Hall thrills crowd, wins first feature of 2014
By Matthew J. Sullivan
Beautiful weather welcomed another fantastic crowed to the third night of racing in the 2014 season at Redwood Acres Raceway. As has happened on the track thus far this year, the racing action in the roadrunner, bomber, Thunder Roadster and late model divisions was intense and exciting.
The Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunner races proved to be a repeat of what has been happening all year long in the division. Gary Klinetobe set fast time with a 20.386 laps then took the victories in the trophy dash and the heat races. The 20-lap feature started off badly for Kayla Foster, Eugene Palmer and Brett Murrell as the three tangled in turn four on lap one. After the restart, Gray Ethridge took the lead briefly before being overtaken by Robbie Robinson, Jr. who was piloting the car normally driven by his father.
After a restart for a spin by Murrell, Rick Estes grabbed the lead from Robinson. On lap five, Robinson got loose and spun in turn three. Behind him, Nick Vellis got sideways which forced Palmer to slow. Foster rammed the bumper of Palmer’s car sending him spinning but fortunately everyone was able to continue. Estes did all he could after the restart to hold off Klinetobe but did not have enough as Klinetobe ended up taking the lead and walking away to take the win handily going 9-for-9 on the season. Estes placed second while Robinson, Tim Abeyta and Ethridge rounded out the top five.
After suffering issues in the previous event several weeks ago, Leonard Ward came back with a vengeance in the John’s Used Cars and Wreckers bomber division. While James Moore was fast time with a 19.174 qualifying lap, Ward was the winner in the trophy dash and the heat race. Tyler Avelar led early on in the 25-lap main event over Matt Simon and Ward. Unfortunately for Avelar and Simon, Ward’s strength proved to be too strong. Avelar held off Ward until lap eight when Ward took the lead for good.
The best action for the rest of the race proved to be between Simon and Moore. The two raced nose-to-tail for several laps. Late in the going, Moore tried to make a move to Simon’s inside off turn two. Unfortunately both drivers touched wheels which sent Moore’s car up into the air briefly before setting down on the track. The contact caused suspension damage to Moore’s car which forced him out of action. At the checkered flag it was Ward winning over Avelar, Simon and Michael Lawrence.
David Henderson set fast time for the Bear River Hotel and Casino Thunder Roadsters with a 17.160 qualifying lap, narrowly beating Paul Peeples, Jr. by three-thousands of a second. Although Henderson was the quickest in qualifying, Peeples was the man to beat when it came to the racing action as he won both the trophy dash and heat races. Mike Ward took the lead at the start of the 30-lap main but by the end of the first lap, Tommy Payne was the leader followed by Peeples. On lap two, Peeples maneuvered by Payne for second while Henderson tried to get by both Payne and Mike Ward.
Payne and Henderson fought hard in a side-by-side duel for several laps until Henderson finally took the second position away. Henderson was able to close in on Peeples but was never quite able to mount a serious challenge for the lead. Even after a caution flag for an incident off turn two involving Rob Nelson and Les Barnwell, Henderson could not use the double-file restart to his advantage. At the checkered flag it was Peeples winning followed by Henderson, Payne, Chris Sarvinski and Belinda Ward.
Mic Moulton’s 16.135 lap set the standard in qualifying for the Mid City Motor World late models over Luke Hall’s 16.141. Jerry Peterson won the trophy dash and was able to follow that win up with another in the heat race. The racing in the 35-lap feature was intense as the previous two races in the division this season. Kenny Demello led from the start but was challenged off the bat by the faster cars of Peterson and Moulton. After trying to utilize the high line for the first few laps, Moulton was able to get the grip he needed off turn two on lap five to take the lead away from Demello.
Moulton pulled away from the field as Peterson and Hall moved to second and third on lap six. It looked as though Moulton was on cruise control to the victory but everything changed on lap 19 when Joe Bonomini spun and hit the wall off the bumper of Jeb Ambrosini. After a brief restart, Peterson’s car slowed and came to a stop bringing out another yellow. After the next restart, Hall found a run on the inside of Moulton off turn four on lap 21 to take the lead.
For the next 14 laps, the top two cars ran bumper-to-bumper with Moulton gaining more and more as each lap progressed. Moulton’s best chance at the win came on the last lap coming off turn four. The two were side-by-side coming off turn four with Hall winning the drag race to the line ahead of Moulton. Demello finished third, Al Acuna fourth and rookie Ryun Leazer fifth.
Racing returns to the Acres for the annual Big 5 Fair Classic on Friday June 20th and Saturday June 21st. The five local divisions will be set to race both nights with Friday featuring the Quad Wars and Saturday featuring a demolition derby. As always, the grandstands open at 5:00 PM while the racing will get going at 6:30 PM. You can find more information about the 2014 season at Redwood Acres Raceway by visiting the track’s new and official website, www.racingtheacres.com.