Big Names Battle For First Shootout on Santa Rosa Auto Body NightRick Faeth
By Devin Mayo
Petaluma, CA – March 29th
After a couple of cold and rainy weeks, a warm breeze brought competitors and fans out to Petaluma’s Season opener Saturday Night and it’s first Pit Stop USA Sprint Shootout of the year sponsored by Santa Rosa Auto Body. 20 cars signed in for the Pit Stop USA Winged 360’s with big names such as Rico Abreu & Willie Croft in attendance. It was to no surprise that Andy Forsberg would set quick time of the night with a time of 12.955 with Abreu qualifying second and Klint Simpson in third on a dry, slick track. A three heat race format saw Willie Croft, Brett Rollag, and Billy Aton picking up heat race victories. During the A Main event, Croft, Abreu, Forsberg, Bradley Terrell, and Ryan Robinson sliced and diced through heavy traffic. From 2nd-5th, all of the top 5 would change for position but Willie Croft would hold at bay. The only caution on lap 19 would set up a 6 lap race to finish but it would be Willie Croft holding off the field for his first win of the year at Petaluma and making the weekend sweep after his win at Chico the night before, followed by Abreu, Forsberg, Terrell, and Robinson were the top 5.
The Pit Stop USA spec sprints also made their season debut at Petaluma Speedway. An opening night field of 13 would set up some nice wingless action for the evening. Terry Shank Jr. would claim quicktime for the night. With the heat races set up, Shank would claim the 1st one, continuing his sweep for the evening and a quick Jim Christian would claim the 2nd and final heat race. A Main action begins and Shank would pass 3 cars in with a slide job going into turn 3 to move into the lead on the first lap with Jim Christian following chase. Schank would soon find himself in traffic with Christian following suit. On lap 17, Christian would run over the right rear of a lapped competitor, flipping into turn 3 and ending up over the turn 3 wall. Christian would be able to walk off with no injuries and that crash would end the race early, giving the win to Shank and claiming the weekend sweep as he won the wingless event in Chico the night before. Barry Pries Jr., Brett Barney, Klint Simpson, and Shayna Silvia rounded out the top 5.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks were set to do battle on the 3/8th’s Adobe Saturday night with a very competitive field. Long time Petaluma runner in the Super Stocks, Shawn McCoy would pick up the 1st heat race and Mitch Machado would pick up the 2nd heat race. Roger Miller would lead the field to green but soon Matt While and Machado would begin to come to the front. In heavy traffic, Machado takes the lead and as soon as he takes it, While makes a 3 wide pass for the lead and would hold Machado off the final 10 laps of the event, with Machado, Woody Woodward, Steve Studabeker, and McCoy rounded out the top 5.
Santa Rosa Auto Bodies 600’s fielded a nice 14 car field which saw Jared Morrison and Rick Gutzke winning their heat races. Nick Robfogel would lead the field to the green flag. A couple of cautions would stack up the field but Robfogel had the car to beat and led every lap of the A Main to go on and win the first 600 main event of the year at Petaluma. Last years champion Jim Beck would end up in the runner up spot, Gutzke in 3rd, Rick Alonso in 4th, and Jenna Perkins all earned their first top 5 of the season.
The Petaluma 3/8th’s returns this Saturday with the Pit Stop USA Winged 360’s, Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, McLea's Tire IMCA Modifieds, General Hydroponics Dwarfs, Jake's Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks. This will be the the first round of racing for the Modifieds, Dwarf cars, and Mini Stocks. For more information, please visitwww.petaluma-speedway.com.