Written by Brad Kennedy *
Placerville, CA – May 7, 2016…Despite a mid-afternoon rain shower that all but doomed the night’s event, new Placerville Speedway promoters Scott Russell and Kami Arnold persevered and completed Saturday’s racing program. 54 cars signed into the pit area for the evening for the first of four Placerville Posse Challenge events.
23 Thompson’s Auto Group 360 Sprint Cars signed into the pit area for the evening. With the KWS 410 Sprint Car Series getting rained out in Petaluma, drivers Andy Forsberg of Auburn, Jonathan Allard, of Chico, Roseville’s Sean Becker and Fresno’s Dominic Scelzi all were surprise entrants for the evening, after making motor changes.
The 25 lap feature event saw Andy Forsberg and Sean Becker on the front row. Becker got the initial jump over Forsberg, but Matt Petersen got sideways in turn 1 and collected Robbie Price, Matt Barber, and Jimmy Trulli, resulting in a complete restart.
On the ensuing restart, it was Forsberg first to turn 1 over Becker, but the red flag flew due to Jake Morgan of Fair Oaks flipping in turns 1 & 2 without injury after contact from Michael Kofoid.
A third attempt at starting the feature saw Forsberg getting the jump over Becker again and setting a torrid pace. It took just 5 laps for Forsberg to catch traffic, where he threw a huge slide job on John Clark in turn 3. However, Forsberg got trapped behind Justin Henry which allowed Sean Becker to slip past all three to claim the lead. Unfortunately, Chase Majdic spun simultaneously in turn 1 to bring out the caution, putting Forsberg back in the lead.
When racing resumed, the red flag waved yet again on lap 6 as John Clark and Cory Elliason tumbled in turns three and four in separate incidents. Both drivers climbed out okay.
A lap 12 restart had Forsberg resume his blistering pace while Dominic Scelzi overtook Becker for second. In lapped traffic, Scelzi had reeled in the leader with 3 laps to go, but got sideways, relinquishing second back to Becker. Forsberg held on for the win over Becker, Scelzi, Mason Moore, and Jonathan Allard. Greg DeCaires had crossed the line in 4th, but failed to go to scales in the pits and was penalized to the tail of the lead lap, finishing 11th.
“Did ya miss me, Placerville?”, a jubilant Andy Forsberg exclaimed in victory lane, after his first Placerville win of the year. “I can’t thank Scott Russell and Kami Arnold enough for getting this race in tonight with the weather conditions. To pull this off tonight really shows their dedication and love for this sport”.
Forsberg was the evening’s fast qualifier and earned $100 courtesy of ADCO Driveline & Exhaust with a lap time of 10.952. Heat race winners were defending track champion Greg DeCaires, Allard and Scelzi. Justin Johnson earned the RMI / AL Driveline Hard Charger bonus by improving from 15th to 7th.
14 Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabricating Pure Stocks were on hand for the night. In the 20 lap feature, Les Friend grabbed the lead from his outside front row starting spot over pole sitter Jason Palmer and led without challenge until lap 13 when his left front tire flattened. As Friend reached lapped traffic on lap 15, Palmer went around Friend in turns three and four to take the lead. A lap later the yellow flew for Travis Emery who went up in smoke in turn 2. After Friend pitted during the caution and relinquished second to Matt Tilford, Palmer ran off and hid on his way to the win over Tilford, Scott Grunert, Jeff Sly and new point leader Nick Baldwin.
In the winner’s circle, Palmer stated, “It’s always good to get that first win of the year out of the way. Thanks to all my sponsors, Cloud IX, Bud’s Towing, Horizon Glass, because without them this wouldn’t be possible”.
Heat race winners were Greg Rayl and Nick Baldwin, while 6th place feature finisher Ted Ahart won the RMI Hard Charger bonus after starting 14th.
9 Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models were on hand for the night. Last week’s winner Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst had the pole, but left early on the initial start, which was called back. Head official Doug Runkle moved McDaniel back a row, putting Tyler Lightfoot on the pole next to Will McMillan. On the second attempt at a start, McMillan grabbed the lead over Lightfoot, McDaniel, Matt Micheli and Ray Trimble. On lap 5, Micheli got by McDaniel for 3rd, but McDaniel passed both Micheli and Lightfoot on lap 10 to move back into second.
McMillan led all 20 laps to score his second win of the year ahead of McDaniel, Lightfoot, Trimble and Micheli. McMillan also won the lone heat race for the Late Models, and was the evening’s RMI Hard Charger.
“We pretty much destroyed the car last week, so we got this car out tonight and it worked out great for us”, admitted McMillan in his post-race interview. “We just need to find our rhythm and get rolling the rest of the year”.
14 BCRA Midget Lites entered the Placerville Speedway, for their second visit of the season. When the green flag dropped to start the 20-lap feature, #87 of Charlie Caraccilo jumped to the lead from his outside row 1 starting spot and was never challenged on his way to the victory. The only stoppage of the event came on lap 12 when original pole sitter Roy Moody flipped off of turn 2 without injury. Caraccilo took the checkered flag over Craig Dillard, Kyle Offill, Chris Hansen, and Greg DeCaires V.
“At 3PM this afternoon I was skeptical whether we’d be racing tonight”, Caraccilo said flatly. “I’d like to thank my crew, my Uncle Dave and Tony. They must have scraped 100 pounds of mud off this car tonight, but we got it done”.
Caraccilo also won the first heat while Scotty Males won heat 2. Kyle Offill was the RMI Hard Charger, by improving from his 8th starting spot to 3rd.
Racing action returns again next Saturday, May 14th, to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, featuring the normal three classes as well as the third visit of the year by the BCRA Midget Lite division. 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