Season concludes with championship double header Friday & Saturday Robinson, Moran & Hansard look to maintain leads in two consecutive race nights PLACERVILLE (9-11-98)- The championship racing season began with the infamous "El Nino"...
Season concludes with championship double header Friday & Saturday
Robinson, Moran & Hansard look to maintain leads in two consecutive race nights
PLACERVILLE (9-11-98)- The championship racing season began with the infamous "El Nino" wreaking havoc on a multitude of events. Last week, the season began it's closure in much the same fashion, this time with the remnants of hurricane "Isis" bringing an unexpected downpour just after qualifying to cancel another event.
These two tropical storms,combined with the season slogan "Thunder in the Foothills" is all too ironic. Put all three names together and a description of the past season begins to sound like an introduction segment for the World Wrestling Federation.
The one good thing to come of the season-long weather woes suffered by Alan Padjen's Placerville Speedway will definitely be in the fans favor as the 1998 Budweiser ¥ Coors Light ¥ RC Cola ¥ McCreary Tires comes to a close with a double header that is sure to be a barnstormer of a run for the 1998 championship titles.
Action will begin Friday night with the continuation of last Saturday's rained out program, the 16th championship event of the season. This special week night event will feature Pacific Sprints, Pro Stock and Pure Stocks in a streamlined program, picking up where last Saturday's event left off. There will be no qualifying for this program and last week's line ups will resume. Any racers who join the Friday program may do so, but they will start in the rear of the already formed heat races. Then on Saturday night the battle for the coveted track titles will all come to a close with the final season points race on "Fan Appreciation Night" with all three divisions begin joined by the traveling Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association. Saturday's program will feature discount admission as well as raffles for a variety of door prizes throughout the evening.
With back-to-back events taking place, it's expected that many eyes will be watching the battle for the Pro Stock championship as season-long rivals Mike Moran of Rancho Cordova and Mike Chandler of Citrus Heights resume the battle that has kept race fans on the edge of their seats all season long. Entering this weekend's events, the two central valley drivers are only 13-points apart and as the age old saying goes "the race isn't over until the checkered flag drops."
In one night of competition, a driver can earn as many as 44-points at Placerville Speedway. Throughout the 16-race campaign Moran has maintained the division point lead and at one point, maintained more than a 30-point lead from the 14-top ten finishes and five feature events he has claimed. But a string of poor luck combined with the continuing success of Chandler, who has posted 13 top ten finishes and six feature wins, quickly diminished Moran's healthy lead. As the two top runners enter the final stretch the division title is clearly up for grabs.
"As far as I'm concerned there is no point lead anymore," said Moran. "That amount of points is nothing when you can make 40 or more in a night and anything could happen. "I just have to make sure if he's in front of me (Chandler) that I'm right behind him."
Mike Nuss of Pollock Pines trails the two top runners in the Pro Stock point standings by 66-points. Although his chances for the division title are clearly impossible, the seasoned veteran will finish the best year of his racing career. Dennis Armstrong of El Dorado has advanced to fourth in the standings with Randy Rigdon of Cameron Park in the fifth position.
In the Pacific Sprint division the track title has not been clinched yet, but David Robinson Jr. of Sacramento is closer to it than anyone else. After posting his third win of the season at Placerville two weeks ago, Robinson now holds a 28-point advantage over Sacramento's Billy Sellers. Sellers has edged his way into the second position by just four points over Mike Benson of Calistoga. Damion Gardner of Concord ranks fourth in the point standings while Gary Morgan of Elk Grove rounds out the top five.
In the Pure Stock division, Orangevale driver Eric Hansard has the largest point lead out of all three divisions at Placerville. As he enters Saturday's event, Hansard holds a 40-point advantage over Placerville's Neil Webster. Should Hansard rack up five additional points over Webster Friday night, he will officially lock the 1998 track title one race early. In addition to the three track regulars, the Nor-Cal Dwarf Car Association will conclude their season as well.
Competition is set to begin Friday night one hour later to allow competitors and speedway staff who work during the week ample time to arrive at the track. The front gates of the speedway will open at 6 p.m. with heat races starting at 7. Admission to the Friday night will be Adults $9, juniors and seniors $6, kids $3 and those under six free. On Saturday's "Fan Appreciation Night" admission will be discounts, adult tickets will be just $5, juniors and seniors $4 and children $1. Race times will return to normal on Saturday with the front gates opening at 5 p.m. with time trials starting at 6:30.
Prior to Saturday's event, Thompson's Used Auto and Truck Center will host it's fourth annual "Fan Appreciation Day." Festivities include a large race car display, dunk tank, balloons for the children and an on-site clown as well as food and beverages. The event takes place from 12-4 p.m. at 55 Placerville Drive across from the fairground.
PLACERVILLE SPEEDWAY POINT STANDINGS (TOP FIVE) THROUGH 9-10-98)
PACIFIC SPRINTS DAVID ROBINSON JR. 426 BILLY SELLERS 398 MIKE BENSON 394 DAMION GARDNER 367 GARY MORGAN 337
PRO STOCKS MIKE MORAN 573 MIKE CHANDLER 560 MIKE NUSS 494 DENNIS ARMSTRONG 467 RANDY RIGDON JR. 415
PURE STOCKS ERIC HANSARD 532 NEIL WEBSTER 492 BOBBY BANKSON 476 MATT KEELER 462 DAN FARRINGTON 453