Sellers scores fourth Pacific Sprint Car victory at Placerville Keeler scores first career win in Pure Stocks; Chandler wins No. 6 in Pro Stocks PLACERVILLE (8-22-98) - Defending track champion Billy Sellers of Sacramento scored his fourth ...
Sellers scores fourth Pacific Sprint Car victory at Placerville Keeler scores first career win in Pure Stocks; Chandler wins No. 6 in Pro Stocks
PLACERVILLE (8-22-98) - Defending track champion Billy Sellers of Sacramento scored his fourth victory of the season at Alan Padjen's Placerville Speedway Saturday night. With the victory, Sellers turns a string of bad luck back into good and officially becomes the winningest driver of the Pacific Sprint car division this season at the 1/4 mile clay oval located on the El Dorado County Fairground. "We've been having our share of good luck and our share of bad luck this season, but that comes with the sport," said Sellers. "But when our luck has been good this year we've been really fast, faster than any other year and I'm just happy to get another win." After clocking the fastest time in qualifying with an 11:338, and placing third in his heat race, Sellers started in the sixth position for the 20-lap feature event. At the waving of the green flag, a series of yellow flags followed, delaying the event a total of five times. The continuous unsuccessful attempts at an official start eventually prompted track officials to start the event in single file fashion as the 11 p.m. state mandated curfew was nearing. When the official green flag finally came out, the immediate lead was picked up by Shingle Springs driver Marc Mackay, Mackay, who started the event in the third position moved into second in turns one and two, then positioned his machine low on the track surface in turns three and four to take the lead from Calistoga's Mike Benson. In the early laps of this event, Mackay was challenged by Concord driver Damion Gardner and point leader David Robinson Jr. of Sacramento who charged into third as early as the third circuit followed by Sellers in fourth. On the ninth lap, Robinson attempted to pass Gardner on the high side of turns one and two, as Gardner drifted high on the track surface contact was made and the two drivers slowed slightly, allowing Sellers to slip by on the low side to steal the bridesmaid position. Setting his sights on Mackay, Sellers made several attempts at passing the leader down low on the track, a line that has proven successful for the two-time track champion throughout the 1998 campaign. On the 13th lap, however, Sellers changed his driving habit as he moved up to the high side of turns three and four to pull beside Mackay and muscle his way into the lead. "I figured that David (Robinson) was running the high side behind me and it was working for him so I tried it out," said Sellers. "It was fast up there but as soon as I passed him I moved right back down to the bottom because it's always harder for anyone to get by you if they have to go to the top." At the finish line, Sellers was followed across the line by Robinson, who also powered his way passed Mackay in the waning laps. Benson finished third followed by Gardner and Mackay. In the Pure Stock division, Matt Keeler of Placerville scored his first victory of his racing career Saturday night. Keeler, who has led a number events during the 1998 campaign, led all 15-laps of the affair to finally post his elusive victory. "This is totally unbelievable," said Keeler. "I'm still new at this and I come out here and do the best I can. It's hard to hold off these guys who have so much more experience and I can't believe I actually led every lap tonight." After finishing third in his heat race, Keeler started the feature event in the second position, outside of polesitter Mel Byers of Loomis. Two time winner Neil Webster of Placerville started third and Bill O'Neill of Fair Oaks started fifth. At the waving of the green flag, Keeler wasted no time whatsoever in stomping the accelerator of his No. 44 Chevrolet Monte Carlo to the floor and accelerated ahead of Byers. As early as the third lap a yellow flag came out to delay the event when David Castro stalled on the backstretch. Additional caution periods would delay Keeler's quest for victory on laps six and eight as well but none of those were as nearly as trying on the race leader as the final one that came out on the 12th lap with just three laps to go. Following the final restart was when Keeler began feeling the pressure as Webster, who had advanced to second earlier in the event, moved into the challenge for the lead. Attempting to nose his Chevelle beneath Keeler, Webster made several attempts at taking the lead during the final three-lap stint. Keeler, however, maintained his steady line around the track to lock the victory. Webster finished second followed by point leader Eric Hansard of Orangevale, Dan Farrington of Orangevale and Byers. "This was really tough tonight, I knew they were close behind me on the restart," added Keeler. "I can't say enough about this class, we have a great class of Pure Stocks here and I just love coming out here and running every week." In the Pro Stock division, Mike Chandler became the driver with the most season victories as he powered his Gary Mohr owned Chevelle to his sixth feature event win of the season. Chandler is in the midst of a heated battle for the 1998 track title with season long point leader Mike Moran. At the waving of the green flag, Chandler took charge of the field as he powered his way ahead of polesitter Dennis Armstrong of Eldorado. Once in front, Chandler began to distance himself from the field as Moran worked his way through traffic in an effort to catch the leader who has been closing in on his point leader week after week. On the fourth lap, Moran moved into the second position when a multi-car melee broke out in the second turn. Despite the fact that several yellow flags gathered the field, Moran was unable to overtake Chandler's top spot in the 15-lap event. At the finish line the order was Chandler, Moran, Paul Spencer Jr. of Placerville, Randy Rigdon of Cameron Park and Ray Smith of Rancho Cordova. "We're doing every thing we can to make this a close battle for the championship," said Chandler. "Mike (Moran) is a tough driver and it's tough to make up lost ground on him as far the points go because when I finish first he's usually right there in second place or he's winning. Everything is just going right for us right now, the car has been hooked up, Gary Mohr (car owner) has been doing a great job keeping the car in top shape and were winning - what else can I say." The Nor-Cal Dwarf cars joined the Placerville regulars Saturday night. In this event, Frank Munroe of Tracy won the feature. Munroe was followed across the line by Randy Shurtz of Cool, Steve Alberdi Sr. of Stockton and Howie Ross of Novato. Next Saturday night, championship point racing will resume at Alan Padjen's Placerville Speedway with Pacific Sprint Cars, Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks returning for the first of three remaining races. The three regulars will be joined by the Midget Lites of the Bay Cities Racing Association.
PLACERVILLE SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY SATURDAY, AUGUST 22, 1998 "THUNDER IN THE FOOTHILLS CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES"
PACIFIC SPRINT CARS
TOP QUALIFIERS: 1.) Billy Sellers 11:338; 2.) David Robinson Jr. 11:467; 3.) Dave Davidson 11:554; 4.) Dave Angus 11:584; 5.) Marc Mackay 11:584
HEAT 1: Bryan Bullard; Vern Morrison; Billy Sellers; Marc Mackay; Bob Sturgil
HEAT 2: Alan Bradway; David Robinson Jr.; Damion Gardner; C.J. Humphreys; Mike McCreary.
HEAT 3: Matt Cole; David Davidson; Andy Forsberg; Mike Benson;Shauna Hogg.
HEAT 4: Billy Wallace; Guy Morrison; Gary Morgan; Rick Frock; Dave Angus.
B-MAIN: Angus; Sturgil; Hogg; McCreary; Alan Silva.
A-MAIN: Sellers; Robinson; Benson; Gardner; Mackay.