Sean Becker, Matt Michelli, Orville Owens and Jake Morgan pick up victories at Placerville Speedway on Saturday
By Gary Thomas
Placerville, CA – July 22, 2017…One week after losing the lead on a late restart Roseville’s Sean Becker earned redemption by getting around Buddy Kofoid in traffic coming for the white flag to score his third Placerville Speedway victory of the season in thrilling fashion on Saturday night.
Also sharing victory lane at the 11th Red Hawk Casino point race of the season was Live Oak’s Matt Michelli, who made a final corner move on the high-side to grab an exciting Ltd. Model win. Orville Owens claimed his second Pure Stock triumph in a row, while Jake Morgan tallied his first Wingless Spec Sprint win. The Vintage Hard Tops were also hand during the night giving fans a glimpse of the days gone by.
The 25-lap Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Car feature got off to a ragged start when Placerville’s Jimmy Trulli got upside down wildly in the first corner. He emerged okay but was done for the night. On the ensuing start Penngrove’s Buddy Kofoid grabbed the lead and was followed along by Sean Becker. A yellow on lap five and then another red on lap six slowed the pace early on.
Once some green flag laps were clicked off Kofoid had his way out front, as Becker and Fremont’s Shane Golobic exchanged the second spot. The final caution appeared on lap 13 and after that things went green to checkered. Kofoid had built up a sizable lead, but lapped traffic cut that down with under five laps remaining. Just as Kofoid entered turn one on lap 23 a lapped car ahead of him had spun sideways, which gave Becker the opportunity he needed to pounce and grab the top spot.
The driver known as the Shark charged around the high-side and took the lead that he would never relinquish. Becker crossed under the checkered flag over Kofoid, Golobic, Visalia’s Steven Tiner and Australian Marcus Dumesny, who put together an impressive night that also saw him earn a heat race victory. Ryan Robinson, Chase Majdic, Kalib Henry, Greg Decaires and Tanner Carrick completed the top-10.
A 28-car field of Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprints were on hand Saturday with the ADCO Driveline and Custom Exhaust fast time going to Shane Golobic with a lap of 11.058. Heat race wins were picked off by Steven Tiner, Marcus Dumesny, Chase Majdic and Ryan Robinson. The B-main went to DJ Freitas.
The Ltd. Late Model feature saw Ray Trimble and Scott Woessner battle for the lead on the opening lap, until Woessner got sideways exiting turn four and lost multiple spots. On lap six Mike Lightfoot would make the move by Matt Michelli to claim the runner up spot, before Michelli returned the favor on lap 12.
Michelli then stalked leader Trimble and closed in ever so slightly as the laps wound down. Coming around the third and fourth corners on the final circuit Michelli blasted to the top of the speedway and charged around Trimble, nipping him at the line by just 0.024 seconds margin of victory to take the improbable win. Mike Lightfoot, Woessner and Ken Michelli completed the top-five. It marked the sixth win of the season for Michelli, who continues to lead the standings.
A total of 10 Ltd. Late Models signed into the pits with heat race wins going to Eddie Gardner and Matt Michelli.
The Pure Stock A-main began with Rick Grunert scooting to the lead, but a big crash for Chris Van Roenkel made for a complete restart. Scott Grunert took the lead on the next start as Rick Grunert climbed the wall wildly and stopped to bring out the yellow. A battle for the lead on the third start between Grunert and Baldwin was then seen, with Baldwin getting it before another yellow with one lap complete.
Previous weeks winner Orville Owens charged to second on lap eight and then took command on a lap-nine restart. Scott Grunert assumed second on lap 12 before another caution. Owens led the remaining laps to score his second consecutive victory over Nick Baldwin, Scott Grunert, Dan Jinkerson and Jason Palmer in the top-five.
Sixteen Pure Stocks were in competition on Saturday. Heat race wins were claimed by John Ewing and Orville Owens.
The Wingless Spec Sprint feature saw newcomer Captain Quint take the lead at the waving of the green flag. A yellow on lap five then set up a restart that saw Jimmy Christian carve his way past Quint to move into the top spot. On lap 11 Winged Sprint Car regular Jake Morgan made a great move to take the lead and go on to cross under the checkered flag for his first Wingless win. Quint, a distant relative of Winged Sprint Car ace Sean Becker, got back around Christian to earn a second place finish.
Christian, Chris Kerr and Cody Spencer completed the top-five. The Wingless Spec Sprint portion of the night saw 15 cars in action with heat races going to Captain Quint and Scott Hall. Quint also set fast time to begin the evening.
The Placerville Speedway will now take this coming weekend off before getting ready for the 14th annual Tribute to Al Hinds on Saturday August 5. Divisions that will be in action at the prestigious event honoring the former track promoter will include the Thompson’s Auto Group Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Ltd. Late Models, Pure Stocks and BCRA Midget Lites. It opens a huge month of August that also includes the 12th annual Mark Forni Classic and the final Sprint Car Challenge Tour appearance of the season.
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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 www.placervillespeedway.com