July Fourth Spectacular is tonight

By From page A9 | July 04, 2014

Patriotism and auto racing come together tonight at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds for the July Fourth Spectacular at the El Dorado County Fairgrounds.

This annual event is expected to draw thousands as it’s the only Fireworks display in El Dorado County taking place west of South Lake Tahoe on the Independence Holiday.

Gates will open one hour earlier at Placerville Speedway and will feature three divisions of racing, including Winged Sprint Cars, Limited Late Models and Pure Stocks. The grandstands open at 4 p.m. with qualifying at 5:30.

At the conclusion of racing a giant fireworks display will illuminate both the sky and the arena to celebrate the holiday.

For the last three years, Placerville Speedway has hosted a popular traveling series for this date but will switch to its traditional format with the track’s three weekly divisions on hand.

“Coming to Placerville Speedway and racing on the Fourth of July is really special, it’s a great night for families,” said Sprint Car driver Greg DeCaires, last year’s winner who looks to extend his recent win streak at Speedway to an overall four wins.

For other drivers like Tom Tilford, Friday marks the return of an event they have longed for.

“I remember growing up and watching my cousin, Ray Rust being the driver to beat year after year and spending time after the races with so many friends and family around the car enjoying a BBQ and waiting for the fireworks to start. It was always a really magical time,” Tilford said.

Entering Friday’s July Fourth Spectacular, DeCaires leads the Sprint Car point standings by 38 points, unofficially, after Saturday’s win. Justin Sanders is second with Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli in third, 51-points out. Andy Forsberg is fourth followed by Jake Morgan.

In the Late Model division, Matt Micheli leads Ray Trimble by 12 points. Jay Norton of Shingle Springs is third, 44-points out. Tom Tilford is fourth and Dan Brown Jr. rounds out the top five.

The Pure Stock division is led by Scott Grunert who will be in both a Pure Stock and a Late Model Friday night. Grunert leads with a 19-point advantage over Eddie Gardner. Rick Grunert is third, 33-points out of the lead. Chris Van Roekel is fourth followed by Tim Mack of Diamond Springs, 59-points out of the lead.

Adults are $20, seniors $14, juniors are $12 and all kids 11 and under are free. For further information visit

Bill Sullivan

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