Monday, June 22, 2015

Walsh survives, wins first race of 2015

Marty Walsh took his first win of 2015 on Saturday night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was a night of hard times for many this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. On what coincidentally was O’Reilly Night at the Acres, numerous drivers throughout each of the Acres’ five local divisions fell victim to issues either due to accidents or mechanical failures.

With Kid's Month at Redwood Acres Raceway continuing through the month of June at the Acres, children had the opportunity to be junior trophy presenters to the winners of the trophy dash and main events. In addition, prior to the start of the main events children were given rides around the track by drivers in the roadrunner and bomber divisions.

Ken Barrett returned to the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunner division with a new car and the victory in the trophy dash. Barrett was able to put together his new ride in less than two weeks. Steve Paiment took the win in the first heat race which saw rookie Troy Lee crash in turn four on the final lap. Dylan Ford was victorious in the second heat which also had an incident that took Shawn Malloy and Daniel Buell out of commission.

As he has done for virtually the entire 2015 season in the roadrunners, Ford dominated the 20-lap feature event. Rookies Chris Appleton and Dylan Hagman exchanged the lead the first two laps before Ford took over. Hagman did a fantastic job of hanging with Ford through most of the event but Ford’s experience proved through when it came to maneuvering through slower traffic. Ford was able to pull his lead out in the final few laps and took his fourth straight main event victory. Hagman took second followed by R.C. Brown, Chris Appleton and Paiment.

It was a rough night for the bomber division. James Moore won the trophy dash which saw Chris Naughton hit the wall and knock his car out of action. The heat race saw Moore win but featured another unfortunate incident in turn three when Michael Knight hit the wall hard. Fortunately he was okay but out for the night. The main event featured a rough incident between Lance Martins and Ryan Walters that resulted in a cut tire on Walters’ car, forcing him to the pits and out of the race. Martins ended up falling out in the final few laps which left Moore the only car on the track and the race winner.

Brian Murrell, Jr. was the winner of the mini stock trophy dash. Tim Abeyta won the first heat race while the second heat race featured a violent hit in turns three and four for Rick Estes. It appeared as though the throttle hung on Estes’ mini truck going into the third turn. Thankfully Estes was unharmed though his truck was severely damaged. Murrell, Jr. ended up with the second heat victory.

Gary Klinetobe took the lead at the start of the 25-lap mini stock feature but by lap three, Murrell, Jr. moved under and past into the lead. Chris Champagne and Eugene Palmer moved into second and third just before a spin by Abeyta brought the caution flag out. Champagne and Palmer battled for the second spot for several laps after the restart with Palmer prevailing. This set up a race for the lead between Murrell, Jr. and Palmer which saw some “friendly” contact between the two. On lap 13, Palmer was able to get around Murrell, Jr. for the lead.

The race was halted briefly for a spin by Brett Murrell off turn four. The restart gave Champagne the advantage he needed to get by Murrell, Jr. for second. Nobody had anything for Palmer on the night as his mini trick was dialed in. At the finish it was Palmer winning his first career mini stock win. Champagne came home second, Murrell, Jr. third, Klinetobe fourth and Abeyta fifth.

The Bear River Hotel and Casino Thunder Roadster trophy dash victory was claimed by Thomas Payne while Paul Peeples, Jr. was the winner of the heat race. The 30-lap feature was a clean race from start to finish. Belinda Ward led the first lap before succumbing to the faster car of Chris Sarvinski on lap two. Sarvinski tried to put a gap on the rest of the pack while the always fast car of Peeples worked his way through the field. Peeples got to second on lap eight and by lap sixteen he had passed Sarvinski for the lead. Peeples was able to pull out to a comfortable margin over Sarvinski and claim the victory. Robbie Nelson was third over Payne and Ward.

It didn’t take Marty Walsh long to get acclimated to his new car as he took the trophy dash win for the Mid City Motor World late models. Ryun Leazer claimed the win in the first heat race while J.D. Frey took the second. Frey was driving Mic Moulton’s car for the night and is the car chief for Michael Waltrip Racing driver, Clint Bowyer.

The 35-lap main event proved to be a caution-filled event. Ryun Leazer took the lead from pole position but spun out of turn two bringing out the first caution. Tyler Avelar and Richard Knight duked it out for the lead on the restart with Avelar gaining the advantage. David Henderson looked to be the strongest car in the field and by lap seven he took over the top spot from Avelar. The race was halted on lap 12 when Jedd Ambrosini spun in turn three. Henderson pulled out to a large gap over the field after the restart. Meanwhile Knight, Walsh and Frey were able to get around Avelar and tried to regain ground on the leader.

Frey was able to get into third and was working on Knight for second when the two came into contact in turn three. Knight hit the wall rear-end first while Frey pulled into the pits and didn’t return. The race became a start/stop affair from that point on as several incidents halted the racing. Henderson appeared to have trouble on a lap 31 restart which allowed Marty Walsh to get to the lead. Another caution slowed the field with two laps remaining giving Henderson the chance to potentially regain the lead from Walsh.

On the restart, Henderson’s troubles came to fruition in the form of a flat tire. Henderson tried to maneuver out of the way of the rest of the pack but unfortunately Avelar and Kenny Demello got together while trying to get by. All three cars wrecked down the front stretch bringing out the red flag but everyone was okay. With the 11:00 curfew closing in and the race nearly being complete, officials felt ending the race before the scheduled distance was the prudent option. Marty Walsh took his first main event win of the season over Ryun Leazer, Jedd Ambrosini and George Young while Henderson was credited with fifth in spite of the race-ending accident.

The next event at Redwood Acres Raceway on July 4th is one of the can’t miss events of the 2015 schedule. It’s the second leg of the Tri-Holiday series featuring the Firecracker 100 for the late models. In addition, roadrunners, bombers and mini stocks will be racing. Following the races, there will be a fireworks show in the infield. Last year’s fireworks event proved popular with fans and this year’s promises to be bigger and better. To accommodate the full Independence Day schedule, the grandstands will open at 4:30 PM while racing will begin at 6:00 PM. For more information on the upcoming races at the Acres, please visit the track’s official website www.racingtheacres.com .

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