A Newcomer and Former Track Champions Claim Early Season Triumphs
On a balmy night with August-style heat Petaluma Speedway patrons packed the grandstands for a second consecutive week and welcomed young Justyn Cox to victory lane in the Pit Stop USA Winged 360 Class. The evening started with Watsonville regular Kurt Nelson eclipsing the 17-car field with a 14.167 qualifying effort. The three 8-lap heat races on the hard-slick Adobe clay were captured by Chris Magoon, Gary Paulson, and series regular Geoff Ensign. The final feature of the night saw Cox piloting the potent Harley Can Dyke #5H and gaining the advantage over Trevor Schmid at the initial green flag. Returning three-time track champion Alissa Geving comfortably tucked into the runner up spot over Kenny Drew and Jake Haulot. On lap five Gary Paulson did an easy roll after jumping a wheel in turn four eliminating the familiar Finkenbinder #3F mount. The return to green saw Bradley Terrell and Ensign test the high line and start to progress forward from their 8th and 10th starting positions. A quick caution for a Nelson spin closed the field up once again. Laps 18-20 saw Terrell pass Drew and Ensign. On lap 23 Terrell displaced Geving for second. At the finish it was Cox holding steady to a one-second advantage over a rapidly closing Terrell. Ensign was third over Geving, and Drew.
The Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints saw former track champion Terry Schank Jr. in Roger Gleason’s Hunt Magneto #1 notch fast time honors with a 15.621 over the 15-car field. Heat races were copped by Jeff Lee, Scotty Dupont, and Bob Newberry. The feature was given the Scott Erwin green flag with Schank establishing a quick pace on the low line over Zack Lynskey, Dupont, and Newberry. Lap 6 saw Lynskey do a half spin and stall for a quick caution. Recent dwarf car graduate Shawn Jones entered the fray at this point and Newberry switched to the cushion. Clean, close quarters racing ensued with Newberry continuing to advance, blasting by Dupont. Lap 18 saw Newberry hit his mark correctly and pass Schank down the front straightaway. At the apex between turns one and two Newberry washed up and lost four spots. Veteran Dupont experiencing one of his career best efforts emerged in second with Jones, Jason McIntosh, with rookie Bradley Clark also looking racy. Newberry gathered up his mount and in the last handful of laps and passed McIntosh. At the lap 25 twin-checkers it was the veteran Schank holding on for the win over Jones, Dupont, Newberry, and McIntosh.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks saw their initial 2013 event launch with a nice 16-car field. Heat races were garnered by defending track champion Mike Learn, Dave Byron, and David Spriggs. The main event saw former track champion Steve Studebaker get the better of rookie Brent Blackwood. With Learn starting deep in the field his march to front was anticipated. Lap 8 saw a three car skirmish collect Spriggs and Learn. With Learn restarting at the rear the march was on again. Meanwhile a nice three-way battle between Gary Adams, Dave Byron, and Larry Drew developed. Several Kristin Hanley spins kept the field tightly bunched but still saw Studebaker masterfully hit his marks and click off laps. At the finish it was the Studebaker’s attractive #46 with a 2.5 second lead over Byron, Drew, Learn, and Adams.
A large field of 16 Petaluma Speedway Dwarf Cars put on their usual display of fantastically entertaining racing with heat victories by veteran chauffeur’s Travis Dutra, Scooter Gomes, and Carrol Mendenhall. The 20-lap feature was run in a scant 6 minutes with Gomes netting his first main event plaque of the young season over Eric Weisler, Mendenhall, Dutra, and Robert Mesloh.
The Bay Cities Racing Association Midget Lites heat was won by third generation racer Bradley Dillard. The 20-lap feature saw Marcus Smith outpacing Dillard, Stuart Goehring, and Scott Kinney.
This weekend, April 27th, Petaluma Speedway will host the first of its three California Civil War Sprint events along with a co-sanctioned Petaluma and Bay Area Dwarf Car event.