PLACERVILLE, CA (7-27-13) - Elk Grove’s Greg DeCaires was poised to make a record fourth consecutive win Saturday at Placerville Speedway during the tenth Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Racing Tires-Coors Light Championship point race. However, defending track champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn put an end to the recent win streak by the veteran driver, scoring a long overdue victory on the track he calls home.
“It’s been awhile since we’ve been here,” said Forsberg, who last won at Placerville on June 22. “Greg’s team has been on one heck of a run here these last few weeks. The first two races they won, I’ll give them those, but last week I’m not sure about that one because we were running fast and got wrecked out of the race. I pretty sure we could have gotten that one if that hadn’t happened, but we didn’t. It feels good be back here and I just want to thank all the great fans at this place for choosing Placerville over the drag races in Sonoma and the Sacramento Mile tonight to support this great track.”
Forsberg started on the outside of the front row of Saturday’s 25-lap feature event. DeCaires earned the pole position for the event with Placerville’s own Matt Barber in the third starting position, Andy Gregg in fourth and Jimmy Trulli in the fifth slot. The event took a handful of attempts to get its initial lap scored as numerous accidents delayed the race.
The most serious of caution periods were for Placerville’s James Sweeney who took a violent flip up the hillside of turn three after contact with Napa’s Kirt Organ. Another red flag flew in the event for Bobby Butler of Sacramento who rolled over on the front stretch. Shingle Springs driver Justin Johnson also took a tough tumble end over end as he traveled down the back stretch at the 10 lap mark.
Forsberg was able to dodge the mayhem by powering his Pit Stop USA F&F Racing #X1 Sprint Car to the head of the pack at the opening green flag to quickly place himself in front of DeCaires. As the two leaders worked their way into lapped traffic, DeCaires began closing in on Forsberg at times in traffic. Forsberg managed to work his way clear of the back markers each time DeCaires got within striking distance to drive to his second season win.
“He got beside me a couple times and showed me the nose wing,” said Forsberg. “Fortunately I was able to run high and low tonight and get through the lapped traffic without any problems. This track was great tonight, we had a great cushion to race up against and the conditions were great all night long. Placerville is the bomb when it comes to prepping a track.”
DeCaires went on to finish second Saturday. Steven Tiner of Elverta who started in the sixth position, claimed the third position. Tenth place starter Sean Becker powered his way to a fourth place position at the finish line while Gregg rounded out the top ten aboard Scott Russell’s #14r for the evening.
A total of 29 cars formed the grid at Placerville Saturday night. Many of the entries were non-regulars to the weekly Red Hawk Casino Championship Series who are gearing up for the August 10th Civil War Series Race here. The upcoming event is the richest race on the traveling Civil War Series Circuit and Placerville’s richest race in history with a $5000 victory payoff.
In the Limited Late Model division on Saturday, defending champion Matt Micheli of Live Oak drove to his fourth win of the season. The last time Micheli won at Placerville Speedway was back in May. Since that time the second generation driver has been amidst a tight battle for the point lead with Citrus Heights Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights.
Entering Saturday’s race, Tilford sat four points ahead of Micheli in the standings but tightened that deficit up with the victory. Last Saturday night Micheli led the feature event until the final lap when he mistakenly pulled off the track surface with one lap to go. This week, the veteran driver made up for his recent error, starting on the pole for the 20-lap feature and taking the lead from his father, Ken Micheli at the waving of the green flag.
“After that little move last week when I led for 19.5 laps is one I’d like to forget,” mused Micheli in victory lane. “After that I was almost convinced I wasn’t going to win another race here this year. Ryan McDaniel has been winning up here just about every time he is here. Matt Davis has been really fast and I was starting to question myself a bit. It feels good to be back here tonight. It’s always great to start a race next to my Dad and have that trust in the person you’re racing with into that first turn. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Micheli worked his way into lapped traffic early in the race while Ken Micheli had his hands full attempting to maintain the second position. Matt Davis of Auburn eventually worked his way past Micheli for the second position. Davis had started fourth. Micheli maintained the third position over Jason Englund of Citrus Heights and Charlie Marrs of Yuba City who passed Tilford to round out the top five at the finish.
In the Pure Stock division, point leader Les Friend of Galt took a decisive lead at the waving of the green flag. Friend distanced himself from the field early in the event, working his way into lapped traffic while Folsom’s Dominic Stone worked his way into second place from third along with Woodland’s Scott Grunert in tow.
Saturday’s 20-lap feature nearly went non stop with the exception of a multi car pile up on the front stretch that delayed the event. The front runners avoided the melee and when the white flag waved it appeared that Friend was on his way to high eighth win of the year. As he traveled down the back stretch, Friend’s car slowed considerably in the traffic and allowed Stone to close in. Stone continued his pursuit into the final turns where he took the lead to score his first win of the season. Friend finished second followed by Grunert. Clarence Holbrook III and Tim Mack of Placerville.
“I was in the right place at the right time here tonight,” said Stone. “Apparently Les thought there was a caution flag when we came down the backstretch and he let up and got caught in the lapped traffic by the time he realized it. I thought we were locked for a second place finish tonight with the lead he had but were we never gave up and were there to take the lead when the time came.”
Championship point racing continues next week for the Winged Sprint Cars at Placerville Speedway. The stock car divisions will have the night off to allow for the mighty midgets of the Bay Cities Racing Association along with the Midget Lites. This event is the annual Jack London Bash Picnic and Hall of Fame for the BCRA. From 10 am until 3 p.m. racers and fans are welcome to attend the event on the lawn of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds where a BBQ Lunch will be served including Tri-Tip and Hot Dogs prior to the BCRA announcing its 2013 Hall of Fame Inductees. Tickets for the event that benefits BCRA can be purchased at www.bcraracing.com.
For complete results of Saturday’s event and information on what’s to come at Placerville Speedway, including the upcoming August 10 $5000 to win Forni Classic, check out www.placervillespeedway.com.