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The Bullring Bullet strikes again at Placerville Speedway

By Gary Thomas

Images courtesy of Tim Holland

Placerville, CA…Aromas, California’s Justin Sanders has been known to find some late race magic at Placerville Speedway and that was the certainly the case on Saturday, as he made the move past Shane Golobic with three laps left, en route to his fourth career Sprint Car Challenge Tour triumph.

The $3,000 opening night victory for Sanders moved him into a tie for third place all-time with SCCT and came aboard the Dale Miller Septic/ Thompson’s Auto and Truck Centers No. 4SA mount. Sharing victory lane at the Spring Fever Frenzy were Jake Andreotti with the USAC Western States Midgets and AJ Bender with the BCRA Lightning Sprints. A total of 88 race cars packed the Placerville pits to open season number 57.

The first Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards main event of the season began with Colfax veteran Willie Croft jumping into the lead. Croft had earlier earned the Bianchi Farms Fast Time Award and captured the High Sierra Industries Dash to receive the pole for the 35-lapper.

Fremont’s Shane Golobic hounded him for several laps however, as the duo put on an entertaining tussle at the front of the field.

Golobic was able to slice his way past Croft for the lead on lap 12 and began to pull away ever so slightly. At this point last season’s Garth Moore Insurance Rookie of the Year Isaiah Vasquez found the high side to his liking, eventually charging up to second. Vasquez turned some of the best A-main laps of his young career and appeared to have something for the leader, but Golobic was oh so smooth as usual on the bottom of the speedway.

Justin Sanders had methodically worked his way forward and then slipped past Vasquez for second on a lap 22 restart. He stayed within striking distance of the top spot before a caution with four laps remaining. When the green flag waved for the final time Sanders came hard after the Matt Wood Racing No. 17W and blasted to the high side coming to the line on lap 37. He was able to get by heading into turn one and drove off to accept the Ron Stahl checkered flag.

Golobic crossed the stripe in second, with Roseville’s Sean Becker capping off a solid night in third. Lincoln’s Blake Carrick finished fourth and rounding out the top-five was Vasquez. Stephen Ingraham earned the Pit Stop USA Hard Charger Award coming from 21st to ninth. Michael Ing took home the Quick Time Mortgage first non-transfer award in the B-main, while Korey Lovell claimed an extra $100 from D&D Roofing for coming home 14th in the semi.

Sanders won the Tiner-Hirst Ent. heat race, with Max Mittry claiming BR Motorsports heat two, Kalib Henry won King Racing Products heat three, Blake Carrick took home A.R.T. Speed Equipment heat four and Logan Forler won Sierra Foothills Wine Service heat five. A total of 51 competitors signed into the pit area for race one with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour.

SCCT A-main Finish:

1. 4SA-Justin Sanders[6]; 2. 17W-Shane Golobic[2]; 3. 22X-Sean Becker[4]; 4. 38B-Blake Carrick[9]; 5. 83SA-Isaiah Vasquez[3]; 6. 21-Shane Hopkins[8]; 7. 2L-Logan Forler[5]; 8. 29-Willie Croft[1]; 9. 93-Stephen Ingraham[21]; 10. 56-Michael Faccinto[13]; 11. X1-Kaleb Montgomery[15]; 12. 2XM-Max Mittry[7]; 13. 7C-Steven Tiner[24]; 14. 01-Kalib Henry[10]; 15. 83V-Joel Myers Jr[23]; 16. 42X-Tim Kaeding[17]; 17. 94-Greg Decaires V[16]; 18. 75-Tony Gomes[12]; 19. 92-Andy Forsberg[11]; 20. 5C-Trent Canales[18]; 21. 9-Dustin Freitas[14]; 22. 5H-Colby Johnson[22]; 23. 33T-Jimmy Trulli[20]; 24. 31C-Justyn Cox[19]

Castro Valley’s Jake Andreotti raced to victory with the USAC Western States/ BCRA Midgets in the 20-lap finale. Hanford’s Michael Faccinto came home in second, followed by San Diego’s AJ Bender, Fremont’s Shane Golobic and Bakersfield’s Shannon McQueen. Golobic began the evening by setting a new USAC Western States Midget track record with a time of 11.663. The first race in the Elk Grove Ford Mini Series brought out 23 cars, with the next event taking place April 23rd at Merced Speedway.

USAC/BCRA Midget A-main Finish:

1. 00-Jake Andreotti[2]; 2. 14J-Michael Faccinto[3]; 3. 1X-AJ Bender[7]; 4. 17W-Shane Golobic[6]; 5. 7-Shannon McQueen[4]; 6. 83-Austin Liggett[1]; 7. 14JR-Dylan Bloomfield[10]; 8. 9-Blake Bower[8]; 9. 7NZ-Travis Buckley[11]; 10. 21W-Ben Wiesz[14]; 11. 8-Randi Pankratz[16]; 12. 5K-Ben Worth[5]; 13. 31B-Kyle Beilman[13]; 14. 20-CJ Sarna[15]; 15. 6K-Michael Snider[17]; 16. 13-Danika Jo Parker[21]; 17. 18-Floyd Alvis[19]; 18. 32-Caden Sarale[12]; 19. 1K-Anthony Esberg[18]; 20. 8X-Thomas Esberg[20]; 21. 6X-Dakota Albright[22]; 22. 14-Beau Lemire Rescue[23]

Talented San Diego racer AJ Bender made the long drive up pay off with a triumph in the 20-lap BCRA Lightning Sprint feature. Elk Grove’s Matt Land made his return to Placerville Speedway on Saturday and finished off the event in second after also setting fast time earlier in the program. Hunter Kinney, Tim Kinser and Gage Meyers completed the top-five.

BCRA Lightning Sprint A-main Finish:

1. 41B-AJ Bender[3]; 2. 91-Matt Land[2]; 3. 25K-Hunter Kinney[10]; 4. 37-Tim Kinser[8]; 5. 99-Gage Meyers[13]; 6. 21J-Jayden Meyer[9]; 7. 3F-Brandon Leedy[4]; 8. 21C-Cody Meyer[6]; 9. 5-Rick Holbrook[11]; 10. 47-Greg Dennett[7]; 11. 343-Tyler Gerdes[5]; 12. (DQ) 17F-Harlee Aguilera[1]

Placerville Speedway returns to action next Saturday April 2nd with the opening Hoosier Tires championship point race. On hand will be the Thompson’s Winged 360 Sprint Cars, the Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks, the Mtn. Democrat Mini Trucks and the Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprints.