PLACERVILLE, 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 www.placervillespeedway.com. Follow Placerville Speedway on Twitter @pvllspeedway.com.