|Ryun Leazer claimed his first late model division win at Redwood Acres Raceway Saturday night|
By Matthew J. Sullivan
After a long three week break, racing returned to Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night. All five classes of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and late models put on another exciting night on the pavement for what was Driver Appreciation Night. Prior to the main events, drivers pulled their cars to the front stretch for a meet-and-greet with the numerous fans in attendance.
Steve Paiment was the winner of the Humboldt Hydroponics trophy dash. The first heat race victory went to Tyler Peach while Dillon Hagman won the second. The start of the 20-lap roadrunner feature got off to a slow start as several incidents brought out the caution flag. The most serious involved Shawn Molloy and Paiment in the fourth turn. When the green flag came back out, the intensity in the race picked up. Rookie drivers Hagman and R.C. Brown battled for the lead while division dominator Dylan Ford maneuvered his way to the front.
The race was slowed on lap eight when Troy Lee and Bethany Rapp came together in the first turn. Ford got the jump on the restart to take the lead while Hagman fell into second. Meanwhile, Daniel Buell began to make his presence known as he maneuvered into the top five. The final few laps were a battle between Hagman, Ford, Brown and Buell. With two laps remaining, Brown got sideways and fell off the top three of Buell, Hagman and Ford. Things got strung out on the final lap and at the checkered flag it was Buell taking his second main event in a row over Hagman, Ford, Jett Taylor and Brown.
The bomber trophy dash win was taken by Matt Simon. The heat race saw an incident in which Dustin Walters got sideways off turn four while racing Simon for the lead. Walters hit the front stretch wall hard. Fortunately he was okay but his car was out for the night. Simon took the heat race victory. The 25-lap bomber main event was slowed at the start by a spin from Rick Jelton but the race was clean and green from that point on. James Moore took the lead on the restart and dominated the race. Simon closed in on Moore in the final few laps but wasn’t close enough at the finish as Moore took the victory over Simon, Ryan Ahrens and Jelton.
Rick Estes narrowly won the mini stock trophy dash. The heat race victory went to Brian Murrell, Jr. Brett Murrell took the lead on the first lap of the 25-lap main but his older brother Brian moved to the top spot on lap two. Murrell, Jr. pulled out to a sizable lead over the field while faster qualifiers Estes, Eugene Palmer and Chris Champagne battled through the field. It appeared as though Murrell, Jr. was going to cruise to an easy victory as his lead was nearly a full straightaway ahead of the battle between second place between Estes, Palmer and Champagne but that changed when the caution flew due to Michael Lawrence hitting the water barrels and tires at the pit entrance in turn two. Lawrence was unharmed.
Palmer pulled into the pits under caution and did not return to the track when racing resumed. The yellow was exactly what Estes needed as he was now a serious challenger to Murrell’s victory hopes. Champagne and Cole Peterson also got into the fight and it was a four-way battle for the win. On the final lap, Champagne appeared to get loose and spun off turn two but fortunately he didn’t hit anything. Estes did all he could but Murrell, Jr. held on at the line to take his first main event win of 2015. Peterson took third, Brett Murrell fourth and Champagne fifth.
Thomas Payne was the victor of the Bear River Hotel And Casino Thunder Roadster trophy dash. Paul Peeples, Jr. took the win in the heat race. Belinda Ward took the lead at the start of the 30-lap main event. Donnie Brown and Chris Sarvinski took Ward three wide coming to lap two with Sarvinski pulling out to the front bringing Peeples with him. The caution flag dropped on lap five and the ensuing restart allowed Peeples to get by Sarvinski for the race lead. Peeples pulled away while Sarvinski had his hands full with Robbie Nelson who eventually got the second position. As has been the case throughout the entire 2015 season, Peeples dominated and claimed his sixth main event win in a row. Nelson took second followed by Sarvinski, Payne and Brown.
The Mid City Motor World late model trophy dash win was taken by Leonard Ward who also went on to win the heat race. With the 11:00 curfew closing in, the feature event was cut to 30 laps. Fortunately the race went start to finish with nary a caution flag. Ryun Leazer used pole position to his advantage as he took the lead from the start. Marty Walsh likely had the fastest car in the field but flagman, Bill Middleton gave Walsh the consultation flag when smoke began coming from the back of Walsh’s car.
With Walsh out of the running, it was Ward who would be Leazer’s main competition. At the halfway point, Ward had closed in to within a car length on Leazer. However as the race progressed, Leazer appeared to have superior drive from the center of the corner off. The only chance Ward had in the final few laps was if Leazer made a mistake but the sophomore late model driver never did. At the finish it was Leazer winning his first ever late model feature. Ward took second while Kenny Demello, Jedd Ambrosini and Mark Williams rounded out the top five.
Racing returns to the Acres for a special two-day Labor Day weekend spectacular on Saturday September 5th and Sunday September 6th. The Saturday event will feature the third and final Tri-Holiday Classic event for the late models. On Sunday, the North State Modified Series returns to the Acres for the second time in 2015. The local classes of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks and Thunder Roadsters will race both nights while the late models will not partake in Sunday’s events. Front gates open at 4:30PM and racing starts at 6:00PM both nights. An open practice is scheduled on Friday September 4th from 2:00PM to 7:00PM.
Only two more events remain after the Labor Day weekend races. Saturday September 19th’s race will be Fan Appreciation Night as well as championship night for all five local classes. The final event of the season is on October 3rd will be the First Annual Big T Jackpot race for the roadrunners and the Bomber Bash. The second boat race of 2015 will follow the races and conclude the racing season at the Acres. For more information regarding the rest of the 2015 schedule, please visit Redwood Acres Raceway’s official website www.racingtheacres.com .