By Brad Kennedy *
Placerville, CA (June 4)…Despite two weeks off, Princeton California’s Mason Moore continued his hot streak in the 2016 Placerville Speedway Red Hawk Casino Championship Series in the Thompson’s Auto Group 360 Sprint Car division. Heading into the night, Moore had yet to finish outside the top five in the previous five events thus far in the season, and on Saturday night he continued to be the cream of the crop aboard his F & F Auto Racing number X1.
Starting on the outside front row alongside pole sitter Shawn Conde, Moore jumped into the lead and stretched an early lead over Conde, Jimmy Trulli, Steven Tiner and Greg DeCaires. The red flag flew after 1 lap was complete for 7th place starter Matt Barber who rode out a wild ride that ended up over the turn 4 fence. Fortunately, Barber emerged unscathed, and walked back to his trailer under his own power.
On the ensuing restart, Moore once again grabbed the lead but racing was halted again quickly when Cody Hodgson flipped without injury in turn 1 after contact with Bobby Butler.
From there, Moore would set sail and lead unchallenged over the next 20 laps while 4th place starter Steven Tiner would take 3rd from Trulli on lap 3, then overtake Conde for second on lap 18. Tiner began to reel in the leader in traffic over the final few laps, but Moore proved too strong and scored his second victory of the season.
“I have to thank the family that drew the number two pill for me on the front stretch tonight”, Moore explained. “The track was hard to pass on tonight and I was having a tough time with traffic when I saw the number 94 (of Steven Tiner) move to second on the scoreboard. I knew he was going to be railing the top, but I knew that once I lapped James Sweeney I was pretty comfortable running the bottom, because he would hold up Tiner. From there we just held on to win.”
With the victory, Moore extended his already commanding point lead to 61 over defending track champion Greg Decaires, who finished 3rd behind Tiner. Trulli finished 4th while Kenny Allen rounded out the top five.
Heat race victories went to DeCaires, Tiner, and Moore while Kenny Allen’s first visit of the year to Placerville netted him the Adco Driveline and Exhaust Quick Time Award with an elapsed time of 10.373 seconds. Kyler Shaw earned the AL Driveline Hard Charger bonus moving up 11 spots after starting scratch on the field and driving to a tenth place feature finish.
10 Domco Plumbing Limited Late Models entered round 8 of the Placerville Speedway championship season. The 20 lap feature had Eddie Gardner in the black #3 lead the field to green over Ryan Peter. On lap 2, Paul Gugleimoni went by Peter for second exiting turn 4.
Mike Lightfoot had started in the 5th position, but was on the move early and passed Peter on lap 5, then overtook Gugleimoni a lap later exiting turn 4. It took Lightfoot 5 more laps to chase down point leader Eddie Gardner to take the lead.
On a lap 12 restart, the leader’s son, Tyler Lightfoot would follow suit and grab second from Gardner.
Father and son pulled away to post a 1-2 finish, and in the process, Mike Lightfoot ended a long seven year winless streak. Unfortunately, the younger Lightfoot was disqualified after failing a post-race inspection. Point leader Eddie Gardner inherited second and retained his championship lead. Third place went to Terry Kuntz, while Ryan Peter, and Paul Gugleimoni finished fourth and fifth, respectively.
“Tonight is pretty special,” an emotional Mike Lightfoot said in the winner’s circle. “The last time I won was seven years ago, when my daughter was born. To be racing with my son out here, and us having a 1-2 finish is very special,” he said (before the disqualification). Lightfoot also grabbed the RMI Hard Charger bonus after winning from 5th.
The two heat race victories went to Wayne Trimble and Ray Trimble.
20 Jay’s Mobile Welding and Fabrication Pure Stocks entered the ¼ mile clay playground. Jason Palmer and Travis Emery started in the front row and led the field to green flag, with Palmer out front. Emery would spin from his second spot on lap 2 to bring out the caution.
Palmer continued to lead the field while Scott Grunert moved to second from his 8th starting spot by lap 3.
After multiple cautions, a lap 13 restart saw 10th starting Dan Jinkerson move from 4th to 2nd, and take up chase on leader Palmer. A lap 17 restart saw Palmer take the outside, giving Jinkerson the inside lane. Jinkerson would capitalize on Palmer’s decision, take the lead, and go on to score his second victory of the season.
In victory lane, Jinkerson was very blunt in his assessment of the race. “It was a wild night tonight. I’m not sure what to think about it”, he said. “There was a lot of rough driving that I hope the speedway officials take care of. The key was to be patient and wait for guys to wreck themselves, time my restarts better, and it ultimately it got me the win tonight”.
Jinkerson took the checkered over Palmer, Russ Murphy, Scott Grunert, and point leader Nick Baldwin. Heat wins went to Murphy, Orville Owens, and Jinkerson, who also grabbed the RMI Hard Charger bonus after moving form 10th to victory in the feature.
13 BCRA Midget Lites signed into the pits for their 4th appearance of the 2016 season. Australian native Scotty Males would pick up his first win of the year. Males started in the third position, and followed pole sitter Kyle Offill and outside row 1 starter Tim Kinser into turn 1.
On lap 4, Kinser got over the bank in turn 1 surrendering second to Males. Offill look poised to win his third feature in four starts until the leaders approached the lapped car of Ryan Souza on lap 16. Males went topside and used Souza as a pick to take the lead. Males took the checkered flag over Offill, Charlie Carracilo, RC Smith, and Craig Dillard.
“We have been podium strong all year,” Males said as he addressed the crowd. “We just finally had all pieces of the puzzle fit tonight. I have to thank Red Hawk Casino along with Adco Driveline and Exhaust. They do a great job helping us stay on the track every week.”
In addition, Males won the first heat, while Caraccilo won the other heat race.
Next Saturday marks the first appearance of 2016 for the California Civil War Series 360 Sprint Cars, as well as the NorCal Dwarf Cars. Pit gates open at 2PM, while the grandstand opens 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.
Join the over 7600 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.
*Writing contributions by Dean Mills