The strange spring weather in Northern California continues. After a week in the 90’s, Saturday night it was windy, cold and raining in some areas. The racing in Chico was canceled due to rain but in Placerville they were able to get a complete night of racing in. Here is the report:
PLACERVILLE, CA (5-7-11) – The 2011 Fast and Furious Dirt Track Racing Season resumed at Placerville Speedway Saturday night with four divisions of racing on the quarter mile clay oval. Late in the day heavy clouds moved into the area and the eyes were closely following the radar from the point the green flag waved in qualifying. With a combined effort by track officials and all of the competitors a fast paced racing program took place to treat the fans to a full night of racing just moments before the rain began to fall.
“I really have to credit my whole crew for their hard work tonight, things got a little intense when the weather moved in and we weren’t sure we were going to beat the rain once we got started,” said track promoter Alan Handy. “Thanks to the great team work of all our officials and strong fan support on another night where Mother Nature tried to win, we got a great night of racing completed and I have to thank everyone involved.”
In the winged sprint car division, the driver that is known as The Colfax Comet returned to victory lane at Placerville with his new Rosser Motorsports race team. Former champion Colby Wiesz led every one of the 25 laps in the Hoosier Racing Tires feature event. The win didn’t come without a defensive effort by Wiesz, who was challenged throughout the race by defending track champion Andy Forsberg of Auburn.
Wiesz started Saturday’s event on the outside of the front row. With the waving of the green flag he powered the #23R Rosser Rocket around pole sitter Chad Compton of Fair Oaks to take lead he would never relinquish despite the challenges of Forsberg who quickly muscled his way up from the eighth place starting position.
Once Forsberg closed in on Wiesz a dogfight ensued that lasted for most of a race that saw its share of caution periods. The most serious delays came at the expense of Placerville’s CJ Humphreys who suffered a violent flip down the front stretch to draw a red flag. Rookie driver Matt Land of Elk Grove, who won his first career heat race earlier in the night, drew the second red flag of the event when he flipped over in the third turn after a collision with Steve Osborne. Both drivers walked away without injury.
As the race entered its final stages,Wiesz was racing the lower line of the track while Forsberg was racing on the top of the track trying to gain the moment to power past Wiesz. Forsberg is known for his high line driving style at Placerville that has proved successful time and time again. Although his car was working well down low, Wiesz was well aware that he had to defend the high line of the track to pull off the win.
Moving up to the high line of the track, Wiesz forced Forsberg to race the lower groove in the final stages of the race. Forsberg raced both high and low searching for a trump card in which he could use to overtake Wiesz. His hard fought efforts came up short at the checkered flag. Wiesz was followed across the line by Forsberg, Placerville’s Scott Russell, Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli who started 7th and Sean Becker of Antelope who rounded out the top five.
“This was one of those nights where having that fancy scoreboard at this place really paid off,” said Wiesz. “I used it to my advantage tonight because once I saw Forsberg had moved into second place behind me I knew I was going to have to find something to work with up top because that’s his fast line. This car worked high and low tonight. I can’t thank Rich Rosser and this whole team for this opportunity to drive for them this year, it’s a great team and they do a great job on a tight budget. It’s nice to get a win here with them.”
In the Pure Stock division Saturday night, the name Tilford returned to victory lane once again. This time, it was former Rookie of the Year Matt Tilford of Orangevale returned to the driver’s seat for the first time this season and drove his way to a victory that broke point leader’s Clarence Holbrook’s early season undefeated status.
Tilford started the 20-lap race on the outside of the second row behind Woodland’s Rick Grunert, Holbrook and Marek Bernert of Orangevale. In the first three laps of the race, Tilford made it clear he meant business and that Holbrook’s two race win streak was in jeopardy. After trailing the leader for the first half of the race, Tilford made the move on the 12th lap when he powered past Holbrook to take the lead out of the fourth turn.
Once in front, Tilford drove the #92 camaro to a lead of several car lengths. Holbrook eventually suffered a flat tire and fell out of contention. In the final laps of the race Tilford was trailed by Burney McClure of Nevada City. Rick Grunert of Woodland finished in third followed by Chris Van Roekel of Grass Valley and John Hollow Horn Bear who garnered a top five.
“I really have thank my whole family that works together to get this car out here, no matter which one of us is driving it,” said Tilford. “Clarence was driving a really good race this was his race to win and I finally had a good run to get by him there. I really want to wish all the Mom’s a happy Mother’s Day tomorrow and thank all of the people and sponsors that pitch in and keep this #92 running strong.”
In the Limited Late Model feature event, Auburn’s Tom Arbogast drove his way to his first feature win of the year. The evening’s race brought additional sponsorship from the Wilton Garage and Arbogast knew his odds were good at picking up the added cash when he started on the pole for the feature event that was shortened to the 15 lap mark due to incoming weather.
At the waving of the green flag, Arbogast muscled into a healthy lead. He was challenged throughout the race by Auburn’s Matt Davis. At the finish line Arbogast was followed by Davis and the defending track champion Dan Brown Jr of Grass Valley. Doug Grandboise of Jackson finished in fourth followed by Les Friend of Galt.
“I really want to thank Wilton Garage for sponsoring tonight’s race,” said Arbogast. “It’s great to see people supporting this division that were still working on growing. I think we have a great division coming together and I really want to thank Alan Handy and the fans for showing their support in it. We had a good car tonight, I have to thank my crew and my family. We’ve had some struggles getting this thing set up but we kept at it and I think we finally have it figured out.”
The three track regulars were joined by the Midget Lites of the Bay Cities Racing Association Saturday night. Cory Green of Elk Grove led all 15-laps of the feature race to take home the win. Green was followed by Cameron Beard of Turlock, Joey Hoover of Rancho Cordova, Pete Paulson of Woodland and Jason Sneep of Newark. For complete details on this division visit www.bcraracing.com.
Racing at Placerville Speedway is presented by Handy Racing Promotions Incorporated. The 2011 racing season is sponsored by Red Hawk Casino, Hoosier Tires, Riebes Auto Parts, The Mountain Democrat, Coors Light and Pepsi Cola. Additional promotional consideration includes Carls’ Jr. Resturants, The Windfall Classifieds, Arnolds for Awards, Minuteman Press, The Paint Spot, Dunn Consulting, ADCO Driveline, Roger Miller Concrete and more.
Championship point racing resumes next Saturday at Placerville Speedway. The grandstands will open up at 5 p.m. on Saturday night. Qualifying begins at 6:30 p.m. followed by heat races at 7. Adult tickets will be $13, Juniors and Seniors will be $11, Children $6. Those five and under will be admitted for free. All seating at Placerville Speedway is first come-first serve at 5 p.m. Learn more about Saturday’s event at www.placervillespeedway.com. It’s all happening at Placerville Speedway, where more than one million fans have entertained with fast and furious dirt track racing all summer long since 1965.
Media Release from Handy Racing Promotions Inc.
All photos courtesy of Donna Peter from Race Photos by Donna.