Monday, September 15, 2014

Moulton, Peeples Acres track champions

Moulton, Peeples Acres track champions

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The final points paying event for the 2014 season occurred this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. Track championships in all five local divisions of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and late models were decided on the night which was sponsored by Mid City Motor World. Although a heavy fog set in and hindered the view of fans and drivers, the racing on the track was as exciting as it has been all year long.

Gary Klinetobe would have had to suffer catastrophic failure going into the night to prevent him from winning the championship in the Humboldt Hydroponic roadrunner division. Thankfully, that did not happen. Nick Vellis took trophy dash honors for his first victory of the season. The first heat race featured an incident on the last lap that saw Andrew McKaughan go head-on into the water barrels at the pit entrance. Thankfully McKaughan was okay. Dylan Ford took the victory in the first heat while Chad Grammer won the second heat.

The racing at the front was intense in the 20-lap main event. It was nose-to-tail, door handle-to-door handle action between Dylan Ford, Eugene Palmer, Steve Kimberling, Jett Taylor and Daniel Buell. The race was slowed on a few occasions, most notably on lap nine when Klinetobe and Andrew Pementel got together and spun between turns one and two.

Klinetobe made a mad dash to the front in the final few laps and was able to overtake Ford for the lead on the final lap. At the checkered flag it was Klinetobe capping off his championship win with a main event victory, his sixth of the season. Klinetobe’s championship rival, Palmer took second while the top five was rounded out by Ford, Buell and Taylor. The final top five in the standings were Klinetobe, Palmer, Tim Abeyta, Robbie Robinson and Ford.

Like Klinetobe, Leonard Ward more or less had the track championship locked down for the John’s Used Cars and Wreckers bomber division. It was a good thing the margin was so large for Ward because the night belonged to his closest competitor in the standings, Tyler Avelar. Avelar went three-for-three on the night taking wins in the trophy dash, heat race and the main event. Ward finished second followed by James Moore, Chris Naughton and Matt Simon. The top five in points were Ward, Avelar, Moore, Simon and Donnie Hyman.

Brian Murrell, Jr. wanted to do all he could to ensure his chance at winning the track championship in the mini stock division. His efforts paid off in the trophy dash and the heat race as he was able to win both events. It looked as though Murrell was going to cap off his season in a big way in the main event as he led the majority of the race. Unfortunately, engine issues popped up and forced him out of action. Thankfully the track championship was still his.

Rick Estes took the lead and was able to go on and win over Ryan Walters who was driving Ryan Ahrens’ Karmann Ghia. Eugene Palmer took third in Gary Klinetobe’s car while Cole Peterson took fourth and Brian Murrell, Sr. placed fifth. The top five in the point standings in the division were Murrell, Jr., Estes, Chelsea Champagne, Brett Murrell and Peterson.

Paul Peeples, Jr. entered the night more than 30 points ahead of David Henderson and Chris Sarvinski in the Bear River Hotel and Casino Thunder Roadster standings. Shockingly, Peeples suffered engine issues in qualifying which prevented him from racing and opened the championship door for Henderson and Sarvinski. The trophy dash was won by Sarvinski. The first heat race featured an incident that took out Roger Kirkpatrick who was making his first ever start in the division. Mike Ward won the first heat while Henderson took the second heat.

Peeples was able to secure the championship in the main by running the first lap of the 30-lap main. In spite of the door closing on his chances of winning the track title, Henderson was still in win-mode and dominated the feature while Robbie Nelson rode in his mirror doggedly all race long. Things went south for Henderson with seven laps to go when his engine came apart coming off the fourth turn. Nelson was able to withstand Sarvinski’s challenge on the restart to take his first ever main event victory. Belinda Ward took third followed by Chris Lawrence and Mike Ward. The final points standings results were Peeples with the title over Sarvinski, Henderson, Nelson and Belinda Ward.

The closest championship battle at the Acres was in the Mid City Motor World late model division between Mic Moulton and Luke Hall. It appeared as though Hall’s chance at the title went up in smoke when he suffered engine issues prior to the races. Fortunately, Jerry Peterson graciously allowed Hall to race his car which kept Hall in the points fight.

West coast short track legend, Jim Walker made his first start of the season and took the trophy dash win while Moulton took the win in the heat race. The 35-lap feature was highlighted by a thrilling three-car fight for the lead between Moulton, Walker and Hall. Moulton and Walker race side-by-side for the lead lap after lap while Hall did all he could in an unfamiliar car. On lap 15, Walker took the lead from Moulton.

The famous blue 48 pulled out to a 10 to 15 car length gap which Moulton was able to close in on in the final stages. By the time the white flag flew, Moulton was within three car lengths of Walker but that was as close as he would get. At the finish it was Walker taking the popular victory over Moulton, Hall, Kenny Demello and Ken Hallis. In the points standings Moulton took the championship over Hall, Demello, Ryun Leazer and Al Acuna.

The 2014 season at Redwood Acres Raceway concludes with the Fall Spectacular September 27th and 28th. Along with roadrunners, mini stocks, bombers and Thunder Roadsters will be the addition of modifieds and the 100-lap super late model race as well as the boat race on Sunday. Grandstands open at 4PM on Saturday with racing at 6PM and 11AM on Sunday with opening ceremonies at Noon. Ticket prices each day: $15 General Admission, $12 Children 12 and under/Seniors/Military, and ages 5 and under free. Full and final points standings and more information for the Fall Spectacular weekend can be found at Redwood Acres Raceway’s official website, www.racingtheacres.com .

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