PLACERVILLE, CA (8-22-15) – It’s said that many things just get better with age. Saturday night, a Placerville Speedway such theories proved accurate as Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires celebrated his 48th birthday with an aggressive charge to his sixth feature victory of the year in the 2015 Red Hawk Casino Championship Series. This win was DeCaires’ sixth of the season with his Dale Miller owned team and lucrative in the way of winnings and titles as well.
Saturday’s race was the finale in a four race campaign known at the “Placerville Posse Challenge.” This special mini series paid added winnings to all three divisions courtesy of Riebes Auto Parts and in conclusion dished out additional championship funds courtesy of the track’s title sponsor Red Hawk Casino.
Celebrating in celebration with DeCaires was Limited Late model race winner Matt Micheli who took home a $750 win on this night while his counterpart, Dominic Stone of Folsom captured the Posse Series title. Jason Palmer of West Sacramento won the Pure Stock feature event to take home $500 and celebrate with Vacaville’s Dan Smith, winner of the special series in this division. The night leaves just two remaining point races in the 50th Anniversary Season at Placerville Speedway.
In the Sprint Car feature, the 25-lap race saw Napa’s Kurt Organ take the lead from the pole position while DeCaires started on the outside of the front row, aside Fair Oak’s driver Jake Morgan who was on a mission to challenge DeCaires for the Posse title, entering the event just six points behind the leader.
While Organ powered his way to a distant lead over DeCaires early in the race, Morgan’s hopes for the crown came an end on lap three when a scuffle and spin along with Placerville driver Matt Barber put him to the rear of the line up with three laps down.
Once restarted, the race saw Organ continue to run strong out in front while DeCaires worked to close the gap between he and the lead and Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli made it a threesome as he moved in behind DeCaires to apply pressure for the bridesmaid position.
After several attempts that fell short, DeCaires was able to make his move on the 16th lap when Organ made the slightest error in turn three and allowed DeCaires to slide to the inside. The two leaders rubbed wheels as they entered the backstretch with DeCaires accelerating into the top spot that he would then never relinquish.
“He was pretty much checked out for most of that race, I wasn’t sure that moment was going to come where I could get around him,” said DeCaires. “We went into one and two and he bobbled just enough that I could finally get underneath him and race him clean. This was a fun race tonight and I have a lot of people to thank for giving me the opportunity to do this. With the sponsors I have backing me, this crew and especially Dale and Tara Miller this has become one of the beast year’s I’ve had and I think there’s still a few more left in this old guy”
In victory lane, DeCaires was flogged with hugs from family, friends, crew and fellow drivers offering hugs, kudos and birthday wishes. While most of his counter parts are half his age or less, DeCaires continued to prove on this night that he is still one of the sport’s most competitive, well respected drivers. DeCaires is looked up to by most of his up and coming counterparts.
“Let’s see, I’m 48 years old, this track is 50 years old and I have been out here doing this for more than half of them,” that’s pretty crazy,” said DeCaires. “But it’s not the added winnings that fuel the desire on night’s like tonight, I love this place and love these fans and I drive just as hard if its one dollar on the line or $2000.”
Jimmy Trulli finished third in Saturday’s race while Matt Peterson of Wilton finished in fourth place. Placerville’s Andy Gregg rounded out the top five after challenging the top runners throughout the evening.
Micheli wins the battle, Stone wins the war in Late Model Posse Challenge
In the Domco Plumbing Limited Late Model Division, Micheli charged off the pole position to take the lead at the green flag of the 20-lap feature event. Micheli would lead every lap of this race. Stone started in the 14th position and charged his way into the bridesmaid spot shortly after the green flag waved with Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst following suit.
Despite several attempts both low and high to get a clean pass on the leader, Stone was unable to overtake Micheli for the $750 win and finished second to claim the Placerville Posse Challenge Series title. McDaniel finished in third place followed by Ray Trimble of Auburn and Jay Norton of Shingle Springs.
“We always love running here and when there’s that extra money on the line you see a pretty solid car count in this division,” said Micheli. “This division could easily have 20 to 25 cars running each night in the future, it’s been great to see how it’s grown like this.”
Help from fellow drivers helped Palmer to Pure Stock victory
In the Jay’s Mobile Welding Pure Stock division, point leader and defending champion Scott Grunert of Woodland took the lead at the green flag with Palmer in his wake and Tim Mack of Diamond Springs closely behind the top two.
With six laps down, Grunert and Palmer were battling side by side in lapped traffic in a heated battle for the lead when Grunert suddenly pulled to the high side of turn three and came to a stop with drive train woes. Palmer assumed the lead for the restart and never relinquished the position as he worked his way deep into lapped traffic.
“A lot of people really helped me get this car back together and back out here,” said Palmer in victory lane. Palmer was referencing the race two weeks ago in which his car was damaged in a post race altercation that resulted in permanent suspension of the other driver but left him with a great deal of work. “So many people I race with her came together with help, parts and everything to get me back out here and I can’t thank them enough. We all look out for one another here. I wouldn’t be standing here if it wasn’t for all of them.
At the finish line, Smith finished in second place, earning him enough points to claim the Placerville Posse Challenge Series. The series was lead previously by Dan Jinkerson of Diamond Springs who suffered mechanical woes Saturday night and fell out of contention. For Smith, the Posse title was something unexpected and well appreciated.
“We love this place and look forward to coming here every week with the family, we barbecue in the pits, it’s really what this sport is all about,” said Smith. “To win this here tonight is really special and this trophy is going to be proudly displayed back home. I told my wife I would cut off all this long hair when I won something up here so this week, it’s time for a haircut and I can’t wait to come back in two weeks and show everyone my new style.”
David Silva of Shingle Springs finished in third place followed by Matt Tilford of Citrus Heights and Rich Zoller of Cameron Park.
Jones takes borrowed car to victory in Dwarf Car feature
Ryan Winter took the lead with one lap down in the Nor Cal Dwarf Car division. Winter started third in the field and overtook Scott Dahlgren who started on the pole and second place starter Buddy Olshowka to advance into the lead.
Winter was challenged in the early laps by Jeff Fitch who spun in turn one with five laps down.
With 2 laps down the race underwent a red flag when Ray Smith of El Dorado rolled over in the first turn without injury. Once restarted, Winter powered into the lead until he was overtaken by Jones on the front stretch for the lead on the sixth lap. Jones was aboard a loaner car from fellow driver Dan Zuger in which he quickly adjusted to. Once in front, Jones dominated the race while Winter was challenged by the likes of Kevin Bender for second place. At the line it was Jones followed by Winter, Scott Dahlgren, Bender and Olshowka.
High Dollar Donnie Tilford Tribute Race up next
Placerville Speedway will go dark next week and returns to action on Saturday, September 5 for the second to last event of the year, the 2nd Annual Tribute To Donnie Tilford race. This special race features a $2000 win for Sprint Cars, $1000 for Late Models and $500 to Pure Stocks. The event pays tribute to the late Donnie Tilford, one of the area’s most decorated stock car racers who passed away last year. For more information on this event visit www.placervillespeedway.com.