Monday, May 16, 2016

Walsh wins first feature of 2016


By Matthew J. Sullivan

For a while, it did not look as though Mother Nature was going to cooperate with the proceedings this past Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway. Following the roadrunner trophy dash, a heavy mist dropped over the 3/8-mile paved oval which delayed the racing action for nearly an hour. Thankfully the weather cleared up and fans were able to see a full slate of racing in all six local divisions on Pepsi Night at the Acres.

The California State & Federal Employee Credit Union roadrunner trophy dash was won by Richard Stancliff. The two heat races were taken by Jennifer Murrell and Stancliff. Rookie driver, Bob Ratzlaff showed surprising strength in the first portion of the 20-lap roadrunner feature as he led six of the first ten laps. However, Ratzlaff broke the 21-second break-out rule and because he did not adhere to it, he was scored off the lead lap.

The second half of the feature was dominated by Shawn Molloy who was driving Daniel Buell’s car for the night. Molloy and Stancliff staged a great duel in the final handful of laps. Molloy got the advantage in the end and claimed his first ever main event victory. Tyler Peach ended up second followed by Steve Paiment, Stancliff and Patrick Sproul.

Rookie, John Lally won the Fortuna Wheel & Break bomber trophy dash in his first race at the Acres. James Moore took the heat race victory. Lally led lap one of the 25-lap main event but by lap two Avelar was in the lead. Avelar blitzed the field, dominating the rest of the event and taking his second straight bomber feature win. Moore took second over Lally, Ryan Ahrens and Jimmy Sorrels.

Rick Estes took the trophy dash win for the Humboldt Hydroponics mini stock division. Heat one featured a photo finish with Jordon Paiment narrowly defeating Brian Murrell, Jr. Jarrett Mayo was the winner of the second mini stock heat. Michael Lawrence led lap one of the 25-lap main event but on lap two, Paiment maneuvered his way to the lead. On lap six, Estes found the line past Paiment to take over the top position.

The race featured a fantastic four-way battle between Estes, Eugene Palmer, Gary Klinetobe and Mayo with all four running nose-to-tail. Palmer was all over Estes and tried to use the high line to get to the lead. Palmer edged Estes to the line on the white flag lap and the two raced side-by-side in a thrilling battle for the win. Estes got the grip coming off turn four and was able to hold off Palmer to take the win. Klinetobe placed third while Mayo and Daniel Buell rounded out the top five finishers.

Tommy Payne won the four-lap Thunder Roadster trophy dash which featured an incident by Chris Sarvinski on the final lap while coming to the flag. Unfortunately, Sarvinski was finished for the evening. Payne also took the win in the heat race. Craig Baker led the opening four laps of the 30 lap affair before yielding to Donnie Brown. It wasn’t long before Brown’s brother, Aaron Byers began to challenge for the top position. On lap nine, Byers took the lead.

Brown had his hands full all race long for second position as Payne applied pressure. In the closing stages, Robbie Nelson made his presence known as well. With three laps remaining, Nelson used a three-wide pass to take the second position. Nelson did not have enough time to catch the leader though. At the checkered flag it was Byers winning his first ever Thunder Roadster main event. Nelson took second while Payne, Brown and Ronnie O’Neil placed second through fifth.

After several seasons away from racing, Robert Miller returned to take the trophy dash win in the Legends division. Miller had a scary wreck at the start of the heat race but fortunately he was okay and was able to return to the main event. Brad Curtice was the winner of the 10-lap heat. Curtice was absolutely dominant in the 25-lap main event as he was able to lead flag-to-flag to post his first feature win at the Acres. Miller placed second ahead of Brent Mack. Keith Van Dyne made the long tow from Washington to place fourth while Anissa Curtice finished fifth.

The Mid City Motor World late model division trophy dash was won by Marty Walsh who also took the win in the heat race. The 50-lap feature ended up being cut down to 30 laps due to several incidents and curfew. The first incident occurred on lap one when Kenny Demello got loose off turn two collecting Dustin Walters. Both drivers were out for the rest of the race. The second incident occurred in turns three and four when Jedd Ambrosini and Jim Walker tangled collecting Mic Moulton. Amborsini and Walker were able to continue while Moulton’s car suffered severe right front damage.

Walker suffered damage on his left front fender which caused his tire to smoke and led to what was the most frightening incident of the night. Going into turn three, sparks flew from Walker’s chassis hitting the pavement. Walker hit the third turn wall hard. Thankfully though his car was severely damaged, Walker was able to exit the car under his own power and was unharmed. At the front it was Walsh who was able to avoid the various disasters. At the finish it was Walsh sweeping the night and winning his first main of 2016. Richard Knight placed second over Tim Crenshaw who was making his first-ever start at Redwood Acres Raceway. Ambrosini placed fourth over Eddie Klein.

Racing returns to the Acres pavement for a special Sunday race on May 29th. While the late model division will be off for the night, the other five local divisions will be accompanied by the popular North State Challenge Series modifieds. Grandstands open at 5:00PM while racing begins at 6:00PM. General admission tickets for the event are $15, senior and military are $12, children 12 and under are $2 while children under five are free. Members of the military who have their military ID are also free. For more information of everything going on at Redwood Acres Raceway, please visit the track’s official website www.RacingTheAcres.com.

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