Klint Simpson Achieves Rare Double at Petaluma SpeedwayRick Faeth
PETALUMA, CA – April 30
By Rick Faeth
Unseasonably warm temps and high winds led to a rare slick track at Petaluma Speedway Saturday Night. Geoff Ensign for the second week in a row was the quick qualifier outpacing the 15 car field with a 13.533. Veteran Roberto Kirby and Klint Simpson captured the incident free 8-lap preliminary heats. The 25-lap feature saw most all teams set up to run the low groove. Jake Haulot led the first three stanzas until Kirby was the recipient of contact and necessitated the first caution. On the restart point leader Bradley Terrell looking for his fourth consecutive Pit Stop USA win pressed the launch button and displaced Haulot. On the move mid-race were Simpson and Ensign who waged a cagey battle both clawing for moisture. The long caution free stretch allowed Terrell to handle lapped traffic smoothly until the final few laps as he tried diligently to negotiate past John Clark. Feeling he couldn’t wait any longer on the white flag lap Terrell attempted a NASCAR style bump and run maneuver which ultimately cost him time and track space. This opened the door for Simpson to edge his Brett Lay #24b around for the lead and he was able to drag race and nip Ensign at the line for a popular win. Terrell gathered up his mount and finished third, Haulot was 4th, and steady Trent Canales rounded out the top five.
The Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints found the impressive looking #222 of Joe Stornetta notching the fastest lap in group qualifying with a 15.169. Rookie Jared Morrison, and Cody Fendley were the heat race victors. Bad luck continued to haunt Stornetta as mechanical gremlins again bit him. Klint Simpson in the potent Dave Johnson #32 sprinter eased away from the field as a the familiar trio of Fendley, Shayna Sylvia, and Matthew Haulot diced all race long for the second consecutive race. Brett Barney’s string of successful early season runs came to a damaging halt as his motor expired on lap 9. From that point on it was a dialed in Simpson as he tied Ensign as only the second driver in track history to sweep both the winged and non-wing sprint car features on the same night. Haulot, Sylvia, Fendley, and veteran Jason McIntosh were second thru fifth.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks saw Matt While and Mitch Machado cop the pair of heat races. Machado started the feature outside of defending track champion Steve Studebaker and three laps later finally was able separate from the #46. Track conditions provided for two grooves for the popular fendered flyers as competitors used their heads and only generated a single brief caution. At the conclusion of 25 circuits Machado expertly steered his #22m into victory lane over Studebaker, While, rookie Garrett Brady, and Woody Woodward.
The McLea’s Tire & Automotive IMCA Modifieds for the second week in a row saw a disappointingly short field of competitors. Oreste Connella scored the 20-lap win over Michael Paul Jr., Mike Karinen, and Michelle Paul.
The fan favorite Jake’s Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks saw youngsters Darien Balestrini and second generation racer Austin Ohlinger tally heat wins. Balestrini dueled early with William Fatu, and then late in the 20-lapper with track champion Eden McCormick before parking his swift #21d on the front stretch for the second time in 2016. McCormick, Fatu, Sid Hess, and Tom Curley followed Balestrini.
Speedway returns to action this Saturday Night, May 7th featuring the King of the west 410 Sprint Car Series, Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, and the Santa Rosa Auto Body 600’s For more information please go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.