By Brad Kennedy
Placerville, CA (4-16-16) After a week off due to rain, “The Fastest ¼ Mile in California” returned to action for the second Red Hawk Casino point series race on the calendar. 85 cars signed into the pit area between all four divisions, with the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, the Jay’s Mobile Welding Pure Stocks, the Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models, and the Nor-Cal Dwarf Cars traveling series.
Twenty-four 360 Sprints were counted in the pit area to battle it out on another exciting night at Placerville Speedway. Mason Moore would be the fastest car in time trials with a nice lap of 10.829. Moore would be presented with $100 courtesy of ADCO Drivelines and Exhaust.
Moore has shown speed in his return to the seat of the F&F Racing X1 mount, picking up heat 1 from the 4th starting position. Jonathan Allard, Justyn Cox, and Sean Becker were the remaining heat race winners, while Greg DeCaires came back after a fourth heat skirmish with Bobby Butler to win the 10 lap semi.
The 25-lap feature event saw Rico Abreu and Ryan Robinson on the front row with Abreu getting the jump and setting the pace. Meanwhile, Jonathan Allard got by Robinson through turns one and two to get the second spot. Through the first 11 laps, Allard closed on Abreu in traffic and pulled off a masterful slide job to take the lead on lap 12. However, fourth and fifth place runners Andy Gregg of Placerville and outside front row starter Ryan Robinson both got tangled up with a lapped car, causing Gregg to flip violently down the front chute as Robinson suffered front end damage. Both drivers were uninjured.
The ensuing restart saw Abreu get an excellent restart over Allard who spun his tires off of turn four allowing Princeton, California driver Mason Moore to take the runner up spot. Abreu managed a three car length lead over Moore during the middle portion of the race, but Moore closed the gap as Abreu fought his way through traffic. Moore chased the rear bumper of Abreu to the checkered, but Rico proved too tough to tame, leading all 25 laps and scoring the popular victory over Moore, Allard, defending Placerville Speedway Champion Greg DeCaires and Kirt Organ, who rounded out the top five. Jake Morgan charged from his 19th starting position to finish 6th and picked up the RMI Hard Charger Award, and earning a $100 gift certificate to AL Driveline products.
Abreu was very pleased with his second victory in as many nights after a rough Outlaw swing. “Glad I could put on a show after a disappointing race when the Outlaws were here,” Rico acknowledged. “It’s great to win at Chico last night and then come here to win tonight.”
28 Nor-Cal Dwarf cars signed into the pits for their first visit of 2016 to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Sean Jones of San Jose put on a dominating performance in the feature after taking the race lead early in the 20 lap A-Main. Jones went on to win by a straightaway to secure the victory, and credited his ability to maneuver through traffic to secure the victory in the winner’s circle. “I just had to be very aware while in traffic because you roll up so fast on the tail end of the field.” Jones explained in detail. “I pushed hard on the cushion multiple times in the first handful of laps, and finally just started tossing the car hard in the corners to let the right rear hit the cushion, so I would not push the nose and I would have good forward bite on exit.”
The race long battle for second between Mike Grenert, Ryan Winter, and Kevin Bender thrilled the fans, while the three traded slide jobs for multiple laps. Grenert got the best end of the deal, finishing second. Bender was credited with third, while fourth went to Winter, and Brian Quilty rounded out the top five in the feature cut to 15 laps due to time constraints.
Heat Race wins went to Grenert, Bender, Shawn Jones, and Buddy Olschowka.
The Jay’s Mobile Welding Pure Stocks had 21 cars in attendance and put another great battle on in the main event. Nick Baldwin and two-time track champion Scott Grunert fought for most of the race until late in the 20 lapper, when Grunert jumped the cushion and allowed Baldwin to escape to victory for the first time in 2016. Dan Jinkerson, Dan Smith, and Greg Rayl rounded out the top five.
“I knew my car wasn’t good on restarts, and the only way I could get past Scotty (Grunert) is if I tried to diamond the corners because he was too good up top”, Baldwin theorized in victory lane. “I’m glad we got the win tonight because the car was good in the season opener and we just had some bad luck early in the race. Fortunately, we managed to get back to the top 5”.
Heat race winners included Tim Mack, Dan Jinkerson, and Grunert. The RMI Hard Charger award went to Greg Rayl, who charged from the 19th starting spot to finish fifth.
The Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models saw 12 cars in the pit area for round two of their championship season and they did not disappoint during the 20 lap feature event. From the drop of the green flag, Will McMillan danced around the cushion as Ryan McDaniel worked the bottom of the surface. The two raced side by side for 11 straight laps until the first caution. Once again, on the restart McMillan flirted with the curb in his #29 as McDaniel “catfished” around the bottom.
A lap 14 restart saw McDaniel try a slide job in turn one, but the car got tight on the right front causing the seasoned veteran to hop the edge of the track allowing McMillan to get away. McDaniel regrouped and continued to chase McMillan, but the number 29 was too fast on the cushion and cruised to his first win in 2016 at the fairgrounds. McDaniel finished second over Ray Trimble, RMI Hard Charger award winner Mike Lightfoot (moving up from 8th to 4th), and Paul Guglielmoni, who rounded out the top five.
In victory lane, a very happy McMillan talked about how he enjoyed the 11 lap door to door race with McDaniel. “I just had to be perfect and not miss my mark. I knew if I messed up, Ryan would drive by and I would never be able to get back by him.”
Heat race wins went to Eddie Gardner and McMillan.
The next race on the schedule will be April 23rd featuring the King of the West sprint cars and BCRA Midget Lites. Pit gates open at 2PM, Ticket Sales and Grandstands open at 3PM, Racing begins at 7PM.
Track Sponsors: Red Hawk Casino, Capitol Ace Hardware, Coors Light, Thompson’s Auto Group, Domco Plumbing, Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabrication, Mountain Democrat, ADCO Drivelines & Exhaust, Arnolds for Awards, Riebes Auto Parts, Les Schwab Tires, Fords Only, AL Driveline, Cal Star, The Paint Spot, Cal.Net