Race car show and fan bbq kicks off 121h annual event with high winnings for three divisions
PLACERVILLE, CA – Race fans from El Dorado County and the surrounding communities are gearing up for one of the biggest nights of open wheel racing in the sierra foothills as Placerville Speedway pays homage to a legacy in local racing. This Saturday, it’s time for the 12th Annual Tribute to Al Hinds at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds presented by Thompson’s Auto Centers. This event will be the last time in 2015 that the El Dorado County Fairgrounds will feel the thunder of auto racing as the exciting racing season officially comes to an end.
In celebration of this 50th Anniversary season finale, the winners of all three of Placerville’s Championship divisions will earn bonus winnings in honor of Hinds’ legacy courtesy of the collaborative effort by Thompsons Auto Centers, Red Hawk Casino, Domco Plumbing and Jay’s Mobile Welding and Fabrication. Twelve years ago this event was born after the passing of the well known early track promoter and mentor, Al Hinds, a longtime Placerville resident and true race fan that touched the lives of many of today’s up and coming drivers in the sport today.
It is due to the continuous support of the speedway’s local sponsors that the legacy of Al Hinds continues in grand fashion for its 12th consecutive year. Not only will Saturday’s winners earn a lucrative bonus sponsored by Thompson, the event caps off a big day in local racing as Thompson’s Auto Center hosts a big race car show with hot dogs and drinks for fans and race teams from 11 a.m, until 2 p.m at their dealership located directly across from the fairgrounds. The special event will feature numerous race cars and drivers that will be on hand, all showing appreciation for Thompson’s efforts in continuing to make racing richer at the track he has been so involved with for decades.
In past years, the Annual Tribute to Al Hinds always fell on a Civil War Series date. After many requests by drivers of the other divisions, last year it was converted into a multi division program so all divisions can benefit from added winnings and join in the festivities for all the fans during the day. When the checkered flag falls on the final point race of the season Saturday night the Sprint Car winner will earn $2000 for their victory. The Late Model winner earns $1000 and the Pure Stocks will earn $500 to win with the added funds from Thompson and the track promoter.
Al Hinds was the second promoter of Placerville Speedway. Hinds took operation of the track with business partner Richard Hirst from its founder, Bruno Romani, in 1968, three years after it first opened when the facility was built around an existing community football field. Since that time, Placerville Speedway has become one of the top auto racing venues in Northern California, much due to the efforts of Hinds, who brought the community together with what was known as a rough and tumble facet of the sport back in the day.
From the day he set foot on the red clay at Placerville Speedway to the very last race he attended, Hinds continued to display his true love for auto racing and the community in which he brought it to. Even in his final years he continued to help young drivers, entertain fans and most importantly he spent a great deal of time talking to and mentoring many of those who are involved with the operations of the facility today, from officials, announcers and even the track promoter himself. When Hinds spoke, anyone who cared remotely about the future of the sport would sit down and listen.
When Hinds managed Placerville Speedway, the cars in competition were nothing like they were today. In Hinds’ later days of life, Cast iron transitioned into aluminum. Titanium began to replace just about anything that could break and aerodynamics became a factor on cars that now carry computerized scoring equipment that records speeds nearing 100 mph. However, none of that changed Hinds’ classic theory in the business of racing promotions; if you build it they will come.
The operator of a local machine shop by trade, Hinds loved the community where he lived. In his final years of life he enjoyed sitting with some of his best friends every night in the grandstands at Placerville Speedway and loved watching young talent make a name for themselves in the sport. This Saturday, such talent is sure to fill the field more than Hinds would ever imagine.
Saturday’s event is expected to draw a strong crowd as it is the final points race of the season and will crown the season champions as well as offer extra winnings. Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove, a driver who has raced many years under the sponsorship of Thompson’s and now Foothill 7 Television which is owned by the Thompson Auto Group, will look to maintain his current point lead into the final green flag of the night to become the 2015 track champion. Dominic Stone of Folsom will look to lock the Late Model title down as he enters the night with a still narrow lead. Woodland’s Scott Grunert will look to complete his second Pure Stock championship with a strong finish Saturday.
The three track regulars are joined by the Bay Cities Racing Association Saturday night as the winged Midget Lites take to the track the compete in their final race, the “Tracy Taylor Memorial”. Drivers and cars from all divisions will be on hand at the Thompson’s car show event featuring hot dogs from Stymeist Auto Body. It all starts at 11 a.m. at the Buick GMC Dealership directly across from the fairgrounds. Racer’s will be permitted to park their haulers at the speedway while their cars are displayed for hundreds of fans that are expected to come out and meet the drivers. Thompson’s Auto Center’s will be rewarding all the drivers that participate in the car show as well.
The grandstands at Placerville Speedway will open at 5 p.m. Qualifying for this final night will start at 6:30 followed by racing at 7. For further information visit the track website at www.placervillespeedway.com.