Justin Sanders, Ryan McDaniel, Dan Jinkerson and Ben Wiesz snag exciting wins at Placerville Speedway on Saturday
Placerville, CA – July 14, 2018…When it comes to Winged Sprint Car triumphs throughout Northern California in 2018 Aromas racer Justin Sanders and Auburn’s Andy Forsberg rank right near the top of that list. On Saturday evening at Placerville Speedway the talented duo battled it out towards the end of an exciting 25-lap feature, with Sanders coming out on top to claim his 10th overall victory of the season.
Great racing was seen in all four divisions on Saturday during Mountain Democrat Kids Bike Night. Also tallying entertaining wins and standing atop the podium at the 11th Red Hawk Casino point race were Ryan McDaniel with the Ltd. Late Models, Dan Jinkerson with the Pure Stocks and Ben Wiesz, who earned his first career triumph with the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. Thanks to several companies and individuals a total of 30 kids bikes were raffled off at the event along with other items. RMI would like to thank everyone for their gracious support.
Mather’s Kalib Henry grabbed the initial lead in the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car main event. Justin Sanders had positioned himself in the runner up spot and on lap four blasted to the outside of Henry off the second corner to grab the lead. At that same time the caution flag waved, saving the top spot for Henry. On the restart Sanders again went upstairs and rode the thick Placerville cushion around Henry once again to take over the point off turn two. Henry then got big time sideways and dropped multiple spots shortly after.
A terrific battle then developed between eighth starting Andy Forsberg, Cameron Park’s Shane Hopkins and Hollister’s Tony Gualda. Track prep had taken place prior to the feature and cars were able to run on virtually every square inch of the bullring. On lap 12 Gualda hopped the cushion in turn three and stopped to bring out a yellow, forcing him to the rear of the field. When going back green Hopkins made an impressive move to drive around Forsberg for second but would trip on the cushion in turn four and allow Forsberg to maintain the spot. After this the five-time track champion closed in Sanders and began to hound the rear of the Dale Miller Septic No. 4sa machine.
From lap 17 to 22 Sanders and Forsberg kept fans on the edge of their seats racing through heavy lapped traffic. The duo looked to be setting up for an epic final few laps until the caution lights came on for a spun car in turn two. Once going back green Sanders pulled away, but just prior to getting the checkered, a stalled car in turn four brought out one final yellow. At that same time top-five running Andy Gregg had issues and came to a stop after having an impressive run in the feature.
The green white checkered restart saw Forsberg keep pace with Sanders and give it one final stab down low through the final corners, but Sanders got the drive he needed and crossed the stripe with about a car length to spare. The former Ocean Speedway track champion becomes the first repeat winner of the season in weekly competition at the Placerville Speedway. It also marked his third overall victory of the year on the red clay. Placerville’s own Jimmy Trulli came home in third, with Reno’s Adam Walters in fourth and 14th starter Colby Wiesz of Colfax in fifth.
Gualda rebounded from the early issues to finish sixth, with the remainder of the top-10 comprised of Zane Blanchard, Cody Hodgson, Hopkins and Chris Masters. Hopkins had a career best run going until suffering a flat tire. The three heat races held during the night were captured by Jodie Robinson, Andy Forsberg and Shane Hopkins. The ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award to start the evening was set by Kalib Henry at 10.733. A total of 20 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars were on hand during the night.
Ryan McDaniel is always a driver to beat whenever he signs into the pit area and proved that again on Saturday by racing to his 31st career Ltd. Late Model victory at the Placerville Speedway. At the waving of the green flag in the 20-lap finale it was Eddie Gardner and Matt Michelli battling for the top spot, which eventually went to Michelli. Gardner then got loose one lap later and spun around to bring out the caution. After going back green McDaniel fought his way to the lead that he would never relinquish.
The action behind McDaniel was hot and heavy with Ray Trimble ultimately grabbing the second spot at the checkered flag. Michelli, Wayne Trimble and Jay Norton completed the top-five. Dan Brown Jr., Tyler Lightfoot, Matt Davis, Gardner and Kiely Ricardo rounded out the top-10. Twelve Ltd. Late Models were in competition during the evening with heat race wins going to Ryan McDaniel and Wayne Trimble.
The 20-lap Pure Stock main event was arguably the show of the night with outstanding racing up front. Scott Grunert grabbed the initial lead with his father Rick Grunert all over him. On lap four Dan Jinkerson joined the Grunert show and made it a three-wide battle for the lead until the caution flag waved bringing the party to a stop. When going back green the racing remained intense with Rick Grunert again slicing to the inside of Scott. On lap nine an amazing five car tussle for the lead was then seen, before a caution waved for defending champion Jason Palmer.
On the restart Rick Grunert fought his way into the top spot on lap 10 as numerous drivers raced inches away from each other. Cars were high, low and in the middle of the speedway in a thrilling display of stock car racing. Jinkerson motored to the high-side of the quarter-mile and battled Grunert for a couple circuits, before grabbing p1 on lap 16. With just a couple laps remaining Chase Grigsby, making a start for the injured Orville Owens, closed in on Jinkerson and tried to steal the win. Jinkerson would have none of it however and crossed the stripe by just over a half a second back to Grigsby. Ryan Peter, Nick Baldwin and Scott Grunert completed the top-five.
Rounding out the top-10 in the feature were Matt Tilford, Kevin Jinkerson, Ronnie Richard, Lonnie Lennard and Tommy Sturgon. A total of 12 Pure Stocks signed into the pit area. Heats were captured by Ryan Peter and Nick Baldwin.
The Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association had an exciting 20-lap main event that went right down to the wire and featured a first-time winner in the form of Ben Wiesz. Buddy Olschowka took the lead at the waving of the green flag and held command until Danny Wagner jumped from third to first in one fell swoop on lap two. Three-wide racing was seen throughout the field early on as the well-prepared racing surface lent itself to some excellent Dwarf Car racing. Shawn Jones made his presence known by taking over second just prior to a caution on lap six.
On the restart Jones closed in on the leader until he got over the cushion and momentarily lost second. Jones battled back into second shortly after and then rocketed to the lead on lap 10, only to have a caution negate the pass. On the restart Jones sliced under Wagner to take over the top spot, while Ryan Winter eventually carved his way to second after a lap 14 restart. Jones then encountered issues that left him over the edge of the cushion with just five laps remaining in the race. This handed the lead over to Winter, who had Ben Wiesz applying heavy duty pressure once going back green.
Wiesz had found a great line up top that gave him immense momentum coming off the corner. With just two circuits left Wiesz charged to the high-side once again and shot past Winter to take over the lead. The son of sprint car veteran Colby Wiesz led the final lap and a half to earn his first ever Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association victory over Winter, Wagner, Olschowka and Mike Reeder. The top-10 was rounded out by Kevin Bender, Mike Grenert, Colby Wiesz, Bryan Bender and Dan Geil. A healthy field of 31 Dwarf Cars were in action on Saturday. Heats went to Shawn Jones, Ben Wiesz, Josh Wiesz and Mike Reeder. The B-main was won by Scott Dahlgren.
The Placerville Speedway returns to action this coming Saturday July 21 for “Night on the Water” featuring the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, the C&H Veteran Ent. presents Hunt Magnetos Wingless Tour, Pure Stocks and Mini Trucks. Online tickets for the event are available at www.placervillespeedway.com
Photos courtesy of Cleveland Digital Imaging