Photos by Donna Peter
PLACERVILLE, CA – Even though our region was hosting a multitude of high profile racing events this weekend including NASCAR in nearby Sonoma, Placerville Speedway still filled their grandstands and pit area for a great night of racing in the eighth Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship Season Saturday night.
Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove brought local car owner Dale Miller to victory lane Saturday night in the winged Sprint Car division. In the Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Car Shootout, Scott Hall of Rio Linda won in dramatic fashion as did Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights in the Pure Stock division. Ray Trimble of Auburn drove to his third victory of the year in the Limited Late Model Division.
In the winged Sprint Car feature, DeCaires started on the outside of the front row next to pole sitter Mike Benson of Calistoga. At the waving of the green flag the driver known as the “Catfish” drove his Foothill 7 TV – Tribute to Stephen Allard #4SA machine into uncharted waters by driving the high side of the track as opposed to his trademark of routinely hugging the bottom of the track. DeCaires was anything but a fish out of water with his technique, however, as drove to a lead he would never relinquish.
With DeCaires running strong at the helm, Benson had his hands full with the likes of three time winner and series point leader Justin Sanders of Prunedale with defending champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn stalking him for the bridesmaid position. Right in the midst of the top four battle was Jake Morgan of Fair Oaks. Earlier in the night Morgan earned the ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust $100 Fast Qualifier Bonus and carried his successful night into the feature with one of his most impressive performances of his young career on an extremely dry – slick racing surface that suffered greatly from the recent county fair activity combined with the high temperatures and winds.
At the finish line, DeCaires celebrated his second win of the season. Benson rolled across the line in second place followed by Sanders and Forsberg. Morgan finished the night rounding out the top five.
In the visiting Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Car Shootout, 16 fire breathing wingless cars took to the track in a race was one in which Hall has been trying to win for some time. One of the area’s most competitive wingless sprint car drivers currently, Hall has been victorious at multiple area tracks, however, the Placerville bullring has eluded the popular driver that appeared to bring much of the North Sacramento area to the grandstands Saturday night.
Hall started on the pole of the 25-lap feature event and drove his way into the lead at the green flag where he was soon challenged in heated battle with Joe Stornetta. The two drivers duked it out for the lead for much of the race in a classic “Maverick vs. Iceman” style dogfight that came to an unusual conclusion on lap 21.
As the two leaders battled in lapped traffic they both became slowed on lap 21 and Hall was forced to brake hard as well as Stornetta to avoid a collision in the second turn. It appeared both drivers were on their way to a spin out when Hall managed to save his Konnected Clothing #56K and redeem his position while Stornetta brought out the yellow flag. On the restart, Hall drove to victory over Tommy Laliberte, Gary Nelson, Chase Johnson and Colton Slack.
The Pure Stock feature began with Kevin Wirth of Garden Valley leading the first half of the race before exiting to the pit area and returning to the rear of the field on the 11th lap. Eddie Gardner of Sacramento took over the top spot after his battle with Wirth ended early. Gardner was soon blessed with the company of Tilford who powered his way all the way up from the eighth position.
After a side by side battle with Gardner for the lead for the next four laps, Tilford successfully managed the stock car slide job of the century exiting the fourth turn on lap 14 that put his #92 Jon Tilford wrenched Camaro into the lead for good. Tilford drove to his third victory of the year followed by Gardner, Scott Grunert of Woodland and Rick Grunert of Woodland.
In Limited Late Model action, Trimble started on the pole for the 20 lap feature event and quickly muscled into the lead. Randy Shafer attempted to become trouble for Trimble in the early laps before the leader was able to pull away from the field.. While Trimble maintained the lead for the remainder of the race, the battle behind him heated up for Shafer who was being put to work by former track champion Dan Brown Jr. of Rocklin who started 8th and muscled his way into the top three.
At the finish line, Trimble scored his third victory of the year. Shafer finished in second while Brown rounded out the top three. Matt Micheli, who entered the night as the point leader finished in fourth followed by defending champion Tom Tilford who rounded out the top five.
Placerville Speedway’s 2014 championship season is sponsored by the new Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort who generously awarded race fans Saturday night with various gifts including custom deluxe stadium seats, hats, $25 gift cards for game play and tickets to upcoming concert venues at their facility in the Amador Wine Country. In their first year of title sponsorship, the family owned and operated facility has been one of the most generous partner the speedway has hosted, not only sponsoring the championship season but reaching out the racing community generously.
Additional sponsorship provided by Hoosier Tires, Coors Light, The Mountain Democrat, Riebes Auto Parts, ADCO Driveline, the Paint Spot and more.
Racing resumes at Placerville Speedway next Saturday night with the ninth Championship Point Race of the season. Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks will form the race card with the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. Gates will open at 5 p.m.
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An exciting 2014 at Placerville Speedway is set to kick off on Saturday, April 5th. See Full Schedule