The 2011 Fast and Furious Dirt Track Racing Season lived up to its name Saturday at Placerville Speedway as the biggest race of the season at the 46-year-old quarter-mile dirt track attracted a standing-room-only crowd.
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At the end of the first Hoosier Tires Civil War Series event of the season here, Chico’s Stephen Allard had a hard-earned $2,000 win driving No. 77f, fielded by Finley Farms. He shared victory lane with Mason Myers of Browns Valley, winner of the Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprint Car division.
“I can’t thank this team enough for the opportunity to drive for them (his team),” Allard said. “I’m glad I was able to give them a win tonight and a good race for all the fans who came out to watch us.”
The CWS campaign races at six California tracks in 14 events with car counts and competition second to none as drivers vie for more than $250,000 over the year and $10,000 for the eventual champion.
A total of 35 cars competed Saturday. Lodi’s Shawn Wright was the fast qualifier with a 10:813-second lap; Allard turned 10:949 to take fifth.
After winning the first heat race of the evening, an eight-car inversion left Allard on the outside of row four for the 30-lap feature. When the green flag waved, he set his sights on the top three as Sacramento’s Herman Klein took the early lead off the outside of the front row and went to battle with Visalia’s Steven Tiner, who started third. Pole sitter Greg De Caires of Elk Grove had a drive train failure at the start and veered into the infield to avoid an incident.
After chasing Klein for six laps, Tiner grabbed the lead in turns 1 and 2 with Allard still in fifth as the front runners raced into lapped traffic. Allard moved to fourth on lap 8, overtook Kyle Hirst for third and then passed Klein on lap 14 to take over second.
Once in the bridesmaid position, Allard searched for a faster line on the dry, slick track as the two leaders broke away from the pack. With 22 laps down, Allard dove inside of turns 1 and 2 for the lead.
He nearly crashed moments later when he was struck by the lapped car of David Silveria on the back stretch. Allard maintained his line, but Silveria climbed the back-stretch wall and rolled over along with Shane Golobic.
The red flag helped Tiner, putting him back on the pole for the restart with eight laps left. At the green flag, Tiner and Allard resumed battling for the low line. On lap 27, Allard took the high side of turns 3 and 4 and muscled outside of Tiner, going in front as they approached the front stretch.
Allard was followed across the finish by Tiner and Klein. Antelope’s Sean Becker was fourth and Elk Grove’s Nicole Miller rounded out the top five.
“When that red flag came out I knew it wasn’t going to help us,” Allard said. “I was lucky I wasn’t part of it (crash). I knew Steven (Tiner) would be tough to pass the second time without any traffic in front of us.”
Although happy with a podium finish, Tiner was disappointed he couldn’t give his team a win.
“I’m happy to finish where we did. Anytime you run second in one of these races you did well, but I think we had the car to win tonight,” he said. “The power steering started going out in those final laps and it took everything I had to stay up there.”
Myers led all 20 laps of the Hunt Magnetos caution flag-flogged feature for his first career victory. He was chased across the line by his brother Cody Myers, Stockton’s DJ Johnson, Elverta’s Johnny Reeves and Matt Streeter of Galt.
Racing returns to the Speedway Saturday with championship point racing for 360 sprint cars, limited late models, pure stocks and dwarf cars.
The season is presented by Red Hawk Casino, Hoosier Racing Tires, Riebes Auto Parts, Pepsi and Coors Light. Associate partners include the Mountain Democrat, Arnolds for Awards, Carls’ Jr, the Paint Spot, Dunn Consulting, Minute Man Press, Roger Miller Concrete and ADCO Driveline.