by Linstroth to the front which delighted the packed grandstands. Up front, Darrin Knight was withstanding Braund’s challenges for the race lead. The action was slowed with five laps remaining when Kyle Borden and Riley Watson tangled off turn four. After the restart, Knight was able to put a gap on Braund while Linstroth did all he could to maneuver his way past cars. At the checkered flag it was Knight winning while Braund narrowly held off Linstroth for the second position. Dustin DeRosier placed fourth while Potts rounded out the top five finishers.

After two straight weeks to start the season, racing at the Acres takes a one week break before returning Saturday June 7th. Grandstands open at 5:00 PM while racing begins at 6:30 PM. You can find more information on the 2014 season at the Acres by visiting the track’s new and official website, www.racingtheacres.com.

Redwood Acres Raceway would like to thank the following sponsors for their help in keeping racing going on the North Coast: Humboldt Hydroponics for the roadrunners, John’s Used Cars and Wreckers for the bombers, Renner Petroleum for the mini stocks, Bear River Casino for the Thunder Roadsters and Mid City Motor World for the late models. Also thank you to Renner Petroleum for sponsoring Support the Troops night and the North State Modified Series racing for the weekend.

Fast Time: Gary Klinetobe 20.356
Trophy Dash: Klinetobe, Eugene Palmer, Rick Estes, Steve Paiment
Heat Race: Klinetobe, Palmer, Estes, Paiment, Tim Abeyta, Robbie Robinson, Kayla Foster
Main Event: Klinetobe, Paiment, Estes, Palmer, Abeyta, Robinson, Foster

Fast Time: Leonard Ward III 18.997
Trophy Dash: Ward III, Tyler Avelar, James Moore, Donnie Hyman
Heat Race: Ward III, Avelar, Moore, Hyman, Brian Murrell, Sr., Matt Simon
Main Event: Moore, Simon, Murrell, Sr., Ward III, Hyman (DQ), Avelar (DQ)

Mini Stocks
Fast Time: Craig Baker 19.742
Trophy Dash: Brian Murrell, Jr., Brett Murrell, Brian McIntosh, Craig Baker
Heat Race: Murrell, Jr., Baker, William Sand, McIntosh, Murrell
Main Event: Murrell, Jr., Baker, McIntosh, Murrell

Thunder Roadsters
Fast Time: Paul Peeples, Jr. 17.026
Trophy Dash: Peeples, Chris Sarvinski, David Henderson, Robbie Nelson
Heat Race: Peeples, Bruce Ziemer, Henderson, Thomas Payne, Sarvinski, Nelson, Belinda Ward, Mike Ward
Main Event: Peeples, Henderson, Sarvinski, Nelson, Payne, Ziemer, B. Ward, M. Ward

Late Models
Fast Time: Mic Moulton 15.936
Trophy Dash: Jerry Peterson, Al Acuna, Luke Hall, Moulton
Heat Race: Hall, Moulton, Peterson, Kenny Demello, Acuna, Ryun Leazer, Joe Bonomini
Main Event: Moulton, Hall, Peterson, Acuna, Bonomini, Leazer, Demello

North State Modified Series
Fast Time: Jay Linstroth 16.324
Lucas Oil A Dash For Cash: Corey James, Don Swartz, Ralph Borden, Brad Watson, Herman Pulyer
Scrubba Bub’s B Dash For Cash: Richie Potts, Cody Braund, Dustin DeRosier, Riley Watson, Rich Cobb
Road Safety C Dash For Cash: Darrin Knight, Jay Linstroth, Richard Knight, Kyle Borden, Michael Morrison

Main Event: D. Knight, Braund, Linstroth, DeRosier, Potts, K. Borden, Cobb, R. Watson, B. Watson, James, Swartz, Pulyer, R. Knight. R. Borden, Morrison.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Modifieds return to the Acres

Modifieds return to the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

After an exciting season opening Pepsi night this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway, racing is set to return for a special Sunday evening Salute the Troops show at Eureka, California’s 3/8-mile paved oval. In addition to the local stars and cars in the late model, Thunder Roadster, mini stock, roadrunner and bomber divisions, RAR will also be hosting the North State Modified Series which is in its debut season.

The North State Modified Series was created to mirror the Lucas Oil Modified Series, a popular touring series which races in southern California. It features IMCA and NASCAR Grand American modifieds. The NSMS held its debut race at Anderson, California’s Shasta Speedway earlier this month on May 3rd which was won by Jay Linstroth.

While Redwood Acres Raceway has never had the modifieds as a regular local division, the class does have a rich history at the track. The modifieds have been one of the staples of the annual Fall Spectacular event and RAR has long been popular with racers in the division due to the fact that the track is a great equalizer between the teams and drivers who race regularly at other facilities.

The Fall Spectaular modified event has seen some of the best racers in Northern California and Southern Oregon participate and win. Lucerne, California’s Bob Strauss was a popular racer who won the race numerous times. Oregon’s Willie Thompson is another driver who won at the Acres several times. 2013 NASCAR K&N West Series champion, Derek Thorn was victorious at Redwood Acres in the modified Fall Spectacular event. Current RAR promoter, Blair Aiken also won the race in 1995. The most recent modified race winner was, Darin Knight who won last September.

While the top three finishers of the first NSMS race, Linstroth, Kyle Borden and Jason Philpot all have prior experience racing at RAR they will be facing different track conditions than usual as the modifieds have not normally raced this early in the season. Sunday's event will feature three 6-lap Dashes for Cash sponsored by Lucas Oil, Scrubba Bub's, and Road Safety. The winner of each dash will be presented with a $100 bill. The 60 lap feature pays $1000 to the winner, $700 for second, $600 for third, $500 for fourth and $400 for fifth. All starters of the 24-car event are guaranteed to get $150.

Grandstand ticket booths open at 5:00 PM while racing begins at 6:30 PM. There is a special test and tune event Saturday the 24th for all divisions. For more information regarding the series visit NorthStateModifiedSeries.com or check out North State Modified Series on Facebook. For more information regarding Redwood Acres Raceway, please visit the track’s new and official website, www.racingtheacres.com.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 marks new era for the Acres

2014 marks new era for the Acres

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2014 racing season at Eureka, California’s Redwood Acres Raceway is on the horizon. It will be the 26th consecutive year of racing on the pavement at the 3/8 mile facility but the first with the new promotional pairing of Blair Aiken and Mic Moulton. The previous 25 years at Redwood Acres Raceway were promoted by Rich and Linda Olson. The Olsons announced their retirement from promoting the raceway during the track’s awards banquet last November.

Many folks may be surprised to know that Redwood Acres Raceway is among the oldest race tracks not only in California but on the entire west coast. The first races at the Acres were held in 1947 on dirt, a year after Merced Fairgrounds Speedway was established and around the same time that Stockton 99 Speedway began holding events. In 1956 and 1957, the track was known as Eureka Speedway and featured a 5/8-mile configuration. The facility hosted two NASCAR Grand National (now Sprint Cup) events with Herb Thomas winning the 1956 race and Lloyd Dane winning in 1957. The Acres also hosted the NASCAR Pacific Coast Late Model series/Winston West in its dirt days on the familiar 3/8-mile configuration. Bill Amick was victorious in 1964, Harold Hardesty in 1968 and legendary driver, Hershel McGriff won in 1972.

After years of success on the dirt, the cost upkeep and maintenance for the track became too much to handle. Thus the raceway was converted from dirt to asphalt between late 1987 and early 1988 with races being held under NASCAR sanctioning. Between 1988 and 1995, the Acres hosted 7 NASCAR Southwest Tour events and 2 Winston West races. Mike Chase won the inaugural tour event in July of 1988. The next season, Bill Sedgwick won the West race while Chase won the tour race yet again. In 1990, Troy Beebe took the tour race while Sedgwick won the final West race at the Acres. Ron Hornaday, Jr. won the ’91 event over Rick Carelli who won the ’92 event. Hornaday won the 1993 race and after a year away from the raceway, M.K. Kanke won the final tour event in 1995.

Since the track was paved, Redwood Acres Raceway has produced several well-known drivers. Though Jim Walker and Randy Olson had established themselves prior to the 1988 season, they both honed their skills at the Acres for several years and are a huge part of the track’s pavement history. 1997 NASCAR Southwest Tour champion, Bryan Germone ran at the Acres to prepare himself for the tour. Rusty Olson moved from the Acres to win numerous late model events. Paul Peeples, Jr. drove in the mini stock class before winning the 1994 NASCAR Pacific Coast Region title.

More recently, drivers like Derek Thorn, Howard Ford and Jeremy Doss have established their talent by winning features. In 2013, the Acres has hosted and featured late model touring series like the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series and the Pacific Challenge Late Model series. The 125-lap SRL race was won by Jim Pettit, II.

Blair Aiken is a former racer who not only raced in NASCAR’s Winston West and Southwest Tour series but was also a regular open competition racer in Northern California throughout the 80s and 90s. Aiken formerly promoted Ukiah Speedway and along with his duties at Redwood Acres Raceway this season, he also helps in the promotion of Shasta Speedway in Anderson, California. His daughter, Jennifer Aiken will take over the role of business manager for the raceway.

While Aiken will promote Redwood Acres Raceway, Mic Moulton will utilize his established reputation and experience with the track and local racers serving as marketer. Moulton is a native of Eureka and raced at the Acres for nearly 20 seasons in several different divisions while also racing at various speedways throughout the region. His knowledge, insight and connections with local businesses and racing enthusiasts will be beneficial for the track’s success this season and on into the future.

The first action at the track will take place on Saturday April 12th with open practice.