Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Knight returns to Acres winner’s circle

Kelseyville, California's Darrin Knight prevailed in the North State Challenge Series
Swartz Diesel Nor-Cal 60 Saturday night at Redwood Acres Raceway
(Photo Courtesy Matthew J. Sullivan Racing Photography)

By Matthew J. Sullivan

It was O’Reilly Auto Parts Night at the Races this past Sunday afternoon at Redwood Acres Raceway. Sunshine graced the 3/8-mile paved oval for what proved to be another intense night of action. While the local late model division had the night off, the five other regular classes of cars were joined by the North State Modified Series cars.

The Legends were joined by a few out-of-town drivers this week. Brian Kamisky set fast time with a 18.098 qualifying lap. Kamisky followed his quick time with a win in the trophy dash while Robert Miller took the heat race victory. The original field of eight was cut short a car in the feature as Derek Copeland was unable to start the 25-lap race. Brent Mack led the opening three laps before Miller took over the lead.

Danny Hadler, Jr. was all over Miller’s bumper for the majority of the race but in the late stages it appeared as though Kamisky’s car came to life. Kamisky moved by Hadler to second on lap 20 and looked as though he was ready to give Miller a serious challenge for the race lead. Unfortunately, Kamisky got loose and spun in turns three and four. Miller was able to hold off Hadler’s final charge to claim his first Legend feature win. Kamisky took third over Mack and Brad Curtice.

Quick time in the California State & Federal Employee Credit Union roadrunner class was a 20.839 by Steve Paiment. Tyler Peach took the victory in the trophy dash. The heat race winners were Shawn Molloy and Paiment. The 20-lap feature proved to be a rough race from the drop of the green flag. Several cars got together right at the flag with Molloy getting the worst of it. He was out of action for the rest of the race.

Because of the numerous caution flags, the event was cut down to 16 laps. The finish came down to a battle between Richard Stancliff, Bob Ratzlaff, Dominic Vogelsang and Paiment. Vogelsang led the white flag lap but Paiment was able to get by and win the race to the checkered flag completing a perfect night. Ratzlaff beat Vogelsang for second followed by Standcliff and Bethany Rapp.

James Moore was the quick qualifier for the Fortuna Wheel & Brake bombers with a lap of 18.333. Visiting driver, Erick Ray took the wins in both the trophy dash and heat races. Jimmy Sorrels was unable to start the 25-lap main event which featured a fantastic duel between Ray and Tyler Avelar. The two traded the lead back and forth through the first 14 laps before Avelar was able to take the lead for good. Nobody had anything for Avelar on the night and at the finish it was Avelar taking the win followed by Ray, Moore and John Lally.

Qualifying for the Humboldt Hydroponics mini stocks was led by Gary Klinetobe who set the fast lap of 18.843. Rick Estes won the four-lap trophy dash. Heat race one was taken by Brian Murrell, Jr. Behind him, the cars of Jordon Paiment and Michael Lawrence got together resulting in both drivers being unable to return to the track for the night. Estes took the win in heat two.

Brett Murrell led the opening four laps of the 25-lap main before giving way to Jarrett Mayo who led for two circuits. Estes looked to be the man to beat as he got to the lead on lap seven. Behind him, Eugene Palmer showed his strength and got to second. Estes and Palmer staged a thrilling duel for the race lead with Estes appearing to have the stronger vehicle of the two.

On the final lap, Palmer tried one last ditch effort in turns three and four to get by Estes. Unfortunately, the two tangled with Estes spinning into the infield dirt. Although Palmer crossed the line first, he was penalized for his involvement in the incident. This gave Mayo the win, his second of the year. Rookie, Daniel Buell took second over Brian Murrell, Sr. in third. Estes was scored fourth while Palmer placed fifth.

Robbie Nelson set the place in qualifying for the Thunder Roadsters with a 17.221 lap. Aaron Byers took the trophy dash victory while Ronnie O’Neil won the heat race. After winning the main event in the previous race, Byers suffered issues in the first lap as he hit the turn one wall hard. Fortunately he was okay.

Donnie Brown led lap one by it proved to be O’Neil’s night as he took the lead on lap two and never looked back. Tommy Payne was O’Neil’s closest challenger but the veteran driver lost ground as he battled Nelson the majority of the race. At the finish it was O’Neil winning his first ever Thunder Roadster main event. Payne took second over LeRoy Marsh, Jr., Nelson and Brown.

The North State Modified Series visited Redwood Acres Raceway for the first of two times in 2016. 15 modifieds showed up but 13 qualified as Charlie Collins and Michael Mitchell both suffered issues that ended their day prematurely. Darrin Knight set fast time with a 16.184 lap. The $100 Lucas Oil Dash For Cash prize was won by Jay Lindstroth while Richie Potts took the $50 that came for second place.

Guy Young took the lead from the start of the Swartz Diesel Nor-Cal 60. Young pulled out to a tremendous lead while the faster qualifiers of Knight and Lindstroth maneuvered their way to the front. By lap 24, Knight was in the lead. On lap 28, Lindstroth moved to second.

There were only two caution flags in the race, one of which involved David Lyndall in turn three on lap 43. Lindstroth was able to hang on to Knight’s bumper on the restarts but Knight’s car prevailed as the laps went on. At the finish, it was Knight winning by a little over a second over Lindstroth. Bryan Denton started dead last and was able to finish third while Young and Mike Collins rouded out the top five finishers.

Racing at Redwood Acres Raceway goes on a two week break before returning Saturday June 11th for Humboldt Motorsports Night at the Races. The Mid-City Motor World late models will return to the track to join the other five local classes of cars. As always, the grandstands will open at 5:00 PM while racing begins at 6:30 PM. For more information on everything going on at Redwood Acres Raceway, please visit the track’s official website