Sunday, May 10, 2015

Henderson, Nelson big winners on Pepsi night

David Henderson claimed his first late model main event win of 2015

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Race two of the 2015 season at Redwood Acres Raceway took place this past Saturday night. It was Pepsi Night at the 3/8-mile paved facility and as usual the local classes of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and late models thrilled a great crowd.

Dylan Ford set fast time for the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunners with a 20.424 lap. The trophy dash was won by Daniel Buell while Ford took heat race honors. The 20-lap feature got off to a rough start when the cars of Buell, Shawn Malloy and Jett Taylor got together off of turn two. In the chaos, Malloy and Taylor got together sending Malloy’s car in the back stretch wall and out of action.

The racing after the restart was fantastic. On lap five, Andrew Pimentel spun in turn one but was able to keep going. The first half of the race saw the lead be traded back and forth between Chad Grammer and Ford. The field tightened up in the second half and it became a six car race for the win between Ford, Grammer, Buell, Taylor, R.C. Brown and Pimentel. Ford was able to take full control of the lead after taking the white flag while contact with another car cut the left front tire of Taylor’s car, taking him out of contention. At the finish it was Ford winning over Grammer, Brown, Buell and Pimentel.

Fast time for the Pacific Towing bomber division was set by Dustin Walters at 18.115. Jim Redd was behind the wheel of Tyler Avelar’s car for the night and was able to win the trophy dash. Dustin Walters took the heat race victory. Redd took the lead from the drop of the green of the 25-lap bomber main event. The field got spread out on lap two when James Moore got sideways in turns three and four, collecting Michael Knight. The race stayed green with Moore continuing in the race while Knight had to pit due to a cut right front tire.

By halfway, Redd pulled out to a full straightaway lead over second place Lance Martins. Moore was able to take second from Martins on lap 15 but the fastest car on the track was Walters. Walters moved to second on lap 19 and closed quickly on Redd. The two got side by side and stayed that way until the final lap. Going down the back stretch, Redd and Walters split the lapped car of Knight but stayed door handle-to-door handle. Both drivers got sideways coming off turn four and in the drag race to the line it was Walters narrowly beating Redd for the win. Moore, Martins and Knight rounded out the finishers.

Chris Champagne made his first ever start at Redwood Acres Raceway in the Pepsi mini stock division, setting the fastest lap in qualifying with a 19.913 The trophy dash win went to division rookie, Eugene Palmer. Brian Murrell, Sr. was the winner of the first heat race while Champagne took the second heat race victory. Though his qualifying effort was not quick, Murrell, Sr. showed surprising speed as he took the lead off the start of the 25-lap feature and was the dominant car of the race. Brian Murrell, Jr. briefly took the lead from Murrell, Sr. on lap 10 but Murrell, Sr. regained the lead on the next lap.

By halfway the faster qualifiers of Rick Estes and Palmer and moved to third and fourth positions and were closing on the father/son Murrell duo. On lap 13, Estes moved to second as Champagne closed in on the front four. Palmer moved to third on lap 14 bringing Champagne with him while dropping Murrell,
Jr. to fifth. The caution flew on lap 15 when Champagne and Murrell, Jr. spun off turn four.

After the restart, Estes and Palmer put heavy pressure on Murrell, Sr. for the lead but neither driver could find a way by him. The yellow flew again when Champagne’s engine failed and he stopped in turn two. The race restarted with four laps left and again Estes tried to find his way by Murrell, Sr.
Coming to three to go, Murrell, Sr. got loose and spun out of the lead off the fourth turn. Estes was able to withstand Palmer’s challenge for the lead and at the line it was Estes winning followed by Palmer, Cole Peterson, Jarrett Mayo and Murrell, Sr.

Paul Peeples, Jr. set fast time at a 17.113 and took home another trophy in the dash for the Bear River Hotel and Casino Thunder Roadsters. Robbie Nelson held off Peeples to win the heat race. Chris Lawrence took the lead from the drop of the green flag in the 30-lap feature which was slowed only once when Peeples got loose and spun between turns one and two while racing Nelson for second.

The lap seven restart proved to be what Nelson needed as he wrestled the lead from Lawrence while Peeples had to fight his way back through the field. It didn’t take Peeples long to get back to second as he got by Lawrence for the spot on lap nine. The front two of Nelson and Peeples set sail from the rest of the field and it became a two car race for the win. Peeples pressured Nelson all race long but didn’t appear to have the handling necessary to find a way inside or outside of Nelson. On the last lap, Peeples bumped Nelson going into the third turn, got loose and spun. Nelson went on to take the win followed by Chris Sarvinski, Mike Ward and Belinda Ward.

The fastest qualifier for the Mid City Motor World late model division was David Henderson at 16.100. The trophy dash was won by Ryun Leazer. The heat race saw an unfortunate incident for George Young as he hit the water barrels at the entrance of pit road off turn two. While Young’s car was finished for the night, the driver himself was unharmed from the incident. Due to the cleanup time and track conditions, the heat race was shortened giving Leazer the win.

Kenny Demello got the jump at the start of the 35-lap feature but the green flag racing didn’t last long as Richard Knight and Ken Hallis got together and spun in turn one on lap two. Demello got the lead again after the restart but the race was slowed again on lap five due to Hallis’ car in the turn four grass after a spin. Another caution flew when Demello spun off turn four collecting Leazer.

After suffering issues in the first race of the season on April 26th, David Henderson was able to move to the lead and showed that he might be the favorite for the 2015 track championship for the late models. Henderson dominated the final portion of the race and took the victory, his first in a late model. Demello placed second followed by Ambrosini, Hallis and Knight.

Racing returns Sunday May 24th for a special Memorial Day weekend event. Joining the roadrunners, bombers and mini stocks will be the Northern California Pro-4 modifieds and the North State Challenge Modified Series. In addition, there will be the first of three Tri-Holiday races for the late model cars. Grandstands open at 4:30 PM and racing begins at 6:00 PM. There is also an open practice on Saturday May 23rd. For more information regarding Redwood Acres Raceway make sure to visit the track’s official website, www.racingtheacres.com .

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