By Rick Faeth
A busy Saturday Night September 22 featured the crowning of a pair of 2012 track champions, a first time winner and a repeat King of the Hill Dwarf Car victor. With the points season winding down on BPT Carburetor Night the Pit Stop USA.com Spec Sprints saw their second to the last points race time in with 13 non-winged warriors. Stockton’s stealthy Trevor Schmid tripped the timing lights on the fast, smooth, and hooked up 3/8th-mile adobe oval with a fine 14.630 effort. This set up a pair of 8-lap heat races which were captured by a pair of Santa Rosa pilots with veteran Sparky Howard winning the first and fast-improving Clint Simpson picking up the second. The 25-lap feature sandwiched in between twin 25-lap Dwarf events got off to a fast-paced start with visiting Antioch racer Gary Nelson taking the point over Jason McIntosh, Jason Toft, and Zack Lynsky. Lap 5 saw the heat winners eliminated when Simpson stalled and Howard limped to the pits. Geoff Ensign switched to the high groove and passed Lynskey and Toft to move into third. Point leader Joe Stornetta diced with Lynskey, and Toft. Lap 12 saw a smoking Schmid and Scott Dupont make contact while Schmid struggled to get to the infield necessitating a caution. The top-3 remained unchanged as the front of the pack rounded turn four to the white flag. Lynskey in heavy traffic bicycled hard and did quick end-over-end flip ending his championship hopes. This set the stage for an anticipated green, white, checkered finish. Nelson took no chances and motored strongly away from the field, however entering turn three for the last time Ensign rolled the dice and dove past McIntosh with picture perfect inside move and held on for runner-up honors. The ecstatic first time Petaluma winner Nelson was gracious in his praise for the facility and the competition. Rounding out the top five were Stornetta and Toft. With his fourth place finish and Lynskey’s tough luck; Napa’s 18-year old Stornetta clinched the 2012 track championship.
A fantastic field of 28 dwarf cars competed for King of the Hill bragging rights. Nor-Cal Dwarfs, Bay Area Dwarfs, and Petaluma Speedway’s own Dwarf division contributed to this awesome turn out. The four heat races were won by: Kevin Bender, Terre Rothweiler, Ryan Diatte, and Shawn Jones. It was decided to eliminate the semi-main and allow all cars present to line-up for the split 50-lap main event. The front row of John Gomes and Travis Dutra brought the huge gaggle down to a perfect start. Fifteen uninterrupted laps followed with Los Gatos’ John Wear passing the front row on lap four to establish his lead. Wear started lapping cars by the 6th lap and masterfully passed cars at will, both high, and low until the conclusion of the first 25-lap segment. After the sprint car feature the second segment was staged and ready. Wear picked up where he left off seemingly finding another gear and checking out to a 12 car advantage over Bender and Robert Mesloh. Petaluma points leader John Peters started knocking on the door of the top-five at this point. Several cautions for spins slowed and eliminated a few cars but at the end of 50 laps there were still 20 cars chasing Wear to the twin-checkers over Rothweiler, Mesloh, Bender, and Ryan Winter. This was Wear’s second consecutive King of the Hill Petaluma victory.
Dirt Late Model action saw veterans John Silva and Jeff Decker garner the 8-lap preliminaries. Lap one of the main event saw Jimmy Gallagher back into the turn three sound wall and eliminate a section while also ending his night. Michael Paul Sr. exited soon after the clean-up was finished. The restart saw Decker jump to point over Anthony Restad and Steve Johnson. John Silva displaced Paul Gugliemoni then Johnson and the top three roared away. A lap 14 double file restart saw Restad get the measure and nip Decker into turn one. That move was the deciding factor as the Santa Rosa veteran picked up his second main event of the year over newly crowned and repeat track champion Decker. Silva, was third over Johnson and Gugliemoni.