By: Brad Kennedy *
Placerville, CA (July 2)…The first of two nights of racing in three days kicked off Saturday at Placerville Speedway, with 25 Thompson’s Auto Center 360 Sprint Cars signed into the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. For the third round of the Placerville Posse Challenge, promoter Scott Russell and crew prepared a wide and racy surface for the evening.
In the 25 lap feature, #77 – Mike Benson of Calistoga and #22 – Shane Golobic of Fremont had the front row and led the field into turn one. Third starting Matt Peterson climbed pole sitter Mike Benson’s right rear tire in turn 1, with Peterson spinning to a stop in front of the field. Posse point leader Andy Forsberg was also involved as he made contact with Peterson, knocking the PT SHocks, Pit Stop USA 7c out for the remainder of the race.
For the restart, Shane Golobic got the jump over Benson and quickly took command of the event. Meanwhile, the race was heated for third as Andy Gregg, defending track champion Greg DeCaires, and points leader Mason Moore raced for position. On lap 5, Bobby Butler made contact with Jake Morgan while running outside the top ten, causing him to flip violently in turn three. Butler complained of an aching knee, but was reported to be otherwise unhurt.
With 8 laps complete, action was halted again as the evening’s 3rd quick qualifier Cody Hodgson made heavy contact with the turn 4 wall abutment. Hodgson was ok, but was forced from the event with rear end damage to the car.
As the race went on, Golobic withstood some heavy pressure from Andy Gregg, but was never passed, as he would win his first race of the year at his favorite track over Gregg, Michael Kofoid who was third, while Greg Decaires and Mason Moore rounded out the top five.
“All the restarts gave Andy Gregg a lot of chances at me, and he’s real good here”, admitted Golobic in victory lane, “But, fortunately we were able to hold him off and get the win. I love coming here, as it’s my favorite place to race. I was glad to be able to run double duty tonight. I wish I had gotten the win in both, but I will take this and be happy”.
Heat race wins went to Andy Gregg, Jake Morgan, Matt Peterson, and Mike Benson, while Sean Becker set quick time and earned $100 courtesy from ADCO Driveline and Exhaust, with a lap of 11.126.
17 BCRA Midgets entered the night for their second trip of 2016 to the Placerville Speedway. The field took the green into turn one for 30 laps of action, with outside row 1 starter Britton Bock hitting the inside berm in turn one causing the car to bicycle and stall the motor.
A complete restart saw Taylor Simas lead the field over Cory Elliott. However, the caution would soon fly again as Maria Cofer spun in turn 1 and collected #77K Mark Maliepaard and #87 Bobby Wilson.
Once the race got going, Simas took a commanding lead over the field. In just 9 laps, Shane Golobic moved from his 15th starting spot up to fifth, and battled Sean Becker for 4th for multiple laps. Just past the ten lap mark, a torrid battle for 3rd between Brian Gard, Greg Bragg, Sean Becker, and Golobic preceded a stoppage as Golobic cut down a right rear tire on lap 15 and would be forced to pit before returning to action.
Taylor Simas continued to stay flawless when the race resumed, while Golobic charged from the rear of the field back to 3rd in the final 15 laps of the race. Simas cruised to his first Placerville Speedway win over second running Cory Elliott, while Golobic took home 3rd. Fourth was Greg Bragg while fifth went to Sean Becker.
“The track really started slicking off toward the end”, Simas explained in the winner’s circle. “The car was stuck really well on the bottom on entry, I just had to make sure I stayed glued to the bottom coming off. Luckily, we held held them off”.
Heat race wins were captured by Simas and Bock.
21 Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabrication Pure Stocks were on tap for their third round of the Posse Challenge series, and all 21 took the green flag for the start of their scheduled 25 lap feature. Jason Palmer and Chris Van Roekel led the field to green, with Palmer jumping out front early, and Dan Smith moving into second . Smith would use the bottom of turns 3 & 4, and take the lead at the line on lap 4.
Two laps later, #13x of Loren Chitwood would stop. After multiple cautions in the race, the distance was shortened to 15 laps after being scheduled for 20.
The last three laps would have a fierce battle between Dan Smith and Scott Grunert for the lead. Grunert took over the lead on the last lap, and went on to win his first feature of the season, over Smith, Russ Murphy, Jason Palmer and Chris Van Roekel.
“Patience paid off tonight”, Grunert acknowledged on the front stretch after. “I knew as long as I got to (Smith’s) door on the final lap, I had him. Just glad to get the victory here. It was a rough start to the season, but we are slowly picking up points here and there and gaining on them.”
The three heat winners were Orville Owens, Rick Grunert, and Nick Baldwin.
17 Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models were signed into the Placerville Speedway, after the division had put on a stellar performance the weekend before. Front row starters Ray Trimble and Mike Lightfoot took the green and battled it out early, as the two swapped the lead back and forth for the opening three circuits. On lap three, Ryan McDaniel spun to a stop in turn three after heavy contact with Lightfoot to bring out the first caution of the main event.
On the ensuing restart, cousins Ray and Wayne Trimble had the front row and battled it out for family bragging rights, until Posse points leader McDaniel came to stop again with front end damage, ending his chances for two in a row.
As the race went on, Ray Trimble fended off multiple advances from his cousin Wayne and went on to win his second race of the year. Mike Lightfoot overtook Wayne Trimble in the closing laps for second, relegating Trimble to 3rd while Tom Tilford and Tyler Lightfoot competed the top five run down.
Trimble was a happy guy in victory lane, noting that, “You have a lot of great racers here who are very fast. McDaniel, Lightfoot, they are all tough here. Anyone can win. I am super stoked to win again tonight”.
Heat Race winners were Mike Lightfoot and Ray Trimble.
Placerville Speedway comes back with the 11th points race of the season, on Monday night the 4th of July. The evening will feature a three division program for 360 Sprints, Limited Late Models, and Pure Stocks. Jay’s Mobile Welding & Fabricating once again steps up to bolster the purse for the Pure Stocks, offering $100 to start for all feature competitors.
After the night’s racing program concludes, the lights around the facility will be turned off and the fans will be treated to a thrilling Fireworks show. 105.1 KNCI Radio has called the fireworks show at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds one of the “12 Best Local Places to Celebrate the 4th of July”.
Pit gates open at 2PM with the front gates opening at 3PM. Racing begins at 7PM. Placerville track management encourages spectators to arrive early to secure a seat, as grandstand space for this event is always limited. Unfortunately, with the notable exception of reserved seating for season ticket holders, no saving of seats will be allowed.
For complete details of the 2016 Red Hawk Casino Championship Racing Season, visit Placerville Speedway’s official website at www.placervillespeedway.com.
Join the over 7700 followers of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can interact with fellow fans, drivers, and staff. You can also find Placerville Speedway on Twitter for schedule updates and more by following us @pvillespeedway. In addition, Placerville Speedway is now on Instagram. Please follow us @PvilleSpeedway.
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