Simpson, Wagner, Gonnella, Fatu Find Keys on Novato Chevrolet NightRick Faeth
By Devin Mayo and Rick Faeth
As the season winds down, Petaluma Speedway hosted its final visit for the Joe Hunt Magneto vs Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints on Novato Chevrolet Championship Night. Klint Simpson went straight to the top of the qualification charts with a lap of 14.394. Simpson and Shayna Silvia picked the heat race victories and both looking strong going into the dash, which was won in dominating fashion by Sylvia. Both of them would start on the front row of the 25-lap main event. Simpson and Sylvia would be glued to each other the entire way before Sylvia would have a right rear tire go down with just under 10 laps to go. Simpson would lead the field to green holding off Bill Cornwell on the late race restart but Simpson would go on to win the race, the Pit Stop USA Spec Sprint Championship and the Joe Hunt Magneto Spec Sprint Championship, Cornwell after a season on the sidelines was an impressive runner up, Silver Dollar Speedway Champion Angelique Bell was third, Marysville Raceway Park Champion Josh Vieira was fourth, and Bruno Bianchi fifth.
The McLea's Tire & Automotive IMCA Modifieds made their final trip to the Petaluma 3/8th’s Adobe. The only heat race would be won by Michael Paul Jr. who was looking to pick up his first victory of 2016 at Petaluma. Jerry Roy Jr led the field to green and was stout in the saddle leading at the outset. An early restart would bunch the field back up and Oreste Gonnella would start making a charge to the front. He would take the lead on lap 7 and begin to pull away with Paul Jr trying to run him down. Paul Jr would be able to get to the back bumper but it was just bit too late as Gonnella won the feature and the championship with Paul Jr in 2nd and Roy Jr finishing 3rd. Rounding out the top five were Chris Sieweke and David Spriggs.
The 3rd class looking to crown a championship was the General Hydroponic Dwarf Cars. Zack Albers and Miranda Chappa picked up heat race victories. They both led the field to green with Albers taking the early lead. Chappa, Matt Hagemann, and Danny Wagner would have an epic battle for second in the early going of the main event all swapping positions. A couple of restarts bunched the field up and Hagemann would take advantage to lead over Albers. Enter Wagner who went to the whip and roared around Albers in traffic on the white flag lap and zoomed to the Scott Erwin twin checkers. Albers had the race of his young career and was second, Hagemann third, Scooter Gomes was fourth and fifth place Chad Matthias would clinch the Dwarf Car Title.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks still have another week to go until a driver is crowned with the championship but a great battle for the championship goes on. Heat race action saw championship contender Matt While and Woody Woodward take the 8-lap preliminaries. The 25 lap A Main did not disappoint once again. Anthony Matthias and Steve Hansen led the field to green. Steve Studebaker, who is battling for a championship, would make a lap 1 pass for the lead on the backstretch with While who started shotgun on the field making moves and getting all the way up to 2nd on the start. Those pair would wage war and battle for the lead with While right on Studebaker’s tail. The leaders battled in traffic with Garrett Brady waiting in 3rd. On lap 24, While would attempt a risky slide job for the lead on Studebaker and would make the pass work but Brady catfished on the bottom and made the pass for the lead as While cut a right rear tire. Brady went on to win his third main event of the season and in style with Studebaker in 2nd and While in 3rd, steady Ryan Cherezian was fourth over veteran Paul Hanley.
The final battle for the Jakes Performance Mini Stocks saw William Fatu take the heat race victory and trying to gain as many points as possible to run down Darien Balestrini for the championship. Sid Hess led the field to green as Fatu and Balestrini started working their way to the front from the back of the field. Lap 4 saw a restart where Snazzy Duckworth passed Hess for the lead. The next lap would see Fatu make a 3 wide pass on Duckworth and Hess and start to run away with the lead. Fatu would go on to win the main event but it wasn’t enough to clinch the championship as Balestrini who struggled with his car all night would claim the 2016 championship. Duckworth, Sean Hale, Tom Curley, and Samone Chrisman were second thru fifth.
Petaluma Speedway returns this Saturday with the final visit of the Civil War Sprint Care Series presented by Flowmaster. Also on tap will be the Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks and the Santa Rosa Auto Body 600’s. For more information, please visit our website at http://www.petaluma-speedway.com/