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Justin Sanders wins an instant classic on opening night at Placerville Speedway


By Gary Thomas


Placerville, CA…Justin Sanders and Shane Golobic have been a part of some classic battles over the years in California and on opening night at Placerville Speedway, the pair provided the crowd on hand with a show they won’t soon forget.


At the end it was Sanders who came out on top by just inches at the Ron Stahl checkered flag, following 25 hard fought laps of competition with the Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged Sprint Cars. It marked the 22nd career Winged 360 triumph at Placerville Speedway for Sanders, giving him sole possession of ninth all-time.


Sharing victory lane on opening night were Josh Young with the Wingless Sprint Cars, Nick Baldwin with the Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks and Matt Micheli with the Anrak Corporation Limited Late Models.


The Thompson’s Winged 360 Sprint Car feature came to the line with Lincoln’s Tanner Carrick and Roseville’s Colby Copeland sharing the front row. Things got off to an exciting start as the pair went three wide with Fremont’s Shane Golobic, prior to a caution waving after a lap was complete. Track conditions were in tip top shape, lending to some of the best Sprint Car racing we’ve seen in some time on the red clay.


Once things got into a groove it was Carrick holding command as heavy duty lapped traffic came into play, which bunched up the front runners. Carrick, Golobic, Copeland and Aromas throttle masher Justin Sanders raced inches from each other through traffic, zig zagging their way around the quarter mile. Golobic, last years winner on Legends Night, would slice his way to the inside and snag the lead on 13, only to have Carrick return the favor a couple circuits later.


The relentless Golobic kept at it and drove back by Carrick for the top spot on lap 19. Sanders also followed along, jumping into the runner up position. A green, white, checkered restart set up the thrilling conclusion in which Golobic and Sanders battled back and forth to decide the winner. With the duo racing off turn four to the checkered flag, Sanders executed a picture-perfect cross over move to nip Golobic at the line by 0.026 seconds.


Copeland, Carrick and Modesto’s Tony Gomes rounded out the top-five. Finishing sixth through 10thwere Sean Becker, Kaleb Montgomery, Dylan Bloomfield, Shane Hopkins and Andy Forsberg. Heat race wins during the night were pocketed by Sean Becker, Shane Golobic, Tony Gomes and Tanner Carrick, while Andy Forsberg won the B-main. Colby Copeland began the night by earning the ADCO Driveline Fast Time Award with a lap of 10.684, pacing the 25-car field.


Winged Sprint Car results: 1. 4SA-Justin Sanders[4]; 2. 17W-Shane Golobic[3]; 3. 5V-Colby Copeland[2]; 4. 83T-Tanner Carrick[1]; 5. 7C-Tony Gomes[7]; 6. 35-Sean Becker[8]; 7. 3-Kaleb Montgomery[6]; 8. 83V-Dylan Bloomfield[5]; 9. 21-Shane Hopkins[15]; 10. 92-Andy Forsberg[17]; 11. X1-Michael Faccinto[10]; 12. 21T-Cole Macedo[13]; 13. 5H-Brinton Marvel[14]; 14. 9L-Luke Hayes[9]; 15. 87-Ashlyn Rodriguez[20]; 16. 12R-Mitchell Faccinto[18]; 17. 12J-John Clark[19]; 18. 21X-Gauge Garcia[12]; 19. 25-Justin Johnson[11]; 20. 37-Michael Pombo[16]


The always exciting Wingless Sprint Cars made their first of six appearances this season on opening night. In the end it was Roseville’s Josh Young who parked it on the front stretch for his first career Placerville Speedway victory.


Oakley’s Jacob Tuttle and Placerville’s Shane Hopkins made up the front row for the 20-lap contest. Several movers and shakers were seen in the main event as multiple cars had a shot at victory. Josh Young, DJ Johnson, Trey Walters and more fought it out to bring home the win during the opening show of 2023. Once Young carved his way to the point he cut smooth and consistent laps to bring home the checkered flag over Johnson, Walters, Mark Hanson and Brent Steck.


Wingless Sprint Car results: 1. 7EJ-Josh Young[5]; 2. 33DJ-DJ Johnson[3]; 3. 1W-Trey Walters[14]; 4. 79-Mark Hanson[6]; 5. 2STX-Brent Steck[4]; 6. 5-Kaimi Moniz Costa[11]; 7. 71-James East[7]; 8. 3T-Jacob Tuttle[1]; 9. 92A-Jeff Scotto[9]; 10. 87R-Pat Richards[12]; 11. 49-Joe McCoy[15]; 12. 21-Shane Hopkins[2]; 13. 32-Shawn Arriaga[13]; 14. 18-Josh Gillis[8]; 15. 33-Heath Holdsclaw[10]


Oakley’s Nick Baldwin has been the dominant force in recent years when it comes to the Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks. Opening night saw him start from the outside of the front row and drive to his 21st career Placerville Speedway win, which places him in a tie for eighth all-time with Bob Briggs.


Diamond Springs racer Kevin Jinkerson did keep Baldwin honest during the 20-lap feature though, as he stalked his rear bumper every step of the way. Jinkerson came home second followed by Micky D’Angelo, Kenny Bernstein and Shaun Bennion in the top-five.


Pure Stock results: 1. 17-Nick Baldwin[2]; 2. 30-Kevin Jinkerson[1]; 3. 55-Micky Dangelo[9]; 4. 43-Kenny Bernstein[5]; 5. 48-Shaun Bennion[6]; 6. 1-Chris D'angelo[7]; 7. 93-Mel Byers[8]; 8. 86-Thomas Arbogast[4]; 9. 27-William Upton[3]


The Placerville Speedway doesn’t have the opportunity to see Matt Micheli as often as we used, but the Live Oak driver returned in triumphant fashion last night, racing to his 25th career Anrak Ltd. Late Model win at the track. The victory puts him nine wins away from Ryan McDaniel, who holds the most all-time in the division. 


Auburn’s Ray Trimble stayed within striking distance, before settling for a runner up result at the conclusion. Matt Davis, Dan Jinkerson and Tyler Lightfoot completed the top-five.


Ltd. Late Model results: 1. 96M-Matt Micheli[1]; 2. 37-Ray Trimble[3]; 3. 54-Matt Davis[5]; 4. 23-Dan Jinkerson[2]; 5. 23J-Tyler Lightfoot[6]; 6. 57-Rod Oliver[4]


Placerville Speedway is right back at it this coming Saturday March 25th with the season opener for the Elk Grove Ford Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Abreu Vineyards. The “Spring Fever Frenzy” also showcases the BCRA Lightning Sprints.


For those who can’t make it to the track, CaliDirt.TV will provide live flag-to-flag coverage of every Placerville Speedway point race this season. The live streaming service also includes every event with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour in 2023. Fans can purchase through a monthly membership or on a per race basis (equivalent of a front gate ticket) via https://calidirt.tv/


Images courtesy of Tim Holland Photos 

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