PETALUMA, CA. July 7—Veteran sprint car racer Stephen Allard, who had never finished higher than third place at Petaluma Speedway, looked like he was the man to beat as he commanded the lead for all but one of the initial 11 laps of the 30-lap Hoosier Racing Tires Civil War Series A-main event on Saturday night, but when the Cameron Park driver hit a wet spot that aimed his winged sprint car towards the Turn 1 crash wall allowing Sebastopol’s Bradley Terrell enough room to get underneath him on a Lap 12 restart, the victory seemed in doubt, but not to Allard, who quickly recovered in time to charge after Terrell and pass him to reclaim the lead.
Terrell’s challenge was the most serious threat to Allard’s dominating performance, which not only led to his first-ever Petaluma triumph, but also his second Civil War victory of the season and a boost from fourth place to second in the traveling racing series point standings.
Although thwarted in his bid for the lead, the aggressive Terrell, a former Petaluma Speedway track champion who posted a victory with a last-lap pass the previous week, stayed hot on Allard’s trail until surrendering second place to defending Civil War series champion and current points leader Andy Forsberg on a Lap 20 restart. Forsberg, who started fifth in the 22-car field, fared no better than Terrell as Allard clearly had the best car on the track.
Chasing Allard, Forsberg, and Terrell across the finish line was fourth-place finisher Greg DeCaires and Petaluma Speedway regulars Chase Johnson, who climbed from 10th-starting to fifth place, and 13th-starting Richard Bailey, who finished sixth. Buried in the final stat sheets was a very strong showing by Cotati’s Jake Haulot, who was headed for a top-five finish until the final lap when he got out of shape and slipped to 14th place
Terrell and Bailey, along with David Lindt Jr., showcased a strong contingent of Petaluma regulars among the 32 entries by winning their 10-lap heat races. Colby Wiesz of Colfax also prevailed in the heats.
The night’s fastest qualifier, Mike Benson of Calistoga, led the final seven laps of the 12-lap B-main to capture the victory over Petaluma’s home-track favorites Geoff Ensign, Chase Johnson, Ivan Worden, and Kenny Drew, who all transferred to the A-main.
In the accompanying Pit Stop USA Wingless Sprint Cars, racing fanatic and double-duty driver Geoff Ensign did all he could to keep up with the speedy DJ Johnson, who clocked in as the division’s fastest qualifier and rose from ninth-starting to first place in the 25-lap feature where he repeatedly opened a wide lead over the 14-car field.
A yellow caution flag helped dissolve Johnson’s half-lap lead on Lap 12, but when racing resumed the Stockton driver immediately pulled away from the pack by a wide margin. Ensign, who started third, grabbed second place from Taylor Simas on Lap 17 but the elusive Johnson continued to extend his large lead until the finish where he took the checkered flag more than six seconds ahead of Ensign, Simas, and Sparky Howard.
However, Johnson’s victory was short-lived, and was handed to Ensign after Johnson was disqualified when his car failed to pass a post-race tech inspection. For Ensign, it marked his second straight wingless victory, and matches his victory total in the winged 360 Sprint Cars.
Rounding out the finish behind Ensign, Simas, and Howard were Klint Simpson, heat winner Scotty Dupont, Zack Lynskey, Jeff Lee, Bill Cornwell, and Dustin Baxter.
Results for July 7
CIVIL WAR SERIES
360 SPRINT CARS
Fast time—Mike Benson 12.839.
Heat 1—David Lindt Jr.; Jake Haulot; Koen Shaw; Mason Moore; Benson; Matthew Haulot; Billy Butler; Chase Wood.
Heat 2—Bradley Terrell; Art McCarthy Jr.; Herman Klein; Robert Stice; Kenny Drew; Josh Ruhs; Ivan Worden; Adam McCarthy.
Heat 3—Richard Bailey; Kirk Simpson; Stephen Allard; Andy Forsberg; Chase Johnson; Roberto Kirby; Jim Richardson; Nick Davis.
Heat 4—Colby Wiesz; Jeremy Burt; Greg DeCaires; Jason Toft; Gary Burdick; Geoff Ensign; Cole Wood; Jimmy Steward.
B-Main—Benson; Ensign; Johnson; Worden; Drew; Burdick; Butler; Ruhs; M. Haulot; Chase Wood; Steward; Cole Wood; Davis; Richardson; Kirby.
A-Main—Allard; Forsberg; Terrell; DeCaires; Johnson; Bailey; Klein; Moore; Wiesz; Ensign; Benson; Simpson; Toft; J. Haulot; Stice; Drew; Art McCarthy; Butler; Burdick; Shaw; Worden; Lindt.
WINGLESS SPRINT CARS
Fast time—Zack Lynskey 14.955.
Heat 1—Alex Schutte; Taylor Simas; Klint Simpson; Geoff Ensign; Dustin Baxter; Jeff Lee.
Heat 2—Scotty Dupont; Sparky Howard; Bret Barney; Lynskey; Fritz Leesman; Bill Cornwell; Joe Stornetta.
Main—Ensign; Simas; Howard; Simpson; Dupont; Lynskey; Lee; Cornwell; Baxter; Stornetta; Barney; Schutte; Leesman; DJ Johnson DQ.