The crowds have been strong in numbers and consistent throughout the first five weeks of the season as more than ever, Placerville Speedway’s efforts to reach out to its fans and the community is paying dividends.
In today’s day and age, operating a motor sports venue on a weekly basis is a tough challenge. It takes a great deal of time, investment and a quality team of employees and competitors that have great passion for the sport and family friendly entertainment. When it comes to such passion, Placerville’s fans, drivers and fan are overflowing with it.
“This is so cool that they are doing this type of thing here, we love it. Our kids look forward to coming back every week,” said local fan Jessica Thomas. Thomas was referring to the autograph session recently at the speedway in which several drivers of the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars displayed their rides and met fans as they entered the speedway. “For our kids to be able to meet these guys is just awesome. They have a lot of new heroes now.”
The Nor Cal Dwarf Car display is just one of several recent fan outreach efforts at the El Dorado County Fairground’s track. Four weeks ago, Placerville driver Andy Gregg suited up early and spent time greeting fans as they arrived. Wearing his full uniform in the hot temperatures, Gregg put smiles on the faces of fans of all ages with his simple gesture as he signed hero cards as well as the Placerville Speedway souvenir program that is given to every fan free as they enter the gate for the first time in decades.
“It’s the fans that make this sport possible and they are why we race. A lot of the young kids don’t get over to the pit area after the races because it’s late,” Gregg said. “This gives them the chance to see a sprint car up close, get a picture and meet the driver. That’s what it’s all about.”
Another family friendly feature that has become quite the talk at Placerville is the weekly Kid’s Dash. In this event two random drivers are chosen each night to partake in a three lap trophy dash at intermission. The winner of the event selects a child from the grandstands to join them in victory lane. The youngster gets to keep the trophy and is given a complimentary t shirt from Placerville Speedway and a gift certificate to Red Hawk’s Cyber Quest Arcade.
Penryn driver Charlie Cagle won over a new fan as a recent winner of the Kid’s Dash. He’s also had his No. 6c sprint car on display in the concession area. For Cagle, positive fan outreach is a duty as a driver to help insure this sport is promoted in a positive, family friendly fashion to insure its future.
“Culture tells society that you need to find a skill or a talent so you can benefit yourself. I couldn’t disagree more with that,” Cagle said. “God gave me a talent and a stage to help others in anyway possible. I want to use my racing to possibly show kids an example of how you should treat others. These kids are all my future fans and this is important to help promote the sport.”
Cagle isn’t alone in his desires to reach out as the majority of Placerville Speedway’s drivers welcome fans of all ages to visit them in the pit area after the races. Additionally, Placerville’s competition court is far more than just “customers” to the race promoter, they are part of the team when it comes to their community.
Placerville Speedway will have select drivers like Cagle, Gregg and more greeting fans throughout the year at the speedway. Additionally, track management and drivers are working together to present several special events: “Placerville Speedway Day” June 8 with a large car show at the Red Hawk casino entry; and the Tribute to Al Hinds Fan and Racers BBQ and car show Sept. 21.
Placerville Speedway opened in the summer of 1965 when a community came together with an area race promoter and discovered that a race track could be constructed around an already existing community football field that was known as Anderson Field on the El Dorado County Fairgrounds. Now, 48 years later, Placerville Speedway is one of the region’s best Saturday night programs in the sport and continues to work with the community that has supported auto racing for nearly five decades.
Racing resumes at Placerville Speedway this coming Saturday with one of the most anticipated nights of the year, the Sprint Cars of the Civil War Series, making its first appearance along with the Midgets of the Bay Cities Racing Association. For further information visit placervillespeedway.com.