Becker makes touching tribute to firefighters with Placerville Sprint win
PLACERVILLE, CA (7-25-15) – Earlier in the week, Roseville’s Sean Becker was planning on going out and racing go karts this Saturday night as he hadn’t secured a seat in a sprint car for the upcoming weekend. After a call from Woodland car owner Dan Monhoff late in the week, Becker’s last minute plan change paid off in a big way Saturday night. The driver known as “The Shark” ended up in victory lane Saturday night at Placerville Speedway aboard Monhoff’s #35 Sprint Car.
“I was pretty content with just going and racing some go karts this weekend and then I got the call from Dan asking me to driver his car tonight at Placerville so we changed our plans,” said Becker. “It’s always a pleasure to drive for him and to come here tonight and get the win is great, it’s been awhile since I’ve won here.”
Becker was joined in victory lane Saturday night by Folsom’s John Tilford who won the feature event in the Pure Stock division. Ryan McDaniel of Olivhurst who won in the Limited Late Models and RC Smith who captured the Bay Cities Racing Association Midget Lite feature event. All four divisions competed on a night when Placerville Speedway shared the El Dorado County Fairgrounds with a large fire camp that has been set up for the area wild fires. The firefighters were admitted free of charge to the races for the night and Becker made it a point to pay homage to our “true heroes.”
“We come out here and race these cars for these fans each week, we sign these things called hero cards after the races everywhere we go but we aren’t the real heroes here,” said Becker. “These are our true heroes here tonight that put their lives on the line to fight these fires and protect us. They put themselves in danger and I want to really thank them here tonight for the sacrifice they make. I hope they enjoyed watching us do what we do tonight.”
Polesitter Jimmy Trulli of Diamond Springs lead the field into the first turn of the feature event with Mike Benson of Calistoga on the outside. Benson powered into the lead on the opening lap that was followed by a red when Stephen Ingraham of Fair Oaks tumbled upside down in turns one to draw a red flag. When the non injury incident was cleared, Benson lead the field back to the green flag where he powered himself to a lead of several car length over Trulli.
With six laps complete Benson approached lapped traffic as Becker, who started fifth, overtook Trulli for the second spot and began stalking Benson for the lead. With 14 laps complete the two leaders dueled side by side in lapped traffic until Becker muscled his way into the lead. Meanwhile, Trulli was fighting a battle of his own with the likes of Logan Seavey of Sutter and Placerville’s Andy Gregg.
At lap 15 a caution flag gathered the field for a restart that saw Becker to continue to prevail as he worked both the low and high lines of the track at opposite ends. Benson stuck with running the high side for the final laps of the race to secure a second place while Logan Seavey of Sutter continued to duel with Trulli for the third and fourth positions with Placerville’s Andy Gregg in the mix.
At the finish line, Becker picked up his first Placerville victory of the season followed by Benson, Trulli, Seavey,Gregg and Justin Johnson of Shingle Springs.
“The track was really dry slick here tonight and when that happens you never know what’s going to happen when you take it hard into turns one and two,” he said. “I knew I wasn’t going to get past him by running up where he was so I kept taking the chance down low and was able to make it work when we came up on the lapped traffic.”
Folsom’s Tilford Wins Second Pure Stock Feature of the Year
In then Pure Stock feature event, the green flag saw pole sitter Ted Ahart of Placerville lead them to the green flag with second place starter Rick Grunert of Woodland in tow. After the second lap, Grunert assumed the lead and third place starter Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights moved in to challenge for the lead. Tilford passed Grunert for the lead on the low side of turn two and down the backstretch on the sixth lap to take the lead with four time winner Dan Jinkerson of Diamond Springs in his wake.
With 10 laps complete lapped traffic bottlenecked the leaders and Jinkerson muscled past Tilford in the traffic . It was then that Jon Tilford moved into third place after starting 8th, five places behind his brother to begin his pursuit of the lead. On the 11th lap a yellow flag flew and gathered the field, putting Matt Tilford to the outside of Jinkerson for the restart and the second row consisting of Jon Tilford and Rick Grunert.
When the green flag waved again, Jinkerson muscled into the lead while Jon Tilford powered into second place, overtaking Matt Tilford in the first set of turns. Jinkerson powered his way to a distant lead over the Tilford duo until the 15th lap when a yellow flag flew for a stalled car in turn four. The caution period placed Jon Tilford on the front row to the outside of Jinkerson for a five lap battle to the finish.
At the green flag, the field entered the first turn side by side. Jon Tilford powered to the front on the highside while Jinkerson worked the low groove and a crash ensued involving Jinkerson, Matt Tilford and several other cars that were collected in the melee. Jinkerson ended his night on the tow truck, Matt Tilford went to the rear after a tire change and a restart followed with Jon Tilford on the pole and point leader Scott Grunert of Woodland at his side.
The second to last green flag of the night saw, Tilford muscle into the first turn and powered ahead of Scott Grunert to a distant lead. Despite a restart at the 17 lap mark, Tilford maintained his healthy lead over Scott Grunert to the finish line. Matt Tilford finished third followed by Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley and Dan Smith of Sacramento.
“For years I have wanted to have the opportunity to actually come out and race in the same race with one of my brothers and tonight I got to that,” said Tilford. “It’s great to get another win on the season since I don’t get to drive too often but being able to come out here and battle with my brother was the greatest part of it all. During the yellow flags we were egging one another one and doing what brothers do. When I took the lead I know a whole lot of drama broke out behind me and fortunately I was able to pull ahead before all of that happened.”
McDaniel Passes Point Leader Stone for Late Model Win
In the Domco Plumbing Late Model division, Folsom’s Dominic Stone powered off the pole to lead the field to the green flag. With three laps on the Red Hawk Casino scoreboard, Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst powered ahead of Live Oak’s Matt Micheli for the second position. Once in second, McDaniel set his sights on Stone and the two dueled in lapped traffic.
With 15 laps complete, McDaniel used a lapped car to his advantage to power around Stone entering the backstretch to take the lead. Despite a restart that gathered the field, McDaniel maintained his healthy lead to the finish line. Stone finished second followed by Micheli, Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights and Matt Davis of Auburn.
“Dominic Stone drove one heck of a great race out here tonight,” said McDaniel. “It took me awhile to get into second place so I could close in on him and I was waiting for him to make a mistake in lapped traffic to get around him and it just didn’t’ happen. He cleared the lappers just fine and was pulling away from me. He got a little out of shape in three and four as we came up on a lapped car and I just decided to give it a try on up high and powered around him. It was a great race tonight after we made some adjustments in the heat race.”
Smith Leads majority of laps to win BCRA Midget Lite Feature
In the Midget Lite feature, Jeremy Queener of Torrrance took the lead from the pole position where he was challenged in the early laps by Smith. Followiing a restart on the sixth lap Smith overtook Queener for the lead. Smith then powered his way to a distant lead by the halfway point of the race with Queener challenging him several car lengths back with the likes of Craig Dillard.
At the finish line it was Smith followed by Queener, Dillard, Brian Corso and Chris Hansen. The win marked Smith’s first Placerville victory aboard a Midget Lite. Smith is a veteran of winged and non winged sprint cars with limited seat time in the smaller cars.
“This is definitely a new experience for me, it’s only my fifth week in one of these cars and we’re having a blast,” said Smith. “I was able to get up front early and keep out of trouble because it at this place it doesn’t matter what the size of the car is, lapped traffic is going to be part of the race. We had a great car and this is a great night.”
Next week championship racing continues at Placerville Speedway as racers gear up for Saturday August 8 when the track will pay out the highest winnings in it’s 50 Years of operation with the $10,000 to win Mark Forni Classic race. For complete results of Saturday’s race and information on the upcoming weeks visit www.placervillespeedway.com.
Placerville Speedway’t title sponsor is Red Hawk Casino. Thompson’s Auto Center is the presenting sponsor of the season with championship associate sponsors Domco Plumbing, Jay’s Mobile Welding, Riebes Auto Parts, the Mountain Democrat, Hoosier Racing Tires and Coors Light.
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