Sunday, August 17, 2014

Last lap contact gives Hall the win

Last lap contact gives Hall the win

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Racing action returned to Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday for what proved to be an intense night of thrills and spills. In addition to the exciting racing at Eureka, California’s 3/8-mile paved oval, it was Driver Appreciation Night. After all the heat races in the five local divisions, fans met drivers on the front stretch for a meet-and greet session. Every driver in every division greeted fans young and old, signed autographs and handed out goodies of all sort.

Ken Barrett was victorious in the trophy dash for the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunners. Andrew Pementel won the first heat race while Gary Klinetobe won the second heat. Barrett led the first few laps of the 25-lap feature before giving way to Grey Ethridge. After a lap three restart, Dylan Ford and Chad Grammer moved into the first and second positions. Those two would be the dominant forces in the feature as they were able to pull away from the rest of the field. Grammer did all he could to stick with Ford but Ford proved to have the upper hand as he was able to take the victory. Grammer finished second followed by Ryan Ahrens who was driving Steve Kimberling’s car. Eugene Palmer took fourth while Klinetobe crossed the line fifth.

The John’s Used Cars and Auto Wreckers bomber trophy dash win was taken by James Moore. The heat race was won by Leonard Ward. The 25 lap feature began with Ward leading but Tyler Avelar looked to have the car to beat as he was able to take the lead from Ward and moved to a somewhat comfortable lead. Unfortunately, Avelar’s car began to suffer issues in the final few laps which allowed Ward to move back to the lead and take the win. Matt Simon placed second ahead of Rick Jelton, Moore and Avelar.

Rick Estes won the trophy dash in the mini stock division while Brian Murrell, Jr. won the heat race over Estes in a thrilling last lap duel. Murrell, Jr. was the dominant car in the feature event which was slowed several times. On what proved to be the final restart, Estes was able to get by Murrell from the outside starting position to take the lead and the eventual race victory. Murrell finished a hard fought second followed by Chelsea Champagne, Gary Klinetobe who was making his first start in the mini stock division and Cole Peterson.

The Bear River Hotel and Casino Thunder Roadster trophy dash victory went to Paul Peeples, Jr. The heat race proved to be the biggest incident of the night. Going into the third turn on lap one, Scott Baker looked to have trouble as he locked up his front brakes. Several cars were collected in the melee including Mike Ward, Thomas Payne, Peeples, Jr. and Reno, Nevada visitor, Jack Randall. Both Payne and Baker’s cars looked to be complete write offs while Randall suffered major damage to his car. Ward and Peeples were able to start the main. None of the drivers were injured in the scary incident.

The 30-lap main featured another unfortunate incident between Chris Sarvinski and Peeples. The two drivers made contact in turn three with Peeples hitting the wall in turn four and ending his night prematurely. David Henderson led from start to finish taking the main event victory. Sarvinski finished second followed by Robbie Nelson, Belinda Ward and Chris Lawrence.

Luke Hall won the trophy dash for the Mid City Motor World late model cars. Kenny Demello took the victory in the first heat race. The second heat saw an incident between Kevin Estep and Dennis DelBiaggio. The two made contact while racing into turn three and both cars went in the wall. Neither driver was able to make it out for the feature. Late model touring series veteran, Junior Roddy made a surprise visit to the Acres for the weekend and won the second heat.

As has been the case for the entire 2014 season at Redwood Acres Raceway, the 35-lap late model main event featured some of the most intense action on the night. Hall drove to the lead early and pulled out a sizeable gap over the field. A spin by Ken Hallis on lap six bunched the field and forced a restart. Hall again pulled out to a substantial lead while Mic Moulton and Roddy slid into the first and second positions. Moulton slowly but surely began to reel in the gap on Hall as the race progressed.

On lap 19, Moulton got sideways off turn four and went through the infield to save his car. Roddy moved into second while Moulton was able to safely get back on track into third. Hall looked to have a clear path to victory until Donnie Brown and Demello spun in turns one and two forcing a restart on lap 27. The top three of Hall, Roddy and Moulton raced closely nose-to-tail until the final two laps.

Roddy got under Hall coming off turn four with two laps remaining. The two raced door-handle to door-handle down the back stretch until Roddy was able to get the advantage going into turn three. Hall got inside of Roddy coming to the white flag and going into turn one the two came together sending Roddy spinning out of the lead. Hall was able to hold off Moulton’s fight to the line to take what proved to be a controversial victory. Todd Lands from Cloverdale took third ahead of Demello and Brown.

The next action on the oval will be Mid City Motor World championship night, Saturday September 13th. Before that, Redwood Acres Raceway will host monster truck action Friday August 29th, Saturday August 30th and Sunday August 31st. Also don’t forget that the annual Fall Spectacular has been moved to its traditional weekend on Friday September 26th, Saturday September 27th and Sunday September 28th. Along with super late models, modifieds, Thunder Roadsters, bombers, mini stocks and roadrunners, there will be another boat race after the races on Sunday afternoon. Information for all upcoming events can be found at Redwood Acres Raceway’s official website,

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