Thursday, July 6, 2017

White Wins Third Firecracker 100 In A Row

Eureka, CA (July 2, 2017) – After a two week break in action, racing at Redwood Acres Raceway returned this past Saturday night for a very special Independence Day weekend event presented by North Coast Lighting And Electric. Roadrunners, bombers and mini stocks were in action along with the fourth race in the Super 6 Late Model Challenge Series, the third annual Don Graham Memorial Firecracker 100. Following the 100-lap feature event, RAR treated fans to a dazzling fireworks display.

Qualifying for the California State And Federal Employees’ Credit Union roadrunner division was paced by Daniel Buell with a 20.530. The first 20-lap main was run backwards and proved to be a Ratzlaff family affair. Bob Ratzlaff dominated from the pole, leading the opening 10 laps. On lap 11, Tim Ratzlaff took over and never looked back. Tim Ratzlaff took the win over Buell, Nick Ford, Jake Keeling and Lindsey Zito.

Natya Dawn led the first three laps in the second main which was run in normal fashion. Things got busy after that as Buell and Ford traded the lead several times. Buell finally got a firm hold on the lead on lap 12 and looked as though he had the win in the bag. Unfortunately for Buell, he broke out of the 21-second rule on lap 17 and was forced out of the lead. Ford took over and was able to hold off Tim Ratzlaff from there to take the win. Dawn narrowly beat Buell to the line for third while Jake Keeling finished fifth.

R.J. Randall was fast time in the Fortuna Wheel & Brake bombers with a time of 18.364. Jim Redd took the trophy dash win. Heat races in the bomber and mini stock divisions were not run on the night due to the 100-lap late model event and the post-race fireworks display. Kolby Jackson got the jump at the start of the 25-lap main event and dominated leading 17 laps. On lap 18, Randall was finally able to muscle by Jackson to take the lead. While coming to take the white flag, Randall’s car shut off. This allowed late arrival, Jeff French to take the lead. At the finish it was French winning by .810 over Kolby Jackson. Redd placed third while John Lally recovered from issues to finish fourth. Randall was credited with fifth.

Brian Murrell narrowly set the fastest time in the Humboldt Hydroponics mini stock division with a 19.025. Brett Murrell was the trophy dash victor. Trevor Eacret briefly held the lead in the 25-lap feature but by lap four, Brett Murrell had moved from the back to the front and past Eacret for the top spot. Murrell’s closest competition came in the form of Gary Klinetobe who was able to close in Murrell’s lead. Unfortunately for Klinetobe, he did not have the strength to provide a serious challenge to Murrell. At the finish it was Brett Murrell taking home the win by over a second over Klinetobe. Scott Taylor finished third followed by Eacret and Rick Estes.

19 cars showed up for the Super 6 Late Model Challenge Series Don Graham Memorial Firecracker 100 presented by Danielson Construction, Mid-City Motor World and North Coast Lighting And Electric. Unfortunately two of the drivers were unable to take time as Dane Nissen and George Young both had issues that prevented them from racing. Brandon White set a new standard in the late model division with fast time and the track record, a 15.685. Marty Walsh won the first qualifying heat which netted him the ninth starting position. West coast racing legend, Jim Walker earned pole for the 100-lap feature with a win in the second heat race.

Brandon White used the outside pole to his advantage as he shot out to the lead at the start of the Firecracker 100. Right from the start, it was apparent that the handling on Walker’s car was not right as he dropped back dramatically in the field. Walker made seven laps before taking his car to the pits for the night. The first 22 laps were run incident-free until a three-car pileup in turn two involving Dennis DelBiaggio, Richard Knight and Dustin Walters brought out the caution. The leaders were able to narrowly avoid the incident.

Caution fever began with the yellow flying four times between lap 23 and lap 32. First, Kenny Demello spun. Then debris from Walsh’s car brought out two more yellows. Then contact between Ryun Leazer and Steven Gannon sent Gannon into the front stretch wall and out of the race.

The event only had one caution thereafter as there was a long and exciting green-flag run. White pulled out to the lead with his closest competitors coming in the form of Brandon Ash, Luke Hall and David Miller. As the race wound down, it appeared as though Hall began to close on White. On lap 70, series point leader Mic Moulton pulled off the track and out of the event. Four laps later, Hall succumbed to problems and was forced into the pits.

On lap 83, Ash had closed right in on White’s bumper. On lap 84, Ash got under White going down the back stretch for the lead. Just as Ash got to the lead, the caution flew as Kenny Demello spun on the front straightaway. This proved to be the big decider in the race as the caution cost Ash the lead due to the field not racing back to the caution flag and scoring reverting to the previous lap. The caution allowed White to cool his tires and he was able to pull away on the restart as Ash fell back to third following a pass by Miller. At the finish it was White winning the Firecracker 100 for the third straight year over Miller and Ash. Walsh placed fourth, the last car on the lead lap while Leazer was fifth.

Racing at Redwood Acres Raceway goes on a two-week summer vacation. The season resumes Saturday July 22nd with the North State Modified Series returning to the 3/8-mile oval for the second time in 2017. Between then and now, the Super 6 Late Model Challenge Series will be making its one and only stop to the 1/3-mile oval at Ukiah Speedway on July 15th. For more information on everything going on at Redwood Acres Raceway, please visit the track’s official website