Placerville Speedway bids farewell to Jody Gray/ Welcomes new Fairgrounds CEO Kathy Dunkak
By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA…For the first time since Russell Motorsports Inc. assumed management in 2016 the Placerville Speedway is set to work with somebody new at the helm of the El Dorado County Fairgrounds this year.
Long-time Fairgrounds CEO Jody Gray recently announced her retirement, which paves the way for Kathy Dunkak to now assume the position.
“After 20 years, I have decided to retire,” stated Gray. “It has been a very hard decision to make, however, I have other business interests that I would like to spend more time on and would like to lessen my load. Lucky for me, I was involved in helping the Board of Directors choose my replacement. That was not hard, as Kathy Dunkak has been my Deputy Manager for many years and we work so well together, that this will be an easy transition for all.”
Kami Arnold of RMI spoke about Gray retiring and the relationship they’ve built over the last several years. “Looking back, as newbies to promoting, we were fortunate to have Jody as our CEO. She was patient and took the time to educate us on policies and procedures. We shared common goals of making improvements. Jody was gracious and always willing to listen and work with us. We will miss Jody and her infectious, positive attitude but wish her well and hope she enjoys her retirement. Maybe we will see her at a race here and there.”
During Gray’s 20-year tenure she was a big part of several upgrades and improvements around the fairgrounds, including the racetrack.
“There were many projects on the fairgrounds, but with regards to the track, the main goal we shared with her was constructing new pit restrooms on the backstretch,” Arnold continued. “It was a long process, but seeing it come to fruition is rewarding and to have them nearly done prior to her retirement is rewarding as well. Throughout our time at Placerville Speedway there have been many projects; Jody was instrumental in helping us get resources to repair the drainage in turn 4. She also utilized grant funds to repair the wells and water tower. She is very forward thinking and proactive. The new RV Park is a product of her vision that became a reality. The fairgrounds is a large property, with a lot of infrastructure and she was very cognizant of maintaining the buildings and grounds.”
As noted, new CEO Kathy Dunkak is no stranger to the El Dorado County Fairgrounds, having served as the Deputy Manager since 2017. She has also filled several different roles including security for the fair, working in the maintenance department and performing bookkeeping in the office among others.