PLACERVILLE, CA (5-11-13) - Placerville’s own Andy Gregg celebrated his second victory of the year before a packed grandstand of spectators who turned out at Placerville Speedway Saturday night for the fourth Red Hawk Casino-Hoosier Racing Tires Championship event of the season.
Gregg celebrated his sprint car feature event win with three repeat winners including Matt Tilford of Orangevale who won his second feature event of the year in the Pure Stock class. Matt Micheli of Live Oak claimed his third season victory. The track regulars were joined by the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars on Saturday night in which Ryan Winter claimed another feature win.
For Gregg, Saturday night started off strong in his Coors Light #53 wrenched by Brian Cannon. The local favorite claimed the fastest lap in qualifying to earn the ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust $100 bonus. He then finished fourth in his heat race to secure an eighth place starting spot for the 25 lap feature.
The green flag saw pole sitter Billy Strange Jr. of Elk Grove take the initial lead. Strange pulled several car lengths ahead until the third lap until a spin in turn one which collected Princeton’s Mason Moore and drew the first caution flag of the night. With the restart, Vacaville’s Joey Magaruh drove into the lead as Gregg raced into the second position in pursuit of the former track champion and then used the high side of turn four to muscle his way into the lead.
Seven laps into the race, point leader Andy Forsberg of Auburn powered his way into the second position and set his sights on Gregg while Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli dueled with Magaruh for the third position. For the remainder of the race, Gregg maintained his healthy lead to score his second win of the year. Forsberg finished second while Trulli claimed the third position over Magaruh and Sean Becker of Roseville.
“First of all I want to wish all the Mothers that came here tonight a happy Mother’s Day, its great to see another big crowd,” said Gregg. “I just really have to thank my sponsors and my crew for everything. We got the motor in the car last night and this Coors Light car was fast tonight. We’ll be looking to come back and try it again next week.”
Earlier in the night the Riebes Auto Parts Kids Dash returned to the program Saturday night. Penryn’s Charlie Cagle and Justin Johnson of Shingle Springs were the two drivers selected to duel. Cagle won the event and selected an excited young lady from the grandstands to join him in victory lane before he gave her the trophy and the complimentary speedway t-shirt and a gift certificate for Kids Quest Arcade courtesy of Red Hawk Casino.
In the Pure Stock division, action started off with Tilford charging from the second starting position to overtake pole sitter and current point leader Les Friend of Galt. The two season rivals began to duel for the lead until lap six when an attempt of a low line pass in turns one and two by friend resulted in a collision between the two drivers.
For Tilford, the crash didn’t mean the end of the race. The defending track champion used the remaining 14 laps to charge his way back through the field, picking off one competitor after another. He entered the final lap in second place behind leader Scotty Grunert of Woodland. Entering the final set of turns, Tilford muscled himself to the low side of turns three and four to pull beside Grunert as they approached the checkered flag. Bringing the crowd to their feet, Tilford edged Grunert for the win by just inches. Friend recovered to finish third followed by Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley and Kyle Grunert of Woodland.
“This race didn’t start off how I wanted it too and I was pretty upset at the time,” said Tilford. “But I’ve learned from my Dad, Brothers and my Uncle Donnie to have patience in those types of situations so I did that tonight and just worked my way back up one by one. I have to thank my family and all the sponsors and my crew for all their hard work. We have a great organization with this team and its everyone’s effort that makes it happen. This is a great way to honor my Mom for Mother’s Day here tonight too.”
In the Limited Late Model feature, veteran driver Ken Micheli of Live Oak took the initial lead. Doug Grandboise of Jackson started in second place until Ken Micheli overtook the bridesmaid position. The second generation Micheli, who leads the point standings at Placerville, raced bumper to bumper with his Father until the fourth lap when passed him for the lead on the back stretch.
Once in front, Matt Micheli maintained the lead to the finish line where he was followed by Ken Micheli, Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights, Grandboise and Duane Zeider of Paradise.
“When you’re out there racing with your Dad you have to be careful,” said Micheli. “First of all he’s good and second of all the last thing you want to happen is end up wrecking him and we have to fix both cars during the week. I had an opening there on the back stretch and managed to get by. We are loving racing over here at Placerville each week, we love the track and the huge crowds. I’m already looking forward to next week.”
The Nor Cal Dwarf Cars started their night off with a car show in the grandstand area of the speedway that was a big hit with the families and children entering the gates. Youngsters had the chance to sit in the cars and get autographs and pictures from the drivers.
When it came to action on the track, Ryan Winter drove his way to another Placerville win. Winter started third in the field and battled with Mike Grenert, Scott Dahlgren and Shawn Jones for the lead in a race that saw great side by side action. At the finish line Winter was followed by Jones, Grenert, Kevin Bender and Dahlgren.
“It’s always fun to come to Placerville, we love racing here and love the fans,” said Winter. “We had a good clean race tonight and it wasn’t an easy win for sure. We’re happy to be here again.”
Saturday’s championship event was presented by Red Hawk Casino in conjunction with Hoosier Racing Tires, Pepsi, Coors Light, The Mountain Democrat, Thompson Auto Centers and Stymeist Collision Centers. Additional contingency awards were presented by ADCO Driveline and Riebes Auto Parts.
Don’t miss another big night of racing next Saturday night, the final week of point racing action prior to the week off for Memorial Day the following week. The winged sprint cars will return along with the late models, pure stocks and the visiting midget lites of the bay cities racing association. Gates will open at 5 p.m. Qualifying at 6:30. For more information visit www.placervillespeedway.com.