Sunday, July 19, 2015

Champagne wins in a thriller

Chris Champagne took the mini stock feature win on Saturday night

By Matthew J. Sullivan

The 2015 season at Redwood Acres Raceway resumed this past weekend for another exciting night of racing presented by Maxwell’s Custom Automobiles. As always, the five local classes of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and late models were in action. The night was capped off with boat races which delighted the packed house at the 3/8-mile paved oval.

Steve Paiment was the winner of the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunner trophy dash. Paiment followed his dash win with a win in the first heat for the division while Dylan Ford took first in the second heat race. The roadrunners have provided exciting racing throughout 2015 and this night was no different as the racing at the front of the field in the 20-lap main event was exceptional. Paiment moved by Bethany Rapp to the lead on lap one but he was quickly overtaken by Daniel Buell the next lap. Dylan Hagman moved past Buell on lap three just as Ford, R.C. Brown and Michael Lawrence moved into third, fourth and fifth.

Every lap seemed to have a different leader between Hagman, Ford, Lawrence, Shawn Malloy and Jett Taylor. Hagman looked to be the strongest competitor to Ford’s five-race win streak as he was able to stay near the front better than the rest of the competition. The two raced side-by-side in the final laps of the race with Ford gaining the advantage on the last lap. Going into the third turn, Hagman drove as hard as he could to try to get by Ford. The two touched slightly coming off four but it was good, clean racing to the line with Ford winning his sixth feature in a row just ahead of Hagman. Lawrence placed third in his first race of the year driving Ken Barrett’s car. Malloy crossed the line fourth and Taylor took fifth.

The bomber division trophy dash win was taken by James Moore. Division point leader, Dustin Walters took the heat race and proved dominant in the 25-lap feature. Moore wrestled the lead away from Eddie Klein on the second lap but on lap six, Walters moved to the inside of Moore coming off turn two to take the lead. Walters pulled away to an insurmountable lead in what proved to be a clean and green race. At the finish it was Walters winning followed by Moore, Klein, Rick Jelton and Matt Simon.

The Maxwell’s Custom Automobiles mini stock division has arguably had the most exciting racing the past few races and tonight proved to be another example. Rick Estes narrowly took the win and trophy in the dash. Ted Henry won his first race ever in the first heat race while Gary Klinetobe showed muscle in the second heat, taking the victory. Henry got the lead at the start but quickly had to deal with the faster qualifiers of Brian Murrell, Jr., Chris Champagne, Estes, Klinetobe and Eugene Palmer. Estes got to the lead on lap three and led until a caution brought out by a spin by Tim Abeyta.

Racing resumed for a few laps before another caution. After the restart Champagne, Murrell, Jr. and Palmer really began to apply pressure to Estes for the lead. The top four cars raced side-by-side for first & second and third & fourth. Palmer was able to get by Murrell, Jr. while Estes and Champagne continued their fight for the lead. Estes eventually got loose under Champagne between the first and second turns which broke his momentum and cost him first and second positions. Palmer and Champagne began a fight for the lead that ended when the two made slight contact in the third and fourth turns. Champagne got loose and was able to save his car while Palmer slid into the infield. Champagne was far enough ahead of the rest of the field that he was able to withstand the brief scare and take the race win. Estes finished second followed by Murrell, Jr., Klinetobe and Henry.

Paul Peeples, Jr. did what he’s done throughout most of the 2015 season in the Bear River Hotel and Casino Thunder Roadster division by dominating and winning races left and right. Peeples took the trophy dash win and passed Thomas Payne on the last lap to win the heat race. Belinda Ward held the lead at the start of the 30-lap feature but by the end of lap one, Peeples was in the lead. While Peeples pulled away, Payne and Robbie Nelson did what they could to maneuver their way into the second position. Nelson eventually got to second and was able to close in on Peeples as the laps wound down. It wasn’t enough however as Peeples took his fifth win in a row over Nelson, Payne, Chris Lawrence and Ward.

The Mid City Motor World late model division trophy dash went to Marty Walsh. The heat race featured an incident that knocked out the cars of George Young and Kenny Demello but thankfully both drivers were unharmed. Walsh had the clear-cut fastest car on the night and he proved it by dominating the 35-lap feature and winning handily over Ryun Leazer, Jedd Ambrosini and Ken Hallis.

There were 13 boat racers in all for the featured attraction for the evening. Brian Murrell, Jr.’s “Griswold” car won the $100 best appearing boat racer prior to the start of the event. As expected, the boat race proved to be a real crowd pleaser. Troy Lee’s “School Bus” van was the winner over Murrell, Jr. and Roger Kirkpatrick.

The summer of fun at Redwood Acres Raceway resumes on August 1st with the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series joining the roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks and Thunder Roadsters. The top super late model drivers on the west coast will square off on the Acres pavement in the SRL’s second visit to the track, the first since 2013. A limited amount of pre-sale tickets for the Spears SRL Southwest Tour 125 presented by Bear River Hotel and Casino can be purchased at Humboldt Motorsports.

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