Bernal dominates Placerville bullring in sole USAC Sprint appearance


By Bill Sullivan


042713-01PLACERVILLE, CA (5-4-13) - Despite the track regulars having the week off from championship competition, a solid crowd turned out at Placerville Speedway once again Saturday night to witness the United States Auto Club (USAC) Western Classic Series Sprint Cars assault the quarter-mile clay oval at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

The traveling series brought 15 entries to the roster, including a handful of Placerville’s winged stars for a night of exciting racing that concluded with Hollister’s Ryan Bernal celebrating his second consecutive series victory.

“I love racing at this place, “said Bernal. “If we come back here again I’m personally going to work on getting us even more cars because this is a fast track. It’s great to win another one of these races like this.”

Bernal started on the inside of the second row of Saturday’s 30-lap feature event and chased Max Adams as he took the initial lead. Adams would lead the event for the first five laps until Bernal overtook him for the lead in turns one and two, a position he never relinquished.

Once in front, Bernal distanced himself from Adams who was then challenged by Placerville’s own James Sweeney who advanced from the sixth position. When the checkered flag flew Bernal was trailed by Sweeney, Adams, DJ Johnson. Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli rounded out the top five over Marc Mackay of Shingle Springs, Tony Hunt of Lincoln and CJ Humphreys of Placerville.

In the Limited Late Model division, a new name found its way into victory lane on Saturday night, however, it was a familiar face to Placerville. Upon check in, Auburn’s Matt Davis informed scoring officials that there would be a new driver behind the seat of his car for the night, Donald Keybals of Sun Valley.

For Davis, the self promoting new name apparently was inspirational as the #54 late model performed better than before and made its way to victory lane, overtaking two time championship series winner Matt Micheli, former champion Dan Brown Jr. and 2012 Rookie of the Year Tom Tilford to take the lead.

At the finish line the newly named wheelman picked up the win followed by Micheli, Tilford, Brown Jr. and Danny Malfatti. With the win behind him, now the big question is which name really belongs to the longtime driver as the new alias seems to be fitting and victorious thus far.

In the Pure Stock division, Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley scored his first win of the year. Van Roekel took the lead after early race leader Tim Mack of El Dorado pulled off the track with mechanical issues at the halfway point.

Once in front, Van Roekel maintained the top spot fending off challenges of second place driver Lonnie Leonard of Elk Grove. Randy Hill finished in third followed by Scott Grunert and Rick Grunert.

After a two week hiatus for these special events, the Red Hawk Casino Championship Point Racing Series will return to action Saturday night for all three of Placerville’s regular divisions along with the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars.

The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. on Saturday night with Qualifying starting at 6:30. Tickets will be available at that time Adult tickets will be $14, Juniors and Seniors will be $12, Children $6. A special pre-sale of grandstand tickets will take place at 3 p.m. at the track concession center to help alleviate long lines when the gates open.

To keep up with all the information on the season to come visit www.placervillespeedway.com. Additionally, join with over 3000 others and like Placerville Speedway on Facebook where you can interact with other fans, drivers and staff and follow them on twitter to keep up to date on events to come.