DJ Johnson Duplicates Opening Night HonorsRick Faeth
For the second year in a row DJ Johnson ventured several counties west to Petaluma Speedway and captured the 25-lap Pit Stop USA Spec Sprint Main Event on opening night 2013. The night started off with Johnson in his attractive blue #33 out-pacing the 17-car field with a 14.918 qualifying effort. The three 8-lap heat races were captured by Scotty Dupont, Scott Hall, and Terry Schank Jr. By the time the feature fired off the famous black adobe was tacky and had a ‘cowboy up’ look to it. Starting on the pole Bob Newberry won the drag race into the first turn. A Caution for several spinning cars stalled the action and eliminating Tyler O’Hara & Keith Shipherd. Crowd favorite Geoff Ensign at this point, stalled several times and then pitted with fuel valve issues, and finally rejoined the field at the back of the pack. A return to green flag racing saw an explosion of positions changing with Schank first using the bottom groove and then switching to the top-side to displace Scott Hall and then Newbury for the lead. A great secondary battle developed between Johnson and Nick Larsen. Lap ten saw Schank get bogged in traffic, and drift high in turn three. The slip dropped him to 4th with Johnson forging into the lead. Still another battle was developing as young Zack Lynskey and Ensign both displaying ‘men on a mission’ driving styles were blowing by cars on both the high and low side. The long green flag run to the finish culminated with Johnson holding a four-second lead over runner up Schank, Lynskey, Ensign and Kenny Drew.
The Carr Racing Chassis IMCA Modified Division put on a spectacular show from start to finish. A solid 17 car field welcomed the returning IMCA rules package back to Petaluma Speedway. Heat race victors were Nick DeCarlo, Michael Paul Jr., and Brian Azevedo. The 25-lap feature found Azevedo pacing the first few laps as all eyes were on DeCarlo. Next it was Jeff Thomas’ turn in the #07 to lead as DeCarlo turned up the wick. A couple of cautions kept the field tightly packed and a few body panels wrinkled, however the racing was fast, and clean, with noticeable give and take as the track went ‘buck-board’ through the middle groove. This necessitated competitors to choose the bottom or attempt to rim-ride. DeCarlo as if shot out of a cannon, took the lead on lap 9 and then quickly opened up a healthy lead. Local’s Paul Jr., Chris Sieweke, and Richard Papenhausen battled back and forth amongst the top five. Suddenly on a lap 19 restart, DeCarlo pulled out of line with what appeared to be a broken frame. This handed the lead over to Paul Jr. who brought home the win by pacing the last 6-laps over, Sieweke, Oreste Gonnella, Brian Azevedo, and Michelle Byron.
The Larsen Racing Products Late Model Series saw Papenhausen doing double-duty pick up the heat race win. In the 20-lap feature Steve Johnson blasted into the initial lead and then quickly blasted the turn three and turn four sound barriers not once, but twice. A yo-yo-style battle between Papenhausen and Dean DeVolder began as the lead was exchanged on each re-start. DeVolder held off Papenhausen to earn a hard fought victory. Paul Guglielmoni, Mitch Machado, and Johnson rounded out the top five.
A very stout field of ten mini stocks saw veteran Josh Williams and newcomer Eden McCormick garner heat race wins. The 20-lap feature was a barn-burner with John Veeninga, Williams, John Clark, and rookie Pete Langley all bunched tightly in a four car battle. Clark took over the lead only to have Langley drag race him to the capacity crowd’s delight, lap after lap. Clark recaptured the lead and looked to be bringing home a win when Langley delivered a last-turn, last lap blow to the side of Clark’s #2 and causing the youngster to chase his Pinto up the track. Langley, led Veeninga, Williams, Clark, and Snazzy Duckworth to the twin-checkers.
The California Vintage Hard Tops made their first of five 2012 visits to Petaluma Speedway with a great turnout of 17 racers. Two heat races and a non-stop 15-lap main event provided a look down memory lane for the Petaluma Speedway Faithful.
This weekend, April 20th, Petaluma Speedway will feature both Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series. Also on tap will be the Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, BCRA Midget Lites, and Dwarf Cars.