Racing returned to the Redwood Acres Raceway on Saturday for the first time in a month, with a packed house on hand for the annual Anderson Logging Driver Appreciation Night.
Before the action got under way, fans were invited down on to the track for a meet and greet with the drivers.
Track officials also hosted a donation drive for victims of the Carr and Mendocino Complex fires, raising almost $1,500, with anyone donating $10 receiving a complimentary ticket to the season ending Fall Spectacular on Sept. 8.
The night proved to be a memorable one for many reasons.
For the first time this season, the Thunder Roadsters were in action for a full slate of races.
The division was a late addition to the night’s schedule and was held in honor of Paul Peeples, Sr. who recently passed away. Peeples was a long-time participant at the raceway and served as crew chief for his son Paul Peeples, Jr.’s Thunder Roadster.
A memorial lap in his honor was held before the trophy dash race, which was won by Alan Olson, who also took both heat races.
Paul Peeples Jr. honored his father in the best way possible, taking the checkered flag in the main event, followed by David Henderson, Olson, Tommy Payne and Jett Taylor.
In other racing action, Mic Moulton stretched his lead in the season points to 15 with another main event win in the Mid-City Motor World Late Models.
It was Moulton’s fifth main event win in six tries this season.
As usual, however, David Henderson was right with him, finishing just .9 of a second back to keep the pressure on the points leader going into the final event of the season.
Dane Nissen was fast time in the division with a 16.009, while Luke Hall took the win in the first heat.
Heat two was dominated by Moulton but on the last lap his car began smoking heavily and leaking fluid on the track, which allowed Henderson to slip past to take the win and earn pole position for the 60-lap feature.
The first 20 laps of the main saw Henderson fight off Nissen for the lead while Shawn Andrews and Moulton raced for third. Moulton moved to third on lap 24 and slowly began to reel in the two leaders.
As the race neared its conclusion, it appeared as though Henderson began to struggle more and more with his car, particularly off the fourth turn.
With 10 laps remaining things really began to heat up. After Moulton maneuvered his way past Nissen into second, he was all over Henderson in the final few laps with Henderson doing everything within his power to hold off the charge.
With two laps remaining, however, Moulton dove inside Henderson going into the first turn and the two drivers touched with Moulton racing to the lead.
Henderson tried his best to catch up and return the favor in turns three and four but couldn’t pull it off.
At the finish it was Moulton taking the win over Henderson, Nissen, Andrews and Kenny Demello.
In the Compass Community Credit Union Roadrunners division, points leader Nick Ford stretched his lead with a pair of main event wins, with Tin Ratzloff second in each.
Ford now leads Ratzloff by 81 points.
Lindsey Zito, Jennifer Murrell and Steve Paiment rounded out the top five in the first main, with Amanda Lohr, Paiment and Murrell rounding out the top finishers in the second main.
In the Bondoleros division, Malessa Miles was the winner of the trophy dash while Ethan Imperatrice was the heat race winner.
Points leader Lane Anderson comfortably won the main by 10 seconds, stretching his lead in the season standings to 10 over Aiden Kimberling.
Miles was second in the main, followed by Trey Daniels, Kadence Mace and Kimberling.
In the Fortuna Wheel & Brake Bombers division, Bethany Rapp held on for the victory in the trophy dash.
Brandon White was subbing for points leader Jim Redd for the evening and he took the heat race win.
In the main event, Wyatt Roach held off White’s challenge to take the checkered flag by just .142 of a second, with Sam Brown, Rapp and Doug Way rounding out the top five.
Redd now leads the season standings by 46 points.
In the NorthCoast Lighting & Electric Legends division, points leader Chris Lawrence won the trophy dash, while former Bombers division champion Leonard Ward made his debut in the Legends this season and took the win in the first heat race.
Tyler Peach took the second heat win, which featured a last lap wreck that took Tyler Krupa and Katina Baker out of action for the main event.
In the main event, Peach took the lead and was able to hold off Brent Mack’s late charge to win. Aiden Daniels finished third with Colby Furia and Kylie Daniels taking fourth and fifth.
Lawrence now leads the season standings by 39 points.
The fifth annual Murrell 500 trophy for the Humboldt Hydroponics Mini Stocks division was one of the big attractions for the night.
Brett Murrell won both the trophy dash and one of the heat races, with Gary Kleintobe taking the other heat race.
In the Murrell 500, it was appropriately Brett Murrell and Brian Murrell Jr. who led the way for much of the race, with the two brothers staging a fantastic battle until lap 15 when Scott Taylor got high in turns one and two and ended up in the tire barrier.
The incident, coupled with the other incidents in other divisions forced track officials to declare the race official, giving Murrell, Jr. the win
Brett Murrell was second, ahead of Eugene Palmer, Trevor Eacret and Scott Taylor.
Brian Murrell Sr. holds a 30-point lead in the points standings.
Only one race remains on the 2018 schedule, the Fall Spectacular on Sept. 8, when all division championships will be decided.
The Thunder Roadsters and the North State Modified Series cars will also be in action.