Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Knight, Walsh big Labor Day weekend winners

Darrin Knight took the North State Modified Series win at Redwood Acres Raceway

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was a big Labor Day weekend at Redwood Acres Raceway as the 3/8-mile paved oval hosted races on both Saturday and Sunday. The third and final leg of the Tri-Holiday Classic for the late model cars highlighted the action on Saturday. Sunday’s races featured the North State Modified Series. The local roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks and Thunder Roadsters helped fill out what proved to be two spectacular nights of racing.

Saturday’s Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunner division trophy dash was won by Daniel Buell. Ken Barrett won the first heat race for the division while Dylan Ford took the second heat. The 20-lap feature saw numerous lead changes between the likes of Chris Appleton, Ford, R.C. Brown, Buell and Dylan Hagman. Hagman moved past Ford to the lead on lap 17 and was able to claim his first main event victory in the division over Buell and Ford.

James Moore took the trophy dash victory for the bomber cars. Dustin Walters was the winner of the heat race. The 25-lap main event was dominated by Walters from start to finish as he led every lap en route to the win. Matt Simon and Rick Jelton rounded out the top three finishers.

Richard Klinetobe was behind the wheel of his brother, Gary’s car for the night and he took his first ever win in the mini stock trophy dash. Eugene Palmer took the heat race win. Chris Champagne led the first half of the 25-lap main event but his championship point rival, Palmer had the faster machine for the evening. Palmer took the lead from Champagne on lap 18 and went on to win his second main event of the season over Champagne and Klinetobe.

The Bear River Hotel And Casino Thunder Roadster division saw the familiar face of Paul Peeples, Jr. return to victory lane in the trophy dash and heat races. The 30-lap main event was no different for the veteran. Chris Sarvinski led the first 16 laps before giving way to Peeples. The veteran racer held on from there and at the finish it was Peeples winning over Sarvinski and Robbie Nelson.

Allen Cress set quick time for the late models with a 15.835 qualifying time. The 8-lap trophy dash was won by Marty Walsh which awarded him pole position for the 100-lap event. Walsh took the lead at the start of the feature and would never lose the top spot. Walsh’s closest competition came in the form of Cress who moved past Mic Moulton on lap nine for second. Cress moved in on Walsh’s rear bumper and seriously challenged Walsh before the first caution on lap 50.

After the caution period, the handling on Cress’ car appeared to go away as Walsh moved out to a several car length gap. Several cautions slowed the event which allowed Cress the opportunity to challenge Walsh for the lead but each time, Walsh was able to pull away. On lap 85, Cress’ engine blew up in turns three and four, ending his night. Walsh once again pulled away from the field and crossed the line first, taking the biggest win of his career. Moulton crossed the line second while Stateline Speedway racer, Rob Vining made his long tow count with an excellent third place effort.

Daniel Buell returned to victory lane on Sunday in the Humboldt Hydroponics roadrunner trophy dash. Ken Barrett was the winner of the first heat race while Dylan Ford was the winner of the second heat. The 20-lap main was dominated by Jordon Paiment but Daniel Buell showed his strength in the final few laps. With two laps remaining, Buell moved by Paiment for the lead and held on for the win. Paiment took second followed by Bethany Rapp in third with her best finish in her first season of racing.

Sunday’s bomber races were dominated by Dustin Walters. Walters took the wins in both the trophy dash and heat races. James Moore led the first four laps in the 25-lap main event but could not hold off Walters who moved to the lead and ended up taking the win. Moore placed second with Matt Simon third.

Eugene Palmer’s night in the mini stock division was no different than that of Dustin Walters. Palmer won the dash and heat and was strong in the 25-lap feature. As they had done the night before, Chris Champagne and Palmer dueled for the race lead and just like the night before, Palmer ended up with the upper hand. At the checkered flag it was Palmer winning his second straight main event over Champagne and Brian Murrell, Jr.

Robbie Nelson took the trophy dash victory for the Bear River Hotel And Casino Thunder Roadster division. Thomas Payne won the heat race and was dominant in the 30-lap main event. Craig Baker held the lead early in the feature before giving way to Nelson on lap three. Payne got by Nelson on lap six and led from that point on. At the finish it was Payne winning his first race of 2015, breaking Paul Peeples, Jr.’s seven-race winning streak. Chris Lawrence had his best finish of the year in second while Peeples placed third.

17 cars qualified for the North State Modified Series. Fast time was set by Darrin Knight with a 16.218 qualifying lap. The Lucas Oil Dash For Cash was won by Devin LaHorgue. For winning the dash, LaHorgue was awarded $100 while second place finisher, Guy Young took home $50. The 60-lap feature was a thrilling race from start to finish. Knight took the lead from his pole position starting spot and looked to have the car to beat as he ran away from the field. Charlie Collins moved by Michael Mitchell for second on lap on lap 15 just before the caution flag dropped.

On the restart, Collins and Knight touched wheels coming to the green. Collins hit the front stretch wall hard. Fortunately, Collins was okay but was finished for the night. Knight was sent to the rear of the field which put Mitchell to the lead. The race restarted and Knight began putting on a show as he tried to get back to the front. In addition, Tripp Gaylord had the attention of fans as he started at the rear of the field and was moving to the front as well. Gaylord’s car was unable to start the feature. Rick Anderson graciously allowed Gaylord to drive his car in the feature in order to keep Gaylord from falling out of the point race.

Knight was clearly the man to beat on the night. On lap 20, Knight was in sixth. On lap 28, Knight got by Gaylord for fifth. 10 laps later, Knight passed Guy Young for second and a lap later he returned to the race lead getting by Mitchell. The race was halted several times in the final 20 laps but every time Knight was able to return to the lead. At the finish it was Knight winning over Mitchell, Gaylord, Kyle Borden and Cody Braund.

The track championships for all five divisions will be decided at Redwood Acres Raceway in the next race on the schedule on September 19th. In addition to the event being championship night at the Acres, it will also be Fan Appreciation Night. General admission for the event is $5 for general admission and $2 for children. The 2015 season concluded on October 3rd with the First Annual Roadrunner Big T Jackpot race and Bomber Bash. Concluding the 2015 season at the Acres will be the second boat race of the year. For more information on the final two events, please visit Redwood Acres Raceway’s official website, www.racingtheacres.com .

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