Yearly Archives: 2013

Forsberg breaks DeCaires’ Placerville win streak with 2nd season win


By Bill Sullivan


placerville_BlankPLACERVILLE, CA (7-27-13) - Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires was poised to make a record fourth consecutive win Saturday at Placerville Speedway during the tenth Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Racing Tires-Coors Light Championship point race. However, defending track champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn put an end to the recent win streak by the veteran driver, scoring a long overdue victory on the track he calls home.

“It’s been awhile since we’ve been here,” said Forsberg, who last won at Placerville on June 22. “Greg’s team has been on one heck of a run here these last few weeks. The first two races they won, I’ll give them those, but last week I’m not sure about that one because we were running fast and got wrecked out of the race. I pretty sure we could have gotten that one if that hadn’t happened, but we didn’t. It feels good be back here and I just want to thank all the great fans at this place for choosing Placerville over the drag races in Sonoma and the Sacramento Mile tonight to support this great track.”

Forsberg started on the outside of the front row of Saturday’s 25-lap feature event. DeCaires earned the pole position for the event with Placerville’s own Matt Barber in the third starting position, Andy Gregg in fourth and Jimmy Trulli in the fifth slot. The event took a handful of attempts to get its initial lap scored as numerous accidents delayed the race.

The most serious of caution periods were for Placerville’s James Sweeney who took a violent flip up the hillside of turn three after contact with Napa’s Kirt Organ. Another red flag flew in the event for Bobby Butler of Sacramento who rolled over on the front stretch. Shingle Springs driver Justin Johnson also took a tough tumble end over end as he traveled down the back stretch at the 10 lap mark.

Forsberg was able to dodge the mayhem by powering his Pit Stop USA F&F Racing #X1 Sprint Car to the head of the pack at the opening green flag to quickly place himself in front of DeCaires. As the two leaders worked their way into lapped traffic, DeCaires began closing in on Forsberg at times in traffic. Forsberg managed to work his way clear of the back markers each time DeCaires got within striking distance to drive to his second season win.

“He got beside me a couple times and showed me the nose wing,” said Forsberg. “Fortunately I was able to run high and low tonight and get through the lapped traffic without any problems. This track was great tonight, we had a great cushion to race up against and the conditions were great all night long. Placerville is the bomb when it comes to prepping a track.”

DeCaires went on to finish second Saturday. Steven Tiner of Elverta who started in the sixth position, claimed the third position. Tenth place starter Sean Becker powered his way to a fourth place position at the finish line while Gregg rounded out the top ten aboard Scott Russell’s #14r for the evening.

A total of 29 cars formed the grid at Placerville Saturday night. Many of the entries were non-regulars to the weekly Red Hawk Casino Championship Series who are gearing up for the August 10th Civil War Series Race here. The upcoming event is the richest race on the traveling Civil War Series Circuit and Placerville’s richest race in history with a $5000 victory payoff.

In the Limited Late Model division on Saturday, defending champion Matt Micheli of Live Oak drove to his fourth win of the season. The last time Micheli won at Placerville Speedway was back in May. Since that time the second generation driver has been amidst a tight battle for the point lead with Citrus Heights Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights.

Entering Saturday’s race, Tilford sat four points ahead of Micheli in the standings but tightened that deficit up with the victory. Last Saturday night Micheli led the feature event until the final lap when he mistakenly pulled off the track surface with one lap to go. This week, the veteran driver made up for his recent error, starting on the pole for the 20-lap feature and taking the lead from his father, Ken Micheli at the waving of the green flag.

“After that little move last week when I led for 19.5 laps is one I’d like to forget,” mused Micheli in victory lane. “After that I was almost convinced I wasn’t going to win another race here this year. Ryan McDaniel has been winning up here just about every time he is here. Matt Davis has been really fast and I was starting to question myself a bit. It feels good to be back here tonight. It’s always great to start a race next to my Dad and have that trust in the person you’re racing with into that first turn. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”

Micheli worked his way into lapped traffic early in the race while Ken Micheli had his hands full attempting to maintain the second position. Matt Davis of Auburn eventually worked his way past Micheli for the second position. Davis had started fourth. Micheli maintained the third position over Jason Englund of Citrus Heights and Charlie Marrs of Yuba City who passed Tilford to round out the top five at the finish.

In the Pure Stock division, point leader Les Friend of Galt took a decisive lead at the waving of the green flag. Friend distanced himself from the field early in the event, working his way into lapped traffic while Folsom’s Dominic Stone worked his way into second place from third along with Woodland’s Scott Grunert in tow.

Saturday’s 20-lap feature nearly went non stop with the exception of a multi car pile up on the front stretch that delayed the event. The front runners avoided the melee and when the white flag waved it appeared that Friend was on his way to high eighth win of the year. As he traveled down the back stretch, Friend’s car slowed considerably in the traffic and allowed Stone to close in. Stone continued his pursuit into the final turns where he took the lead to score his first win of the season. Friend finished second followed by Grunert. Clarence Holbrook III and Tim Mack of Placerville.

“I was in the right place at the right time here tonight,” said Stone. “Apparently Les thought there was a caution flag when we came down the backstretch and he let up and got caught in the lapped traffic by the time he realized it. I thought we were locked for a second place finish tonight with the lead he had but were we never gave up and were there to take the lead when the time came.”

Championship point racing continues next week for the Winged Sprint Cars at Placerville Speedway. The stock car divisions will have the night off to allow for the mighty midgets of the Bay Cities Racing Association along with the Midget Lites. This event is the annual Jack London Bash Picnic and Hall of Fame for the BCRA. From 10 am until 3 p.m. racers and fans are welcome to attend the event on the lawn of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds where a BBQ Lunch will be served including Tri-Tip and Hot Dogs prior to the BCRA announcing its 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees. Tickets for the event that benefits BCRA can be purchased at www.bcraracing.com.

For complete results of Saturday’s event and information on what’s to come at Placerville Speedway, including the upcoming August 10 $5000 to win Forni Classic, check out www.placervillespeedway.com.

Greg “The Cat Fish” DeCaires hooks 3rd straight Placerville victory


By Bill Sullivan


072013-01PLACERVILLE, CA (7-20-13) - Elk Grove Sprint Car driver Greg DeCaires continued his winning ways at Placerville Speedway Saturday night, winning his third consecutive feature event of the season since teaming with local team owner Dale Miller of Placerville. Although this is now his third win since he took to the cockpit of the popular Tribute to Stephen Allard #4sa sprint car, the veteran wheelman still became emotional in victory lane as he tried to pin point the key factor that is leading him to such success as of late.

“I can’t really say exactly what it is that is pushing us to these wins,” said DeCaires. “Yes it’s a great team that gives me a great car every week but I think it goes even further than that. Stephen (Allard) showed me how to get around the track really fast last year. I think it’s that knowledge combined with a little extra push from him and my Mom from up above or something because this is just amazing to me.”

DeCaires won the $4000 to win Tiner Classic on July 4th at Placerville Speedway. He then backed that up with a win last Saturday as the Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Racing Tires Championship resumed at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. DeCaires topped it off on this given night almost a year to date to when Allard was amidst a mid season win streak at the quarter-mile bullring.

“Last week this track was dry and slick and that’s the kind of track I usually do well on, I am always pretty confident we will be there at the end for the win on nights like that,” he added. “But tonight they poured a ton of water on this thing to make it better for the fans and I didn’t know what to expect, it’s not too normal to have such a hooked up track in July but here we are again. I have so many people to thank but number one is my family. The support of my wonderful wife and kids in this is pretty amazing. My kids are on vacation with my in-laws and I can’t wait for them to get back and tell them we won again, they are going to be pretty excited their old man did it again.”

DeCaires started Saturday’s 25-lap feature event in the seventh position and started his quest to the front as pole sitter Jake Morgan of Fair Oaks took the lead at the green flag. After holding him off for the first three laps of the race, Morgan fell victim to point leader Andy Forsberg who worked his way around the 2011 Rookie of the Year on the front stretch of the fourth lap just as DeCaires worked his way into the top three positions and eventually took the bridesmaid position from Morgan to set his sights on Forsberg.

With six laps complete a multi-car collision in the first and second turns brought out a red flag as Kyler Shaw of Fresno went upside down following a collision that involved Chico’s Kevin Sharrah who slid sideways in front of Shaw. Forsberg unfortunately got a piece of the action as well and was forced to retire from the race and forfeit his lead position.

On the ensuing restart, DeCaires assumed the lead position with Morgan in his wake along with Placerville’s Andy Gregg, a four time overall winner this season at his home track. Twelve laps into the race Gregg muscled his way around Morgan for the second position and began chasing DeCaires who had worked his way to a healthy lead.

While the track veterans dueled up front, the division’s young guns were faring well within the top five on this given night as Morgan continued to run strong in third with the likes of Elk Grove’s Matt Land, Rookie Adam Walters of Reno and Charlie Cagle of Penryn.

With 19 laps complete, Morgan’s strong night took a wrong turn when he lost traction in turns one and two and slid sideways where he was struck by Land. The incident drew a yellow flag as Morgan needed a tow to the work area while Land was able to continue racing.

In the final stretch of the race, DeCaires maintained his lead over Gregg all the way to the checked flag. Land scored an impressive podium finish with a third place despite front end damage in the previous collision. Walters finished in fourth followed by Cagle.

In the Late Model division, Matt “The Joker” Davis muscled his way to his third win of the season. Davis started on the pole of the 20-lap feature event that hosted 14 cars Saturday. The initial start of the race was quickly delayed when Dennis Ahart of Shingle Springs and Sheridan’s John Ohnmacht collided on the front stretch.

Once the event resumed under the green flag Davis worked his way to a healthy lead with point leaders Tom Tilford and Matt Micheli dueled for the second position. Micheli overtook Tilford for the spot and began setting his sights on Davis in lapped traffic after the 12 lap mark.

As the race entered its final laps, Davis stretched his lead out while Tilford closed in on Micheli. On the white flag lap Micheli exited to the pit area. Davis went on to the checkered flag. Tilford finished in second to take the series point lead. Danny Malfatti of Castro Valley finished third followed by Les Friend of Galt and Bob Thayer of Placerville.

“The car was really good tonight, I put a new super charger on it and it really took off because you know this is just a little six cylinder car I’m running out here against these guys,” mused the always humorous Davis in victory lane. “This was a fun night for us.”

In the Pure Stock division, Les Friend of Galt drove to his seventh win of the year to extend his already healthy point lead. The waving of the green flag in this feature event saw Chris Van Roekel take the lead. Four laps into the race Friend had advanced from the seventh position into second place to challenge the leader.

At the six lap mark the battle for the lead heated up as Friend went to the high side of turns three and four to challenge for the lead and the two drivers locked doors. With sparks flying both Van Roekel and Friend veered to the inside of the track as they approached the front stretch. Friend broke free of the battle to take the lead. One lap later Van Roekel retired with mechanical issues.

Friend was chased to his seventh win by Scotty Grunert of Woodland who started third. Randy Hill of Auburn finished in third place after starting 11th. Clarence Holbrook the finished in fourth place over Jason Leonard of Elk Grove.

“Well Chris (Van Roekel) is pretty mad at me about the deal in turn four I guess,” said Friend. “I don’t really know how somebody gets mad at you when you’re passing them and giving them plenty of room and they decide to turn into me and we take it all the way to the infield. I should be the one that’s mad and yes I am kind of ticked off about it, there was no reason for it. But we got another win and we’re happy about that. Racing two divisions tonight took all I had in me that’s for sure.”

Racing continues next Saturday night at Placerville Speedway with three divisions once again converging on the quarter mile clay oval as the championship continues to heat up. Gates will open at 5 p.m. with qualifying set to begin at 6:30. Saturday’s race got off to a delayed start when a water pump went out that supplies water to the track’s water tender. The staff of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds is to be commended for their quick response to the problem which limited the delay to less than an hour.

For further information on Placerville Speedway check out www.placervillespeedway.com.

Local Georgetown gent proposes marriage at Placerville Speedway


By Bill Sullivan


071313-05PLACERVILLE, CA (7-13-13) - Since the beginning of the season, the weekly Kids Dash sponsored by Riebes Auto Parts has been a success at Placerville Speedway, putting smiles on the faces of young race fans every week as they join a driver in victory lane. Last Saturday, this weekly event brought emotion to an all time high for one local family to be.

When longtime Placerville driver Mike Lightfoot climbed from his Late Model Stock Car in victory circle Saturday night he was greeted by full grandstand of cheering fans, many of them youngsters looking to be selected to join him in the victory celebrations and take home the special trophy. Lightfoot carefully perused the many youngsters and selected a young lady from the fence line to come down to the front stretch of the racetrack.

As four year old Addison Kronlund approached Lightfoot with a smile from ear to ear her big night at Placerville Speedway suddenly became even bigger when the event took a whole new twist. Addison was accompanied by her Mother, Laura, down to the track and Laura quickly learned that this night would long be remembered by both she and her family.

Georgetown resident Nathan Bellamy, Laura’s longtime boyfriend, approached them in front of the crowd and requested the cordless microphone. It was then that he took out a ring, got down on his knee and requested her hand in marriage. The event ended in celebration as the response was an emotional “yes” and the couple to be joined Addison in her victory lane photo.

The young lady proudly returned to the grandstands with her tearful bride to be mother to enjoy the rest of the night they will long remember. The couple lives in Georgetown with their older daughter, five year old Evylin Bellamy.

Saturday’s surprise event was organized by longtime track volunteer Jason Atkinson who is friends with Bellamy. Atkinson and Bellamy coordinated the event with Lightfoot and fellow racer Ted Ahart prior to the Kids Dash. The act was a prime example of the great family friendly atmosphere spanning from drivers to fans that Placerville Speedway continues to provide in its 48th year of operation at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

The eight point race of the season concluded on Saturday with Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires winning his second feature of the year in the Sprint Car Division. Les Friend of Galt won the Pure Stock feature event while Ryan McDaniel took home the win in Late Models and Ryan Winter won the Nor Cal Dwarf Car feature.

Racing returns to Placerville Speedway this Saturday night, July 20 with Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Racing Tires championship Point Racing.

Join nearly 4000 friends of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can interact with other fans, drivers and staff and follow them on twitter to keep up to date on events to come. You can also find Placerville Speedway on twitter for schedule updates and more.

DeCaires tops the list of repeat winners in eighth points race


By Bill Sullivan


071313-01PLACERVILLE, CA (7-13-13) - The Red Hawk Casino Championship point racing season returned to Placerville Speedway Saturday night with four repeat drivers celebrating in victory lane. Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires scored his second win here in the Sprint Car Division while Les Friend of Galt captured his sixth win in Pure Stocks. Ryan McDaniel of Olivhurst won the Limited Late Model feature event and in the visiting Dwarf Cars, Ryan Winter of Galt returned to victory lane.

For DeCaires, Saturday’s victory marked the second straight win the veteran driver celebrated in victory lane. Last week he won the Tiner Classic Civil War feature event aboard the locally owned Dale Miller sprint car that pays tribute to the late Stephen Allard, one of Placerville’s most competitive drivers in 2012 and a longtime friend and colleague of Declares.

 

“I can’t say enough about this team,” said Declares. There’s no doubt we’re getting some help from above with this deal. This team has really come together, Dale Miller has given me a great car and a great crew and to come out here tonight and get two in a row is really great.”

 

Before another typical large crowd at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, Declares started Saturday’s feature event on the pole position next to Sacramento’s Billy Butler. At the waving of the green flag the front row starters avoided a multi car pile up in the third turn that initiated a complete restart.

 

Once the race officially went under the green flag, DeCaires muscled ahead of Butler into a lead he would never relinquish. With three laps complete, Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli, who started in sixth, worked his way into the second position and set his sights on DeCaires who worked his way into lapped traffic as early as the six lap mark.

 

DeCaires maintained a distant lead for much of the 25-lap race. When he crossed the checkered flag he had an impressive advantage of 3.853 seconds. Trulli finished in second place to conclude what was a strong night in the points chase for the local driver as his closest rival, Andy Gregg of Placerville, was out of contention earlier in the night. Point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn started fourth and finished third at the end of the night. Placerville’s James Sweeney drove from 14th to fourth and Butler capped the night rounding out the top five.

 

In the Limited Late Model division, the opening laps of the feature event were delayed by a lengthy caution flag when four cars collided on the front stretch. Placerville’s Mike Lightfoot and John Ohnmacht of Sheridan suffered the most damage and were unable to continue the race.

 

Once the green flag waved, point leader Matt Micheli of Live Oak took the early lead until Jason Englund of Citrus Heights moved into challenge the leader. Micheli and Englund would not be the only drivers to lead the race. McDaniel started in the seventh position and closed in on the lead position quickly. On the eighth lap, McDaniel powered his way into the lead as he exited the fourth turn.

 

In the closing laps, McDaniel drove to an insurmountable lead while the battle continued behind him for the top three positions. Englund maintained second place to the finish line. Third place starter Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley scored the third place finishing position over Micheli and Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights.

 

Earlier in the night, the Riebes Kid’s Dash featured the Late Model Division as Placerville drivers Mike Lightfoot and Ted Ahart were the entries. Lightfoot won the contest and selected four year old Addison Kronlund of Georgetown to join him in victory lane. As she approached Lightfoot, the celebration took a new turn when Georgetown resident Nathan Bellamy took the microphone and proposed to Addison’s Mother, Laura on the front stretch of the speedway. The answer was yes to the big question and the family celebrated a very special victory with Lightfoot in front of a cheering crowd.

 

In the Pure Stock division, Friend closed in on early race leader Tim Mack of Placerville at the waving of the green flag. With two laps complete, the series point leader drove to the low sides of turns one and two to challenge the leader. After a side by side battle, Friend took the lead on lap three on the front stretch. At the checkered flag Friend was followed by Tom Grady of El Dorado, Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley, Mack and Lonnie Leonard of Elk Grove.

 

In the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars, Ryan Winter avoided the plethora of caution flags to score a repeat victory. He was followed across the line by Jeremy Blackshere, Kevin Bender, Mike Grenert and Scott Dahlgren.

 

Racing returns to Placerville Speedway this Saturday, July 20 with three divisions on hand. The winged sprint car division will be joined by Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks as the battle for the championship enters the late season stretch. For further information check out www.placervillespeedway.com.

Join nearly 4000 friends of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can interact with other fans, drivers and staff and follow them on twitter to keep up to date on events to come. You can also find Placerville Speedway on twitter for schedule updates and more.

DeCaires earns rich and emotional victory in Placerville’s Tiner Classic


By Bill Sullivan


070413-01PLACERVILLE, CA (7-4-13) - Winning on the Fourth of July is always something special for a driver at any time of their career. Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires is no stranger to thrill of victory lane before the large patriotic crowd at Placerville Speedway. Thursday night, however, DeCaires celebrated one of his most emotional wins at Placerville Speedway in the Hoosier Racing Tires Civil War Sprint Car Series.

DeCaires claimed victory in the $4000 to win Tiner Classic Thursday night aboard the team he joined just weeks ago in the Tribute to Stephen Allard #4SA Sprint Car. The car was built and is owned by Placerville resident Dale Miller to pay tribute to the late driver who won the hearts of many fans and drivers up until his passing in December.

 

For DeCaires, it wasn’t about the added money Thursday night; it was a combination of things that made this win one of the biggest in his career. As a child, DeCaires was a big fan of the legendary Johnny Tiner, idolizing him so much he picked the number ninety four for his own cars when he started his racing career. Later in life, DeCaires was truly close to Allard and was with him and his family during his final moments on Christmas Eve. Factor in this victory is the first one for him since the passing of his own Mother and biggest fan this past year and it was inevitable that the tears would flow after the wing dance in victory lane at Placerville Thursday night.

 

“This is truly special for me and this whole team here tonight,” said DeCaires during his victory lane interview with infield announcer Bradley Kennedy, a member of the Tiner family who worked hard to put this race together. “When I was a little kid I use to watch your grandfather race and more than anything I wanted to be like him. So when I started racing I picked the number 94 for my cars. This is very special to win this race tonight.”

 

Thursday’s track conditions were extremely challenging for all competitors as temperatures soared to triple digits and the event started an hour earlier than usual causing extreme dry slick conditions that forced the speedway to water prior to the feature event. While the adjusted track conditions through many drivers for a loop, DeCaires adapted well and was quick to work his way to the front and come out on top of a battle with Fremont’s Shane Golobic throughout the 30-lap affair.

 

“There is no doubt Stephen was out here in that car with me tonight,” added DeCaires. “Because I made that car do things I never did before. No matter what have always done racing, Stephen could do it ten times better and I know he helped me tonight. This is first win without my Mom too, she was my biggest fan and she would have loved to see this, I’m pretty sure she would have peed her pants with this one.’

 

DeCaires wasn’t the only one in tears and nearly speechless in victory lane Thursday night. Miller, the team owner, was always emotional as he joined his new driver in victory lane and remembered a dear friend that the whole racing community continues to mourn the loss of.

 

“This whole team deserves this, they have done an incredible job putting this new deal together this year and I’m fortunate to be part of it now,” said DeCaires. “I can’t thank Dale Miller enough for giving me this opportunity and a great car. I’m proud to be here tonight. I’m proud to win this Tiner race. This one’s for Stephen.”

 

DeCaires started Thursday’s 30-lap feature event in the third starting position and avoided a multi car pile up that ensued as drivers weren’t prepared for the watered down surface at the green flag. Pole sitter Sean Becker of Roseville also avoided the melee but second place starter Stephen Tiner was so lucky. Tiner’s car was damaged; sidelining him from the race he worked so hard to promote to honor his family.

 

DeCaires felt the pressure of Golobic and Becker in the waning laps of Thursday’s feature event. The duo closed in on the leader each time he came up on lapped traffic. Luckily for DeCaires, a yellow flag flew every time that happened, giving him a clear track to race on.

 

Known as “The Cat Fish” to his counterparts for his driving style that frequents the low line of the track, DeCaires changed his ways Thursday night. He positioned the car that carries the initials and logo of his fallen colleague to the high side of the track for the majority of the race. For DeCaires, that risk paid off in a high paying win and a night of priceless emotion and memories.

 

Golobic finished second in Thursday’s race followed by Becker, Bradley Terrell of Sebastopol. Colby Wiesz of Colfax rounded out the top five. The B Main was won by Carson Macedeo over Jimmy Trulli, Billy Aton, Mike Benson and Clayton Snow.

 

The C main was won by Jake Morgan over James Sweeney, Josh Ruhs and Stephen Roads Jr. Heat race wins went to Kyle Hirst, Herman Klein, Becker and Shawn Wright. A total of 37 cars entered Thursday’s race. Hirst was the fastest qualifier of the evening which concluded with a giant fireworks display.

Placerville Speedway will resume action on Saturday, July 13 as the Red Hawk Casino Championship series returned with Sprint Cars, Late Models, Pure Stocks and Dwarf Cars. For further information visit www.placervillespeedway.com.