The Red Hawk Casino Championship point racing season returned to Placerville Speedway Saturday with four repeat drivers celebrating in victory lane: Greg DeCaires scored his second win here in the Sprint Car Division; Les Friend captured his sixth win in Pure Stocks; Ryan McDaniel won the Limited Late Model feature event; and in the visiting Dwarf Cars, Ryan Winter returned to victory lane.
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For DeCaires, Saturday’s victory marked the second straight win the veteran driver celebrated in victory lane after last week’s victory in the Tiner Classic aboard the locally owned Dale Miller sprint car that pays tribute to the late Stephen Allard.
“I can’t say enough about this team,” Declares said. There’s no doubt we’re getting some help from above with this deal. This team has really come together, Dale Miller has given me a great car and a great crew and to come out here tonight and get two in a row is really great.”
Once the race officially went under the green flag, DeCaires maintained a distant lead for much of the 25-lap race. When he crossed the checkered flag he had an impressive advantage of 3.853 seconds. Jimmy Trulli finished in second place to conclude what was a strong night in the points chase for the local driver as his closest rival, Andy Gregg of Placerville, was out of contention earlier in the night.
Point leader Andy Forsberg started fourth and finished third at while Placerville’s James Sweeney drove from 14th to fourth and Billy Butler capped the night rounding out the top five.
In the closing laps of the Limited Late Model division, McDaniel drove to an insurmountable lead while the battle continued behind him for the top three positions. Jason Englund maintained second place to the finish line. Third place starter Dan Brown Jr. of Grass Valley scored the third place finishing position over Matt Micheli and Tom Tilford of Citrus Heights.
Earlier in the night, the Riebes Kid’s Dash featured the Late Model Division as Placerville drivers Mike Lightfoot and Ted Ahart were the entries. Lightfoot won the contest and selected four-year old Addison Kronlund of Georgetown to join him in victory lane. As she approached Lightfoot, the celebration took a new turn when Georgetown resident Nathan Bellamy took the microphone and proposed to Addison’s mother, Laura, on the front stretch of the speedway. The answer was ‘yes’ and the family celebrated a very special victory with Lightfoot in front of a cheering crowd.
In the Pure Stock division, Friend closed in on early race leader Tim Mack of Placerville at the waving of the green flag. After a side-by-side battle, Friend took the lead on lap three on the front stretch. At the checkered flag Friend was followed by Tom Grady of El Dorado, Chris Van Roekel, Mack and Lonnie Leonard.
In the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars, Winter avoided the plethora of caution flags to score a repeat victory. He was followed across the line by Jeremy Blackshere, Kevin Bender, Mike Grenert and Scott Dahlgren.
Racing returns to Placerville Speedway this Saturday, July 20, with three divisions on hand. The winged sprint car division will be joined by Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks as the battle for the championship enters the late season stretch. For further information check out placervillespeedway.com.