EUREKA – Mother Nature decided to be more cooperative this past Saturday night as Redwood Acres Raceway held the first race of the 2018 season.
The year was set to begin the previous week on April 28 but rain prevented that from happening. All six divisions were in action on opening night presented by Root 101 Nursery.
Prior to the start of the races, Redwood Acres Raceway paid tribute to Kevin Williford with a moment of silence and Eugene Palmer taking a lap around the track in his honor. Williford had been an announcer at the Acres for the past several years.
The Compass Community Credit Union roadrunners started off the action with their first main event. Nick Ford set fast time with a 20.423. Bob Ratzlaff jumped to the lead on lap one. A three-wide battle ensued as Tim Ratzlaff and Nick Ford and Bob Ratzlaff. Tim Ratzlaff took over the lead. Ford was able to get by on lap two but two laps later Ray Taylor, Jr. jumped to the lead and never looked back. Tim Ratzlaff scrubbed the wall and was able to continue for a few more laps before dropping out with a flat tire. The best battle on the track was for second as Ford and Ray Taylor, Sr. fought for the spot. Nobody at anything for Taylor, Jr. as he was able to take the win by a sizeable margin. Taylor, Sr. was able to beat Nick Ford to the line for second. Patrick Sproul placed fourth with Dylan Ford finishing fifth.
For the second main, the roadrunners were turned backwards around the track. Dylan Ford jumped to the lead and looked like he was going to be a major player. Issues on lap three gave Nick Ford the lead and allowed Sproul into second. The rest of the race was a nip-and-tuck battle between Nick Ford and Sproul. In the final laps, Sproul tried his best to pressure Nick Ford into making a mistake but Ford never did. At the finish it was Nick Ford winning with Sproul taking second, Ray Taylor, Jr. third, Ray Taylor, Sr. fourth and Dylan Ford fifth.
The bandoleros made their debut at the 3/8-mile paved oval. Lane Anderson set the fastest time in qualifying with a 22.147. Maleesa Miles was the heat race winner. Kadence Mace led the field to the green flag. Aiden Kimberling took the lead on lap one but on lap two Miles took over at the front. Miles and Anderson had a fantastic duel for the race lead. On lap nine, both drivers spun in turns three and four allowing Mace to take over the lead. Anderson got a good restart and was able to quickly take the lead. Anderson led from that point on and at the drop of the checkered flag it was Anderson winning over Miles. Mace took third, Aiden Kimberling fourth and Donnie Murrell placing fifth after issues at the start prevented him from racing.
Fast time in the Fortuna Wheel & Brake/Four Star Realty bomber division was Nick Green. Ryan Walters was victorious in the heat race. Walters took the lead at the start of the race and looked to have a firm hold on the top position. Green chipped away at Walters’ lead and midway through the race, the two were racing hard for the lead. On lap 15, Green prevailed. Green was able to pull away from the field and at the finish it was Green winning. Walters took second over Jim Redd and Sam Brown.
In the NorthCoast Lighting & Electric Legends division, Brad Curtice set fast time with an 18.039. Curtice followed up his success in qualifying in the heat race with a victory. MKinzy Uselton and Katina Baker led the field to the green flag. The faster qualifiers quickly tried to maneuver their way to the front. Christ Lawrence took the lead on lap three and was able to hold it until lap 6 when Curtice took over. It appeared as though Curtice’s experience in the Legends cars was going to prevent Lawrence, a former Thunder Roadster driver from keeping up. However, Lawrence’s experience transferred smoothly from one car to another and the top two ran closely all race long. Late in the race, the two leaders caught slower traffic. It appeared as though Lawrence would be able to use both cars as a pick. Curtice was able to maneuver his car better though the traffic and held on to his lead. Curtice was able to take the checkered flag over Lawrence. Brent Mack took third while defending division champion, Tyler Peach placed fourth. Baker rounded out the top five.
In the Humboldt Hydroponics mini stock division, Brian Murrell, Sr. was the quickest in qualifying with an 18.286. Jordan Paiment won the first heat while the second heat was won by Eugene Palmer. The first six laps of the main event were caution plagued. Trevor Eacret’s spin in turn two brought out the yellow flag. Troy Lee and C.J. Dalton spun in turn two for another caution. After a jumped restart, Murrell and Dylan Hagmann has issues. A subsequent saw Scott Taylor take over the lead but spin bringing out the yellow and giving Palmer the lead. The last caution occurred when Murrell spun in turns three and four with Paiment hitting the wall. The rest of the race was clean as the field spread out and Palmer ran away. At the finish it was Palmer winning over Eacret, Taylor, Murrell and Gary Klinetobe.
The Super Six Challenge Series late models presented by Mid-City Motor World and NorthCoast Lighting and Electric held their first race of the season. Northern California racing legend, Jim Walker showed everyone how it’s done in qualifying with a fast time of 15.685. Scott Baker won the first heat which saw contact between Kenny Demello and Tim Crenshaw in turn four with Crenshaw hitting the wall. David Miller won heat two. Demello was unable to start the 50-lap feature which saw Miller jump out to the lead over Brandon Ash. On the fifth lap, Brandon White began to make his presence felt as he moved past Dane Nissen for third. White then began challenging for the second spot on the high side of Ash.
The first caution of the night came out at lap 10 when the two Oregon drivers of Ash and Miller appeared to come into contact. The result was White inheriting the lead over Mic Moulton and Marty Walsh. White appeared to have the car to beat early in the run but as the laps went by, Moulton was able to close the gap. Meanwhile, Walker was making his presence known as he maneuvered past Walsh for third on lap 20. The next 20 laps featured an amazing and clean three-way battle for the lead. White had his mirror full of Moulton while Walker closed in on Moulton’s bumper. Moulton tried to make a move under White several times but was unsuccessful. Moulton was able to get under and past White for the lead just as a caution flew for Scott Baker’s spun car in turns one and two.
With scoring reverted to the previous lap, White moved back to the lead. On the restart, Moulton was able to take advantage of what looked to be an ailing #19 car for White. Walker was able to move past White with five laps remaining just as White nearly hit the wall in turn three. The final handful of laps saw Walker making a hard charge on Moulton. With two laps remaining Walker had closed in on Moulton. Walker appeared to have the stronger car but unfortunately for him, time ran out. Moulton was able to hang on to the finish in what might already be the best race of the entire 2018 season. David Henderson had a solid night and placed third over Ash and Miller.
The April 28 rainout tightened up the 2018 racing schedule as racing will return to the Acres this upcoming weekend May 12. It will be Pepsi Night At The Races, an annual tradition at Redwood Acres Raceway for many years. All six divisions will be back in action in what should be a very interesting second race of the season. For more information including race results, points and division rules please visit Redwood Acres Raceway’s official website, www.redwoodacresracing.com You can also find the track on Facebook, www.Facebook.com/RedwoodAcresRaceway
Remaining 2018 Redwood Acres Raceway Schedule
Saturday May 12th – Pepsi Night At The Races (Featuring Super 6 Late Models)
Sunday May 27th – O’Reilly Auto Parts Night At The Races (Featuring North State Modifieds, Late Models off)
Saturday June 9th – Renner Petroleum Night At The Races (Featuring Super 6 Late Models)
Friday June 22nd – Fair Race (Featuring Demolition Derby and Boat Race, Late Models and Bombers off)
Saturday June 23rd – Tractor Pulls (VIP tickets available, no oval racing)
Saturday July 7th – Don Graham Memorial Firecracker 100 (Featuring fireworks, Bandoleros and Legends off)
Saturday July 21st – Harper Ford Night at the Races (Featuring Super 6 Late Models, North State Modifieds, Mustang car show, roadrunners off)
Friday/Saturday August 3rd and 4th – Monster Trucks
Saturday August 18th – Anderson Logging Driver Appreciation Night (Featuring Super 6 Late Models, Murrell 500)
Friday/Saturday September 7/8 – Mid-City Motor World Fall Spectacular (Featuring North State Modifieds on Friday, Super 6 Late Models on Friday and Saturday)