By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – July 15, 2017…Taking full advantage of a late caution Visalia’s Steven Tiner slid under race long leader Sean Becker during the double-file restart and went on to grab his second Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car win of 2017 on Saturday night.
Also sharing victory lane with Tiner at the Placerville Speedway were Matt Michelli in the Ltd. Late Models, Orville Owens in the Pure Stocks, Shawn Jones with the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association and Ted Ahart in the Mini Trucks. Great racing was seen in all divisions on Saturday night, which marked the 10th point race of the Red Hawk Casino championship season.
Tiner had spent the previous handful of days competing at Northwest Speedweek and made the long haul back to Placerville after running Cottage Grove Speedway the night before.
“That was a long drive back from Cottage Grove and I’m pretty whooped right now, but getting the win makes it all worth it,” Tiner said to his cousin and track announcer Brad Kennedy. “I didn’t get qualified how I wanted to, but luckily rebounded in the heat race and then got under Sean late in the feature. I couldn’t be happier right now.”
Last week’s Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 winner Sean Becker got the jump at the waving of the green flag in the 25-lap contest and held command over the early stages. The Roseville driver was in search of his third victory of the season, but soon had to fend off the pressure applied by Kalib Henry once lapped traffic came into play. The lead duo kept fans on the edge of their seats as they diced through the slower cars, until a caution waved on lap 12.
Another yellow then flew on lap 18, which once again gave the leaders a clear track ahead. On the ensuing restart Steven Tiner made his presence known by slicing underneath Henry to claim the second spot. When going back green Becker pulled away again and looked to be headed for victory, only to have the yellow flag wave just as he was accepting the white flag. The green-white-checkered restart saw Tiner get a great jump and perform a picture-perfect slide job to take the lead. Henry also followed along for second.
Just as Tiner looked to take the checkered however, the caution lights came on again, setting up another green-white-checkered restart. During it Tiner hit his marks to cross under the checkered for his second win of the season over Henry, Becker, DJ Freitas and Greg Decaires in the top-five. Hollister’s Tony Gualda rebounded from an early stoppage to charge back for a sixth place finish. The remainder of the top-10 was filled out by Cody Lamar, Chase Majdic, Mike Benson and Justin Johnson.
A total of 23 Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars signed into the pits with the ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award going to Sean Becker with an 11.225 around the quarter-mile. Heat races were picked off by DJ Freitas, Shawn Conde and Steven Tiner. The B-main was picked off by Justin Johnson.
Ltd. Late Model point leader Matt Michelli raced to another win on Saturday night, giving him a season high five overall. Dennis Ahart raced into the lead at the waving of the green flag. Michelli jumped to second on lap four and then charged around Ahart to claim the lead on lap five. A very competitive race was seen at the front of the field with multiple lines being used on the bullring. Michelli went on to take the checkered flag over Mike Lightfoot, Wayne Trimble, Matt Davis and Tyler Lightfoot.
Ten Ltd. Late Models were on hand for the night with heats going to Matt Michelli and Wayne Trimble.
The Pure Stocks also put on a great show Saturday that ultimately saw Orville Owens bring home his first win. Scott Grunert took the lead on the start, but soon had to do battle with multi-time winner so far this year Jason Palmer. The pair went side-by-side in exciting fashion, until Palmer grabbed command. A lap four restart saw him jump the cushion though, which handed the lead over to Owens. Palmer dropped back a few spots but gathered it in and began to charge towards the front.
Over the closing laps Owens got bottled up, which allowed Palmer the chance to close back in. A thrilling final few laps ended with Owens narrowly holding off Palmer at the stripe to pick up the big victory. Last week’s winner Nick Baldwin, Scott Grunert and Dan Jinkerson completed the top-five.
The Pure Stocks saw 12 cars in action with heat race wins claimed by Jason Palmer and Scott Grunert.
The Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association put on an entertaining high-speed race that ended with Shawn Jones bringing home his second Placerville Speedway win of the season. Kevin Bender took the lead on the start, but soon had to deal with Jones and Danny Wagner. The trio went three-wide on two separate occasions early on, before Jones snuck his way out front on lap seven.
After that it was all Jones up front. Wagner won out in a back and forth battle with 14th starter Matt Sargent to claim second at the stripe. Sargent, Mike Grenert and Ryan Winter rounded out the top-five. The visiting Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association brought 22 cars to the speedway and saw heat race victories go to Danny Wagner, Mike Reeder and Mike Grenert.
Ted Ahart brought home yet another triumph in the Mini Truck division, but had to hold off the relentless challenges of Austin Struthers late in the race. John Little John led the first three laps in the feature, before Ahart charged by for the top-spot. Ahart led the rest of the way for his third win of the season over Struthers, Little John, Robby Northam and Corey Eaten. Six Mini Trucks were on hand with the lone heat race also going to Ahart.
The Placerville Speedway is right back in action next Saturday July 22 with Red Hawk Casino point race number 11 featuring the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stocks, Wingless Spec Sprints and Vintage Hard Tops. The Wingless Spec Sprint portion of the night will pay a $1200-to-win C&H Veteran Ent. presents Hunt Magnetos Wingless Tour purse.
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The Placerville Speedway is operated by Russell Motorsports Incorporated, which can be reached at the track business office at 530-344-7592. Contact Kami Arnold or Scott Russell directly for 2017 sponsorship opportunities at the office. Results can be found at our website http://www.placervillespeedway.com/
Saturday July 15, 2017
Winged 360 Sprint Cars
1. 94 – Steven Tiner
2. 7 – Kalib Henry
3. 88N – Sean Becker
4. 14 – D.J. Freitas
5. 4SA – Greg DeCaires
6. 7C – Tony Gualda
7. 9L – Cody Lamar
8. 19 – Chase Majdic
9. 77 – Mike Benson
10. 25 – Justin Johnson
11. 5 – Kirt Organ
12. 45 – Jake Morgan
13. 21X – Cole Macedo
14. 33T – Jimmy Trulli
15. 73C – Cody Fendley
16. 91C – Shawn Conde
17. 85 – C.J. Humphreys
18. 74 – Michael Cunningham
19. 21 – Colby Wiesz
20. 6W – Billy Wallace