"California Sprint Car
January 18th, 2013
American Legion Center,
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Becker out wits Allard and Forsberg for high octane Placerville win
Van Roekel scores first win in Pure Stocks; Streeter dominates Wingless Sprints
Media Release from Handy Racing Promotions
Photo by Donna Peter
PLACERVILLE, CA (7-28-12) - The 2012 Fast and Furious Championship racing season presented by Red Hawk Casino and Hoosier Racing Tires resumed action Saturday night at Placerville Speedway for the 11th event of the year. As the season winds down the competition is heating up and Saturday's sprint car feature event certainly proved that theory accurate.
Former Civil War Series Champion Sean Becker of Roseville drove to his first Placerville win of then year after holding off colleagues that are the best of the best when it comes to the Placerville Bullring. The victory was the first for Becker since joining his new team two weeks ago owned by Dan Monhoff and M&M Structures.
"I can't thank Dan Monhoff and everyone on this team," said Becker. "They are all a great group of guys and they know what they doing on this car, I have the easy job. I'm really thankful for the opportunity to drive this car and we're already looking forward to Calistoga next week after this."
Becker started on the outside of the front row next to pole sitter Charlie Cagle of Penryn. At the waving of the green flag, Becker shot into the lead over Cagle while Allard and Forsberg began working their way towards the front of the field from the seventh and eighth place starting positions.
Allard worked his way in into the top five positions on lap four and two laps later advanced into the top three behind Becker and Cagle to begin closing in on the lead with Elk Grove's Greg DeCaires right behind him and Forsberg working into the top five on lap eight when he worked past a fast moving Jimmy Trulli on the eighth lap.
While Becker distanced himself from the pack, Cagle had his hands full in the second position holding off Allard while closing in on Becker at times for the lead. On the 13th lap Allard finally advanced past Cagle with the slide job of the century and set his sights on Becker for the top spot while Forsberg followed suit and moved into the third position and the three California champions began a three way dogfight for the lead, all getting a peek at the top spot during one time in the race with Becker answering back each time to maintain the lead .
"That was wild tonight with Stephen getting underneath me so many times, at one point my outside nerf bar got pushed into the right rear and was rubbing the tire and smoking and who knows how long that was going to last," said Becker. "When I started racing sprint cars Stephen Allard was one of the crew members on the team I was on. I have so much respect for that guy, he is one of the best and it was great racing with him and Andy like this tonight. I hope the crowd liked it because from my seat it looked like one of the best races all year."
At the finish line Becker was officially trailed by Allard, Forsberg, DeCaires and Jimmy Trulli. Local favorite Justin Johnson of Shingle Springs finished one spot out of the top five in the sixth position.
In the Pure Stock race, Chris Vann Roekel of Grass Valley scored his first victory of his three year career in this division. Although he started on the pole position, Saturday's 20-lap feature event was far from a cake walk for Van Roekel as he had the pressure of former champion Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights on his tail the whole night along with hitman Les Friend of Galt, a one time winner this year.
In the final laps of the race, Van Roekel saw the front fender of Tilford pull below his door on several occasions. The former Rookie of the Year titlist maintained his line and powered ahead each time Tilford made the attempt. Meanwhile Friend was trying every line he could to get around Tilford in the third position and just inches behind the two front runners the whole race awaiting the slightest error.
At the finish line Van Roekel was followed by Tilford, Friend and defending track champion Clarence Holbrook III. Former Champion Chris Curtiss of Placerville rounded out the top five.
"I knew they were right there the whole time," said Van Roekel. "When your racing against a car that has won almost every race and won with three different drivers in it you know you have your work cut out for you. I just held my line and did everything I could do to stay out front. I have a lot of sponsors, friends and family to thank for helping me do this each week. Without them it wouldn't be possible and its nice to get a win for them."
In the visiting Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Car Series, Matt Streeter of Galt led every lap of the 25-lap feature event. Streeter started on the outside of the front row and overtook the lead from pole sitter Scott Hall of Lincoln at the green flag. Once in front Streeter drove the high side of the track holding off Joe Stornetta and Hall in the early laps.
In the later laps of the race, Billy Wallace of Grass Valley worked into the top three and challenged Streeter for the lead along with Cody Smith. Streeter never relinquished the position and went on to post the win over Wallace, Smith, Hall and Terry Schank Jr..
"The car was fast up high but there were a few guys that gave me run on that low line tonight," said Streeter. "Its always fun to come to this place. Next week I'm thinking about being really stupid and racing both a wingless sprint car and a midget on the same night. We're working it out now and I look forward to doing this again if we can."
Next Saturday night the Winged Sprint Cars will be absent from Placerville Speedway to attend the Civil War event at Calistoga Speedway. However, the quarter mile clay oval will be packed with action as the USAC Western Classic Sprint Cars roll into town along with the BCRA Midgets and Midget Lites and the Dwarf Cars for a huge night of racing.For further information watch www.placervillespeedway.com or contact the track office at (916) 969-7484.