"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.
Championship battles heating up as Placerville season winds down
DeCaires looks to score fourth straight track win; Tilford takes Late Model point lead
By Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions Media Relations
PLACERVILLE, CA (7-20-13) - As the 2013 Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Racing Tires Championship Season treks towards its final weeks, the bout for the division championships continues to heat up at Placerville Speedway. This Saturday night promises another exciting night of action as three divisions will grace the quarter-mile bullring at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
In the Winged 360 Sprint Car division, much of the track talk as of late surrounds veteran driver Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove. Earlier in the season, DeCaires parted ways with his former team and joined forces with a brand new team formed by Placerville contractor Dale Miller.
The transition forced DeCaires to miss one race in the championship series but despite that absence the former Placerville, Chico and Civil War Champion that is known for his true sportsmanship and consistent finishes has recently brought a fan frenzy back to Placerville Speedway much like last year when the late Stephen Allard developed "Allard Mania" here when he became the driver to beat on any given night with a mid season win streak that put him in contention for the track title.
DeCaires is a longtime colleague of Allard's, but his relationship with the talented driver who passed away in December went much deeper. DeCaires was one of the few close friends that was with Allard in his final moments at a Folsom hospital on Christmas Eve. Just a few months after he was forced to say goodbye, DeCaires is now aboard the black and white#4SA "Tribute to Stephen Allard" Sprint Car that Miller constructed in the off season. As of late, there seems to be a little bit of that old black magic at Placerville Speedway as DeCaires will look to make it four consecutive wins in a row this Saturday here and tie Placerville's Andy Gregg in the way of overall wins for the season thus far.
DeCaires has been on success streak since winning the Tiner Classic Civil War on July Fourth followed by well earned victories in the last two point races. The driver known as the Cat Fish to his counterparts has won those races from the front row and from the middle of the line up. DeCaires is partially fueled on emotion and dedication this season, remembering both Allard as well as his Mother and long time number one fan who passed away before the start of the season.
While DeCaires is 89 points behind the point leader and is gunning for wins without necessarily chasing a championship this season, Placerville's own Jimmy Trulli is a driver on the move when it comes to closing in on the title in the final weeks of the season. Defending four time Champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn has led the series standings for much of the season, however it is Trulli who is showing signs of possibly becoming the "closer" as he has capitalized in recent weeks with top strong finishes while Forsberg has suffered his share of challenges recently, including an accident last week that ended his night long before the feature event was over.
Forsberg currently has 7 top five finishes and 8 top tens to his name to top the point standings but Trulli is a mere 34 points behind the leader with four top five finishes and nine top ten finishes. The only place where Forsberg has managed to distance himself from Trulli's upward push has been in ADCO Driveline qualifying where he has garnered six top spots alone compared to Trulli's single fast time award. Forsberg's efforts in qualifying are worth 30 points alone in the standings.
With 50 points up for grabs on each night of racing, even a toddler can calculate that there is a lot of racing left in the season and a lot of points to be claimed. Another driver to factor in is Placerville's Andy Gregg. Gregg is third in the standings, just 37-points behind the leader. He has three championship wins and a Civil War Series win at the track he calls home and seven top five finishes. Gregg is always a factor in the final laps of nearly every feature event and is surely a championship contender as well.
While DeCaires holds the fourth spot, Mike Benson of Calistoga rounds out the top five. Shingle Springs' Justin Johnson is one spot out of the top five ahead of Placerville's own James Sweeney.
In the Limited Late Model Division, former Pure Stock champion Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights has taken over the division point lead after last Saturday night. With his father Dean in the hospital recovering from a serious heart attack last weekend, Tilford followed Dad's orders and suited up Saturday night. While the night still didn't produce his long desired Late Model victory, it resulted in an eight point advantage over defending champion and previous point leader Matt Micheli of Live Oak.
Ken Micheli of Live Oak is third in the standings, 40 points behind his son. Placerville's own Ted Ahard is fourth in the standings. Rounding out the official top five is John Ohnmacht of Sheridan.
In Pure Stock competition, veteran driver Les Friend of Galt has driving himself to a healthy 40-point lead towards his first career championship. Early in the season Friend was in a tight battle with defending champion Matt Tilford who departed from racing full time this season to advance into the Late Model division with his brother as his schedule permits.
Behind Friend is Woodland's Scott Grunert who is having one of his strongest season's in point racing so far. Grunert is currently 12-points over Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley. Tim Mack of El Dorado is fourth in the standings, 19-points out of third place. Dennis Armstrong rounds out the top five in this division over Placerville's Danielle Clauson.
The 2013 Championship Racing Season at Placerville Speedway is presented in part by Red Hawk Casino, Hoosier Tires and Coors Light as well as the Mountain Democrat, Thompson's Auto Centers, ADCO Driveline, Riebes Auto Parts and Stymeist Auto Body Collision Repair.
The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. on Saturday night with ADCO Driveline Qualifying starting at 6:30. Tickets will be available at that time Adult tickets will be $14, Juniors and Seniors will be $12, Children $6.
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