PLACERVILLE (8-15-98) - For the first time since 1995, Placerville Speedway was home to California Dirt Modified racing Saturday night as the Northern California Dirt Modified Series made it's sole season appearance at the foothill speedway.
PLACERVILLE (8-15-98) - For the first time since 1995, Placerville Speedway was home to California Dirt Modified racing Saturday night as the Northern California Dirt Modified Series made it's sole season appearance at the foothill speedway. Saturday's event was the final in a six race series for the open-wheel stock car division that took competitors to four different California tracks throughout the 1998 campaign.
When the dust settled on the 20-lap feature event Saturday night, modified ace Randy McDaniel of Marysville was the victor, not only in the feature event but in the entire series as well as he edged season-long challenger Richard Brace Jr. of Auburn in the championship point standings.
"I'd like to see this series grow in the future, it's a good deal because you get to go to different tracks and race different places instead of the same weekly thing all the time," said McDaniel. ÒI think this series is good deal and you get paid a little more money and get to race with different drivers all the time."
After winning his heat race, McDaniel started Saturday's feature event on the pole with Auburn racer Tom Arbogast on the outside. At the waving of the green flag, Arbogast earned the advantage, edging McDaniel for the lead as the two entered the first set of turns.
Traveling down the backstretch McDaniel moved to the inside of Arbogast in an effort to speed past the leader, as Arbogast moved down low an attempted to block McDaniel's efforts the two drivers rubbed doors and sparks flew as they traveled down the straight away, McDaniel eventually became the victor of the heated sheet metal battle.
Once he was in front, McDaniel dominated the remainder of the event. On the third circuit, Brace moved in to challenge the leader, nudging Arbogast and moving into second. On the sixth circuit Brace attempted to pull beside McDaniel high in turn four but faded back when he got up against the front stretch wall. The incident continued into the next set of turns as Brace struggled to control his machine and sent CaminoÕs Ray Whitney into a spin. As Whitney slid sideways a multi-car collision broke out when he was struck by Bill Cordery, Chris Olexiewcz and Brandon Phillips. One driver that benefited greatly by the incident was Placerville's Walt Carmichael who used the yellow flag to make a tire change and return to field, still managing to gain several positions.
On the restart, McDaniel maintained his top position for the remainder of the race as Jim Beller of Janesville worked the bridesmaid position all the way to the checkered flag. Carmichael passed the most cars Saturday night as he started in the eighth position and powered his way all the way up to third at the checkered flag, Ben Madsen of Orland finished fourth ahead of Arobogast.
"These modifieds are the division to have, they run pretty fast on this track," said McDaniel. "I just have to thank my sponsors, Golden Bear Alarms because without them I wouldnÕt be able to do this at all."
In the Pro Stock division, one of the most heated battles of the 1998 season took place in the 20-lap feature event between the two drivers that lead the championship point standings.
At the waving of the green flag, Cameron Park driver Randy Rigdon Jr. took the initial lead but was passed in the first set of turns by Placerville's Paul Spencer Jr. as he traveled high on the track surface. Once in front, Spencer gained approximately a two car lead but wasn't able to hold it for long as point leader Mike Moran of Rancho Cordova moved in on the battle as well as second place point runner Mike Chandler of Citrus Heights.
As the two division top dogs closed in on the leader, Spencer did everything he could to block all efforts, however, on the fifth circuit, Spencer had his hands full as Moran moved to the inside to pass the leader while Chandler took high route. As all three leaders traveled three-abreast down the back stretch, Chandler's high-line on the track gave him the advantage as they entered turns three and four and he edged ahead of Moran, who took second from Spencer.
Despite a stint of yellow flags and the challenges of Moran, Chandler maintained his lead for the remainder of the race to win his fifth victory of the season. With the win, Chandler now matches Moran in overall season victories and is slowly closing in on the point lead. Moran finished second in Saturday's event, Spencer held on to third ahead of Yuba City driver Charlie Mars and Alex Hansen of Placerville.
"This was definitely the best race we've had all season, they just keep getting better and better. The track was perfect tonight, there were fast grooves up high and fast grooves down low. I canÕt say enough about the preparation on the car when Gary Mohr (car owner) brings it to the track every week its ready to go and can just come out here and do my job and not worry about a thing.Ó
In Pure Stock competition, the green flag waved to Loomis driver Mel Byers and Orangevale's Dan Farrington. Entering the first set of turns Byers took the lead from Farrington and began distancing himself from the field.
With a dozen laps complete, it appeared that Byers may be on his way to his first feature win of the season, lapped traffic soon became a factor however and allowed second place runner Rick Grunert of Woodland to move in on the top spot.
As Byers and Grunert drove into lapped traffic on the thirteenth lap, Grunert took advantage of the situation and maneuvered his way into the lead as they traveled through the fourth turn. Once in front, Grunert maintained his position and went on to post his first win of the season. Byers finished second in the event ahead of Orangevale's Eric Hansard, Marek Bernert of Fair Oaks and PlacervilleÕs Matt Keeler.
The stock car divisions were joined Saturday night by the Sprint 100Õs Racing Association. In this event, one that only fielded 16-cars, Mike Stover of San Jose took home his first Placerville win of the season. Stover was followed across the line by Gary Koster of Woodland, Rick Koster of Woodland, Alan Clark of San Jose and Jim Phifer of Vacaville.
Next Saturday night champion point racing continues at Placerville with Pacific Sprints, Pro Stocks, Pure Stocks and the visiting Nor-Cal Dwarf Cars. The evening will be the tracks annual ÒKids NightÓ all children under the age of 12 will be admitted for free for this event when accompanied by an adult. Additional festivities include complimentary popcorn and soda for the youngsters as well as bicycle races and a drawing during intermission. For any further information on this event contact the track business office at (916) 969-7484. PLACERVILLE SPEEDWAY RACE SUMMARY SATURDAY, AUGUST 15, 1998
HEAT 1: Randy McDaniel; Jim Beller; Ray Whitney; John Sloan; Chris Olexiewcz.
HEAT 2: Tom Arbogast; Richard Brace Jr.; Ben Madsen; Walt Carmichael; Jason Armstrong.
A-MAIN: McDaniel; Beller; Carmichael; Madsen; Arbogast PRO STOCKS
HEAT 1: Dennis Armstrong; Paul Spencer Jr.; Mike Moran; Charlie Mars; Alex Hansen
HEAT 2: Randy Rigdon Jr.; Mike Chandler; Mike Nuss; Larry Burton; Jeff Gavard.
MAIN: Chandler; Moran; Spencer; Mars; Hansen PURE STOCKS
HEAT 1: Mel Byers; Dan Farrington; Bobby Bankson; Will Fanning; Neil Webster.
HEAT 2: Bill OÕNeill; Rich Samagnaro; Rick Grunert; Matt Keeler; Marek Bernert.
MAIN: Grunert; Byers; Hansard; Bernert; Keeler.
HEAT 1: Mike Stover; Rick Koster; Alan Clark; Max Nieman; Tom Goepner.
HEAT 2: Gary Koster; Clyde Tipton; Mike McNeff; Galvin Graham; Don Bardwell.
TROPHY DASH:Gary Koster
MAIN:Stover; Gary Koster; Rick Koster; Clark; Jim Phifer.