PLACERVILLE, CA (7-13-13) - The Red Hawk Casino Championship point racing season returned to Placerville Speedway Saturday night with four repeat drivers celebrating in victory lane. Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires scored his second win here in the Sprint Car Division while Les Friend of Galt captured his sixth win in Pure Stocks. Ryan McDaniel of Olivhurst won the Limited Late Model feature event and in the visiting Dwarf Cars, Ryan Winter of Galt returned to victory lane.
For DeCaires, Saturday’s victory marked the second straight win the veteran driver celebrated in victory lane. Last week he won the Tiner Classic Civil War feature event aboard the locally owned Dale Miller sprint car that pays tribute to the late Stephen Allard, one of Placerville’s most competitive drivers in 2012 and a longtime friend and colleague of Declares.
“I can’t say enough about this team,” said Declares. There’s no doubt we’re getting some help from above with this deal. This team has really come together, Dale Miller has given me a great car and a great crew and to come out here tonight and get two in a row is really great.”
Before another typical large crowd at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, Declares started Saturday’s feature event on the pole position next to Sacramento’s Billy Butler. At the waving of the green flag the front row starters avoided a multi car pile up in the third turn that initiated a complete restart.
Once the race officially went under the green flag, DeCaires muscled ahead of Butler into a lead he would never relinquish. With three laps complete, Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli, who started in sixth, worked his way into the second position and set his sights on DeCaires who worked his way into lapped traffic as early as the six lap mark.
DeCaires maintained a distant lead for much of the 25-lap race. When he crossed the checkered flag he had an impressive advantage of 3.853 seconds. Trulli finished in second place to conclude what was a strong night in the points chase for the local driver as his closest rival, Andy Gregg of Placerville, was out of contention earlier in the night. Point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn started fourth and finished third at the end of the night. Placerville’s James Sweeney drove from 14th to fourth and Butler capped the night rounding out the top five.
In the Limited Late Model division, the opening laps of the feature event were delayed by a lengthy caution flag when four cars collided on the front stretch. Placerville’s Mike Lightfoot and John Ohnmacht of Sheridan suffered the most damage and were unable to continue the race.
Once the green flag waved, point leader Matt Micheli of Live Oak took the early lead until Jason Englund of Citrus Heights moved into challenge the leader. Micheli and Englund would not be the only drivers to lead the race. McDaniel started in the seventh position and closed in on the lead position quickly. On the eighth lap, McDaniel powered his way into the lead as he exited the fourth turn.
In the closing laps, McDaniel drove to an insurmountable lead while the battle continued behind him for the top three positions. Englund maintained second place to the finish line. Third place starter Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley scored the third place finishing position over Micheli and Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights.
Earlier in the night, the Riebes Kid’s Dash featured the Late Model Division as Placerville drivers Mike Lightfoot and Ted Ahart were the entries. Lightfoot won the contest and selected four year old Addison Kronlund of Georgetown to join him in victory lane. As she approached Lightfoot, the celebration took a new turn when Georgetown resident Nathan Bellamy took the microphone and proposed to Addison’s Mother, Laura on the front stretch of the speedway. The answer was yes to the big question and the family celebrated a very special victory with Lightfoot in front of a cheering crowd.
In the Pure Stock division, Friend closed in on early race leader Tim Mack of Placerville at the waving of the green flag. With two laps complete, the series point leader drove to the low sides of turns one and two to challenge the leader. After a side by side battle, Friend took the lead on lap three on the front stretch. At the checkered flag Friend was followed by Tom Grady of El Dorado, Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley, Mack and Lonnie Leonard of Elk Grove.
In the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars, Ryan Winter avoided the plethora of caution flags to score a repeat victory. He was followed across the line by Jeremy Blackshere, Kevin Bender, Mike Grenert and Scott Dahlgren.
Racing returns to Placerville Speedway this Saturday, July 20 with three divisions on hand. The winged sprint car division will be joined by Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks as the battle for the championship enters the late season stretch. For further information check out www.placervillespeedway.com.
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