Schank Jr., McDaniel, Drew, Dutra, and Williams Slip ‘n Slide to TriumphsRick Faeth
Petaluma, CA – Warm weather and with no sign of the customary Bodega Bay marine layer in the sky; coupled with 90 race cars, made for a sealed over dry slick track on Sysco Foods Night at Petaluma Speedway Saturday Night. The group qualifying for round #2 of the Joe Hunt Wingless Sprints vs. Pit Stop USA Spec Sprint Series saw Colton Slack turn in a 15.239 effort to top the 23 car field. Heat races were captured by Joe Stornetta, Jason McIntosh, and Scott Hall. The six lap dash was put away by Stornetta and gained him the coveted pole position for the 25-lap feature. The start of the main saw Terry Schank Jr. start 18th and Geoff Ensign also start deep the pack. Schank tipped over hard and Ensign clipped the front straightaway wall in qualifying. The drag race to turn one was won by Stornetta over Slack. Slack took over the lead on lap three with Tommy LaLiberte, Drew Barney and Bob Newberry making up the top five. Storming through the pack was Schank Jr. pulling Ensign along. Lap 9 saw a caution for a Scott Hall, McIntosh, and Bradley Clark tangle. Returning to green saw LaLiberte displace Slack for the lead with Barney dropping out of the top five and Stornetta being passed by Newbery. Lap 18 saw Schank Jr. blast into the top three behind LaLiberte and Slack. Caution for a spin on lap 20 set-up a potential nail biting 5-lap dash for the finish. Sadly, LaLiberte having the best race of his career at Petaluma, had to pull off with a flat tire. With three laps to go Schank used his patented aggressive low-side pass to auger by Slack and hold on to an exciting finish. Rounding out the top five were an impressive Slack, Newberry, Rowdy McClenon, and Stornetta.
Round four of the Nor-Cal Challenge IMCA Modified Tour saw 24 cars compete. Always fast Nick DeCarlo, tour point leader Ryan McDaniel, and local hot shoe Chris Sieweke capture the three qualifying heats. The main event saw one of the favorites Kellen Chadwick loop his car mid pack in turn two on the first lap causing the field to scatter. Twenty minutes later with only three laps in the books and numerous multi-car tangles action seemed to finally pick up and good racing was witnessed. DeCarlo involved in one of the early cautions started his run from the back. Chris Sieweke was the leader through lap nine. A text book move by Anthony Restad captured him the lead exiting turn two on lap nine, however was negated by the eighth caution flag of the event. A return to action now saw Oreste Gonnella and McDaniel get the sense the event was in jeopardy and make moves to advance. Lap 10 saw MacDaniel make the winning pass off of turn four. Due to so many caution flags the event was checkered on lap 13 after 35 minutes. Following McDaniel were, Sieweke, Gonella, Restad, and DeCarlo.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks saw some of the best racing within that division all year. Veteran’s Shawn McCoy and Mike Learn were the heat race winners. The 25-lap feature got away smoothly with Larry Drew and Gary Adams two wide for several laps with McCoy, Studebaker, and Paul Hanley rounding out the top five. Defending track champion Learn now entered the top five and started and epic side-by-side battle with Studebaker. McCoy having one of his recent better nights exited with a flat while action slowed for a Shane Brandon spin. Up front it was Drew on cruise control over Adams, as laps ticked by the Learn shook free of Studebaker as both got by Adams. What looked like a race well in had suddenly was too close to call as Learn and Drew were door handle-to-door handle while receive the white flag. Exiting turn four with the fans on their feet it was Larry Drew picking up the crowd pleasing win with Learn, Studebaker, Adams, and Brent Blackwood to round out the top five.
The Petaluma Dwarf Car Association supported their home track with a fine 17-car field and Mark Biscardi piloted his sharp mount to the first heat race win. Track champion John Peters took top honors in the second heat. The 20-lap main saw Carroll Mendenhall with the early advantage. Tight quarters racing and hard-nosed racing collected Mendenhall, and Peters. Returning to action it was anybody’s race with 5 to go. Battling were David Teves, Travis Dutra, Biscardi, and veteran Adam Johnson. On the charge the final few laps was Scooter Gomes. At the checkered flag it was an elated Travis Dutra with his first dwarf car win over, Teves, Gomes, Johnson, and Biscardi.
The eleven car Mini Stock Division field saw sophomore driver Eden McCormick nab the heat race. Lining up for the main event it was clear that Josh Williams was looking to overcome a tough loss from the previous week. The early leader was rookie sensation Pete Langley. That lasted until McCormick through it in high gear and was pulling away from the field. Suddenly McCormick had to exit for a balky fuel pump and it appeared that it was going to be John Veeninga’s race for the taking. With eight laps to go Veeninga started to suffer a tire failure and Josh Williams stormed by for his first career Mini Stock win. Recovering with quick pit work to finish in the runner-up position was McCormick, Veeninga, rookie Tyler Narron, and Scott Nelson.
Petaluma Speedway will return to action on June 8th featuring the Pit Stop USA Winged 360’s, Carr Racing Chassis Modifieds, Larson Racing Products Late Models, and Mini Stock Divisions. For more information please go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.