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Petaluma Speedway - 4/24 Results
04/26/10 at 11:47pm
Petaluma Speedway
April 24, 2010

Butler did it, captures first-ever sprint car win at Petaluma

By Harlan Osborne
PETALUMA, CA, April 24—Everything seemed to fall into place at the right time for 360 Sprint Car driver Billy Butler in the season opener for the All-Pro Series winged sprint cars at Petaluma Speedway on Saturday. The Sacramento driver not only set fast time in qualifying, won the trophy dash, and finished second in his heat, he also drew the pole position for the 25-lap feature. It was an important spot on a night when passing was at a premium and with Rohnert Park’s Brandon Davis riding his tail the entire distance, but Butler held his line and did not falter as he raced to his first-ever feature race triumph.

“It’s always been my dream to race sprint cars let alone to win, this is awesome,” said the 27-year-old Butler, after nipping Davis by three-tenths of a second at the finish line. Second row starter Davis had climbed into the runner-up spot following Todd Miller’s end-over-end rollover that took out second-place Miller and collected third running Camron Mendes on Lap 2. The event had just one other delay, a Lap 14 caution flag for a car stopped on the track. While Davis was shadowing Butler’s every move, Rohnert Park driver Brett Rollag and Sebastopol’s Bradley Terrell waged a race-long battle for third place which Rollag won after taking the position from Terrell on Lap 13.

Fifteen-year-old Chase Johnson, a third-generation Santa Rosa driver with a deep racing pedigree, started 11th in the 14-car field and carved his way to an impressive fifth-place finish in his first start at Petaluma. Rounding out the finish was heat winner Mike Benson, Bill Cornwell, Jake Haulot, Jon Kirby Jr., and Mendes.

In the All-Pro Dirt Modifieds Don Camilli, who snapped a 58-race winless streak in his last outing didn’t have to wait anything near that long between victories this time as the Santa Rosa driver made it two-in-a-row for the first time since his championship season of 2005 with a convincing win in the 25-lap Dirt Modified feature.

Camilli’s toughest test came in the first half of the race where he and fellow front row starter Michael Paul Sr. battled tooth-and-nail with Camilli getting the edge on the initial green flag and a Lap 4 restart, and Paul prevailing on restarts on laps six and nine. Paul was leading the race when, due to exhaustion, he pulled off the track on Lap 11 and let the field pass by. The challenging pace of the event left just two of the eight starters on the lead lap at the finish and claimed second-running Oreste Gonella two laps from the finish. Camilli and defending division champion Michael Paul Jr. captured the top two spots with Gonella, Joel Myers, Ron Palombino, Paul Sr., Chris Sieweke, and Sean Keville rounding out the finish.

After three weeks of competition, the question in the All-Pro Super Stock division is who’s going to beat Woody Woodward? The answer so far is nobody. Woodward, a former two-time division champion, captured his third straight and 45th career feature win Saturday despite a solid challenge by eighth starting Steve Studebaker, who finished a half a second behind the winner. The conquest marked the first time since Woodward’s championship season of 2005, when he won four straight twice during a 12-win campaign, that he’s won three on a row.

Woodward took charge over early leader Rich Levacque on a Lap 7 restart, then set the pace as three straight second place cars, driven by Shawn McCoy, David Spriggs, and Levacque, hit a slick spot and got out of shape in Turn 4 over the next six laps. Studebaker, who grabbed the runner-up spot on Lap 19, momentarily held the lead after a Lap 21 restart but it was negated by a yellow flag. Studebaker settled for second place over McCoy, Spriggs, Michelle Byron, Gary Adams, David Tiesso, and Levacque.

Marty Weisler moved into the championship points lead of the All-Pro Dwarf Car division with his third straight top-five finish and first ever victory at Petaluma Speedway. The Campbell driver started third in the 10-car field and pursued race leader Sonny Calkins and second place Mark Ramirez for 14 laps before taking second place from Ramirez and one more circuit before getting past Calkins. He led for four laps before the race ended on a checkered-yellow after 19 laps. Finishing in order were Weisler, Calkins, Ramirez, Richard Klinetobe, Travis Dutra, Scooter Gomes, Carroll Mendenhall, John Peters, and John Gomes.

Results for April 24

Fast time—Billy Butler 13.148.
Heat 1—Roberto Kirby; Butler; Todd Miller; Chase Johnson; Bill Cornwell; Michael Forslund.
Heat 2—Brandon Davis; Brett Rollag; Jon Kirby Jr.; Scotty Dupont; Craig Martignoni.
Heat 3—Mike Benson; Camron Mendes; Jake Haulot; Bradley Terrell; Nick Ringo Jr.
Dash—Butler; Davis; R. Kirby; Rollag; Miller; Benson.
Main—Butler; Davis; Rollag; Terrell; Johnson; Benson; Cornwell; Haulot; J. Kirby; Mendes; R. Kirby; Dupont; Ringo; Miller; Martignoni.

Heat 1—Michael Paul Sr.; Joel Myers; Sean Keville; Michael Paul Jr.; Don Camilli; Oreste Gonella; Chris Sieweke.
Dash—Camilli; Paul Sr.; Paul Jr.; Myers.
Main—Camilli; Paul Jr.; Gonella; Myers; Palombino; Paul Sr.; Sieweke; Keville.

Heat 1—Steve Dempsey; David Spriggs; Paul Hanley; Michelle Byron; David Tiesso; Don Zarranondia; Gary Adams.
Heat 2—Woody Woodward; Rich Levacque; Shawn McCoy; Steve Studebaker; Anthony Matthias; George Dennis.
Dash—Studebaker; Woodward; Spriggs; Levacque.
Main—Woodward; Studebaker; McCoy; Spriggs; Byron; Adams; Tiesso; Levacque; Dempsey; Hanley; Zarranondia; Matthias.

Heat 1—John Peters; Mark Ramirez; Scooter Gomes; Tommy King; Carroll Mendenhall.
Heat 2—Marty Weisler; Sonny Calkins; John Gomes; Travis Dutra; Richard Klinetobe.
Dash—Ramirez; Calkins; Peters; Weisler.
Main—Weisler; Calkins; Ramirez; Klinetobe; Dutra; S. Gomes; Mendenhall; Peters; J. Gomes; King DNS.
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