By Bill Sullivan, Handy Racing Promotions Media Relations
PLACERVILLE, CA (7-6-10) – If Placerville Speedway had a hall of fame, he would undoubtedly be ranked very high within it. He is one of the areas winningest dirt track drivers in track history and he isn’t finished yet. This Saturday night, former three time Placerville Speedway champion Doug Gandy will return to the driver’s seat of a winged sprint car at the track that he once monopolized in both victory lane and in the hearts of many fans.
“I am really excited to be coming back to my hometown track where it all started,” said 65-year-old Gandy, a former resident of nearby Pollock Pines who now lives in Oakhurst. “Back in the day we raced a lot of different places and the fans at Placerville were great. Today they still are the best from what I see when we come there.”
The last time Gandy strapped himself into a winged sprint car was in 1993 when he when he drove for successful car owner Morrie Williams. Today Williams is the car owner behind California hot shoe Jonathan Allard, the current Golden State Challenge Series point leader and former champion.
After driving a number of his own cars in multiple divisions including modifieds and sprint cars, Gandy drove his way to over 100 feature event victories in his early career and claimed championship titles here in 1975, 1977 and 1978. Gandy was a driver that was always “the man to beat” each and every week. He wheeled his way to many hard fought victories while many of today’s driver’s and even those who manage the track today watched from the stands as youngsters. He was commonly surrounded by crowds of race fans after each race as one of the early “Hangtown Heroes” that was always known for his very sincere nature with the kids after each race.
Today one of those youngsters that sat in the stands with his father and watched Gandy race each week is behind the microphone at Placerville Speedway. The other one was selling souvenir programs in the stands and another is out on the track. The same track where his father raced wheel to wheel against Gandy on many memorable nights.
“I remember watching my Dad and Doug Gandy in some pretty wild races when I was a little kid in those stands,” said Andy Forsberg of Auburn, Placerville’s current point leader and former track champion. “It’s always great to have one of these guys come back and return to their roots. It’s great for the younger fans to see these guys that inspired at of us today.”
In 1987 Gandy teamed up with Williams for a six year stint in the winged sprint car division. He retired from the winged warrior world in late 1993 to spend time with his family and raise his children.
“Back when I was doing this every week it was a tough deal,” said Gandy. “Those main events didn’t come easy because if you were one of the fast guys you started all the way in the back each night. It was pretty crazy stuff.”
Although he retired from full time driving, Gandy has been very active in the sport of open wheel racing over the years. He has competed in a number of non-wing races along with his two sons Doug and Brandon. While the wingless competition has filled a huge void in the life of this driver that was known for his win it or wear it competitive nature, nothing has compared to those Saturday nights behind the wheel of a winged sprint car. This Saturday, Placerville Speedway will welcome one its true active legends back to the track behind the wheel of the #17 winged sprint car.
Saturday night marks the return of the Red Hawk Casino Championship Season to Placerville Speedway. The event is presented in part by Hoosier Racing Tires, Coors Light, Riebes Auto Parts and Pepsi Cola. The winged 360 sprint cars will be joined by the Dirt Solutions Limited Late Models, Pure Stocks and the Nor Cal Dwarf Cars.
The grandstands will open at 5 p.m. Qualifying will begin at 6:30 followed by racing at 7 p.m. Adult tickets are $12, Juniors and Seniors $10, Children $5 and under six will be admitted for free. Watch for further information on this event in the coming days. For more information visit www.placervillespeedway.com.