Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Nickles wins first-ever roadrunner pole race

By Matthew J. Sullivan

Fair night racing returned to Redwood Acres Raceway this past Saturday night for what was a thrilling night of racing action. DelReka Distributing presented A Night Of Destruction at the Acres which included the debut of pole racing in the roadrunner division. In spite of the late models having the night off, fans packed the grandstands to witness the other five divisions as well as the first boat race of 2016.

Qualifying for the California State & Federal Employees Credit Union roadrunner division was led by Steve Paiment with a 21.074 lap. Dominic Vogelsang won the first heat while Bethany Rapp took the second. The 20-lap main event featured the debut of pole racing in the roadrunner division. Drivers had to drive a complete circle around two giant tires placed entering and exiting the front straight.

The initial going was not good for several drivers. Rapp and Vogelsang fell out due to contact while trying to take the first tire and Paiment was also a victim of trying to slow down for the tire. Tyler Peach looked to be a contender before he fell out. The two drivers who seemed to have the best handle on the new format were James Nickles and Dylan Ford. At the halfway point, Ford held the lead but troubles forced him into the pits and off the lead lap. In spite of having significant front bumper damage, Nickles was able to maneuver around the tires and was able to cruise to his first ever feature win. Three other rookies followed in Patrick Sproul, Jake Keeling and Brandon Katri while Ford rounded out the top five.

The night in the Fortuna Wheel & Brake bomber division belonged to James Moore, at least for the most part. Moore set fast time with a 18.295 then went on to win the trophy dash. Moore looked to be on his way to victory in the heat but contact between he and Ryan Ahrens sent both cars spinning which handed the lead and the heat win to John Lally. In the 25-lap feature, it only took Moore three laps to get to the lead. At the finish, Moore had a substantial eight and a half second margin of victory over Lally in second place. Matt Simon took third, Jimmy Sorrels fourth and Ahrens fifth.

Gary Klinetobe set fast time in the highly competitive Humboldt Hydroponics mini stock class with a time of 19.143. Brian Murrell, Sr. took the honors in the trophy dash while the heat race wins went to Cole Peterson and Brett Murrell. The 25-lap main featured a thrilling duel between Peterson and Jarrett Mayo. The two raced nose-to-tail with Mayo filling Peterson’s mirror yet unable to mount a challenge on the inside line. With five laps remaining, Peterson spun off turn four. Mayo braked to avoid contact with Peterson which allowed Gary Klinetobe to sneak into the lead. Eugene Palmer mounted a late charge as he got by Mayo with three laps remaining but his time ran out. At the finish it was Klinetobe winning his first-ever mini stock feature over Palmer, Mayo, Brett Murrell and Brian Murrell, Sr.

Tommy Payne set fast time for the Thunder Roadsters with a 17.336. Paul Peeples, Jr. visited the Acres for the first time in 2016 and took the trophy dash win while Aaron Byers took the heat race victory. Peeples quickly got the lead in the 30-lap main but had to fight off a hard-charging Ronnie O’Neil all race long. O’Neil had the pace to keep up with Peeples but he did not have enough to put a serious challenge as the gap between the two remained around a car length for the majority of the rest of the event. Peeples margin of victory over O’Neil was a little over half a second. Payne placed third over Donnie Brown and Jett Taylor.

Robert Miller looked to be on a mission on the night in the Legends division as he set fast time with a 18.351. Miller followed up his fast time with wins in the trophy dash and heat races. The 25-lap main event was a different story though. Brad Curtice led from the drop of the green and faced the challenge of trying to hold off the faster and more experienced Miller for the win. Curtice was able to hold off Miller in the end as he took the win. Brent Mack and Anissa Curtice completed the field.

The night capped off with the thrilling boat race. Fans packed the stands and cheered for their favorite drivers and cars in what proved to be a destructive event. The top three finishers were decided by the noise from the crowd. Brian Murrell, Jr.’s entry was declared the winner over Troy Lee and Tim Roscoe.

Racing returns to Redwood Acres Raceway this Saturday night for what promises to be a memorable evening of action. The Mid City Motor World late models will return to the Acres for the Don Graham Memorial Firecracker 100. Following the races, RAR will host a thrilling fireworks show. Gates open at 5:00 PM while races begin at 6:00 PM.

The 2016 Acres schedule heats up as the summer progresses. On July 23rd, the North State Modifieds return to the track for the second and final time in 2016. One of the most anticipated events of the year follows on August 2nd when the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series returns to the 3/8-mile paved oval for the third time. For more information on all the upcoming races at Redwood Acres Raceway, visit the track’s official website www.racingtheacres.com