By: Brad Kennedy *
Placerville, CA (August 13)…The final event of the 4 race “Placerville Posse Challenge” was held Saturday night at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, with 47 cars on hand in the three divisions.
Jake Morgan and Chase Majdic led the Thompson’s Auto Group 360 Sprint Car field to green flag for the night’s 25 lap feature, but the yellow lights flickered immediately around the speedway as Majdic was called back for jumping the start and penalized a row for the infraction. For the second attempt, Mason Moore was moved to the front row, and took advantage over Morgan entering turn 1.
Meanwhile, sixth place starter Andy Forsberg utilized the top of the speedway to quickly move to second in a single circuit. Forsberg challenged Moore for the lead on lap 5 going into turn three, but Moore shut the door on Forsberg exiting turn four.
On lap 6, Forsberg got around Moore for the lead with a move that saw the leaders just inches apart. As Forsberg pulled away, Sean Becker rose to challenge the leaders after starting tenth. Becker used the top side of turns one and two to drive around Moore and began to track down Forsberg.
Forsberg endured a lap 20 caution, and held off the charge by Becker to win the race and claim the Placerville Posse title.
In victory lane, the always loquacious Forsberg admitted that he was concerned with Becker’s advances. “After I got by Mason (Moore), I kept watching the scoreboard and saw the 35 (Becker) go from fifth, to fourth then second in three laps”, he said.
“I figured Sean would be running up top and I thought I heard someone behind me. When I moved upstairs, then I never heard anything again.”
Sean Becker crossed the line second while third went to Mason Moore, fourth to Jake Morgan and fifth to Greg DeCaires.
QuickTime qualifier Andy Forsberg earned the $100 courtesy bonus from ADCO Driveline and Exhaust, while Chase Madjic and Logan Seavey won the two heat races, with the AL Driveline Hard Charger bonus being awarded to Becker who ran 2nd and improved 8 positions from his 10th starting spot.
The Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabrication Pure Stocks had 14 competitors in attendance, with weekly Red Hawk Casino championship point leader Nick Baldwin and Rick Grunert leading the field to green. Grunert got the jump over Baldwin and stretched a significant lead until Jay Bryant spun in turn one to draw the caution. On the restart, Grunert pulled away as Baldwin’s car did not take off immediately, allowing Dan Jinkerson to get by.
On lap 4, Baldwin made a power move around Jinkerson to reclaim second, then drag raced Grunert across the line on lap 6. The two battled hard as traffic came into play. On lap 8, Baldwin jumped the cushion in turn one allowing Jinkerson to pull alongside for second again. The two ran side by side all away through turn four when a lap car of Anthony Vigna got sideways pushing Jinkerson to the infield and allowing Posse points leader Scott Grunert to claim second. As Grunert passed Jinkerson for third, Oroville Owens made contact with Jinkerson in turn one sending Owens off the embankment, drawing the caution on lap 9.
On the restart, Baldwin’s car once again did not take off, allowing Jinkerson again to get around in turn two to claim second as Scott Grunert challenged Baldwin for third. On lap 12, Baldwin once again overtook Jinkerson and applied pressure to Rick Grunert for the lead. The trio raced hard until traffic became a factor again in the late stages of the 20 lap feature. Nick Baldwin raced side by side with Rick Grunert as the leaders raced under the white flag.
Rick Grunert ran the middle of the speedway going into turn one, opening the top up for Baldwin to pull alongside. That left the bottom open for Rick’s son Scott to go three wide all the way down the backstretch, through turns three and four and to the checkered. The top three were separated by inches at the line. Scott Grunert grabbed the victory on the last lap over Nick Baldwin and Rick Grunert.
“I really wanted to see my dad (Rick Grunert) win”, admitted Scott Grunert in victory lane. “He was fast all night and it was kinda sketch doing a complete lap three wide at the end. But I’m happy that we won.”
Jay Bryant and Tim Mack won the two heats earlier in the evening, Scott Grunert was the winner of the RMI Hard Charger bonus by winning from his 7th starting spot.
12 Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models entered for the final Posse challenge race of 2016. Tyler Lightfoot and Ken Michelli set the field for the 20 lap race. On the initial green, Michelli jumped the start which penalized him back a row. On the second attempt, pole sitter Tyler Lightfoot jumped the start putting him back a row. A third attempt saw original row 2 starters Scott Woessner and Ryan Peter set the pace for the green. Going into turn one, Woessner washed up the track opening the bottom for Ray Trimble to grab the lead off of turn two and allowing Randy McDaniel to claim second down the back stretch.
The race went green to checkered without stopping as Trimble and McDaniel raced side by side for the majority of the race. The two competitors never touched for all 20 circuits as Matt Michelli banged his right rear off the cushion for entire distance.
Trimble crossed the line to win his third main event in 2016 at the speedway and take home the Posse championship by one point over McDaniel who finished second. Third went to Matt Michelli while Woessner and Lightfoot finished in fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Any of these guys that show up on can win on any given night here”, acknowledged Trimble in the winner’s circle. “I tried not to watch the scoreboard but I knew McDaniel and Michelli were right there. I’m just glad we held them off for the win.”
McDaniel and Matt Michelli won the two heat races, while McDaniel grabbed the RMI Hard Charger bonus with his run from 9th to 2nd in the feature.
Placerville Speedway returns with the 2nd Annual “Donnie Tilford Tribute” event. A five division program consists of the Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models, the Jay’s Mobile Welding Pure Stocks, BCRA Midgets, IMCA Sport Mods, and NorCal Dwarf Cars. Pit gates will open at 2PM with the front gates opening at 3PM. Racing begins at 7PM.
For complete details of the 2016 Red Hawk Casino Championship Racing Season, visit Placerville Speedway’s official website at www.placervillespeedway.com.
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Placerville Speedway is located on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds at 100 Placerville Drive in Placerville. The racing facility is operated by Russell Motorsports Incorporated, which can be reached at the track business office at 530-344-7592.
*Additional writing contributions by Dean Mills