PETALUMA, CA. July 28—Although he’s just 21-years-old Bradley Terrell is a veteran sprint car racer with one track championship under belt. Over the course of the past seven seasons he’s competed against the best drivers the division has to offer and has gained a reputation as hard charger.
Saturday night, while gunning for his 15th career victory at Petaluma Speedway, the Sebastopol driver, in what possibly was his sternest test ever, climbed from ninth place to overtake race leader Mike Henry on Lap 17 then spent the final nine circuits holding off the seriously threatening Henry until Lap 24 when Henry, a former two-time Civil War champion, reaching back for one final surge, dived to the bottom of Turn 3 to pull even with the leader. Both drivers shot out of Turn 4 and crossed the finish line in an indecipherable blur. Fans of both drivers declared victory but the unblinking eye of the electronic timer declared Terrell the victor by a mere .027 seconds.
The win, his second in his past three starts, handed the current Pit Stop USA Sprint Car Series points leader Terrell his fourth top-five finish in six races and bolstered his points lead to 26 over points runner-up Chase Johnson, who finished fifth.
Trailing the frontrunners by nearly eight seconds at the checkered flag was third place finisher Geoff Ensign, closely followed by Kirk Simpson, who led the initial four laps, and Johnson.
By all indications former five-time Late Model track champion John Silva has worked out the bugs in his new car. In the 25-lap feature he lapped all but three of the other eight competitors to earn his first victory of the season and notch his 37th career triumph, ranked first all-time at Petaluma Speedway.
What the final results don’t reflect, along with Silva’s precision handling of lapped traffic, was the all-out determination of veteran Richard Papenhausen, who commanded second place on Lap 4 and gave Silva all the challenge he could handle. Papenhausen never relented in his all-out pursuit and carved his way through the lappers as smoothly as Silva as he finished .866 seconds behind the winner.
Points leader Jeff Decker finished lower than second place for the first time in six races this season, but still managed a strong third place finish ahead of Anthony Restad and Steve Johnson.
In the Dwarf Cars, rookie driver Tony Carmgnani of Alameda passed race leader Scooter Gomes on Lap 2 and from that point on was never seriously challenged as he raced to his first-ever main event victory.
Gomes held off John Peters’ bid for second place until Lap 15 when Peters finally took over the spot he would finish in. Gomes placed third, followed by Adam Johnson and Travis Dutra.
In the two-car teeter-totter battle for the BPT Carburetor Mini Stock points lead defending champion Keith Benson halted points leader John Veeninga’s two race winning streak with a convincing flag-to-flag conquest. The victory, combined with his heat race triumph, edged Benson to within one point of the series leader with three races remaining.
Veeninga finished second, Josh Willimas was third, Kimberly Ramirez fourth and Bradley Clark fifth.
The NorCal Vintage Hardtop Association brought 11 cars, many of them bearing long forgotten nameplates like Nash, DeSoto, and Plymouth, for an exhibition race. Some of the old-time cars still ran their original flathead motors while others had updated their running gear. “Quick” Nick DeCarlo won the event over Terry DeCarlo, Tommy Thomson, Bill McLaughlin, and Carmen Cavallero.
Results for July 28
360 SPRINT CARS
Fast time—Mike Henry 13.148.
Heat 1—Bradley Terrell; Henry; Richard Bailey; Chase Wood; Roberto Kirby; Kenny Drew.
Heat 2—Billy Butler; Art McCarthy Jr.; Geoff Ensign; Kirk Simpson; Matthew Haulot.
Heat 3—Chase Johnson; David Lindt Jr.; Ivan Worden; Bill Cornwell; Jeremy Phillips Jr.
Main—Terrell; Henry; Ensign; Simpson; Johnson; Butler; McCarthy; Kirby; Worden; Drew; Haulot; Wood; Bailey; Lindt; Cornwell; Phillips.
Fast time—Richard Papenhausen 15.862.
Heat 1—Anthony Restad; Papenhausen; John Silva; Dennis Souza; Ryan McDaniel.
Heat 2—Steve Johnson; Jeff Decker; Michael Paul Jr.; Rod Arnold.
Main—Silva; Papenhausen; Decker; Restad; Johnson; Paul; Arnold; Souza; McDaniel.
Heat 1—Adam Johnson; John Peters; Travis Dutra; Tony Carmignani; Scooter Gomes; Danny Marsh.
Main—Carmignani; Peters; Gomes; Johnson; Dutra; Marsh.
Heat 1—Keith Benson; John Veeninga; Kimberly Ramirez; Josh Williams; Snazzy Duckworth; Bradley Clark.
Main—Benson; Veeninga; Williams; Ramirez; Clark.
NORCAL VINTAGE HARDTOPS
Heat 1—Terry DeCarlo; Tommy Thomson; Nick DeCarlo; Conrad Cavallero; Jeff Ball; Dan Williams.
Heat 2—Jack Low; Carmen Cavallero; Bill McLaughin; John Philbert; Steve Cloyes.
Main—N. DeCarlo; T. DeCarlo; Thomson; McLaughlin; Carmen Cavallero; Conrad Cavallero; Low; Philbert; Cloyes; Ball.