Schank and Faccinto Thrill on Open Wheel Madness NightRick Faeth
PETALUMA, CA – July 18
By Rick Faeth
Petaluma Speedway’s annual Open Wheel Madness Night featuring the Joe Hunt Wingless Sprints vs Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints, BCRA-USAC Midgets, Midget Lites, and Santa Rosa Auto Body 600’s saw over 90 cars in the congested pit area and a brimming full grandstand Saturday Night. Warm temps and gusts led to a dry slick adobe surface that saw Colton Slack earn fast time honors with a 14.209 over the field of 25 carbureted fire-breathers. Eight lap heat races were nabbed by Shane Myhre, Austin Liggett, and Terry Schank Jr. Myhre also copped the 6-lap dash to earn the pole for the 25-lap feature, with Jason McIntosh notching the semi-main. At the drop of the green it was Joe Stornetta getting the jump on Myhre. Lap one saw Schank exit the track with a flat, then return to join the tail of the field. Several spins and shunts slowed the pace as Stornetta looked strong over Myhre, Jim Christian, Klint Simpson, and Jonathon Henry. Lap 18 saw Stornetta retire with a suspension part failure as simultaneously Schank who stormed through the field entered the top five. Red flags for Bill Cornwell, McIntosh, and Nick DeCarlo interrupted the later stages as Myhre led through 21 circuits. On a lap 22 restart Schank used his patented low dive into turn one and emerged with the lead. Three laps later it was the defending track champion parking it on the front stretch over Henry, Myhre with rapidly improving youngsters John Clark and Shayna Sylvia rounding out the top five.
The Bay Cities Racing Association and United States Auto Club combined forces to produce 27 midgets. Rapid Ronnie Gardner paced the field in qualifying with a nice 14.382 lap. Heat winners were: Michael Faccinto, Sean Dodenhoff, and Shannon McQueen. Taylor Simas was victorious in the 12-lap semi-main. The 30-lap feature saw former track record holder Shannon McQueen with the early advantage over Cody Swanson, Scott Pierovich, and Dodenhoff. Action started with many cars clawing for grip low until slowly the pack matriculated to the high groove as the pace quickened. Gardner moved forward with surgical precision as he was hot on McQueen’s by lap 10. A small bobble by McQueen mid-race saw Gardner and Faccinto scoot by. A late race caution set the stage for a showdown between the top two and they didn’t disappoint. At the white flag it looked to be Gardner’s race until Faccinto made a move and drew abreast down the back stretch. Coming off of four it was a desperate Gardner riding an awesome wheelie across the line just inches short of Faccinto. The crowd pleasing performance had the grandstand rocking as McQueen held on for third over Cory Elliot and Nick Chivello.
The BCRA Midget Lites provided a nice field of 15 non-winged buzzbombs. RC Smith and Brian Corso were the preliminary heat victors. The 20-1ap feature was an all Doug Nunes affair as he dominated over RC Smith Hunter Kinney, Craig Dillard, and Craig Holsted.
The Santa Rosa Auto Body 600’s saw Jared Morrison and Bruno Bianchi capture heat race wins. Steven Garris in only his second time at Petaluma Speedway earned an abbreviated feature win in an incident infested race that had to be cut short due to curfew. Jim Beck was second, Danny Rozendahl third, over Rick Alonso and Chad McIntosh.
Petaluma Speedway returns to action this Saturday Night, July 25th featuring the Pit Stop USA Shootout round #2 featuring Winged 360’s and Spec Sprints. Also on tap are the Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, Larsen Racing Products Dwarfs, and the Jake’s Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks. For more information please go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.