By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA…The El Dorado County Fairgrounds based Placerville Speedway is delighted to host one of its more anticipated events of the season, with the annual John Padjen “Kids Bike Night” set to occur this Saturday.
All kids 11 and under receive free admission during John Padjen Kids Bike Night. As is tradition, children in attendance are invited to race their bikes on the track following heat race competition. Those competing in the races must wear a helmet. Kids on hand will also receive a free kiddie popcorn and soda, along with having a chance win a new bike.
“This is always a great show for the kids and families to come out and enjoy a night of racing at Placerville Speedway,” commented Russell Motorsports Inc. President Scott Russell. “Kids Bike Night has been one of the long-standing events here and we’re happy to allow those 11 and under into the races for free on Saturday. When it comes to the future of our sport the younger generation is extremely important, so we hope everyone can bring their kids and maybe even some of their friends this weekend.”
This Saturday is also our way to remember former track Promoter John Padjen, who passed away in December. It was Padjen’s idea that brought about Kids Bike Night, which continues to be a mainstay at both Placerville Speedway and Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway to this day.
“John always had Kids Bike Night at West Capital Raceway, so he decided to bring that over to Placerville and Chico when he started running both venues,” said past Placerville Speedway Promoter Alan Padjen. “The bike nights have always been a hit with the families. It’s great that Placerville Speedway continues that tradition and it’s a perfect event to remember my dad at.”
In the early 1980’s, John Padjen came aboard Placerville Speedway to help rescue the community icon that was beginning to struggle in the way of management efforts.
Already a successful motorsports promoter in Sacramento, Dixon and Chico, Padjen moved in and helped mold the foothill race facility into the successful, competitive track it is today. Padjen established a consistent Saturday night program to improve safety and visibility for both drivers and fans. He also chose to change the name of the track from “Hangtown” to Placerville Speedway, so the sport became more associated with the community.
Tackling the high banked quarter-mile this Saturday will be the Thompson’s Family of Dealerships Winged 360 Sprint Cars, the Mtn. Democrat Ltd. Late Models, the Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks and Dwarf Cars. Auburn’s Andy Forsberg, Diamond Springs’ Dan Jinkerson and Oakley’s Nick Baldwin sit atop the Sprint Car, Late Model and Pure Stock standings respectively going into the final point race until June 25th.
John Padjen Kids Bike Night marks the second appearance of the season for the colorful coupes of the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. Colfax driver Ben Wiesz captured the first visit on April 30th.
Adult tickets for this Saturday May 21st cost $18 while seniors 62+, military and juniors 12-17 will be $16. As noted, all kids 11 and under are free. Purchase tickets online at https://www.eventsprout.com/event/points-race-8 or at the gate on race day.
Grandstand seating is general admission at each event, except for the reserved seats marked for season ticket holders. Please note if patrons sit in a reserved seat, they may be asked to move. Pit passes can be purchased at the pit gate or on Pit Pay to take advantage of the expanded seating area on the hill.
The pit gate will open at noon, with the front grandstand gate opening at 3pm. Happy Hour is offered from 4-6pm in the grandstands featuring live music along with discounted Coors Light and Coors Original at the beer booth. The pit meeting will be held at 4:30pm with cars on track at 5:15. Hot laps, ADCO Driveline qualifying and racing will follow.
The Placerville Speedway is located on the beautiful El Dorado County Fairgrounds in Placerville, California. Take Hwy US-50 to Forni Road/Placerville Drive exit. Then go north on Placerville Drive to the Fairgrounds. The physical address is 100 Placerville Dr., Placerville, CA 95667. For more information on the Placerville Speedway log onto http://www.placervillespeedway.com
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Upcoming events at Placerville Speedway:
Saturday May 21: Thompson’s Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Mtn. Democrat Ltd. Late Models, Red Hawk Casino Pure Stocks and Nor-Cal Dwarf Cars | John Padjen Kids Bike Night
Saturday June 11: Northern Auto Racing Club Fujitsu 410 Sprint Car Series and Sprint Car Challenge Tour presented by Elk Grove Ford and Abreu Vineyards | 31st Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial