PLACERVILLE, CA – The regular championship point racing season came to a climactic conclusion Saturday night at Placerville Speedway as the Thompson’s Auto Center’s Tribute Al Hinds brought added winnings to the final night of racing and crowned three season champions in the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resorts Championship Series. The evening marked the final night for the multiple divisions and just one event remains this Saturday, September 20 as the traveling Civil War Sprint Car Series will send the season into overtime at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.
This marked the first year that the annual race which pays homage to late track promoter Al Hinds and paid bonus winnings courtesy of local businessman Ron Thompson and added funds from Handy Racing Promotions to all three of Placerville’s regular divisions. The Sprint Car winner earned $2000 last night, the Limited Late Models $1000 and the Pure Stocks earned $500, drawing a boosted car count and competitive racing throughout the final nigh of the Jackson Rancheria Casino Championship Points Racing Series.
In the Sprint Car Division, Justin Sanders of Prunedale muscled his way to his fifth victory of the season. The year marked the best of Sander’s career as he raced fulltime for car owners Rudy and Beverly Warrington. His bid for the championship went down to the wire as his success Saturday night resulted him unofficially taking over the bridesmaid position in the championship standings from defending champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn.
Sanders was followed across the line at the finish by Fremont’s Shane Golobic Satureday night. Mason Moore finished in third over Forsberg who led the early laps of the race until an incident in lapped traffic cost him several positions and a rally back to the front. Justin Cox of Sacramento rounded out the top five.
After qualifying deep in the field, point leader Greg DeCaires simply had to take the green flag to clinch the championship Saturday night. DeCaires finished the nigh in the 7th position. Driving for local car owner Dale Miller in the Foothill 7 Television sponsored #4sa Sprint Car that is a Tribute to the late Stephen Allard, DeCaires ended the night with 56-point advantage over Sanders. The feat adds to a long resume of success for DeCaires, who won titles here in 2006 and 2007. A decade later, the fan favorite is already talking of another run in 2015.
“Tonight put the icing on the cake, we came in here tonight and stayed strong throughout the night even though we were off our mark in qualifying. Dale Miller and every single person on this crew have worked hard to support me and make this happen and all of their hard work paid off here tonight and we have a great sponsor in Foothill 7 TV and Ron Thompson. This is what we set out to do at the beginning of the year and it’s not just about this old guy winning another championship, this one means more. This one is for my Mom who I lost earlier this year and for the late Stephen Allard who this car pays Tribute to. They were both great supporters of me all my life and not a day goes by I don’t think about them. I’m ready to do it again in 2015, this old guy isn’t finished yet.”
Limited Late Model action saw Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst claim his sixth win of the season Saturday night and pick up the added bonus money. McDaniel started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from Will McMillen at the green flag to lead every one of the 20 laps. At the finish line he was trailed by Duane Cleveland, Ray Trimble, Randy McDaniel and Jeff Olshowka.
The season ending point standings resulted in 2012 champion Matt Micheli winning his second title at Placerville Speedway in a season where he scored a pair of wins during the year and was a contender for victory in nearly each of the night’s of competition. Saturday night Micheli elected to park during his heat race and save his car for the feature event in which he had to take the green flag to clinch.
“I decided tonight I would skip the heat and save it for the main event so we didn’t tear anything up early in the night,” said Micheli. That kind of cost me a little bit later on as I didn’t really finish the way I would have liked by we got the championship. This was definitely a tougher one to win than my first on here two years ago. Ray Trimble and Tom Tilford raced me hard all season long and it was just an incredible season with great competition.”
In the Pure Stock division, Dan Jinkerson of Diamond Springs won his first feature event in this division. Jinkerson previously raced asphalt and dirt modifieds, winning his share of victories on both. Late this season with the help of his father, veteran driver Mark Jinkerson, who was a top driver in the late 70’s and early 80’s at Placerville.
Jinkerson took after five laps when early race leader Jon Tilford suffered mechanical issues and retired to the pit area for the night. Once on front, Jinkerson led all of the remaining laps and was followed across the line by Russell Murphy, Tim Mack, Rick Grunert and Mike Nuss.
Woodland’s Scott Grunert ended the night as the new Pure Stock Champion. Grunert parked during heat race action to insure a solid start in the feature event where he started in the rear and finished after late race tangle with Jason Armstrong in traffic. In the end he claimed the title by a 20-point margin over Eddie Gardner of Sacramento. His father, Rick Grunert, a 1997 track champion, finished third in the standings over Mack.
“Every since I watched my Dad race one of my goals was to one day win a championship and tonight we got that goal accomplished,” said Grunert. “Eddie Gardner ran me strong all season long and it was a great battle to the title. I want to thank him for a great season together and all my friends and sponsors that are here tonight.”
Saturday’s event also featured the Midget Lites of the Bay Cities Racing Association. Logan Seavey of Sacramento drove to victory in his John Taylor Motorsports owned car, appropriately on the night that is the Tracy Taylor Memorial for the traveling group. Brian Corso clinched the championship for the traveling group.
Action returns to Placerville Speedway for one addition night this Saturday, September 20th with the high profile Civil War Sprint Car Series in an added event to the regular season schedule. For further information on this events visit www.placervillespeedway.com.
Placerville Speedway and Handy Racing Promotions would like to thank all of the driver that competed in the 2014 Jackson Rancheria Casino Championship season this year and congratulate our champions on their accomplishments during this great of impressive car counts, fan support and sponsorship. We look forward to seeing many of you back on September 20 as we close out our season with the return of the Civil War Sprint Car Series and we are already working on plans for our championship awards banquet November 22 and a spectacular season in 2015 which celebrates the track’s 50th anniversary season at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.