Dads and Grads Night wins at Placerville Speedway go to Jimmy Trulli, Matt Michelli, Dan Jinkersen a
Placerville, CA – June 2, 2018…It had been since 2015 that Placerville’s favorite son Jimmy Trulli visited victory lane at the Placerville Speedway. Going into last night he sat atop the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car standings and showed that it was no fluke, leading all 25-laps in the feature to score his fifth career victory at the quarter-mile.
It had also been over a year since Dan Jinkersen stood in victory lane with the Pure Stocks, but he changed that after making a late-race move to earn the win. Defending track champion Matt Michelli scooped up the Ltd. Late Model main event and Hunter Kinney was victorious with the BCRA Midget Lites. A total of 61-cars graced the pit area to help open the month of June on Saturday during “Dads and Grads” Night.
The Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 A-main boasted extra money from High Sierra Industries, which increased the winning total to $2,000.
Veterans Mike Benson and Jimmy Trulli shared the front row for the 25-lap feature on Saturday. Trulli shot to the lead, but things came to a halt when Justin Johnson slowed off turn four on lap-two. Trulli stretched his advantage on the double file restart, but a multi-car pileup with Steven Tiner, Kyle Offill and Kaleb Montgomery occurred in the second corner to bring out the yellow again a few laps later.
On the restart Clarksburg’s Justyn Cox executed a bold move to make it three-wide and rocketed into second running the high-scary side. Roseville’s Sean Becker started ninth and moved into fourth on lap six, just prior to a red flag period for Matt Peterson, who was unhurt in the tommy tip over. A couple more cautions would wave, before another red flag stoppage was seen for Shane Hopkins with 16-laps complete. Hopkins emerged okay. Once going back green another lap was completed, before Jodie Robinson spun off the first corner.
During the ensuing restart second running Cox was called for a jump and penalized one row, which now moved Andy Gregg up to the front row alongside Trulli for the double file restart. When going back green Becker continued his march forward and sliced his way into the runner up position. The remaining distance saw Becker try his hardest to find a way around Trulli, as he hounded the tail tank of the familiar No. 33T Sprinter. The crowd certainly got their monies worth over the closing laps and at the checkered it was Trulli holding off Becker by half a second to claim the popular win.
Becker capped a solid run aboard the Dan Monhoff owned No. 88N mount in second and looked extremely strong in the later stages. Gregg had a fine outing and finished in third, while Watsonville’s Justin Sanders had a successful debut in the Dale Miller owned No. 4SA machine to claim fourth. The former Ocean Speedway champion made some nice moves late in the race. Cox completed the top-five in what was the third point race of the season for the Winged 360 Sprint Cars.
Auburns Andy Forsberg, Visalia’s Steven Tiner, Reno’s Adam Walters, Fair Oak’s Jake Morgan and Calistoga’s Mike Benson rounded out the top-10 in the main event. Heat race wins went to Andy Forsberg, Tony Gualda, Justyn Cox and Jimmy Trulli. The B-main was captured by Kaleb Montgomery.
The ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award to start the evening was claimed by Andy Gregg with a time of 10.996 around the quarter-mile. A total of 24 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars were on hand during the night.
Matt Michelli and Dennis Ahart made up the front row in the 20-lap Ltd. Late Model feature. When the green flag waved Michelli jumped out front with a three-car battle immediately emerging for the second spot. Jay Norton, Ray Trimble and Dennis Ahart fought hard for the position, which ultimately saw Trimble snag on lap-four. Michelli had his way out front until a lapped car got sideways in front of him on lap 14, forcing him to check up and allowing Trimble the opportunity to close in.
With the laps winding down Trimble charged hard around the high-side of the speedway to try and make something happen with the leader. Trimble certainly made it close, but Michelli was able to take the checkered flag with a slim 0.411 seconds margin of victory. It marked Michelli’s 24th career Ltd. Late Model triumph at the Placerville Speedway. Dennis Ahart crossed the stripe in third, with Randy McDaniel and Jay Norton rounding out the top-five.
Ten Ltd. Late Models were in competition on Saturday. Heat race wins were picked off by Ray Trimble and Randy McDaniel.
Mike Stoeckle and Kevin Jinkersen set the front row for the 20-lap Pure Stock main event. Jinkersen took the early lead, while Jason Palmer rocketed from sixth to third on the opening lap. Orville Owens challenged Jinkersen down low looking for the top spot on lap-nine but would spin a complete 360 and lose several spots one-lap later. Palmer then raced to the inside of Jinkersen on lap 11 looking for the lead, as the two ran side by side all the way around the speedway.
Palmer’s bid at making it five-for-five in Pure Stock competition to start the season then came to an end when the center section of his right rear wheel broke off on lap 13.
After going back green Dan Jinkersen then made his presence known, carving his way into the second spot. The closing laps would see a battle of the Jinkersen brother’s up front, as Kevin tried to hold off Dan. With just a couple circuits remaining Dan made the winning move to get under Kevin off turn four and went on to cross the stripe, earning his first Placerville Speedway win since May of last year.
Scott Grunert won out in a torrid battle with Nick Baldwin to claim third, while Dave Silva had a strong run to complete the top-five. For Baldwin his fourth-place finish was ultra-impressive after a heat race infraction relegated him to the rear of the lineup for the feature. Fifteen Pure Stocks were in action during Dads and Grads Night. Heat race wins were claimed by Dan Jinkersen and Dave Silva.
Danica Joe Parker and Steve Brown shared the front row in the 20-lap BCRA Midget Lite finale. Parker took the early lead at the waving of the Ron Stahl green flag. Hunter Kinney challenged for second and took it with one lap complete. Rounding turn four he then made a bid for the lead, but contact would ensue with Parker who got sideways. Brown also received part of the action and slowed to a stop on lap two. Kinney was scored as the leader and held command until another caution on lap-five.
On the restart Scott Kinney climbed to third after starting from the 12th position but his run would end with mechanical issues on lap 15. The final five-circuits saw Dakota Albright close in on the leader, but he ran out of time as Kinney crossed the stripe to claim the victory. It was a nice rebound for Kinney after a scary flip the previous appearance in Placerville. Albright, Joseph Ferolito, Terry Bergstrom and Gus Carcione rounded out the top-five.
A total of 12 BCRA Midget Lites signed into the pit area on Saturday. Two heat races were held and snagged by Hunter Kinney and Gus Carcione.
Full results from the night can be viewed at https://speedhive.mylaps.com/Events/1537003
The Placerville Speedway will return to action this coming Saturday June 9 with the annual Thompson’s Auto Fan Appreciation Day and Pit Party. Tickets for the night of racing cost just $5! Divisions set to attack the red clay include the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks and the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. To learn more in the coming week visit www.placervillespeedway.com
Photos courtesy of Jason Tucker