Human Highlight Reel Captures Joe Hunt vs Pit Stop USA Spec Sprint Battle
Unseasonably warm weather and a nice sized crowd were on hand for Quattro de Maya Night at Petaluma Speedway Saturday Night. With children breaking piñatas in the midway and sprint cars spitting clay rooster tails it was Santa Rosa’s Terry Schank Jr. topping the 22-car field with a 14.714 lap qualifying effort. The first of four Joe Hunt Magneto versus Pit Stop USA Spec Sprint Events in 2013 saw heat races being captured by: Nick Larsen, Joe Stornetta, and Jason Toft. The six lap dash was won by Schank Jr. over visiting Austin Liggett. That finishing order put those two hot shoes on the front row of the 25-lap feature. At the drop of the Scott Erwin green flag it was the former track champion Schank with the advantage over Liggett, Stornetta, Toft, and Geoff Ensign. Exiting turn two on lap five saw Liggett make a bid for the lead. Schank and Liggett got together with the end result seeing both cars getting upside down. Ensign inherited the lead at the return to green after previously displacing Toft and Stornetta. Several spins and broken front ends sidelined Nick Larsen, Nic McMichael, Keith Shipherd, and Stornetta. Mid race all eyes were on a charging Sparky Howard as he masterfully picked off competitors to enter the top five from 20th starting position. The last 8 laps were run non-stop as Ensign hit his marks to guide the Dave Johnson #32 into victory lane over Howard, Toft, Scott Hall, and rapidly improving Scott Dupont.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks ran their second point event of the season with a fine 18-car field. Heat races were garnered by impressive newcomer Brent Blackwood and defending track champion Mike Learn. The main event saw former track champion Steve Studebaker cop the early lead over Dave Byron, Gary Adams, and Anthony Matthias. By lap six Learn had entered the top five and three laps later was challenging Byron for the runner-up spot. Cautions played a part in the middle portion of the scheduled 25-lapper with Byron unfortunately collecting a lapped car. From lap 14 on it was evident that Learn would have to fight his way past a stout running Studebaker. Lap 18 in traffic is when Learn made his move with a dicey pass for the lead. Entering the white flag lap Nathan Schleth obliterated the tractor tire on the turn one off-ramp and the race was red-checkered with Learn the victor over Studebaker, Blackwood, Adams, and Matthias rounding out the top-five.
Eleven Carr Racing Chassis IMCA Modifieds signed in, with Joel Myers winning the first heat race and Michael Paul Jr. stealing the second. The main event got off to a clean start with the first 8 laps being caution free and Myers looking strong. Several flat tires, and multi-car spins slowed the pace with Michelle Byron feeling the brunt of the damage. On a lap 10 restart Oreste Gonnella got the better of Myers as his #46 started to stumble. A valiant effort was turned in by Michael Paul Jr. who had to re-start at the back of the pack twice due to on-track incidents yet each time fought his way into the top five. At the twin checkered flags it was Gonnella by 2.5 seconds over Myers, Norman Beck, Paul Jr., and Chris Sieweke.
The Larsen Racing Products Late Models saw veteran Paul Guglielmoni garner both the heat race and main event in his well-prepared #22g. Long-time Petaluma competitor Rod Arnold was second. Dennis Souza, Dean DeVolder, and David Newquist rounded out the top five.
The fan-friendly mini stock division saw their heat race won by up-and-coming youngster John Clark and for the second race in a row it was rookie Pete Langley with the 20-lap feature win. Josh Williams nursed home an overheating issue and was the runner up. Third through fifth were John Veeninga, Eden McCormick, and Clark.
This weekend, May 11thth, Petaluma Speedway will host the King of the West 410 Sprint Car Series in our “Salute to Baylands Raceway Park Night.” Also on tap will be the competitive Petaluma Speedway Dwarf Cars and Vintage Hard Tops.