|Oregon veteran, David Miller took the late model main event|
victory on opening night at Redwood Acres Raceway
By Matthew J. Sullivan
It was opening night of the 2015 season at Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday evening as it was Renner Petroleum Night at the 3/8-mile paved oval. A large crowd of excited race fans turned out to see the five local classes of Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and Mid City Motor World late models.
Prior to the racing action, fans were able to greet drivers while also voting which driver had the best appearing car in each division. The winners for each division were Jett Taylor in the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunners, Mike Knight in the bombers, Eugene Palmer in the mini stocks, Belinda Ward in the Thunder Roadsters and Kenny Demello in the Mid City Motor World late models.
Dylan Ford set fast time for the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunner division with a 20.157 qualifying lap. The trophy dash victory was taken by Jett Taylor while the heat race victory was recorded by Ford. The 20-lap feature was a thrilling affair between several drivers, among them rookie, Shawn Malloy who made the transition from a passenger in the bomber division to driver in the roadrunner division. Unfortunately, Malloy’s inexperience did him in resulting in a spin that took him off the lead lap and out of contention.
The racing was close between the faster qualifiers of Ford and Taylor and the slower qualified drivers Steve Paiment and Daniel Buell. Paiment was able to maneuver into the lead with two laps remaining in the main event. Ford did all he could on the last lap to out-gun Paiment for the lead but it was not to be as Paiment took his first ever main event victory narrowly over Ford, Taylor, Buell and Andrew Pimentel. The final margin of victory was a scant .065 seconds.
Dustin Walters set quick time in the bomber division at 17.939. James Moore got his sophomore campaign in the division off to the right start with the trophy dash win while Walters prevailed in the heat race. The 25-lap main event for the bombers was shortened to 15 after a first lap incident that took out the cars of Walters and Michael Knight who was visiting from Lakeport. Coming off the fourth turn, Lance Martins got sideways in front of Knight. In an effort to avoid hitting Martins, Knight turned left but unfortunately tagged Walters’ car sending him into the wall. Thankfully both drivers were unharmed.
Tyler Avelar blasted to the lead when the race restarted, pulling out to what ended up being an insurmountable lead for Moore. The gap between the two closed noticeably as the laps wound down but at the checkered flag Avelar still held a comfortable margin as he crossed the line first over Moore and Martins.
The field for the mini stock division in 2015 looks to be growing as 12 cars showed up to race. Unfortunately, Dax Kinsey would not be able to race on the night as his car was unable to return after the first qualifying round. Rick Estes was the only driver to get under the 19 second bracket as he clocked in with fast time with a 18.995 time. 2013 roadrunner champion, Jarrett Mayo returned to racing at the Acres after a year away and showed no signs of rust as he won the first heat race. 2014 bomber champ, Leonard Ward took the victory in the second heat.
The field for the 25-lap mini stock main event was shortened due to 2014 roadrunner champion, Gary Klinetobe having issues. The race got off to a crazy start when Jordon Paiment slowed suddenly in front of the field causing several cars to spin. Fortunately nobody suffered any damage although Paiment was forced to retire for the night. Mayo took the lead on the restart but was overtaken by Brian Murrell, Jr. on lap two. On lap six, Ward moved by Murrell into the lead. Estes was beginning to show his strength in the middle stages of the race but hit the wall off turn four which damaged his exhaust system. After several laps of sparks coming from his car, Estes’ exhaust fell off entering turn three taking him out of the racing and necessitating a caution flag.
The yellow looked to be just what Murrell needed as he was able to get by Ward on the restart. However on the next lap, Murrell had trouble as his throttle stuck going into turn one. While he was able to avoid further disaster, the pedal on Murrell’s car broke forcing him to pull his car into the infield and out of action. Murrell’s misfortune made the rest of Ward’s race easier as he was able to hold off Dylan Ford to take the win. Mayo took third over two more division rookies, Eugene Palmer and Ken Barrett who was behind the wheel of Ryan Ahrens Karmann Ghia.
Fast time in the Thunder Roadster class was set by defending division champion, Paul Peeples, Jr. at 17.171. Peeples was able to follow up his fast time in qualifying with victories in both the trophy dash and the heat race. Chris Lawrence held the lead for the first two circuits of the 30-lap main for the Thunder Roadsters but could not hold off the faster challengers of Peeples and Robbie Nelson. Lawrence settled into third and the best action of the race was the battle between him and Mike Ward. Meanwhile, Peeples was able to hold off Nelson for the lead the entire race. At the finish it was Peeples winning over Nelson, Lawrence, Ward and Tommy Payne.
The Mid City Motor World late model division saw several new faces joining the field. Former Thunder Roadster champion, David Henderson used his experience to set fast time on the night with a 16.169 lap. Late model sophomore, Ryun Leazer brought home his first win in the division taking the honors in the trophy dash while Henderson took the heat race victory.
The 35-lap main event got off to a quick start thanks to Henderson who took the lead from the start and pulled to an enormous lead over the rest of the field. The Fortuna driver looked to be the class of the field and it appeared that the rest of the competition would be fighting to see who would place second. The driver who looked to be in that position was making a surprise visit to RAR’s local late model division, Oregon veteran, David Miller. Though the race was slowed by caution a few times, Henderson was able to race back to the lead and outpace Miller and the rest of the competition.
Just past the halfway mark of the event, Henderson’s engine began to sound sour. At lap 24, Henderson slowed and entered the pits giving Miller the race lead. Miller’s experience as well as a superior handling car proved to be the key to victory as he was able to lead the rest of the way to the win. Lakeport driver, Richard Knight took second over division rookies George Young and Tyler Avelar. Jedd Ambrosini placed fifth.
Racing takes a break for a week before returning Saturday May 9th with all five local classes back in action. Grandstands open at 5:00PM and racing begins at 6:30PM for more information on all of what’s going on at Redwood Acres Raceway, please visit the track’s official website www.racingtheacres.com .