Terrell, Gonnella, & Learn See Clear to Wins on Advanced Auto Glass NightRick Faeth
PETALUMA, CA, July 20—A warm afternoon gave way to a chilly night and a good crowd on Advanced Auto Glass Night at Petaluma Speedway on Saturday Night. Visiting south bay veteran Kurt Nelson started competition off out-qualifying the 17-car Pit Stop USA Winged 360 class with a swift 12.900. Heat races saw 2007 track champion Shawn Arriaga pick up a win in the first 8-lapper. Young Adam Brenton jumped the cushion and tipped over in heat two which saw multi-time feature winner Geoff Ensign nab the victory. Heat three saw Trevor Schmid run out of room on the front straightaway and flip, with Dave Lindt Jr. picking up his first ever sprint car heat race win. All cars made the call for the main event. Nelson on the pole drag-raced into turn one with the advantage over Ensign. However Nick Rescino Jr. slid into the infield necessitating a complete restart. Returning to green again saw Nelson jump to the point however it was point leader Bradley Terrell garnering the fans attention with a smooth move to clear Alissa Geving and Ensign on lap 2. Terrell wasted no time in making a text-book high side pass down the backstretch on lap four and by lap 6 was in heavy traffic. The track featured a heavier than normal cushion and a sealed over bottom groove making for multiple passing opportunities. Ensign battling the track and a tight condition fell to fifth but categorically battled past Jake Haulot, Geving and Nelson by lap 7. The 12th lap saw an epic duel as Terrell and Ensign went four-wide entering turn three in an effort to negotiate lapped traffic. A caution for a broken front end on Aaron Miller’s car delayed the final green flag segment. The restart saw Terrell push the throttle early but Ensign anticipated the move and put a mega-slide job on the point leader entering turn one to no avail. The final 13 laps saw Terrell in command and inch out to a three second lead at the twin checkers. Rounding out the top five were: Ensign, Nelson, Haulot, and Grass Valley’s Jeremy Burt.
The Carr Racing Chassis IMCA Modifieds featured a nice 14-car field. Veteran’s Joel Myers and Michael Paul Sr. captured the preliminary heats. The 25-lap main event saw multi-time track champion Michael Paul Jr. and his father Paul Sr. parked in the infield by lap 6 and Chris Compton with the lead. Compton and Myers dueled side-by-side in exciting fashion for half a dozen laps as Oreste Gonnella made a patented charge from the rear of the field. Lap 14 saw front-running Myers drill the front straight wall and end his evening. On the restart Chris Sieweke inherited the lead and was anticipating his first Petaluma win of the season. Gonnella stalked Sieweke for several laps until he made his move to the outside of Siewke on lap 23, making good on his winning pass. Sieweke’s solid performance netted him runner up honors over Norman Boeck, Brian Azevedo, and Bobby Motts.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks Division saw 17 entries with defending track champion Mike Learn and ‘Iron Man’ Shawn McCoy earn heat race wins. The feature event saw Dave Byron with the advantage over Steve Studebaker, McCoy, and Brent Blackwood. Learn starting third, uncharacteristically lost several positions early looking while hunting for the preferred racing line. After a brief caution on lap 8 Studebaker stole the lead from Byron on lap 10 bringing Blackwood with him past Byron. Learn clawed his way to third by lap 16 and to 2nd by lap 19. Lap 20 saw McCoy tangle with two other cars ending one of his better recent efforts. The final five lap shootout was a crowd pleaser. Studebaker battling a stumbling carburetor tried in vain to hold off Learn; however the potent #11h was able to forge by on lap 23 to notch his third win of the season. Chasing Learn to the finish was: Studebaker, Byron, Blackwood, and Gary Adams.
The crowd pleasing Mini Stock Division saw rookie Pete Langley and sophomore John Clark net heat race wins. The 20-lap feature saw Clark’s tough luck continue with an early mechanical malfunction and a trip to the pits for repairs. Snazzy Duckworth in the lead on lap 5 had a nice duel with Eden McCormick and Josh Williams. McCormick made a high cushion pass of Duckworth in turn one on lap 8. Lap 11 saw the Cinderella story end for Duckworth with a heavily smoking motor. The final half of the race saw McCormick hitting his marks and picking up the win over Williams, Langley, Clark, and John Veeninga.
Petaluma Speedway returns to action this Saturday Night, July 27th with the Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints, Nor-Cal Challenge IMCA Modified Tour, Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, and Mini Stock Divisions. For more information please go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.