Gio Scelzi passes Sean Becker off final corner to win Placerville Speedway KWS-NARC feature on Saturday
By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – May 13, 2017…The Placerville Speedway has a reputation of providing late-race drama whenever the King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Racing Series is on hand and that certainly proved true once again on Saturday, as Fresno’s Gio Scelzi executed a final corner pass of Sean Becker for an exhilarating victory.
The 15-year-old rising star was making just his second ever start at the quarter-mile, after bringing home a runner up finish during his debut on April 15. The victory on Saturday also made him the youngest winner in KWS-NARC history at 15-years and five-months old, beating out Zach Zimmerly, who had held the honor at 16-years and one-month old.
“This is pretty unbelievable right now,” said an exuberated Scelzi after leaping from his Roth Motorsports No. 83jr machine. “I didn’t think I’d be able to get Sean (Becker) but I could see him get a little out of shape coming for the white flag and that gave me the shot I needed. I just went up there and made a hero move around the outside and luckily came out on top at the line. I can’t thank this Roth Motorsports team enough for giving me a great car to drive.”
At the waving of the green flag in the 30-lap feature Scelzi inched to the lead, but off turn two it was Sean Becker who made the move down low to grab the top spot. Roseville’s Willie Croft was also able to sneak by for second, prior to a caution waving on lap-two. Another yellow on lap five, followed by a red flag on lap seven slowed the flow early on, but once some green flag laps were put together the action was fast and furious.
Becker was doing a tremendous job out front, while Scelzi charged back around Croft at the midway point for second.
Scelzi then closed in on Becker, as lapped traffic was causing havoc on the tight bullring. An almost major moment in the race occurred on lap 24 when lapped cars came together just ahead of the leaders. Becker took evasive action however, going over the edge of the speedway to avoid the stopped cars and was able to maintain the top spot.
One final caution then took place on lap 28 to set up a green-white-checkered restart, in which Scelzi made the improbable move off turn four coming to the Ed Entz checkered flag. With the crowd on their feet he was able to drive around Becker and nip him at the line by just 0.069 seconds for the win.
Despite being disappointed the runner up finish capped a solid weekend for Becker, who earned his 100th career sprint car win the night before in Chico. Campbell’s Bud Kaeding made a strong late-race run to come home in third, with Paradise’ Kyle Hirst and Croft rounding out the top-five. Completing the top-10 were Hanford’s Mitchell Faccinto, Kingsburg’s Cory Eliason, Hanford’s DJ Netto, Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid and Fremont’s Shane Golobic.
A total of 23 King of the West-NARC Fujitsu Sprint Cars signed into the pit area. Gio Scelzi captured the Dash, while heat race wins went to Bud Kaeding, Andy Forsberg and DJ Netto. Gio Scelzi also started the night by setting fast time with a lap of 10.541 around the quarter-mile.
The companion Pure Stock main event was captured by reigning track champion Nick Baldwin, who got the jump on the field and never looked back. The special non-point show was Baldwin’s first victory of the 2017 season at Placerville Speedway. Dwight Bolton did get within striking distance at one point, but had to settle for second at the stripe, followed by Jay Bryant, Jesse Van Roenkel and Jeff Sly in the top-five.
Nine Pure Stocks were on hand Saturday with the lone heat race picked off by Jeff Sly.
The Placerville Speedway will return to action on Saturday May 20 for Big Trophy Night at the quarter-mile. Divisions on hand next weekend will include the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stocks and the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. The night marks Red Hawk Casino championship point race number four.
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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.