Wallace, Keeler, Mars, Koster earn season opening victories at Placerville Speedway Pacific Sprint driver Mike Henry destroys previous track record, posts 10:951 second lap PLACERVILLE, CA (4-17-99) - After two weeks of poor weather ...
Wallace, Keeler, Mars, Koster earn season opening victories at Placerville Speedway
Pacific Sprint driver Mike Henry destroys previous track record, posts 10:951 second lap
PLACERVILLE, CA (4-17-99) - After two weeks of poor weather conditions, clear skies and warm temperatures welcomed a near capacity crowd to Alan Padjen's Placerville Speedway Saturday night for the official opening of thechampionship season at the El Dorado County Fairground track. Under the sponsorship of Hoosier Racing Tires, Budweiser, Coors Light, and RC Cola Saturday's season opener, the first of 24-scheduled events, featured Pacific Sprint Cars, Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks and the visiting Sprint 100's. In the Pacific Sprint division, Grass Valley driver Billy Wallace overcame a year-long winless streak at Placerville and was joined in victory circle by Charlie Mars of Yuba City who won tKeeler of Placerville and Rick Koster of Woodland, winner of the Sprint 100's feature race. In the Pacific Sprint division, noteworthy action began on Saturday with qualifying as Mike Henry of Fair Oaks posted a new track record. Powering his own John Boy to a 10:951, Henry became the first driver to post a lap below the 11 second mark aboard a 360 cubic inch powered sprint car. In the feature event, Wallace started the 20-lap affair on the pole position. On the outside of the former Grass Valley Rookie of the Year was Vacaville racer Joey Magaruh and one row back was Auburn's Andy Forsberg and fast qualifier Henry. At the drop of the green flag, Magaruh immediately took the lead over Wallace and maintained it for the first six laps which were delayed by a total of six caution periods two of which were red. The first when Placerville's CJ Humphreys was forced off the track surface on traffic, drifted off turn four and careened down behind the grandstand. second red flag of the night took place when defending track champion David Robinson Jr. of Sacramento struck the front stretch wall and nearly flipped over. Robinson was also uninjured in the accident but unable to return to action. When full-speed racing resumed, Magaruh drifted high in the second turn on lap seven, allowing Wallace to move to the low side of the track and take the lead. Once he was in front, Wallace was faced with multiple caution delays for the many spun cars that fell victim to the developing dry-slick track surface. When the checkered flag finally flew Wallace was the victor followed by Magaruh, Forsberg, Mike Benson of Calistoga and Humphreysdespite the earlier incident. "It just finally happened tonight. Joey (Margaruh) made a mistake and I was able to get out in front and stay there," said Wallace. "The yellow flags were just killing me out there because you can't get a rhythm going in a race like this. Fortunately after awhile we were able to go more than one lap at a time." In the Pro Stock division, the initial green flag went to El Dorado's Dennis Armstrong as he held of the challenges of Shingle Springs' Larry Burton in the early laps of the race. At the nine lap mark the event underwent it's first caution period when Placerville's Mike Lightfoot stalled in the second turn. On the restart Armstrong became challenged by sixth place started Charlie Mars of Yuba City. After working his way around Burton for second, Mars set his sights on Armstrong's lead and planned an attack. After tailgating the leaderÎ for several laps, Mars made his move on lap 18 when he passed Armstrong on the high side of turns one and two and took the lead. At the finish line Mars was followed by Armstrong, Burton, defending track champion Mike Moran of Rancho Cordova and Jeff Gavard of Placerville. The victory was Mars second of his career at Placerville after winning the season finale last season, the event was, however, his last appearance at the foothill speedway this season. "This is our first and our last race for the year because I sold the car," said Mars. "So I guess you could say I'm quitting while I'm ahead. But If the buyer doesn't pay me heck then I'll be back." In Pure Stock competition, the green flag went to Placerville's Matt Keeler who started the event on the pole. As early as the second lap Keeler was being challenged by defending track champion Eric Hansard of Orangevale and the two drivers engaged in an aggressive duel for the lead, rubbing doors for several lapthe front stretch safety wall. The heated battle eventually resulted in the two drivers colliding in the fourth turn, sending Hansard into a spin while Keeler went on to win the race over David Newquist of Chico, Les Friend of Galt, Placerville's Neil Webster and Kenny Redmond of Rancho Cordova. While Keeler celebrated in victory lane a large confrontation broke out involving the Hansard team. The incident was quickly controlled by track security and the victory remained Keeler's "This one was a lot tougher than the last one at the end of last year," said Keeler. "I knew Eric was there early and I knew he wasn't far behind me later in the race. He's a tough driver, I've learned a lot from him and have enjoyed racing with him. Tonight I'm just glad I didn't give in and I held on for this win. I owe a big thanks to my crew and my family for getting me out here to do this." In the visiting Sprint 100's, Rick Koster started the 20-lap feature event in the 14ttowards the front of the pack. Once the former division champion took the lead he distanced himself from the field and scored his first win of the season over Tony Gaoiran of Livermore, Pat Ariaz of Manteca, Mike McNeff of Reno and Clyde Tipton of Folsom. Racing action will continue next Saturday night at Placerville Speedway with the first annual Midget Lite/Mini Sprint Shootout along with the Nor-Cal Dwarf Cars, Pro Stocks and Pure Stocks. Action for the second season event is set to begin at 6:30.
PLACERVILLE SPEEDWAY RACE RESULTS SATURDAY, APRIL 17, 1999 POINT RACE #1
PACIFIC SPRINT CARS
FAST QUALIFIER: Mike Henry - 10:951 (New track record !) HEAT 1: Henry; Alan Bradway; Billy Wallace; Mike Benson; Rusty Baglin.
HEAT 2: Joe Corntassel; David Robinson Jr.; C.J. Humphreys; Andy Forsberg; Jon Buccelato
HEAT 3: Billy Sellers; Guy Morrison; Joey Magaruh; Mark Wells; Shawn Whitney
MAIN: Wallace; Magaruh; Forsberg; Benson; HumphreyHawkins; Dave Angus; Corntassel; Bradway.
HEAT 1: Mike Lightfoot; Dennis Armstrong; Ray Smith; Randy Rigdon Jr.; Ed Sheidell.
HEAT 2: Mike Moran; Larry Burton; Charlie Mars; Jeff Gavard; Paul Spencer Jr.
MAIN: Mars; Armstrong; Burton; Moran; gavard; Smith; Ron Hayden; Spencer; Aaron Bozeman; Rigdon.
HEAT 1: Rick Grunert; Will Fanning; Don Holloran; Matt Keeler; Greg West.
HEAT 2: Eric Hansard; Les Friend; Neil Webster; Kenny Redmond; David Newquist.
MAIN: Keeler; Newquist; Friend; Webster; Redmond; Dan Farrington; Fanning; Hansard; Rich Samagnaro; Alan Galbraith.
HEAT 1: Rich Cleland; Pat Ariaz; Galvin Graham; Mike Darnall;Kerry McColloch.
HEAT 2: Jim Phifer; Clyde Tipton; Mark Berquist; Jim Bradley; Mike McNeff.
HEAT 3: Rick Koster; Tony Goiran; Tom Goepner; Bill Hendricks; Leonard Miller.
MAIN: R.Koster; Goiran; Ariaz; McNeff; Tipton; McColloch; Bradley; Darnall.
NEXT EVENT: SATURDAY, APRIL 24 - POINT RACE #2