Ensign, Blackwood, McCormick Prevail on Championship NightRick Faeth
~~PETALUMA, CA – Sept 27
After being bumped back one week for the Civil War, Petaluma Speedway’s surface was in record breaking shape on Saturday’s Championship Night. Sebastopol’s Geoff Ensign narrowly eclipsed Joe Stornetta’s year old spec sprint qualifying standard with a new track record of 14.017 (96.3 mph). Sixteen Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints signed in with Terry Schank Jr. and Brian Azevedo capturing the pair of 8-lap heat races. A zero invert saw Ensign and Gary Nelson Jr. lead the pack into turn one with Ensign garnering the early lead. Speeds were blazingly fast and below the track record as 6 laps reeled off quickly before a John Clark spin slowed the action. On the restart Schank flirted with Nelson for second as Ensign scampered away. On the move was rookie sensation Frankie Guerrini Jr. from twelfth starting position. Guerrini waged torrid duels with Shayna Sylivia for 7th and Azevedo for 6th. Just as the leaders were entering heavy traffic Clark stopped again in turn four. During the ensuing caution Sparky Howard lost a brake rotor. The final lap 19 restart was furious as both Nelson and Ensign turned in the first pair of sub-14 second laps in Petaluma Speedway Spec Sprint History. Ensign led Nelson to the 25-lap feature win by a full second. Third was Schank who clinched the 2014 Pit Stop USA title going into the final Joe Hunt Wingless Series Race on Oct 11th. Fourth was Jason McIntosh over Guerrrini.
The final Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks point’s race saw three drivers: Brent Blackwood, Steve Studebaker, and Matt While all with a shot at the title. Gary Adams, arguably the hottest driver the second half of the season nabbed the first heat with veteran Mitch Machado victorious in the second 8-lapper. The 25-lap finale saw Blackwood battle hard to get around Adams for the early lead. It was evident from the start that While and Studebaker were going to swap some paint as they both aggressively raced each other in pursuit of the top three. Mid-race a badly smoking Machado was black-flagged and as he was entering the infield he collected Studebaker necessitating a caution. Three laps later While drifted up the track and put Studebaker over the cushion. All the while Blackwood smoothly laid down laps as he picked up his fifth feature win and the 2014 championship. Adams was second, over young star Trevor Brady, with While fourth and Studebaker fifth.
The Jake’s Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks also ran their final point’s event. An excellent field of 11 cars drew pills with Eden McCormick and Pistol Pete Langley winning the heat races. The 20-lap feature saw Big John Veeninga lead at the outset over Langley, McCormick, and Bob Davis. Langley encountered tire issues and on the move mid-race was Ryan Cherezian in his fast mini truck. Cherezian displaced with Veeninga on lap 14 and then McCormick a lap later as he cruised to the checkered flag. However, post-race tech found Cherezian’s rapid #12 non-compliant yielding the win to McCormick over Veeninga, Davis, Zack Albers, and Snazzy Duckworth. Winning the championship was young Jake Fernandes, Petaluma Speedway’s youngest ever champion.
The final Santa Rosa Auto Body 600 Micro Midget event was a late addition to the program but fashioned nine fine open wheelers. Doing double-duty, Racin’ Jason McIntosh won the eight lap heat race and looked to be in fine shape early in the main event until mechanical gremlins bit. Picking up the lead after 13 laps was Bruno Bianchi who brought home his first Petaluma Speedway win over Daniel Dickinson, and Maria Cofer. 16-year old Cofer competing in her first 600 race turned the fastest lap of the event on the white flag lap after starting last in the field. Fourth was Scott McIntosh, fifth was Jenna Perkins.
Petaluma Speedway returns to action this Saturday Night, October 4th with Flowmaster Night featuring the USAC Western Classic Sprint Cars, Twin 25-lap Dwarf Car Features, and at the end of the evening the West Coast Enduro 150. For more information please go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.