Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Packed House For Driver Appreciation Night At The Acres

Drivers greet Redwood Acres Raceway fans before Saturday's races (Photo Courtesy Sherie Bialous)

Eureka, CA (August 21, 2018) – After a near month-long summer break, racing returned to Redwood Acres Raceway. The grandstands were filled with excited fans of all ages for Anderson Logging Driver Appreciation Night at the Races. Before the action took place on the track, fans were able to meet their favorite drivers in all of the divisions at the 3/8-mile paved oval. Track officials also hosted a donation drive for victims of the Carr and Mendocino Complex fires. Nearly $1,500 was donated with those donating $10 receiving a complimentary ticket to the season ending Fall Spectacular on September 8th. The night proved to be a memorable one for many reasons.

For the first time this season, the Thunder Roadsters were in action for a full-slate of races. The race was a late addition to the event and was held in honor of Paul Peeples, Sr. who recently passed away. Peeples was a long-time participant at the raceway and served as crew chief for his son Paul Peeples, Jr.’s Thunder Roadster. A memorial lap in his honor was held before the trophy dash race. Alan Olson was the winner of the trophy dash and heat races. Jett Taylor was the leader of the first lap of the 25-lap main. Lap tow saw Olson gain the advantage before David Henderson was able to get under and past for the lead. Henderson’s time up front only lasted another circuit as Paul Peeples, Jr. was able to take the lead. The front trio of Peeples, Henderson and Olson ran nose-to-tail all race long with nobody seeming to have any advantage over the other. A late caution flag seemed to give Peeples the extra he needed to go on and take the victory over Henderson, Olson, Tommy Payne and Taylor.

The first main event for the Compass Community Credit Union roadrunners was initially run backwards. An early incident in turn three involving Allison McCarty brought out the red flag when she hit the water barrels. When racing resumed, Nick Ford and Tim Ratzlaff continued their season-long duel, battling for the race lead. Ford was able to prevail to take the checkered flag over Ratzlaff, Lindsey Zito, Jennifer Murrell and Steve Paiment. The second feature was a replay of the first with Ford and Ratzlaff fighting all race long for the lead. On the last lap, the two were neck-and-neck going into turns three and four while coming upon Murrell. Ratzlaff got into Murrell sending her into a spin. Although he crossed the line first, officials awarded Ford the win. Ratzlaff was scored second followed by Amanda Lohr, Steve Paiment and Murrell.

Malessa Miles was the winner of the Bandolero trophy dash while Ethan Imperatrice was the heat race winner. Lane Anderson held the lead the first two circuits. Going into turn one on lap three, Imperatrice made a move under Kimberling for position. The two appeared to get hooked together and both went into the turn two tire-barrier hard. Thankfully both drivers were unharmed. The rest of the race was a runaway for Anderson as he was able to win by well over 10 seconds. Miles finished second ahead of Trey Daniels and Kadence Mace while Kimberling was credited with fifth.

Bethany Rapp held on for the victory in the Fortuna Wheel & Brake bomber trophy dash. Brandon White was subbing for Jim Redd for the evening and he took the heat race win. Rapp and Sam Brown traded the lead in the first two laps of the main event before White took over. On lap nine, Roach moved into the top spot. Roach and White fought tooth-and-nail for the lead for the remainder of the race. Roach was able to hold off White’s furious challenges to take the checkered flag. Brown placed third followed by Rapp and Doug Way.

The NorthCoast Lighting and Electric Legends division trophy dash was taken by Chris Lawrence. Former bomber division champion Leonard Ward made his debut in the Legends this season and took the win in the first heat race which featured a last lap wreck that took Tyler Krupa and Katina Baker out of action for the main event. Tyler Peach took the second heat win. Ward quickly moved to the lead of the main event and looked like a division veteran, leading in dominant fashion. Brent Mack and Tyler Peach battled hard for the second position all race long. Mack held the position until lap 10 when Peach moved to second. Ward had his hands full with both drivers in his mirror in the closing laps. Coming to the white flag, Ward got loose off turn four and spun into the infield. Peach took the lead and was able to hold off Mack’s late charge to win. Aiden Daniels finished third with Colby Furia and Kylie Daniels taking fourth and fifth.

The Fifth Annual Murrell 500 trophy for the Humboldt Hydroponics was on the line for the evening. Brett Murrell won the dash with heat race winners being Gary Kleintobe and Brett Murrell again. Trevor Eacret led lap one but Brian Murrell, Jr. took over on lap two. Murrell, Jr. had his mirror full with Eugene Palmer and Brett Murrell following right in his tracks. A caution flag flew when Rick Estes’ front bumper fell off on the front straight. Racing resumed and Brett Murrell was able to get second from Palmer. The two brothers staged a fantastic duel for the lead until lap 15 when Scott Taylor got high in turns one and two and ended up in the tire barrier. The incident, coupled with the other incidents in other divisions forced track officials to declare the race official giving Murrell, Jr. the win and the crown as Murrell 500 champion for the next year. Brett Murrell was second over Palmer, Eacret with Taylor taking fifth due to scoring reverting to the previous lap.

Dane Nissen was fast time for the Mid-City Motor World Super Six Challenge Series late models with a 16.009. Luke Hall took the win in the first heat. Heat two was dominated by Mic Moulton but on the last lap his car began smoking heavily and leaking fluid on the track. His issue allowed David Henderson to slip past to take the win and earn pole position for the 60-lap feature. Henderson used pole position to his advantage as he jumped to the lead at the start of the NorthCoast Lighting and Electric main event. Thankfully only one caution slowed the race as the feature started right at the 11:00 PM curfew. The first 20 laps saw Henderson fight off Nissen for the lead while Shawn Andrews and Moulton raced for third. Moulton moved to third on lap 24 and slowly reeled in the two leaders.

As the race neared its conclusion, it appeared as though Henderson began to struggle more and more with his car, particularly off the fourth turn. With 10 laps remaining things really began to heat up. After a several lap back and fourth fight, Moulton maneuvered his way past Nissen to second. Moulton was all over Henderson in the final handful of laps with Henderson doing everything within his power to hold off Moulton’s charge. With two laps remaining, Moulton dove inside Henderson going into the first turn. The two drivers touched with Moulton racing to the lead. Henderson tried his best to catch up and return the favor in turns three and four but couldn’t pull it off. At the finish it was Moulton taking the win over Henderson, Nissen, Andrews and Kenny Demello.

Only one race remains on the 2018 schedule for Redwood Acres Raceway and that’s the Fall Spectacular Saturday September 8th. Championships will of course be decided on the night in all divisions. The Thunder Roadsters will return while the North State Modified Series will also be joining the action. The season will conclude with the annual Dennis Wendt Memorial Fall Spectacular 100 for the late models. More information on the event and everything going on at Redwood Acres Raceway can be found on the track’s website www.RedwoodAcresRacing.com or by visiting RAR on Facebook at #/RedwoodAcresRaceway/