Championship Awards Dinner is November 22; Make your reservations early

By Placerville Speedway Media

banquet pictureThe 2014 Jackson Rancheria Casino Racing season has recently come to a close at Placerville Speedway and Handy Racing Promotions wishes to thank all of our teams, our sponsors and our dedicated fans for a fantastic racing season at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. We are looking forward to the 2015 racing season with all of you as we have the honor of celebrating Placerville Speedway’s ladmark 50th anniversary season.

We have many exciting things ahead in our new season, however, there is still one very important piece of business to complete on this recent racing season and that is the honoring of our top drivers for their accomplishments in 2014.

The awards dinner for the Placerville Speedway will be held on November 22nd at the same location as last year, the American Legion Hall 4561 Greenstone Rd, Placerville 95667. Doors and a no-host bar will open at 5:00 pm and dinner will begin at 6:30 pm. Tickets will be $20 per person and this will include a tri-tip steak dinner with salad and dessert.

Dinner seating is limited to 175 people, you must make advanced reservations by November 10th by mailing a check to PO Box 726, Roseville, CA 95661 or by calling the business office at (916) 783-3478 to pay by credit card. Please leave a message and we will return your call. Reserved table seating is for season champion’s only, all other tables on a first come first serve basis.

Placerville Speedway will recognize, with trophies, the top 10 drivers from the Sprints division, the top 10 from Limited Late Models and the top 10 from the Pure Stocks.

Saturday’s Racing Cancelled Due to King Fire; Thank you for a great 2014 season

By Placerville Speedway Media

Due to the growth of the King Fire in El Dorado County and the El Dorado County Fairgrounds being overtaken by additional fire crews for an unknown term, racing has been CANCELLED at Placerville this Satfire arturday. Placerville Speedway is unable to reschedule this event but watch for news from the Civil War Series regarding a make up race at an alternative location in the coming weeks. We thank all you for a great 2014 racing season and are looking forward to seeing you again for our 50th Anniversary season next spring!

Thompsons Auto Centers’ Annual Tribute to Al Hinds Crowns Placerville Champions

By Placerville Speedway Media

champions bannerArticle by Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions  – Photos by Donna Peter,

PLACERVILLE, CA – The regular championship point racing season came to a climactic conclusion Saturday night at Placerville Speedway as the Thompson’s Auto Center’s Tribute Al Hinds brought added winnings to the final night of racing and crowned three season champions in the Jackson Rancheria Casino Resorts Championship Series. The evening marked the final night for the multiple divisions and just one event remains this Saturday, September 20 as the traveling Civil War Sprint Car Series will send the season into overtime at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

This marked the first year that the annual race which pays homage to late track promoter Al Hinds and paid bonus winnings courtesy of local businessman Ron Thompson and added funds from Handy Racing Promotions to all three of Placerville’s regular divisions. The Sprint Car winner earned $2000 last night, the Limited Late Models $1000 and the Pure Stocks earned $500, drawing a boosted car count and competitive racing throughout the final nigh of the Jackson Rancheria Casino Championship Points Racing Series.

In the Sprint Car Division, Justin Sanders of Prunedale muscled his way to his fifth vict09_13_2014_137aory of the season. The year marked the best of Sander’s career as he raced fulltime for car owners Rudy and Beverly Warrington. His bid for the championship went down to the wire as his success Saturday night resulted him unofficially taking over the bridesmaid position in the championship standings from defending champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn.

Sanders was followed across the line at the finish by Fremont’s Shane Golobic Satureday night. Mason Moore finished in third over Forsberg who led the early laps of the race until an incident in lapped traffic cost him several positions and a rally back to the front. Justin Cox of Sacramento rounded out the top five.

After qualifying deep in the field, point leader Greg DeCaires simply had to take the green flag to clinch the championship Saturday night. DeCaires finished the nigh in the 7th position. Driving for local car owner Dale Miller in the Foothill 7 Television sponsored #4sa Sprint Car that is a Tribute to the late Stephen Allard, DeCaires ended the night with 56-point advantage over Sanders. The feat adds to a long resume of success for DeCaires, who won titles here in 2006 and 2007. A decade later, the fan favorite is already talking of another run in 2015.

09_13_2014_144“Tonight put the icing on the cake, we came in here tonight and stayed strong throughout the night even though we were off our mark in qualifying. Dale Miller and every single person on this crew have worked hard to support me and make this happen and all of their hard work paid off here tonight and we have a great sponsor in Foothill 7 TV and Ron Thompson. This is what we set out to do at the beginning of the year and it’s not just about this old guy winning another championship, this one means more. This one is for my Mom who I lost earlier this year and for the late Stephen Allard who this car pays Tribute to. They were both great supporters of me all my life and not a day goes by I don’t think about them. I’m ready to do it again in 2015, this old guy isn’t finished yet.” 09_13_2014_138

Limited Late Model action saw Ryan McDaniel of Olivehurst claim his sixth win of the season Saturday night and pick up the added bonus money. McDaniel started on the outside of the front row and took the lead from Will McMillen at the green flag to lead every one of the 20 laps. At the finish line he was trailed by Duane Cleveland, Ray Trimble, Randy McDaniel and Jeff Olshowka.09_13_2014_154

The season ending point standings resulted in 2012 champion Matt Micheli winning his second title at Placerville Speedway in a season where he scored a pair of wins during the year and was a contender for victory in nearly each of the night’s of competition. Saturday night Micheli elected to park during his heat race and save his car for the feature event in which he had to take the green flag to clinch.

“I decided tonight I would skip the heat and save it for the main event so we didn’t tear anything up early in the night,” said Micheli. That kind of cost me a little bit later on as I didn’t really finish the way I wou09_13_2014_150ld have liked by we got the championship.   This was definitely a tougher one to win than my first on here two years ago. Ray Trimble and Tom Tilford raced me hard all season long and it was just an incredible season with great competition.”

In the Pure Stock division, Dan Jinkerson of Diamond Springs won his first feature event in this division. Jinkerson previously raced asphalt and dirt modifieds, winning his share of victories on both. Late this season with the help of his father, veteran driver Mark Jinkerson, who was a top driver in the late 70’s and early 80’s at Placerville.

Jinkerson took after five laps when early race leader Jon Tilford suffered mechanical issues and retired to the pit area for the night. Once on front, Jinkerson led all of the remaining laps and was followed across the line by Russell Murphy, Tim Mack, Rick Grunert and Mike Nuss.

Woodland’s Scott Grunert ended the night as the new Pure Stock Champion. Grunert parked during heat race action to insure a solid start in the feature event where he started in the rear and finished after late race tangle with Jason Armstrong in traffic. In the end he claimed the title by a 20-point margin over Eddie Gardner of Sacramento. His father, Rick Grunert, a 1997 track champion, finished third in the standings over Mack.09_13_2014_163

“Every since I watched my Dad race one of my goals was to one day win a championship and tonight we got that goal accomplished,” said Grunert. “Eddie Gardner ran me strong all season long and it was a great battle to the title. I want to thank him for a great season together and all my friends and sponsors that are here tonight.”

Saturday’s event also featured the Midget Lites of the Bay Cities Racing Association. Logan Seavey of Sacramento drove to victory in his John Taylor Motorsports owned car, appropriately on the night that is the Tracy Taylor Memorial for the traveling group. Brian Corso clinched the championship for the traveling group.

09_13_2014_152Action returns to Placerville Speedway for one addition night this Saturday, September 20th with the high profile Civil War Sprint Car Series in an added event to the regular season schedule. For further information on this events visit

Placerville Speedway and Handy Racing Promotions would like to thank all of the driver that competed in the 2014 Jackson Rancheria Casino Championship season this year and congratulate our champions on their accomplishments during this great of impressive car counts, fan support and sponsorship. We look forward to seeing many of you back on September 20 as we close out our season with the  return of the Civil War Sprint Car Series and we are already working on plans for our championship awards banquet November 22 and a spectacular season in 2015 which celebrates the track’s 50th anniversary season at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

Tribute to Al Hinds point race finale offers full day of fun ending with championship finale

By Placerville Speedway Media

By Bill Sullivan

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 11th Annual Tribute to Al Hinds at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds presented by Thompson’s Auto Centers.

hinds poster For the first time in the history of this event, 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 and Handy Racing Promotions. Eleven 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 longtime area auto dealer Ron Thompson that the legacy of Al Hinds continues in grand fashion for its 11th 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 at 126 Forni Road in Placerville. The special event will feature some two dozen 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, this year it was the brainchild of track promoter Alan Handy and Ron Thompson to make this event 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.

“I miss that guy, it didn’t matter that the cars have changed and are going twice as fast they were back then, he knew how to promote racing and he still knew how to prep a track, ” recalls Alan Handy, the promoter of Placerville Speedway “He would come out here during the week and sit for hours and watch the grader. If he saw me doing something wrong, he told me his opinion. He was almost always right every time whether I liked it or not.”

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 will look to maintain his current point lead into the final green flag of the night to become the 2014 track champion. Matt Micheli of Live Oak will aim to lock his second track title down as he enters the night with a still narrow lead. Woodland’s Scott Grunert will look to complete his first Pure Stock championship with a strong finish Saturday.

The three track regulars are joined by the Bay Cities Racing Association Saturday night. Drivers and cars from all divisions will be on hand at the Thompson’s car show event featuring hot dogs from Stymeist Auto Body, all raising funds for the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County. It all starts at 11 a.m. at the service center building next to Thompson’s Toyota at 126 Forni Road in Placerville. (Across the highway from Denny’s).

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




Lucrative tribute to Donnie Tilford yields wild penultimate points race at Placerville Speedway Saturday Night

By Placerville Speedway Media

micheli winBy Bill Sullivan, Placerville Speedway

PLACERVILLE, CA – During his days beneath the helmet and thereafter, the one thing the late Donnie Tilford truly loved was an exciting race night for both drivers and fans. Saturday night at Placerville Speedway there was undoubtedly a bit of magic in the air as a grandstand packed with fans was treated to thrills, spills and emotion for the inaugural Tribute to Donnie Tilford presented by Handy Racing Promotions and Domco Plumbing.


With added cash on the line for each division, Saturday’s race produced exactly what the late racing patriarch use to live by. “Drive fast and take chances,” was the motto that Donnie Tilford told so many during and after driving days. For some, such chances didn’t pay off well Saturday night but for others is surely did as point leader Greg DeCairies of Elk Grove tooks home a boosted $2000 victory in the Sprint Car Division while Matt Micheli of Live Oak claimed the $1500 to win Late Model feature and Eddie Gardner of Citrus Heights grabbed $500 in the Pure Stock division.


While all divisions benefited from added winnings Saturday night, the center of attention surrounded the Limited Late Model division, a class in which the late Tilford truly had a passion for and worked in recent years to help develop both the class and the drivers within it. Among those drivers, his own nephew Tom Tilford, the defending track champion who started on the pole of the event that kicked off with a first class introduction of the drivers from the front stretch which was once a weekly routine long ago.


Appropriately, Tom Tilford started on the pole of the 20-lap feature that paid tribute to his lost uncle and mentor. As the field entered the first turn, Tilford’s car pitched sideways in a near spin as a multi car collision broke out in his wake. The started resulted in a red flag when Jeff Olshowka went upside down in turn two, a rarity in this division. Nobody was injured in the incident and all returned to the line up with the exception of Olshowka.decaires tilford

“When we did the introductions I couldn’t hold back the tears, my emotions we so high and my hands were still shaking when we took the green flag,” said Tilford. “I completely over drove into that first turn and lost it. I feel bad about it and the cars that got torn up, I’m glad Jeff and everyone was ok. This was a tough night but a great night for Donnie. He loved an exciting race and the fans got that tonight.”

The opening lap incident wasn’t the only red flag of the night in this class. With the added money on the line and 16 drivers giving it their all, accidents were par for the course Saturday and former champion Dan Brown Jr. of Rocklin was the second rollover victim of the night after a brush with Auburn’s Matt Davis that sent im into a pile up and upside down without injury later in the race.


Through it all, 2012 champion Matt Micheli drove his way to the checkered flag for the biggest win of his career at the track he calls home. Micheli held off the challenges of Ryan Randy McDaniel to the finish line to pick up the $1500 win. Tilford finished in fourth followed by Jay Norton of Shingle Springs.


“This is really a special for me, the biggest I’ve ever had here,” said Micheli, who earned not only the added bonus but the four foot tall trophy and a one of a kind commemorative helmet custom painted in memory of Donnie Tilford. “All of out here tonight can’t thank Domco and Alan Handy for what they’ve done here tonight to remember Donnie. He was a great driver, all of us traded paint with him and respected him on and off the track. He was a great loss to the sport and winning this here tonight, well, the extra money is great but that’s not what its all about. It’s an honor for sure.”


In the Sprint Car division, $2000 was on the line to win Saturday night as Handy Racing Promotions increased the winnings across the board to honor Tilford. When the checkered flag waved it was Greg DeCaires of Elk Grove picking up the win. Over the last year DeCaires may earn the knick name of “old money” as the veteran driver has had a knack for picking off high paying victories at Placerville including the Tiner Classic, the Mark Forni Classic and now the Tribute to Donnie Tilford.


“I watched many laps that Donnie Tilford turned at this track and spent a lot of time with all of them at this place, they are like family here at Placerville and this is an honor to win this first race for him tonight,” said DeCaires. “Tonight we a little more lucky that we were good. I lost my brakes midway through the race and fortunately Andy Gregg got caught up in some traffic there and fell back. If that hadn’t happened I think we would have got me because he was coming back for the lead for sure.”


DeCaries took the lead at the green flag over second place started Jimmy Trulli when the green flag waved. After working his way around Trulli, Gregg moved into the bridesmaid position and shot around DeCaires for the lead at the 10 lap mark in the second turn when the two were racing in heavy traffic.


After a red flag on lap 15 when Sacramento’s Bobby Butler flipped over in the second turn a restart put the top runners bumper to bumper and the dogfight for the lead resumed with DeCaires redeeming it in traffic once again. On the 22nd lap, Gregg spun off the second turn and fell back several positions and out of contention and it was Trulli that was then pressuring DeCaires all the way to the checkered flag. James Sweeney of Placerville finished in third followed by Justin Sanders of Prunedale and defending track champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn who recovered to a top five after starting deep in the field and fighting motor issues all through the night.


In the Pure Stock division, 2003 Placerville Speedway Pro Stock champion Mike Nuss of Pollock Pines returned to the spotlight Saturday night with a crowd raising run to the finish line. Despite sparks showering from his #57 car for the first half of the race, Nuss took the lead from early front runner Lonnie Leonard of Elk Grove on the seventh lap.


In the last two laps of the race, lapped traffic slowed Nuss and a three way battle broke out as Leonard and Eddie Gardner closed in. Gardner took the lead from Nuss on the backstretch until Nuss muscled into the final set of turns and crossed the line just inches ahead of Gardner in an exciting finish. Unfortunately the veteran driver learned the wheel base in his converted street stock was shy of the minimum in post race inspection, making him ineligible for the win.


“That was a bummer tonight, but man was this fun coming out here and racing like that in memory of Donnie,” said Nuss, a longtime competitor that is well known for his appreciation of fellow drivers, fans and officials through the years with a humble attitude regardless of a situation. “We hadn’t known the wheel base was an issue as this was just the third race since we came back and we just came out for fun. The last two races we weren’t running up front so it was never looked at. I kind of wish I had known about it before I won but this was fun and I think we’re ready to put together a car and come back for next year. I miss this place.”


After the ruling, Gardner was awarded the win and the $500 bonus along with the big trophy. Gardner has been racing alongside the Tilford family for several seasons and was honored with the victory over Leonard, Rick Grunert and Scott Grunert of Woodland.


“That was a fun race out there it’s a bummer that it came down to a ruling but rules are rules and we’re happy to be here again,” said Gardner. “This is definitely a big win for me. The Tilford family has helped me out here and there’s a great amount of respect for them by all of us. I’ll remember this one for a long time for sure.”


Placerville Speedway will go dark next weekend at return to action Saturday, September 13th with the final points race and the Thompson’s Auto Center Tribute to Al Hinds that begins with a big race car show and BBQ at Thompsons Auto Center at 126 Forni Road from 11am until 2 pm on race day. Watch the track website for further information on this event.


Join nearly 5000 friends of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can interact with other fans, drivers and staff in a positive, family friendly fashion. You can also follow Placerville Speedway on twitter to keep up to date on events to come. Visit the official track website at Follow Placerville Speedway on Twitter


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