"California Sprint Car
January 18th, 2013
American Legion Center,
Fairgrounds Parking Fee: $5.00
All persons must be at least 14 years of age to enter the Pits. Persons 14-17 years of age need both parents/guardians to sign and notarize a Parental Consent Form and submitted to the office prior to entering pit areas.
Hinds legacy lives on Saturday night on his very own field of dreams
by Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions
PLACERVILLE, CA (9-18-12) - This Saturday Placerville Speedway and Thompsons Auto Center present the ninth Annual Tribute to Al Hinds. One of the early promoters of Placerville Speedway, Al Hinds touched the lives of many in the sport today from those in the driver's seat to the promotion of Placerville Speedway today. The following article is an archived personal view from Placerville's Speedway's Bill Sullivan who is one of hundreds that were influenced by Hinds' legacy in the motor sports industry.
This Saturday night, Placerville Speedway will host a very special event with ninth annual Tribute to Al Hinds presented by Thompsons Auto Center and featuring the Civil War Sprint Cars. This event will pay tribute to the late Al Hinds, the early track promoter here that taught many of us involved in the sport today one simple philosophy that we live by to survive; racing is about much more than going fast and checkered flags, its about family.
Hinds was the second operator of Placerville Speedway in 1968 and he was promoting far more than auto racing in those days. The proprietor of Hinds Machine Shop, Al Hinds promoted a community to embrace the great sport of auto racing, a sport he dearly loved all his life, a sport where many loved him and will never forget what he did for auto racing here.
Growing up in El Dorado County, I was fortunate to have met Al Hinds at a very young age. He and my late father were both well known in the business community and he was a close friend of my family as far back as I can remember. Back in those days I knew Al Hinds as the kind man with the funny smile who visited with my father on a regular basis and always managed to make me laugh as a child.
Later in life, I still knew him as the dear man who still managed to make many of us laugh every Saturday afternoon at Placerville Speedway. Through the years I had since learned from my father and many members of the racing community just what contributions this man had made to the sport that is a livelihood to us today.
During his career, Al Hinds spent countless hours in his machine shop and on the grader at the track every day. When he wasn't in one of those two places, he spent much of his time out in the community educating residents about the sport, its great source of family values and entertainment. He had a talent of convincing fellow local business owners to contribute to what is known today as Placerville's only professional spectator sport.
Although I knew him on a personal level before I could even walk, my friendship with Al Hinds became very special when I began working in public relations and announcing at Placerville Speedway. Every Saturday afternoon when I arrived at the fairgrounds I always took some extra time to visit with this man whose efforts still inspire many of us today. Those simple moments I spent, sitting in the empty stands before a race listening to Al Hinds taught me far more than any college ever did.
Hinds was always the first spectator there, possessing his gold plated lifetime pass that we had presented to him on one fourth of July a few seasons back. To Hinds that shiny little plaque meant as much as an Oscar statue does to an accomplished actor and was a small token when compared to the contributions and sacrifices this man made to build the sport of auto racing in El Dorado County.
During the last few years of his life, Al Hinds rarely missed a race at the track just a few miles from his Placerville home. He would often visit the speedway during the week and visit with Alan Handy during breaks from preparing to the track. During each visit here he always shared his deep knowledge of the sport, as well as many tales of the early days, with all of us those inspirational words of wisdom were almost always accompanied with a great joke that he would laugh at right along with you each and every time he told it.
Since May of 2004 there has been an empty seat in the grandstands at Placerville Speedway. There has since been an empty place in my own heart and the hearts of many ever since we all learned that Hinds had passed away following complications from pneumonia. Just days after the news of his passing reached the racing community, the Tribute to Al Hinds race was born and has since become of Placerville Speedways premier events.
The Tribute to Al Hinds event has never been a somber style memorial event, it's been a party of power and speed which is exactly how he would have wanted it. Al Hinds loved the social aspect of Placerville Speedway, now for the ninth straight year we all come together to carry on this man's legacy just like he would want, its time to party one last time at Placerville Speedway.
Much like Hinds, Auto Dealer Ron Thompson believes in supporting the community that surrounds his business with a $1000 bonus going to the winner courtesy of the local auto dealer. With the added bonus this race will pay the winner an outstanding $3000 to win and is the one of the highest paying victories on the regular Civil War Series tour.
In addition to the added bonus funds, Thompsons Auto Center on Forni Road will host a giant sprint car show and fan bbq on race day from 11 am until 2 p.m. that is sure to bring hundreds of fans of all ages face to face with their favorite drivers. Al Hinds was a man that believed in bringing the sport of auto racing together with the community. Although he left us nine years ago, Hinds will surely be in attendance to the many festivities this Saturday in spirit, guiding the track veterans and the future stars to success on this night that truly remembers his legacy.
Al Hinds had a philosophy that all of us have heard at one time or another from the famous baseball movie starring Kevin Costner called "Field of Dreams." Hinds believed strongly, if you build it they will come. Ironically, Placerville Speedway began as a community sports field before sharing the spotlight with hard top racing in 1965. Thanks to Hinds' philosophy, they continue to come today as Placerville Speedway maintains one of the strongest weekly fan bases in the region. Saturday night, we will test that philosophy once again with the 9th annual Tribute to Al Hinds at the place where Al Hinds life in auto racing began and will long be remembered, on his very own "field of dreams."The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. on Saturday with qualifying starting at 6:30. An early arrival to the track is suggested as this event routinely draws one of the largest crowds of the year. For further information visit www.placervillespeedway.com.