By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – July 18, 2020…Mather’s Kalib Henry battled his way to the lead and fended off a late-race challenge from Shane Hopkins and Ryan Robinson en route to his third career victory at the Placerville Speedway on Saturday night
Henry’s triumph in the Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Car feature came aboard the always potent McColloch RV Repair and Storage No. 17 machine. With his third ever victory he moves into a tie on the all-time 360 win list with several drivers including Dan Belton, Don Hanson, Rick Hays, Darrell Arnold, Bobby McMahan, Brent Kaeding, Tim Kaeding, Chuck Gurney Jr., Kyle Larson, Cory Eliason and Alan Bradway.
Sharing victory lane with Henry at the “Prelude to the Forni” were Dan Jinkerson with the Ltd. Late Models, Les Friend with the Pure Stocks, Mike Miller with the Mini Trucks and Joel Hannagan with the Vintage Hard Tops.
Early on in the Sprint Car feature it was Quilcene, Washington driver J.J. Hickle who held command over the field at the helm of the Worden Family No. 63 mount. Track prep had taken place prior to the start of the 25-lap main event and gave a multi-groove surface to competitors, which lent to some fantastic racing all through the pack. Henry pressured Hickle from the outset, before blasting into the lead on lap-eight. Even though caution flags over the opening stages kept drivers out of traffic the action remained intense.
Placerville’s own Shane Hopkins worked the bottom side of the speedway to perfection and carved his way into second while having an entertaining race with Foresthill’s Ryan Robinson. As the laps wound down the top-three closed up and put on an exciting show right down to the end for everyone watching on Flo Racing. Henry hit his marks and held off all challengers to cross the checkered flag for the victory over Hopkins, Robinson, Hickle and Redding’s Chase Majdic.
A-main finish: 1. 17-Kalib Henry; 2. 21-Shane Hopkins; 3. 14W-Ryan Robinson; 4. 63-JJ Hickle; 5. 2X-Chase Majdic; 6. 31C-Justyn Cox; 7. 7H-Jake Haulot; 8. 7B-Brent Bjork; 9. 46JR-Joel Myers Jr; 10. 2XM-Max Mittry; 11. 15-Michael Sellers; 12. 93-Stephen Ingraham; 13. 80N-Justin Bradway; 14. 25-Justin Johnson; 15. 98-Chris Masters; 16. 94-Greg Decaires V; 17. 16X-Andy Gregg; 18. 33T-Jimmy Trulli; 19. 38-Colby Johnson; 20. 9L-Cody Lamar
Picking off heat race wins with the Sprint Cars were Henry, Hopkins, Justin Bradway and Hickle. Chase Majdic opened the night by earning the ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust Fast Time Award by clocking a 10.864 around the quarter-mile. A total of 25 cars competed at the Prelude to the Forni. Russell Motorsports Inc. would like to thank Absolute Auto Glass, Thompson’s Family of Dealerships and Nieman’s Auto Touch for their support of the event.
Last season saw Diamond Springs racer Dan Jinkerson claim an amazing nine Pure Stock wins overall. Making the move to the Ltd. Late Model division this year it only took him three races to end up in victory lane aboard the Lightfoot Automotive No. 23 machine. It didn’t come easy for Jinkerson however, as reigning track champion Ray Trimble did keep him honest for much of the contest.
Trimble closed the gap ever so slightly, but Jinkerson made no mistakes and crossed under the checkered flag for his first career Ltd. Late Model triumph. Trimble came home in the runner up position over Jay Norton, Dan Brown Jr. and Tyler Lightfoot. Rounding out the field in the 20-lap contest were Eddie Gardner, Paul Gugliomoni, Matt Davis and Tom Tilford. Jinkerson also captured the lone heat race held during the night.
The Pure Stock main event capped the evening’s action and provided a thrilling conclusion to the program, which saw Les Friend narrowly beat out Nick Baldwin for the win. Things were fast and furious right from the get-go in the 20-lap feature with Clarence Holbrook and Nick Baldwin racing side-by-side for several laps out front. Friend had settled into the third spot and bided his time over the early stages.
Baldwin eventually assumed command and had built up a sizable advantage. Just when it looked like he would go on to pick up the win however, lapped traffic came into play and Friend roped him in quickly. With just a couple laps left it became a thrilling fight for the lead and ultimately saw Friend make the move by in a gaggle of lapped cars to narrowly nip Baldwin at the line. It marked Friend’s 16th career win in the division at the Placerville bullring.
The official margin of victory read as 0.098 seconds. Both drivers should be commended for putting on a breathtaking show over the final laps. Completing the top-10 were Holbrook, Kevin Jinkerson, Jason Leonard, Zach Lindgren, Ryan Murphy, Kenny Bernstein, Jim Brookshire and Stephanie Hanson. Heat races with the Pure Stocks were claimed by Bernstein and Friend. A solid field of 16 Pure Stocks signed in during the event that was presented by Jay’s Mobile Welding and Fabrication.
After winning opening night with the Mini Trucks on Independence Day, Mike Miller returned on Saturday and made it back-to-back in the division. He claimed the triumph over Howard Miller, Kevin Tremblay, Tom Stanwood and Michael Murphy. Picking up heat race wins with the “truckers” were Tremblay and Howard Miller.
Racing returns to Placerville Speedway on Saturday July 25th when the annual Mark Forni Classic converges at the track. Divisions competing will include the Thompson’s Winged 360 Sprint Cars, the Joe Hunt Magnetos Wingless Sprints, Pure Stocks and the Mini Trucks. The 15th annual event can be seen live via pay-per-view on Flo Racing.