It was a successful start to the new Redwood Acres Raceway season for Dane Nissen, who took the checkered flag in the inaugural Rhododendron 100.
The late models race, which was presented by Old Town Rotary, had a purse of $20,000 and was held in front of a packed grandstand, with plenty of fans showing up for the season opening night.
The featured race was broken into three segments, with the leader at lap 20 getting $1,000, the leader at lap 50 getting $1,500 and the winner earning $5,000.
At the halfway point, the leader had the choice of retaining their lead or dropping to the rear of the field to try to earn a $2,000 bonus if they won.
Dustin Walters came through to win the first segment while David Miller won the second.
The biggest moment of the race occurred on the next restart. While coming to the green flag, Miller and Brandon Ash came together with Ash’s car forced into the wall and on its side. Ash’s car hit the gate opening just past the flag stand and continued down the front stretch on its side before hitting the turn one wall.
A fire erupted at the front end of the car as it rolled on its top. The raceway’s safety crew was at the scene immediately to extinguish the fire and help Ash safely out of his car.
Nissen used the restart to his advantage and took the lead from David Henderson on his way to the checkered flag.
It was the biggest career win for the Willows native.
Nisen earned $5000 for the win, with Henderson taking home $4,000 for placing second.
Mike Doss placed third and earned $3,000, with Brandon Barnwell made a strong return to racing and finishing fourth to earn $2,000.
Mike Neilson took $1,500 for his fifth-place finish.
In other races on Saturday, Jeremy Doss drove his Legend to victory in the main event over Tyler Avelar and Tyler Krupa.
In the bombers, Krupa made a late pass on Sam Brown to win the main event, followed by Ryan Walters.
The mini stock feature went to Gannon Cyphers, followed by Jarrett Mayo and Brian Murrell, Jr., while Tanisha Ratzlaff earned her first-ever main event win in the roadrunners, holding off Jeremiah Martin and Nick Ford.
The 2022 season continues on May 14 with late models, Legends, bombers, mini stocks and roadrunners all returning to the track.
If you’d like to catch a video replay of the entire Rhododendron 100 night, the video on demand is available at RacinTheAcres.tv and SpeedSport.tv for $15.
Full race results and points can be found on www.RacinTheAcres.com.