Familiar Names Build Towards Championship on Ghilotti Construction NightRick Faeth
Old Petaluma Speedway track conditions prevailed Saturday Night as the black adobe clay was at its hooked up and tackiest on Team Ghiotti Night. The Pit Stop USA.com Spec Sprint Series saw Billy Aton returning from a stint working at sea pick up fast time honors. Sebastopol’s Geoff Ensign and Santa Rosa’s Terry Schank Jr. won the heat races. In the main event Clint Simpson took the initial green over Bret Barney and Bill Cornwell. Pacing the first six circuits Simpson washed up slightly exiting turn two and allowed a fast closing Schank to displace him for the lead. Working from mid-pack Ensign passed Barney and then Cornwell and set sights on TrevorSchmid who had overturned earlier in his heat. The last 15 laps were run at qualifying speeds as Schank the defending track champion held on for his first Petaluma win of the year. Simpson, having the race of his young career held on for an impressive runner-up spot over Schmid, Ensign, and Cornwell.
Late Model action saw a season high twelve cars sign in for what was a tune up for the September 8th 33rd Annual MaselliClassic. Point leader and defending track champion Jeff Decker was the quick qualifier. Anthony Restad and Randy Shafer were victorious in heat race preliminaries. The 25-lap feature saw the “Hit Man” from Morgan Hill, Decker step out to an early lead over Shafer, Restad, and Richard Papenhausen. A vicious front straightaway wreck slowed the action and eliminated Jimmy Gallagher, Dennis Souza, and Michael Paul Jr. Decker with left front wheel hiked stretched his lead with the real battle being for second. Shafer, Restad, and Papenhausen blanketed each other lap after lap. Coming to the checkers Decker was the no-doubt winner capturing his season-high fourth victory, over Randy Shafer, and Papenhausen nipping Restad at the line for third. Paul Gugliemoni rounded out the top five.
It was championship night for the Carr Racing Chassis Modified Series with a one-point lead for Oreste Gonella over defending champ Michael Paul Jr. heading into competition. Paul Jr. wrested the point lead away by winning his heat. Papenhausendoing double-duty captured the other modified heat. Petaluma’s Michelle Byron forged to the early lead over hard luck Joel Myers, rookie Dave Lindt Jr., and Chris Sieweke. Paul Jr. started picking off cars on lap five with Gonella struggling early from the back of the field. Myers worked his way around Byron and Paul blasted by Lindt Jr. & Sieweke to take over third. At the midpoint Paul picked off teammate Byron and set sights for Myers. With Myers exiting turn four and Paul trying to overtake, contact was made causing Myers to pit for a flat. Paul Jr. survived to garner the win and the season championship. Runner-up Byron was chased to the line by Sieweke, a determined Myers, and Lindt Jr.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks featured a solid field of 15 cars. Veteran Steve Studebaker dominated heat one, and David Spriggs copped heat two. Feature action saw point leader Mike Learn establish himself early with Spriggs, Studebaker, and Kevin Aguirre dicing for positions. Cautions mid-race bunched the field and Dave Byron found the hot line passing 6 cars in the next five laps. At the checkers it was Learn adding to his dream season notching his 9th win of the season over Studebaker, Spriggs, Byron, and Aguirre.
The BPT Carburetor Mini Stock & Hornets also experienced a season high mark with 9 cars in competition. Journeyman JohnVeeninga copped heat one with young Josh Williams earning heat two honors. Main event action saw Williams and Veeningaexert themselves over John Clark and Kimberly Ramirez. Petaluma’s Keith Benson set his sights toward the lead pack and meticulously mounted a charge. Mid-race saw Veeningaworming his way through congested lap traffic. Benson got outside of Veeninga with five to go and simultaneously went up in a ball of flames with his engine expiring. This left the laurelsto an unchallenged Veeninga who captured his fifth win of the year over in an impressive Williams, Clark, Ramirez, and visiting Dustin Fernandez.
Petaluma Speedway is dark next Saturday Night, September 1stbut returns to action on September 8th with the 33rd Annual M.Masilli & Sons West Coast Late Model Shootout along with the Pit Stop USA.com Spec Sprint Series and dwarf cars.