Placerville Honors Legendary Donnie Tilford this Saturday night

By Placerville Speedway Media

10649920_10152405518338925_2637179356818256957_nPLACERVILLE, CA – This Saturday will bring inflated winnings and great memories of a racing legend together at Placerville Speedway as the second to last Red Hawk Casino Championship event of the season pays homage to the late Donnie Tilford, one the most decorated stock car wheelmen in the history of Placerville Speedway. That’s right, Saturday night marks the second annual Tribute to Donnie Tilford and Big Trophy Night at Placerville Speedway.

The second edition of the Tribute to Donnie Tilford offers inflated winnings to all three divisions Saturday night. The Sprint Car Division will be racing for a $2000 to win bounty while the Pure Stock division will earn $500 on this special night. The most notable money on the line will be in the Limited Late Model Division as they honor the stock car patriarch with a $1000 victory check. The Limited Late Model division was a class that was always at the attention of Donnie Tilford as he continued to mentor, sponsor and wrench for various drivers in his final years. Tilford was known for not only helping his own family race generation after generation, he too was the go to guy for drivers seeking advice, driving tips and set up tricks through the years. Tilford’s sudden passing due to heart complications last year saddened the racing community who will also hold a special place in their heart for the man that was tough in stature but overwhelmingly generous to all who knew him and cherished his friendship.

“There’s a stereotype that racers are supposed to be small in stature with cat like reflexes, well someone forgot to tell Donnie Tilford that long ago and he proved them all wrong with great success behind the wheel,” were words spoken by Alan Handy, Placerville Speedway’s track promoter, when the news of Tilford’s passing came last year. “He was a winner, a multi time champion, but most importantly an even better friend and I miss that big old bear every week.”

Much of the dirt track racing community was stunned in March of last year when Tilford passed away in his sleep at just 58 years old, leaving behind a legacy in the sport that spanned the beginning of his racing career well past his retirement in 1991 when he hung up his helmet and went to help his son and nephews find their place in the sport, not only assisting them financially but more importantly sharing his wealth of knowledge, his winning ways and mentorship in a very competitive sport where the combination of car set up is just as important as a winning attitude.

“Stock car racing on the clay at Hangtown is what brought this family together. It’s with all of our fans, fellow racers and the staff of Handy Racing Promotions that continues to keep this family tight and this sport strong,” was a statement made by Jon Tilford in the wake of his uncle’s passing. Jon Tilford won the 2006 Pro Stock Championship under the guidance of his late uncle and now spends most of his time trackside wrenching for his brothers Tom, Matt and his cousin Nathan while occasionally stapping behind the wheel to pick up a victory nearly each time he drives.

This Saturday, Jon Tilford will once again climb behind the wheel and join Tom Tilford, Matt Tilford and Nathan Tilford in competition to race in memory of his late mentor and here. “This is what he lived for,” he added. “He believed in driving fast and taking chances.”

There will undoubtedly be many heavy hearts on both side of the fence this Saturday at Placerville Speedway and among them will be Donnie’s son, Nathan who debuted the number three Pure Stock that replicates the Team USA car that Donnie drive in Australia early in his career in the inaugural Tribute to Donnie Tilford.

“My Dad was my hero, he raced like he lived and always helped his competitors because competition makes you better. Not only in racing but in life,” he said. “The best thing about Placerville Speedway doing this special race is that it will give my son the opportunity to see how important his grandfather was to this sport.”

With the added money on the line in all three of Placerville Speedway’s divisions and just two point races remaining in the season there is no doubt that many drivers will be driving fast and taking chances Saturday night. This special night of racing is one any race fan surely will not want to miss with all three championship titles nearly remaining undecided and field of competitors that will be second to none in honor of the late Donnie Tilford.

The grandstands will open at 5 p.m Saturday night on this big bang for buck night with five full divisions. Adults are $15, Seniors $13, Juniors are $12, Children $5 and those 5 and under are free. Placerville Speedway is located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds at 100 Placerville Drive.

Saturday’s event is sponsored in part by Red Hawk Casino, Domco Plumbing, Jay’s Mobile Welding and Fabrication, Riebes Auto Parts, Hoosier Racing Tires, The Mountain Democrat, ADCO Driveline and the Paint Spot of Placerville and Cameron Park.

Join nearly 5000 friends of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can interact with other fans, drivers and staff in a positive, family friendly fashion. You can also follow Placerville Speedway on twitter to keep up to date on events to come. Visit the official track website at Follow Placerville Speedway on Twitter

Many things are finer with age; DeCaires celebrates 48th birthday with another high dollar win and Placerville Posse Challenge title.

By Placerville Speedway Media


PLACERVILLE, CA (8-22-15) – It’s said that many things just get better with age. Saturday night, a Placerville Speedway such theories proved accurate as Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires celebrated his 48th birthday with an aggressive charge to his sixth feature victory of the year in the 2015 Red Hawk Casino Championship Series. This win was DeCaires’ sixth of the season with his Dale Miller owned team and lucrative in the way of winnings and titles as well.

Saturday’s race was the finale in a four race campaign known at the “Placerville Posse Challenge.” This special mini series paid added winnings to all three divisions courtesy of Riebes Auto Parts and in conclusion dished out additional championship funds courtesy of the track’s title sponsor Red Hawk Casino.

Celebrating in celebration with DeCaires was Limited Late model race winner Matt Micheli who took home a $750 win on this night while his counterpart, Dominic Stone of Folsom captured the Posse Series title. Jason Palmer of West Sacramento won the Pure Stock feature event to take home $500 and celebrate with Vacaville’s Dan Smith, winner of the special series in this division. The night leaves just two remaining point races in the 50th Anniversary Season at Placerville Speedway.

In the Sprint Car feature, the 25-lap race saw Napa’s Kurt Organ take the lead from the pole position while DeCaires started on the outside of the front row, aside Fair Oak’s driver Jake Morgan who was on a mission to challenge DeCaires for the Posse title, entering the event just six points behind the leader.

While Organ powered his way to a distant lead over DeCaires early in the race, Morgan’s hopes for the crown came an end on lap three when a scuffle and spin along with Placerville driver Matt Barber put him to the rear of the line up with three laps down.
Once restarted, the race saw Organ continue to run strong out in front while DeCaires worked to close the gap between he and the lead and Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli made it a threesome as he moved in behind DeCaires to apply pressure for the bridesmaid position.

After several attempts that fell short, DeCaires was able to make his move on the 16th lap when Organ made the slightest error in turn three and allowed DeCaires to slide to the inside. The two leaders rubbed wheels as they entered the backstretch with DeCaires accelerating into the top spot that he would then never relinquish.

“He was pretty much checked out for most of that race, I wasn’t sure that moment was going to come where I could get around him,” said DeCaires. “We went into one and two and he bobbled just enough that I could finally get underneath him and race him clean. This was a fun race tonight and I have a lot of people to thank for giving me the opportunity to do this. With the sponsors I have backing me, this crew and especially Dale and Tara Miller this has become one of the beast year’s I’ve had and I think there’s still a few more left in this old guy”

In victory lane, DeCaires was flogged with hugs from family, friends, crew and fellow drivers offering hugs, kudos and birthday wishes. While most of his counter parts are half his age or less, DeCaires continued to prove on this night that he is still one of the sport’s most competitive, well respected drivers. DeCaires is looked up to by most of his up and coming counterparts.

“Let’s see, I’m 48 years old, this track is 50 years old and I have been out here doing this for more than half of them,” that’s pretty crazy,” said DeCaires. “But it’s not the added winnings that fuel the desire on night’s like tonight, I love this place and love these fans and I drive just as hard if its one dollar on the line or $2000.”

Jimmy Trulli finished third in Saturday’s race while Matt Peterson of Wilton finished in fourth place. Placerville’s Andy Gregg rounded out the top five after challenging the top runners throughout the evening.

Micheli wins the battle, Stone wins the war in Late Model Posse Challenge

In the Domco Plumbing Limited Late Model Division, Micheli charged off the pole position to take the lead at the green flag of the 20-lap feature event. Micheli would lead every lap of this race. Stone started in the 14th position and charged his way into the bridesmaid spot shortly after the green flag waved with Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst following suit.

Despite several attempts both low and high to get a clean pass on the leader, Stone was unable to overtake Micheli for the $750 win and finished second to claim the Placerville Posse Challenge Series title. McDaniel finished in third place followed by Ray Trimble of Auburn and Jay Norton of Shingle Springs.

“We always love running here and when there’s that extra money on the line you see a pretty solid car count in this division,” said Micheli. “This division could easily have 20 to 25 cars running each night in the future, it’s been great to see how it’s grown like this.”

Help from fellow drivers helped Palmer to Pure Stock victory

In the Jay’s Mobile Welding Pure Stock division, point leader and defending champion Scott Grunert of Woodland took the lead at the green flag with Palmer in his wake and Tim Mack of Diamond Springs closely behind the top two.

With six laps down, Grunert and Palmer were battling side by side in lapped traffic in a heated battle for the lead when Grunert suddenly pulled to the high side of turn three and came to a stop with drive train woes. Palmer assumed the lead for the restart and never relinquished the position as he worked his way deep into lapped traffic.

“A lot of people really helped me get this car back together and back out here,” said Palmer in victory lane. Palmer was referencing the race two weeks ago in which his car was damaged in a post race altercation that resulted in permanent suspension of the other driver but left him with a great deal of work. “So many people I race with her came together with help, parts and everything to get me back out here and I can’t thank them enough. We all look out for one another here. I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for all of them.

At the finish line, Smith finished in second place, earning him enough points to claim the Placerville Posse Challenge Series. The series was lead previously by Dan Jinkerson of Diamond Springs who suffered mechanical woes Saturday night and fell out of contention. For Smith, the Posse title was something unexpected and well appreciated.

“We love this place and look forward to coming here every week with the family, we barbecue in the pits, it’s really what this sport is all about,” said Smith. “To win this here tonight is really special and this trophy is going to be proudly displayed back home. I told my wife I would cut off all this long hair when I won something up here so this week, it’s time for a haircut and I can’t wait to come back in two weeks and show everyone my new style.”
David Silva of Shingle Springs finished in third place followed by Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights and Rich Zoller of Cameron Park.

Jones takes borrowed car to victory in Dwarf Car feature


Ryan Winter took the lead with one lap down in the Nor Cal Dwarf Car division. Winter started third in the field and overtook Scott Dahlgren who started on the pole and second place starter Buddy Olshowka to advance into the lead.
Winter was challenged in the early laps by Jeff Fitch who spun in turn one with five laps down.

With 2 laps down the race underwent a red flag when Ray Smith of El Dorado rolled over in the first turn without injury. Once restarted, Winter powered into the lead until he was overtaken by Jones on the front stretch for the lead on the sixth lap. Jones was aboard a loaner car from fellow driver Dan Zuger in which he quickly adjusted to. Once in front, Jones dominated the race while Winter was challenged by the likes of Kevin Bender for second place. At the line it was Jones followed by Winter, Scott Dahlgren, Bender and Olshowka.

High Dollar Donnie Tilford Tribute Race up next


Placerville Speedway will go dark next week and returns to action on Saturday, September 5 for the second to last event of the year, the 2nd Annual Tribute To Donnie Tilford race. This special race features a $2000 win for Sprint Cars, $1000 for Late Models and $500 to Pure Stocks. The event pays tribute to the late Donnie Tilford, one of the area’s most decorated stock car racers who passed away last year. For more information on this event visit

Placerville’s Andy Gregg drives to third sprint win of the year on Kid’s Night

By Placerville Speedway Media

PLACERVILLE, CA (8-15-15) – Winning on Mountain Democrat Kid’s Night is always special for any driver at Placerville Speedway due to the large crowd and excited youngsters that turn out to the event to race their bicycles on the speedway with the help of their favorite drivers. Placerville’s Andy Gregg has won on this special night earlier in his career, but Saturday night his win was even more special that previously, as it was his first Kid’s Night victory as a new Father himself.

“Winning on this night is always special, but tonight this is really special for me as I’m a Dad myself now and to experience all of this with my family is awesome,” said Greg. “I love kids, I love the young fans, that’s what it’s all about. I love being a Dad and to do this now that I have a kid of my own is just really special tonight.”


Gregg led every one of the 25 laps of the feature event in Saturday’s Red Hawk Casino Championship point race. The popular local driver shared in his celebration with Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst who won his eighth feature event in the Domco Plumbing Late Models and Nick Baldwin of Oakley, who scored his first win in the Jay’s Mobile Welding and Fabrication Pure Stock division.

For Gregg, Saturday’s win marked the third time this year he had been to victory lane at his hometown track driving for local car owner Scott Russell in the #14R Sprint Car that is second in the championship point standings. Not only was the event memorable with all the youngsters on hand, it earned his team added winnings as Geico Insurance added $500 to the victory, making it worth a total of $2000 for the night. Earlier in the night, the local Geico group paid a $500 bonus to Fast Qualifier Jake Morgan as well.

When the green flag waved, Gregg powered his way off the second place starting position into the lead he would never relinquish over pole sitter Cory Eliason and the two front runners quickly found their way to lapped traffic. On the 14th lap, seventh place starter Sean Becker found his way into second place to begin pursuit of the distant Gregg while fending off the challenges of point leader Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove simultaneously with Wilton’s Matt Peterson close behind.

At the checkered flag, Gregg crossed the line within lapped traffic. Becker finished in second, followed by DeCaires, Peterson and Eliason.
Win Comes Earlier than Expected for Baldwin in Pure Stocks


Twenty two cars took the green flag in the Pure Stock division. Jason Palmer took the lead off the pole position and was challenged in the opening laps by Rick Campbell and Rick Grunert. With two laps complete the race underwent a caution delay with Tim Mack and Danielle Clauson collided in a multi car collision in turn three.

Once restarted the race saw Palmer drift high in the second turn which allowed Grunert to muscle into the lead as they traveled down the backstretch. Once in front Grunert remained in the lead into the with Palmer chasing him down for much of the event, both avoiding a series of multi car collisions along the way.

On lap 14 Nick Baldwin of Sacramento overtook Palmer for second place with Scott Grunert following suit into third into the final laps. On the 18th lap a final restart put Baldwin close Grunert for the green flag and a sprint to the finish line where Baldwin muscled ahead of Grunert for the lead. Baldwin drove to victory followed by Les Friend of Galt, Scott Grunert of Woodland , Rick Grunert and Rich Zoller of Cameron Park.

“We started racing here mid season as we came from a different track so its taken us a lot of work,” said Baldwin. “I didn’t expect to get this win this early but here we are and it feels good to be here at a track that’s this competitive. Tonight things were getting pretty crowded coming out of turn two, I saw an opportunity and took it and it paid off.”

Win doesn’t come easy for McDaniel in Late Models

IMG_4880Duane Cleveland of Chico powered off the second place starting position into the lead at the opening green flag. As early as the second lap a caution flag flew when Ryan Peter of Rio Linda came to a stop in turn two after a collision. Once the race restarted, Cleveland muscled ahead of second place starter Jay Norton of Shingle Springs who was feeling the challenges of seven time winner Ryan McDaniel.

As the race reached the halfway point, McDaniel overtook second place and raced an exciting battle with Cleveland for the lead until taking the top spot with a switchback move on the front stretch of lap 13. In the final laps, McDaniel and Cleveland kept the fans on the edge of their seats with a heated battle for the lead. At the finish line McDaniel took the win followed by Cleveland, Norton, Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights and Ray Trimble of Auburn.

“This car was far from easy to drive tonight,” said McDaniel, as he celebrated his eighth win of the year. “I tightened it up too much after the heat race and it was a struggle to get up there and run for the lead. I finally got to the point where I knew I wasn’t going to do it by following him down low so we found a line on the outside and got it done.”

Next Saturday night, racing continued at Placerville Speedway as the season winds down to its final weeks. This coming Saturday will feature inflated winnings for the Placerville Posse Series, Sprint Cars will win $2000, Limited Late Models $750 and Pure Stocks $500 the three track regulars will be joined by the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars.

The grandstands will open at 5 p.m on Saturday with qualifying starting at 6:30 followed by heat races for all four divisions. Adult tickets are $15, Juniors and Seniors are $13, Children are $6 and those under six are free. For additional information on this event check out or join the local racing community on Facebook and Twitter and interact with over 5000 fans, drivers and track staff.

* Article: Bill Sullivan Photos by: Ron Tilford

42nd Hangtown Destruction Derby for Charity hits the track Sunday

By Placerville Speedway Media

  •  Popular event returns with expanded program that includes exciting compact car division


PLACERVILLE, CA – This Sunday, August 16th, Placerville Speedway will host the sounds of smashing sheet metal the roar of smoking engines and cheering spectators as one of El Dorado County’s oldest charitable events celebrates its 42nd consecutive year. It’s time for the classic Placerville Police Officers Association’s Annual Hangtown Destruction Derby. It’s an afternoon of car crushing mayhem that is fun for the entire family and this year it has a brand new twist.

Now over four decades strong the annual Hangtown Destruction Derby is presented by the Placerville Police Officers Association in conjunction with the cooperation of El Dorado County Fire, Placerville Speedway and the business community of El Dorado County. The competition in the event is well populated by men and women representing law enforcement and public safety agencies along with entries of the daring type from the general public in a contest of mechanical survival on a mud filled infield of the fairgrounds main arena.
As the Hangtown Destruction Derby reaches it’s 42nd year, it continues to be one of the oldest and most successful annual events that benefits charity in El Dorado County. Through the years, proceeds from the derby have benefited a number of organizations such as youth sports, children’s charities and the Police Officers annual Christmas party for underprivileged children. The bottom line, the annual Hangtown Destruction Derby is fun for the whole family and in the end, it’s all presented for a good cause.
The 2015 version of the Hangtown Destruction Derby is sure to be bigger and better than ever as the program has been expanded to include a compact car division the first time in the event history. While the open class will feature the heavyweights of the sport in a classic battle of destruction, the new compact class offers the excitement that is becoming quite popular in other derby events nationwide. This class is open to cars that have a wheelbase of 107 inches or less and any make or model is permitted, sedan or coupe, with the exception of trucks, vans and four wheel drive vehicles.
With the two classes, two champions will be crowned at the end of the afternoon with winners of each of the super mains earning a healthy $1000. Second place earns $500 and third place wins $300. Heat races will pay $150 to the winner, $100 to second place and $50 to third. In addition to the cash winnings top finishers are awarded trophies for their success.
Entrants in this annual event routinely acquire the vehicle themselves and then use area sponsorships to construct it into a full blown derby car. In many cases, the winners turn around and donate their winnings to a charity of their choice after the bills are paid for the construction of the car, safety equipment, transportation to the event and possibly a visit to the chiropractor the following Monday.
This year the 42nd Annual Hangtown Destruction Derby will begin on the eve of the event with the annual event BBQ at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and involvement with Placerville Speedway during Mountain Democrat Kids Night event. On this evening, the speedway admits all children under 12 for free to the speedway and holds bicycle races during intermission. The Placerville Police Officers Association will be on hand when the gates open at the races, handing out tickets to those youngsters 12 and under that attend the races. The officers will not be handing out speeding tickets, but complimentary children’s tickets to the Sunday Derby. The team effort between the Police Department and Placerville Speedway is sure to make this coming weekend one to remember for the youngsters.
The grandstands at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds will open at 11 am on Sunday and the first heat race of the derby is set to begin at 1 p.m. following opening ceremonies and the popular parade of entrants. Adult tickets to the derby are just $10 at the gate. Seniors are $5. Children 4-12 are $5, unless they attend the auto races the night before and receive a complimentary ticket that is good for admission with a paid adult. Those under 3 years old are free.
A number of area businesses have donated prizes that will be raffled off at the 42nd Annual Hangtown Destruction Derby and the pre-event BBQ that takes place Saturday evening at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

For further information on the event, the official website of Placerville Police Officers Association can be viewed at For information on Kids Night at Placerville Speedway, visit

*Photos Courtesy of Mountain Democrat/Placerville Speedway Sponsor

Kids are Free This Saturday for Kids Night; Geico Sprint Car Bonus on Tap

By Placerville Speedway Media

  • Kids Bicycle Races, Drawing for Several New Bicycles and Giants Tickets and more.
  • Geico Insurance to increase sprint winnings to $2000. Fast time bonus up to $600 total

KidsPLACERVILLE, CA (8-15-15) – Grab the bikes and bring all the tikes. It’s time for “Mountain Democrat Kids’ Night” at Placerville Speedway this Saturday, August 16th. This event is the biggest night of the year for the littlest of race fans as it marks the first of two big days of family fun at Placerville Speedway, located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

Saturday night will feature the return of Red Hawk Casino Championship point racing at Placerville Speedway. The winged sprint cars return to action this Saturday along with the Limited Late Models and the Pure Stocks.
This week, the racing is sure to be as exciting as it usually is on the quarter-mile clay oval that has been in operation since the summer of 1965. However, Saturday night is about much more than high dollar motors, the perfect tire and the perfect set up. Saturday marks the annual night at Placerville Speedway where families come together to give the true fans of this sport the opportunity to shine with the help of their racing heroes. On Mountain Democrat Kid’s Night, youngsters get their turn to compete on the race track in numerous bicycle races during intermission with the help and support of their local racing heroes cheering them on.
Saturday night, all kids 11 and under are admitted for free to Placerville Speedway. Additionally, the young fans receive complimentary popcorn and soda on this evening as well as a free ticket to the 42nd Annual Hangtown Destruction Derby that takes place on Sunday afternoon. The free ticket comes courtesy of the Placerville Police Officers Association as they team with Placerville Speedway to make a fun filled weekend for families at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. The annual Destruction Derby is presented by the PPOA with the cooperation of the management of Handy Racing Promotions.
Youngsters are encouraged to participate in the bicycle races at intermission on Saturday night. Races will be broken up into various age groups with the distance of the competition being adjusted accordingly. The top three finishers of each age group will be awarded trophies presented by the Mountain Democrat and everyone who competes is awarded participation ribbons. Placerville Speedway will provide a secure parking area for the children’s bicycles during the evening. Following the bicycle races, several brand new BMX Bicycles sponsored by the Mountain Democrat and Lightfoot Automotive will be raffled off to a number of lucky youngsters in the grandstands. Additionally, the Mountain Democrat has once again generously sponsored a great deal of pre event advertising for the event to make it a huge success.

butler car
While much of the night will focus on the young fans, the big guys have a lot to be excited about too. Saturday night, Geico Insurance has stepped in to sponsor Placerville Speedway’s Sprint Car division for the night. Local sponsor of sprint car driver Billy Butler, Geico Insurance will be offering a $500 bonus to the feature event win for the division, making the win worth $2000 Saturday night. Additionally, they have added $500 to the fast time award for the evening, making fast time worth $600 total combined with the weekly ADCO Driveline award of $100.
Saturday night the gates of Placerville Speedway will open at 5 p.m. with qualifying starting up at 6:30. Adult tickets will be $15, Seniors will be $13, Juniors are $13 and those 11 and under will be FREE for the evening.

Raffle tickets for the BMX Bicycle will be presented to every youngster coming in the front gate along with a coupon for free popcorn and soda and a complimentary ticket to the destruction derby. In addition to the Mountain Democrat’s BMX Bicycle, additional prizes will be raffled off in several surprise additions to the drawing on race night include tickets to an upcoming San Francisco Giants game.

For additional information visit the track website at More information can also be found on the speedway’s website at You can also join over 5000 Placerville Speedway fans and drivers by liking them on Facebook.

On Sunday, the Destruction Derby will open it’s gates at 11 a.m. for all of the crashing and smashing.  Tickets for the derby are $10 for Adults, Children 4-12 are $5 unless they have a free ticket from attending Kids Night at the speedway. Children 3 and under are free for the derby.

*Photos Courtesy of Donna Peter/