Cody Veenstra a giant at Redwood Acres in USAC Western Sprint By Bobby Gerould – Eureka, CA. – June 11, 2005 – USAC Western Sprint Car rookie Cody Veenstra earned a hard fought 40-lap feature win Saturday night at chilly Redwood Acres Raceway. Veenstra started outside row-one and led 39 of 40 laps on the 3/8’s-mile oval. However, the 19 year-old endured a stiff challenge from, first, defending series champ Tony Hunt, and then the current points leader Kody Swanson. Veenstra, from Emmett Idaho, was smiling wide in the winner’s circle when he said, “This is frickin’ exciting. I knew someone was behind me but I was trying to remain as smooth as possible. It hasn’t sunk in yet that I won. This is only the third track I’ve ever raced at.”


The climax of the race occurred on a lap 28 restart when Hunt, who had been relentlessly pressuring Veenstra since lap 12, decided to try a high grove pass for the lead. Hunt steered the Alan Kaiser Construction #94 to the high-side of turn three after getting a big run on Veenstra down the back chute. “The grip in turn four just wasn’t there”, lamented Hunt following the race. “I was going for it.”


Although Hunt pulled even with Veenstra, the youngster held his ground, and Hunt drifted into the ‘marbles’, as Swanson, Michael Trimble, and Mike Murgoitio filled the hole in track position left by Hunt. When the 28th lap was completed Hunt slid from second to fifth.


Swanson immediately pulled up on the bumper of Venstra’s #07 but he could not find a way around in the closing laps. Swanson tried both high and low but admitted after the race, “I didn’t think I could get by him (Veenstra) cleanly so I thought I’d be happier with a clean second than if I moved him. Anyone can pass a guy by crashing him out of the way. I want to be known as a clean racer.”  In four races in 2005 Swanson has been no worse than third in the feature (one win, two seconds, one third).


Trimble finished third and was clearly pleased with his progress of late. “The first two races of the season we were horrible. I’m getting more comfortable in this new Beast/Wes-Mar car, and it feels good. I need to be a better qualifier but I’m happy with our results tonight.”


Murgoitio held on for fourth and Hunt was fifth. Tim Barber finished sixth just ahead of Robert Beck, and the race’s hard charger Destiney Hays who started 15th and finished eighth. The top ten was completed by Shauna Hogg, and Brian Geiszler.


The feature was red-flagged on lap 28 after Brian McClish hopped the first turn barrier and skidded across the top of it. McClish’s #04 did a move similar to how skateboarders “grind a rail”. However, when the rail ended, the car dropped to the ground and the momentum carried into a group of water barrels. McClish was uninjured.


Trimble and Rick Hendrix were heat race winners. Murgoitio notched quick-time at 14.625 seconds.


The USAC Western States Sprint Car series now prepares for a huge 100-lap event at Stockton (CA.) 99 Speedway June 25th.



Eureka, California ­ Redwood Acres Raceway


       QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Mike Murgoitio, 80, Murgoitio-14.625; 2. Tony Hunt, 94, Kaiser-14.794; 3. Destiney Hays, 28, Hays-14.800; 4. Brian McClish, 04, McClish-14.803; 5. Tim Barber, 14, Pierson-14.867; 6. Randy DuBois, 79, DuBois-14.880; 7. Brian Geiszler, 44, Geiszler-14.921; 8. Brad Bumgarner, 88, Bumgarner-14.936; 9. Kody Swanson, 75, Swanson-14.940; 10. Cody Veenstra, 07, Veenstra-15.011; 11. Shauna Hogg, 5, Hogg-15.037; 12. Michael Trimble, 15, CTR-15.044; 13. Robert Beck, 03, Beck-15.122; 14. Chris Petersen, 18, Petersen-15.208; 15. Rick Hendrix, 3F, Finkenbinder-15.232; 16. Peter Gobel, 27, Gobel-15.821.


       FIRST HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Hendrix, 2. Swanson, 3. Hogg, 4. Murgoitio, 5. Beck, 6. Barber, 7. Geiszler, 8. Hays. NT


       SECOND HEAT: (8 laps) 1. Trimble, 2. Petersen, 3. Bumgarner, 4. Veenstra, 5. Hunt, 6. McClish, 7. DuBois, 7. Gobel. NT


       FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Cody Veenstra, 2. Kody Swanson, 3. Michael Trimble, 4. Mike Murgoitio, 5. Tony Hunt, 6. Tim Barber, 7. Robert Beck, 8. Destiney Hays, 9. Shauna Hogg, 10. Brian Geiszler, 11. Brad Bumgarner, 12. Chris Petersen, 13. Rick Hendrix, 14. Randy DuBois, 15. Peter Gobel, 16. Brian McClish. NT


FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Lap 1 Hogg, Laps 2-40 Veenstra.


NEW USAC WESTERN SPRINT CAR STANDINGS: 1-Swanson-255; 2-Hunt-236; 3-Barber-225; 4-Bumgarner-217; 5-Murgoitio-199; 6-Trimble-183; 7-Hogg-169; 8-Veenstra-160; 9-McClish-153; 10-Michael Lewis-122.


NEXT USAC WESTERN SPRINT CAR RACE: June 25 ­ Stockton (CA) 99 Speedway