Since opening in 1965 the Placerville Speedway has been a favorite among fans throughout Northern California. This Saturday night, we are proud to pay homage to a man that had a key role in making it all possible, with the 20th “Tribute to Al Hinds” taking to the red clay.
The event began in 2004 following the passing of early track promoter and mentor, Al Hinds, a longtime Placerville resident and true race fan that touched the lives of many.
Hinds was the second promoter of Placerville Speedway. He took operation of the track with business partner Richard Hirst from its founder, Bruno Romani, in 1968, three years after it first opened when the facility was built around an existing community football field.
The operator of a local machine shop by trade, Hinds loved the community where he lived. In his final years of life, he enjoyed sitting with some of his best friends every night in the grandstands at Placerville Speedway and loved watching young talent make a name for themselves in the sport.
Former track announcer and publicist Bill Sullivan said of Hinds, “From the day he set foot on the red clay at Placerville Speedway to the very last race he attended, Al Hinds continued to display his true love for auto racing and the community. Even in his final years he continued to help young drivers, entertain fans and most importantly he spent a great deal of time talking to and mentoring those that helped in speedway operations. When Hinds spoke, anyone who cared remotely about the future of the sport would sit down and listen.”
The inaugural Tribute to Al Hinds was captured by Roger Crockett, while last season saw Justin Sanders become the first four-time winner of the event.
Modesto’s Tony Gomes heads into the Tribute to Al Hinds fresh off his second career Thompson’s Winged Sprint Car victory last Saturday. The 23-year-old will look to double up this weekend but will face stiff pressure from Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, Hanford’s Michael Faccinto, Indiana native Brinton Marvel, Placerville’s Shane Hopkins, Dunnigan’s Luke Hays, Suisun City’s Chance Grasty and others.
The Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks make their third appearance of the season on Saturday, as Oakley’s Nick Baldwin looks to make it three in a row to start the year. Last weekend he had all he could handle from Diamond Springs’ Kevin Jinkerson and Placerville’s Russ Murphy.
Rounding out the card this Saturday will be the Anrak Corporation Ltd. Late Models and the BCRA Lightning Sprints. Both classes make their second stop of the campaign on the red clay. Live Oak’s Matt Michelli claimed the Late Model opener on March 18th, while Waterford’s Dakota Albright picked off the BCRA feature on March 25th.
Adult tickets for the Tribute to Al Hinds this Saturday April 15th cost $18, while seniors 62+, military and juniors 12-17 will be $16. Kids 6-11 cost $7 and those five and under are free. Purchase tickets online at https://www.eventsprout.com/event/ppr-2023 or at the gate on race day.
Grandstand seating is general admission this Saturday night, except for the reserved seats marked for season ticket holders. Pit passes can be purchased at the pit gate or on Pit Pay to take advantage of the expanded seating area on the hill, which is first come, first serve.
The pit gate will open at noon, with the front gate opening at 3pm. Happy Hour is offered when the gates open until 6pm in the grandstands featuring live music along with discounted Coors Light and Coors Original at the beer booth.
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 each event with the Sprint Car Challenge Tour in 2023. Fans can purchase through a monthly membership or on a per race basis via https://calidirt.tv/
The Placerville Speedway is located on the beautiful El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, California. Take Hwy US-50 to Forni Road/Placerville Drive exit. Then go north on Placerville Drive to the Fairgrounds. The physical address is 100 Placerville Dr., Placerville, CA 95667. For more information on the Placerville Speedway log onto http://www.placervillespeedway.com
The quarter-mile clay oval is operated by Russell Motorsports Incorporated, which can be reached at the track business office at 530-344-7592. Contact Kami Arnold or Scott Russell directly for sponsorship opportunities at the office.
Join over 16,800 followers of Placerville Speedway on Facebook, where you can keep abreast of updates for the 2023 season. You can also find Placerville Speedway on Twitter by following us https://twitter.com/pvillespeedway - In addition, Placerville Speedway is also on Instagram. Please follow us @PvilleSpeedway.
Upcoming events at Placerville Speedway: Saturday April 15: Thompson’s Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Anrak Ltd. Late Models, Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks and BCRA Lightning Sprints | 20th annual Tribute to Al Hinds
Saturday April 22: Tri-State Pro Stock Series, Anrak Ltd. Late Models, Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks, Mini Trucks and Vintage Hard Tops | Tilford Tribute
Saturday April 29: Thompson’s Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Anrak Ltd. Late Models, Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks and Mini Trucks
Story by Gary Thomas. Images courtesy of Tim Holland.