Big Money and Heavy Hearts come together for Saturday’s Inaugural Tribute to Donnie Tilford at Placerville Speedway


By Bill Sullivan


DT croppedBy Bill Sullivan, Placerville Speedway

PLACERVILLE, CA – This Saturday will bring inflated winnings and heavy hearts together at Placerville Speedway as the second to Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship event of the season pays homage to the late Donnie Tilford, one the most decorated and beloved in the history of Placerville Speedway, with the inaugural Tribute to Donnie TIlford Big Trophy Night at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

The first 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 $1500 victory check while second place will earn a $300 bonus, third place a $200 bonus and the hardcharger of the night in the division that Tilford truly loved will earn $200 as well.

1888570_10152066395423925_1931076265_nSaturday’s additional winnings are a collaborative effort of Dominic Stone, owner of Domco Plumbing, and track promoters Alan and Diane Handy. Domco added nearly $2000 in added funds to the Late Model purse alone for this special night while the track promoters have come forth with the extra rewards in the Sprint Car and Pure Stock divisions. In addition to the winnings, the event is the annual “Big Trophy Night,” ,making this a special night for a truly special racer that is missed by many this year.

“There’s a stereotype that 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,” said Alan Handy, Placerville Speedway’s track promoter. “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 this 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,” said Jon Tilford, who won the 2006 Pro Stock Championship under the guidance of his late uncle and now spends his time trackside wrenching for his brothers Tom, Matt and his cousin Nathan. ” So this race in honor of, who in my eyes is the greatest stock car driver ever, means a lot to me and my family and my extended family which is the racing community so I can’t thank everyone who has made this tribute to Donnie the beginning of what we hope will become the best stock car race at Placerville Speedway. This is what he lived for. He believed in driving fast and taking chances.”

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Defending track champion Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights will surely have his competition to contend with Saturday night as many of the region’s top talent are expected to race for the added cash in honor of Donnie. The driver of the #92 Late Model will undoubtedly be driving with a heavy heart in hope he will be taking home the night’s big trophy and the commemorative helmet that will go to Saturday’s winner. Like his brothers, Tilford feels the void of the man that was his hero, sponsor, crew chief and mentor built into one.

helmet“He was one of the best stock car drivers on the west coast in one of the most important times for stock car racing,” said Tilford. “He brought technology and knowledge from his travels to the sport locally, much of it we still use today. He was what my brothers and cousins always strived to be in racing. Not only by winning but by earning the respect of our competitors.”

Matt Tilford will be in competition Saturday night in the Pure Stock division. Despite being one of the track’s winingest drivers in recent history, a victory Saturday night will by far be the high point for Tilford’s career and it has nothing to do with the money at stake but much more.

“It means a lot to see a race track commemorate Donnie for being one of the best drivers in this area and it’s great to see one of the people I looked up to growing up to be honored in this way,” said Matt Tilford. “I have really thank Handy Racing Promotions and Placerville Speedway for doing this in his memory.”donnie cropped

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 Tilford who drives the number three Pure Stock that replicates the Team USA car that Donnie drive in Australia early in his career. Following in his father’s footsteps, Nathan has been racing part time when his schedule permits and along with his sister Terena, looks forward to this event that pays tribute to his late Father.

“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 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 and is sponsored by the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort who offers $25 in free play to every race fan this Saturday night. Additional sponsors include The Mountain Democrat, Thompson’s Toyota, ADCO Drive Lines, Hoosier Racing Tires and Riebes Auto Parts of El Dorado County.

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.

 

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Championship Point Race 15 brings five different drivers to victory lane


By Bill Sullivan


PLACERVILLE, CA – The pit area of Placerville Speedway was packed full Saturday night as five different divisions formed the race card for the 15th Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship event of the season presented by Hoosier Racing Tires, Coors Light, The Mountain Democrat and Thompsons Auto Centers.Midgets

When the final checkered waved on the field of more that 80 cars, five different faces celebrated their success in victory lane. Bobby Hogue of Watsonville came home the winner in the visiting Dirt Modifieds of the Nor Cal Challenge Series. Frank Guerrini III of San Rafael was the victor in the Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets while Kevin Bender of Rocklin took home the win in the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst scored his sixth Limited Late Model win of the year while Tim Mack of Diamond Springs took the win in the Pure Stock Division.

In the visiting Dirt Modified, a dozen of Calforinia’s top talent returned the clay oval quarter-mile track for the first time in several years for a one time appearance in this series that races at multiple tracks throughout Northern California for a simple, yet competitive traveling tour. Hogge started fifth on the grid while Troy Foulger of Martinez started on the pole position to take the lead at the green flag.

Once in second place, Hogge put the pressure on Foulger for the lead as he road the rim of the quarter-mile to muscle his way into the lead. Eight laps into the race Olivehursts Randy and Ryan McDaniel worked into the top runners and began battling for the third position with Kellen Chadwick. At the finish line, Hogge was chased to the win by Foulger, Ryan McDaniel, Ryan McDaniel and Chadwick.

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The Bay Cities Racing Association Midgets brought 21 entries into Saturday’s event. In the tour’s final Placerville race of the year, Guerrini started on the outside of the front row and took the lead where he was challenged by Orland’s Tyler Simas. Simas took the lead from Guerrini with five laps complete and the two began dueling for the lead while Matt Streeter of Galt moved in to make it a three way battle before dropping out of contention on the 14th lap.

Throughout multiple caution flags for spins and collisions, Guerrini and SImas kept the fans on the edge of their seats as they swapped the top position back and fourth into the final laps. At the finish, Guerrini celebrated his first Placerville winover Simas, Kevin Morris joined the podium in the third position ahead of Brian Guard and Streeter who recovered to the fifth position at the checkered flag.

The Limited Late Model division saw Ryan McDaniel work his way into the top two positions at the waving of the green flag where he challenged second place started Duane Cleveland for the lead position all the way up to the final lap. After chasing his longtime rival, McDaniel pulled off an impressive high side pass as the two traveled through the final set of turns to steal the win. At the line McDaniel was followed by Cleveland, point leader Matt Micheli, Paul Gugliemoni and former champion Dan Brown Jr.mack

Pure Stock action had Mack powered into then lead from the outside of the front row Saturday night. With 8 laps down Mack felt the challenges from the season’s winningest driver, Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights. Both Mack and Tilford raced bumper to bumper and side by side throughout the 20-lap event. Despite the many attempts made by Tilford both low and high to steal the lead, Mack was the first one to cross the line. Tilford finished in second followed by Russell Murphy, John Durrett and point leader Scott Grunert.

After giving a win with a last lap error a couple of months ago, Bender was on a mission to make up for it in the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car’s final appearance of the year Saturday night. After starting 8th the former champ worked his way to the front and took the lead on the 13th lap after early race leader Neil Stinson took wild tumble down the backstretch and into the third turn. Once in front Bender maintained his pursuit to his elusive win here and was followed across the finish line by Bobby Brown Jr and Darin Brent in an event that saw competitors from as far as San Diego in competition Saturday night.

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Racing resumes next Saturday night with the first of just two remaining championship point races in the season. Saturday’s event will mark the inaugural Tribute to Donnie Tilford and is big trophy night at the speedway. The evening will include Winged Sprints, Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks.

The grandstands will open at 5 p.m Saturday night. 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 and is sponsored by the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort who offers $25 in free play to every race fan this Saturday night. Additional sponsors include The Mountain Democrat, Thompson’s Toyota, ADCO Drive Lines, Hoosier Racing Tires and Riebes Auto Parts of El Dorado County.

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.

 

Nor Cal Modified Challenge Headlines Five Division Placerville Program Saturday Night


By Bill Sullivan


chadwick_mcdanielBy Bill Sullivan/HRP Media

PLACERVILLE, CA – This Saturday night Placerville Speedway will pack the pit area of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds with a giant five division racing program for the 15th Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort Championship event of the season presented by Hoosier Racing Tires, Coors Light, The Mountain Democrat and Thompsons Auto Centers.

While four divisions will make return visits, the evening will welcome the excitement of Dirt Modifieds back to the quarter mile with the Nor Cal IMCA Dirt Modified Challenge Series make it’s Placerville Speedway debut. While this division returns for high winnings with an all star cast it will be accompanied by the BCRA Midgets, the weekly Late Models and Pure Stocks as well as the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars.

The Nor Cal Modified Challenge Series is in its second year of operation and consists of seven races at five different Calforinia tracks. In addition to Placerville Speedway, the series assaults the dirt surfaces of Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Petaluma Speedway and Antioch Speedway with California’s top talent racing door to door for high winnings and a coveted series championship.

This Saturday night will mark the second to last leg of the 2014 traveling series that has seen record car counts at nearly all of it’s events so far this season. The highest car count in the tour has been 43 entrants when the campaign competed at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico in the spring and the series has averaged nearly 30 cars at every event which boasts $1000 to the winner and accumulative points towards the series crown.

Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst is the defending Nor Cal Challenge Series Champion and comes into Placerville leading the way in the series point standings. McDaniel has been a regular contender at Placerville this season in the competitive Limited Late Model Division where he has captured five wins this season. Driver’s expected to join McDaniel include Oakley’s Kellen Chadwick, Nick DeCarlo of Martinez, Freddie Plourde of Santa Rosa, Livermore’s Brian Cass, Chico’s Richard Papenhousen and more.

As the BCRA Midgets make their return to Placerville Speedway, Chad Nichols will be looking to maintain his series point lead over Gary Conterno. Veteran Floyd Alvis is third in the ranks over JR Williams. Nick Chivello rounds out the top five in this division that always provides an action packed night of open wheel excitement on the Placerville bullring.

In the Limited Late Models, Live Oak’s Matt Micheli will look to continue his pursuit of the his second Placerville Championship as he enters these final weeks. Micheli is 15 points ahead of Ray Trimble of Auburn. Defending Champion Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights is 57 points out of the lead. Former champion Dan Brown Jr. of Rocklin rounds out the top five, 75 points from the leader.

Scott Grunert of Woodland leads the Pure Stock division, 23-points out in front. Eddie Gardner of Sacramento is second followed by Rick Grunert of Woodland. Tim Mack of Diamond Springs is fourth while Placerville’s Danielle Clauson rounds out the top five.

A full field of Nor Cal Dwarf Cars is expected for the second straight week at Placerville. Look for Shawn Jones to aim for a second consecutive win this Saturday night along with the company of all the division favorites in this traveling class.

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 and is sponsored by the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort who offers $25 in free play to every race fan this Saturday night. Additional sponsors include The Mountain Democrat, Thompson’s Toyota, ADCO Drive Lines, Hoosier Racing Tires and Riebes Auto Parts of El Dorado County.

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.

 

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Sanders rides the rim to fourth Placerville Victory on Kids Night


By Bill Sullivan


By Bill Sullivan- Placerville Speedway

PLACERVILLE, CA – A jubilant crowd packed the grandstands at Placerville Speedway for Mountain Democrat Kids Night at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds and cheered on Prunedale’s Justin Sanders at the end of the night as he celebrated a hard earned fourth victory in the Sprint Car feature event.08_16_2014_258

Sanders was joined in the victory celebrations with Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst who won his fifth Limited Late Model feature. Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights added another Kid’s Night win to his resume in Pure Stocks while Shawn Jones won the Nor Cal Dwarf Car feature event.

Saturday’s race saw hundreds of area youngster pack the grandstands for the annual Mountain Democrat Kid’s Night event. On this special night youngsters race their bicycles at intermission for trophies and ribbons with the help of the drivers. This particular edition of this community classic brought the community together as the event raised funds for the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County and in the end, multiple brand new bicycles were presented in a free raffle courtesy of The Mountain Democrat and Lightfoot Automotive.

“This event is great, it’s awesome that the track continues to carry on this tradition for the kids each year,” said Pure Stock winner Matt Tilford. “It gives kids the thrill of competing and one day many of them may come out here like we do and become the drivers of the future. It’s a lot of fun to be part of.”

Jon Meyer of the Mountain Democrat attended Saturday’s event to assist with the festivities. Meyer received a standing ovation after addressing the crowd over the infield microphone and explaining how strongly the Mountain Democrat supports the racing community in El Dorado County.

Sean McCartney, Executive Director of the Western Slope Boys and Girls Club participated in the event to give it an entertaining touch. McCartney called the race action for the bike races and thanked the fans and speedway promoters for all their ongoing efforts to benefit the organization through this race season.

“I can’t thank Placerville Speedway enough for what they have been doing for the Boys and Girls Club this season,” said McCartney. “It’s great to be a part of this event here tonight along with my staff and 100 percent of our proceeds collected from here is helping us construct a new facility to better serve El Dorado County. We appreciate everyone that has been involved with this.”

In the Sprint Car feature event, Sanders started on the outside of the second row and moved into the third position at the opening green flag Saturday night to challenge front row starters Andy Forsberg of Auburn and point leader Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove. After racing in the veteran’s wake for the first 7 laps, Sanders made what can only be described as a hale mary pass on the 8th lap when he moved his Rudy Warrington owned #18 to the extreme high line and passed both DeCaires and Forsberg for the lead as they exited the fourth turn.

Forsberg fought back with Sanders in the immediate laps after the pass but the Prunedale fast man could not be caught as he drove to his fourth victory here. Forsberg finished in second at the checkered flag. Placerville’s Andy Gregg, who recently returned to the state after becoming the 2014 Knoxville Nationals Rookie of the Year, muscled his way to the third place position at the line over DeCaires and Colby Wiesz.

In the Pure Stock division, Tilford took the lead from pole sitter Danielle Clauson in the opening lap and maintained his lead all the way to the finish line. Tim Mack of Diamond Springs finished in second place over point leader Scott Grunert of Woodland Eddie Gardner of Sacramento.08_16_2014_260

In the Limited Late Models, Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst lead from the green flag to the checkered. McDaniel started on the pole and never relinquished the lead for the entire 20 laps. McDaniel was trailed by Marysville’s Jeff Olshowka, point leader Matt Micheli of Live Oak, Ray Trimble of Auburn and Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights.

The three track regulars werejoined by the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars. Mike Grenert of Travis AFB took the initial lead in this 20-lap feature before Jones powered into the lead with high side pass in turns three and four to take a position he would never relinquish. At the line Jones was followed by Ryan Winter, Grenert, Kevin Bender and Chuck Conover.

Following Saturday’s racing, 08_16_2014_268Placerville Speedway and El Dorado County Fairgrounds staff was working through the night to prepare for Sunday’s 41st Annual Hangtown Destruction Derby presented by the Placerville Police Officers Association. Gates open at Sunday at 11 a.m with the first green flag at 1 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children and seniors. For more information visit www.hangtowncops.org.

Placerville Speedway’s 2014 championship season is sponsored by the new Jackson Rancheria Casino Resort who invites the racing community to their newly remodeled 257,000 square foot entertainment facility just south of El Dorado County. Additional sponsorship provided by Hoosier Tires, Coors Light, The Mountain 08_16_2014_270Democrat, Riebes Auto Parts, ADCO Driveline, the Paint Spot and more.

Catch the highlights and hear what the drivers have to say about Saturday night’s race on local El Dorado County Television. Tune into Foothill 7 TV on Comcast or on the web at www.foothill7tv.com to catch the weekly episode of “Foothill Thunder” presented by Thompsons’s Toyota.

Join over 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.

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41st Hangtown Police Destruction Derby returns in grand fashion this Sunday


By Bill Sullivan


derby picPopular event returns with expanded program of both stock and thrilling open classes all for charity

By Bill Sullivan for the Placerville PPOA

PLACERVILLE, CA - This Sunday, August 17th, 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 41st consecutive year. It’s time for the classic Placerville Police Officers Association’s Annual Hangtown Destruction Derby, an afternoon of car crushing mayhem that is fun for the entire family.

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.

Destruction-Derby-3As the Hangtown Destruction Derby begins it’s fifth decade, it continues to 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 2014 version of the Hangtown Destruction Derby is sure to be bigger and better than ever as the program has been expanded to include two different divisions for the first time in the event histoy. For many years, common derby rules have required that a car be 1970 or newer to compete in the derby. This ruling eliminated the heavy cars of yesteryear, such at Chrysler Imperials and others, that are known for their stealth construction and invincibility. This year, fans are in for treat as the Placerville Police Officers Association will present a “stock” class as well as an “open” class.

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. As of press time, Ron Cannon or the Placerville Police Officers Association was expecting in the neighborhood of 30 cars in the combined classes.

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.

Last year, the Hangtown Destruction Derby reached it’s landmark 40th anniversary, fending off promotional and financial challenges through the years.

Several years ago, this event was feared to be endangered when low attendance and participation made it difficult to continue promoting. Over the last several years, officer Ron Cannon has been instrumental in the growth of the annual derby. As a long time competitor with a great love for his community and family entertainment, Cannon’s enthusiasm, a collaborative promotion effort with Placerville Speedway and many businesses in the community that sponsor the affair, this once struggling event has reached a point in existence that many charitable evnts only hope to be able to reach. It is the highest ranked law enforcement charity event in the western states, sitting second to the annual “Pig Bowl” that takes place in Sacramento each year.080911-02_0

This year the 41st 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 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 a.m. 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 12 and under 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.

A number of area businesses have donated prizes that will be raffled off at the 41st 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 www.hangtowncops.org. For information on Kids Night at Placerville Speedway, visit www.placervillespeedway.com.