Monday, June 13, 2016

O’Neil Scores Second Win Of 2016



By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was Humboldt Motorsports Night at Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night. For the first time in nearly a month, the late model division raced on the 3/8-mile paved oval along with the five other divisions of roadrunners, bombers, mini stocks, Thunder Roadsters and Legends.

Prior to the start of the racing action, Redwood Acres Raceway and its fans paid tribute to Don Graham, a former competitor at the Acres. Besides racing at RAR, Graham also made starts in NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series and K&N West Series and was a familiar face on the west coast open competition scene throughout the 80s and 90s.

Bethany Rapp set fast time for the California State & Federal Employees Credit Union roadrunners with a 20.688 qualification. Patrick Sproul won the four-lap trophy dash while Dylan Ford took the honors in the first heat race. The second heat featured an incident that included Rapp, Richard Stancliff and Sproul in turn four. The volunteer fire and safety crew were on the scene immediately to tend to Stancliff who had to be cut from his car. Although Stancliff was sent to the hospital for precautionary measures but thankfully he was not seriously injured. Stancliff suffered a concussion from the wreck. Tyler Peach took the second heat race win.

Bob Ratzlaff took the lead at the start of the 20-lap main and led the first three laps before Ford took over on lap four. Ford was forced to surrender the lead and fall to the tail of the field after breaking the 21-second rule. This handed the lead to Peach. The story of the race was Ford’s run back through the field while Peach enjoyed the race lead all by himself. Ford got to second place on lap 17 but did not have enough time to mount a serious charge on Peach. At the finish it was Peach winning a few car lengths ahead of Ford. Jordon Paiment placed third followed by Sproul and Ratzlaff.

Fast time for the Fortuna Wheel & Brake bomber cars was set by Matt Simon at 18.272. As he has all season, Tyler Avelar was dominant on the night claiming victories in the dash and heat races. The 25-lap main proved to feature stiffer competition for Avelar in the form of James Moore. After taking the lead on lap two from John Lally, Moore did all he could to hold Avelar off. On lap eight, Avelar powered by Moore for the race lead. Moore did all he could to regain his lead and was able to close in on Avelar in the final few laps but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. It was Avelar winning over Moore, Simon, Lally and Ryan Ahrens.

Eugene Palmer was the fastest competitor in the Humboldt Hydroponics mini stock division qualifying. Palmer’s time was a 19.135. Gary Klinetobe took the trophy dash win while Brian Murrell, Sr. and Jarrett Mayo were the heat race winners. Sam Brown led the opening four laps of the 25-lap mini stock main before giving way to Brian Murrell, Jr. It wasn’t long before Murrell, Jr. had his hands full with Mayo who was able to get by for the lead on lap 14.
The race looked like it would be Mayo’s to lose as he pulled out to an insurmountable lead over Rick Estes, Palmer and the rest of the field. Sadly for Mayo, his lead would evaporate on a caution due to Troy Lee’s spin in turn four. The resulting restart was exactly what Estes needed as he got the jump at the flag to take the lead. At the finish it was Estes taking the win beating out Mayo, Klinetobe, Palmer and Murrell, Jr.

Quick time for the Thunder Roadster class was set by Ronnie O’Neil with a 17.221. Donnie Brown took the trophy dash while O’Neil was the heat race winner. Aaron Byers led the field to the green in the 30-lap feature and held the top spot for the majority of the race. The best battle for the first half of the event was between O’Neil and Tommy Payne who had a fantastic fight for the second spot. Eventually O’Neil secured the position and was able to challenge Byers for the lead. After a tough fight for the lead, O’Neil was able to maneuver by Byers for the top spot on lap 22. O’Neil was able to break away from the field to take his second straight main event victory. Brown finished second followed by LeRoy Marsh, Jr., Byers and Payne.

An 18.446 by Robert Miller was the fast time in qualifying for the Legends. Miller was the trophy dash winner while Brent Mack won the heat race. Mack led lap one of the main before Miller took the lead on the back stretch on lap two. The race was cut short due to time constraints after Mack and M’Kinzy Uselton made contact in turn three. Miller was declared the winner after 12 laps over Anissa Curtice, Mack and Uselton.

15 Mid-City Motor World late models qualified Saturday with Mic Moulton setting fast time with a 15.876. Luke Hall won the trophy dash while the heat race winners were Ken Hallis and Richard Knight. Mike Sackett was a scratch for the 50-lap main event. Kenny Demello took the lead and led the opening four laps before Ryun Leazer took the lead briefly. Leazer’s car suffered issues just after his move to the top position which allowed Luke Hall to move up front.

The biggest incident of the race occurred on lap 15 with several cars suffering significant damage. Among those who were out were Dustin Walters, Eddie Klein, Jedd Ambrosini and Shayne Demello. Luke Hall’s car failed to restart under the yellow and he was pushed to the pits for the night. This allowed Moulton to move to the lead, a position he would not relinquish. The race was clean and green from that point on with Moulton pulling out to a somewhat comfortable lead over Marty Walsh. At the finish it was Moulton winning by nearly two seconds over Walsh. Richard Knight, Tim Crenshaw and Kenny Demello rounded out the top five finishers.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway for Fair Night Saturday June 25th for a special Night Of Destruction. The late models will have the night off but the other five classes will be in action. Feature events include a pole race for the roadrunners and the popular boat race which will cap off the night. Grandstands will open at 5:00 PM while racing begins at 6:30.

The next race for the late models is the Don Graham Firecracker 100 on July 2nd. The 100-lap feature will be followed by a thrilling fireworks show. Also, do not miss out on the second outlaw kart race of 2016 this weekend Saturday June 11th. For more information about all of the upcoming races, please visit the track’s official website, www.racingtheacres.com

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